January 15, 1933
Today the government had 30 people taken somewhere. I don’t know where they’re taking them, but they took Dad. Now it’s just Mom, Lucy, and I. Lucy turned 8 years old yesterday. I managed to get some bread to give her for her birthday. She needs it more than I do, anyway. Mom isn’t doing too well; she is very sick. I know that I have to be the responsible one here and take care of mom and Lucy since they took dad and I don’t know when he will come home. And I know if anything happens to mom that I need to care for Lucy and always be by her side. Sadly, our rations were cut shorter today. I don’t know how mother is going to survive. Lucy is becoming weak. I try to give her as much food as I can, but I still have to eat as well. There are people all around dying every day. Most die from starvation but many also die from the cold. This winter has felt like the harshest winter of all. When we sleep, Lucy sleeps with me so we may stay warm. They won’t let us go to school so I’ve been teaching Lucy what I know from K-10th grade. I know one day we will get out of this horrid time of death and despair and live in a beautiful place with crystal blue waters and clear skies. One day... One day soon.
A cold morning, 1992
They told me what to do and I had to do it. I inhaled the cold air and strapped my gun around my shoulder down to my waist and stared at the people of Ukraine. I wonder how they perceived me of… I’m taking their food away, but they don’t know that it’s for the better, or so what I’ve been told. I’m probably a monster in their eyes. I look at them and see fear in their faces, I see them trembling from the cold and I see tears coming from their eyes. I was told that the grain that they’re taking is going to less fortunate souls. It’s for the better. Sometimes I doubt the things that the general is doing. Is this really okay? Is starving the lives of millions of people really okay? It’s for the better, I keep telling myself that. Some people were dying to “slowly” so I had to shoot them; boss said its better because it takes them out of misery. This afternoon I went to a barn and saw this old man that was considered too-slow-to-die, so I shot him, his blood splattered on what seemed to be his own son. The chills ran through my body whenever I would hear someone scream out for their loved ones. I shot about 50 people that day. When I gathered with the other men for coffee they said they shot about 200 or even 300, they said they didn’t even think they were dying but they liked the thrill of killing people, they said it was better if there were less people anyway. It’s for the better. My mind is so clustered with all these thoughts and all this guilt. I had to keep my straight face on and couldn’t show any empathy or then Stalin would kick me to starve with the others. It was already getting dark and I was getting hungry, every time I ate I kept thinking about the people that didn’t have food to eat tonight, so I lost my appetite. Sometimes when I opened my window to my room I could hear the cries of the people starving, they were like wolves howling at a full moon, sometimes louder than that. It was hard to sleep at night when the thoughts of the day earlier ran through my mind. I wonder how the other men dealt with it; maybe they put on a front like I did. I always over think this late at night, it’s like my thoughts are eating me from the inside out. The screams and cries of the people are stuck in my head and they keep repeating over and over. When will this all be over? When can I fall asleep at night and not worry about waking up the next morning to get ready to kill more innocent lives? I have nightmares every night about what will happened next, I’m scared and I want this to all be over. I fall asleep with the last thought on my mind that’s been getting me through all of this chaos, it’s for the better.