Teaching Unit
The Ukrainian Genocide – 1932-1933

for Grade 10 Civics
Prepared by Valentina Kuryliw


Unit 3:
Democracy: Global Perspective
Activity 3:
In Defense of Human Rights: Genocide: Man-Made
Famine in Soviet Ukraine. 1932-33.
Lesson Title:
Example of Genocide: Famine - Genocide in Ukraine
Key Expectations: Overall Expectations
- demonstrate an understanding of a citizen’s role in responding to non-democratic movements through personal and group actions.
- demonstrate an ability to research questions and issues of civic importance, and to think critically and creatively about these issues and questions.
Specific expectations
- analyze the evolution of Canada’s participation in international tribunals, from the World War 11 to the International Court of Justice’s ongoing prosecutions involving war crimes and genocide.
- demonstrate an ability to formulate questions; locate information from different sources; and identify main ideas, supporting evidence, points of view, and biases in these materials.
- analyze contemporary crises or issues of international significance in the contextof the global community.
- demonstrate an ability to anticipate conflicting civic purposes, overcome personal bias, and suspend judgment in dealing with issues of civic concern.
- communicate their own beliefs, points of view, and informed judgments, and effectively use appropriate discussion skills.

Assessment / Evaluation Techniques

Diagnostic Assessment of definition of Genocide
Formative Assessment student responses to questions on video
Summative Evaluation of Newspaper article produced .


Teaching / Learning Strategies

A. Teacher to review purpose of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Discuss the implications of the Declaration with the whole class using socratic questioning. (http://www.un.org/overview/rights.html)


B. Brainstorm definition of “genocide”. Establish examples of genocide which they know of in different areas of the world and types of governments involved. This could be done in chart form using columns.

Answer question, “Why do genocides occur under such governments?


C. Viewing of the DVD “Harvest of Despair
An excellent way to introduce the topic:Famine/Genocide in Ukraine 1932-33. (see resources)

Teacher instructions:
It is recommended that the DVD be shown in 2 segments:

Part 1. Background information; events leading to Famine/Genocide (half hour)
Part 2. Famine/Genocide and Cover-up (half hour)


Assignment Part 1

a) What evidence exists that the Famine was man-made? (3)

b) What events led to the Famine/Genocide?

c) What evidence is there that the Famine/Genocide was directed specifically against the Ukrainian people?

d) How many people died as a result of the Famine/Genocide?

e) List the actions of Soviet Government officials which led to the Famine/ Genocide in Ukraine.

f) Who would you name as victims, perpetrators, accomplices, bystanders, rescuers?


Assignment Part 2

a) Why were Western nations silent about this tragedy in 1932-33?

b) Why was there a “media cover-up”?

c) What role did Muggeridge and Duranty play in the media coverage?

c) Should the perpetrators, be held accountable for this crime?
Why or why not? Explain.

d) Suggest ways in which this could be done.

D. Review findings:

Class could be divided into groups of 5-6 with each group reporting their findings to the entire class, each group supplementing the answers of the previous groups on a chart. Conclusions are to be drawn based on student findings. Each group is to hand in one page on conclusions reached.


E. “The Famine/Genocide in Ukraine 1932-33,” (attached handout )

Students are to go over the handout, individually or in groups, and answer answer thefollowing questions:

  1. Why is the Ukrainian Famine/Genocide considered to be one of the worse tragedies of the 20th century?
  2. What are the estimated number of victims?
  3. What groups were specifically targeted by Soviet authorities?
  4. How did Stalin deal with the farmers in Ukraine?
  5. List the actions of the Soviets that led to famine in Ukraine.
  6. What reason is given for these actions against the population of Ukraine.
  7. How did journalists deal with the Famine in 1932-1933?
  8. How was Canada affected by events in Ukraine in 1932-33 ?
  9. Why was it possible to cover up the Famine/Genocide for over 70 years?
  10. Why has information about “The Holodomor” surfaced today?
  11. What does the term “The Holodomor” mean?
  12. Why was it important for Canada to recognize the Ukrainian tragedy as an genocide?
  13. Do you think it is possible to hide a genocide like the Ukrainian Holodomor from the world today? Explain your answer.
  14. Bonus question:
    List other genocides that have occurred since 1933 in which “food was used as a weapon”.

Questions may be used as a guide for a class discussion; results could be checked orally or handed in for marking.


F. Working with case studies of Eyewitness Accounts.

a. View the CD “Holodomor” , a 15 minute production of 12 Holodomor survivors.
(Canad Inns, Winnipeg, distribute the CD’s )

Answer the following questions:
1. Gather 10 facts about the Holodomor from the accounts of the survivors.

  1. ___________________________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________________________
  4. ___________________________________________________________________
  5. ___________________________________________________________________
  6. ___________________________________________________________________
  7. ___________________________________________________________________
  8. ___________________________________________________________________
  9. ___________________________________________________________________
  10. ___________________________________________________________________

2. According to survivors who were:

the perpetrators, __________________________________________________________

the henchmen ____________________________________________________________

the victims _______________________________________________________________

3. What evidence was given that famine was intended?


4. How did some people survive?



5. Select an incident that was described that was especially disturbing: or


6. Select an incident that was described that was especially memorable or



7. Describe the survivors. ___________________________________________________



G. Eyewitness accounts:

  1. Famine Testimony of Sviatoslav Karavansky
  2. Famine Testimony of Tatiana Pawlichka

Class is divided into 6 groups:

3 receive case study #1;
3 receive case study #2.

Each group is to read the eyewitness account of the Famine and pick out the 5 most important facts in the case. Using information from the handout, “The Famine/Genocide in Ukraine 1932-33” and the eye witness account, each student is to prepare an article to a newspaper in 1933 explaining what was happening in Ukraine.

Be sure to include the following:

a) name of newspaper, date
b) headline for article
c) author of article,
d) drawing or illustration if possible.
e) main points to be made (who/what, when, where, why and how)

Use terms such as: victims, perpetrators, bystanders, observers, rescuers where applicable. Articles are to be handed in for evaluation. A class newspaper may be produced.


H. Newspaper analysis:

Answer the following questions:

Eric Margolis, “Remembering Modern History’s Greatest Crime”, June 2, 2008, Toronto Sun. http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Margolis_Eric/2008/06/01/5737531-sun.php

  1. Why does Margolis feel that recognition of the Ukrainian genocide is long overdue?
  2. Who does he name as the main perpetrators of this crime?
  3. According to Margolis, what methods did they use and how many people were killed?
  4. What reason does he suggest for inaction in the past?
  5. What evidence does Margolis give to show that Stalin was the biggest mass murderer in history?


I. Examine photographs reproduced in the Chicago American, Mar. 4,6, 1935

Answer the question. By reading the captions and studying the pictures, “What were conditions like in Ukraine in 1933?”

Give three facts illustrating support for your argument.


J. Additional articles: the Media Cover-up “Hunter, Ian “A Tale of Truth and Two Journalists”, Report Magazine, Monday March 27, 2000.

a) How did Muggeridge and Duranty present events in Ukraine in 1933?

b) What explanation is given for the discrepancies between the two

c) What do you think about the way in which this event was portrayed by the journalists. Explain.


K. Teacher information

  1. http://www.infoukes.com/history/famine
  2. http://www.faminegenocide.com
  3. http://www.lucorg.com
  4. http://www.artukraine.com/famineart
  5. http://www.ukrainian genocide.com/curriculum.html