Known as the 'Unknown Holocaust'.
In 1933, the communist leader of the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin, in a bid to crush Ukraine's growing spirit of nationalism, ordered millions of independent farmers (Kulaks) into collective farms. Any resistance to the order was dealt with by the OGPU (KGB) who executed all those who disobeyed. All roads leading out of Ukraine were blocked by Red Army troops, nothing came in and nothing went out. The farms were then deprived of all seed stocks, grain and farm animals. In a short while the Ukrainian farmers began dying of hunger, cold and sickness. In an attempt to stay alive they ate their pets, leather boots, belts and bark from the trees. It is recorded that some parents even ate their youngest children. According to KGB archives at least seven million, a quarter of Ukraine's population, starved to death.
The OGPU had made quota, shooting 10,000 victims weekly. Ukrainian party member Nikita Khrushchev helped supervise the executions. In other parts of the Soviet Union another six million peasant farmers were disposed of during collectivization. Many of the OGPU officers were Jews and during the Nazi occupation in World War II, Jews became the target of revenge by Ukrainians, Balts and Poles. Stalin murdered four times more people than Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao or Pinochet combined.
Ukraine was to suffer much more during and after the German invasion. As the Soviet Army retreated in front of the Nazi hordes, wholesale evacuation of Ukrainian industry, including 197 factories, were ordered by the Soviets. Between November, 1943, and March, 1944, everything was being looted, destroyed and burned again as the German troops retreated in front of the victorious Soviet Army. Some 150 museums, 62 drama theatres and around 600 movie theatres were destroyed by the Germans.
Around 28,000 villages and 714 towns were razed to the ground leaving ten million people without shelter. (Over 700 rare books, looted by the Nazis, were returned to the Ukraine by Germany on April 28, 1995). What the Soviets failed to destroy on their retreat in 1941 the Germans destroyed in their retreat in 1943/44. This scorched earth policy by two opposing armies caused devastation and suffering beyond belief. A total of 460,000 German soldiers were killed in Ukraine, most by partisans. Retaliation was to be 200 civilians executed for every soldier killed.
In Kiev alone, 700 citizens were put to death in November, 1941. All over the Ukraine the German Wehrmacht was treated as liberators and over 25,000 Ukrainians volunteered to fight on the German side against the Soviets as the 'Galicea Division SS'.