Photographs of the Soviet Famine 1921-1923
3,500 Unique Photographs and Drawings
Some Photographs Are From Ukraine
High Commissioner for Relief
In Russia Fridtjof Nansen and the organizations he worked with,
such as the Save the Children International Union, the International
Red Cross, and others took a considerable number of photographs
of the Soviet 1921-1923 Famine. Many of these photographs were distributed
around the world by the news media. Some of these photographs were
used on postcards printed in Paris, Brussels, Geneva and other places
to raise funds for the relief effort. (See postcard section of ArtUkraine
for examples of the postcards)
A considerable number of
photographs were taken in the Saratov area of Russia in November
of 1921. Commissioner Nansen visited the relief efforts in that
area at that time. The photographs show the horrors experienced
by famine victims.
The Nansen Mission had an
office in Kharkov, Ukraine during this time. The leaders of this
office were T. G. Eybye, representative of the Danish Red Cross,
together with Lena Tidemann.
The Nansen photographs are
probably of the best that are available showing the Soviet famine.
Many times photographs of the Soviet 1921-1923 Famine have been
used to depict the Great Famine-Genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933
as original photographs of the Ukraine Famine in 1932-1933 are few
in number as the Soviets did not allow photographs to be taken and
the region was closed to journalists and all the news media.
One photograph from a cemetary
in Buzuluk, Russia shows a pile of 70-80 human corpses, mostly children
who were found dead in the course of a 2 day period during December
of 1921. This is an except of a telegram from Fridtjof Nansen to
the Red Cross on December 9, 1921. "I have visited Samara region/Misery
worse than darkest imagination/ Buzuluk district were Friends work
has 915,000 inhabitants of whom 537,000 have no food left/30,405
died in September, October, November but deathrate rapidly increasing
and before spring at least two thirds of population will perish
if help not promptly forthcoming."
Another photograph shows
Fridtjof Nansen in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1923. He is among students
in front of a canteen. He was in charge of "Nansen's Intellectual
Relief", with offices in several cities. Their task was to supply
students with daily food, clothing and books. second photo taken
in Kharkov in 1923 shows the children from one of the many orphanages
in Ukraine. They received relief from the Nansen Mission. On the
back of the photograph are the signatrues of 39 children.
There is a photograph taken
somewhere in Ukraine in 1921 showing representatives from the authorities
discussing the poor harvest in the grain field.
In 1989 the University of
Olso Library launched a project called Conservation of and Access
to the Fridtjof Photographic Archive. The project has led to in-house
development of a HyperCard/Macintosh based picture database (Media-Finder).
From 8,000 old pictures, 3,500 unique photographs, drawings and
some watercolors were selected, identified, dated, classifed, catalogued,
described and digitalized. (The English translation of the Norwegian
Library's website database cover 1,300 images) (www.nb.no/baser/nansen/english.html
Nasjonalbiblioteket, avdeling Oslo
Postboks, 2674, Solli
Phone 47 23 27 61 86
FAX 47 23 27 60 10 (merket "Billedsamlingen")