- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
251

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THE VOLGA
251
Samara and Simbirsk that its ravages were worst.
Instead of corn being exported, it had at that time to
be imported in great quantities. Under Mr. Hoover’s
lead much help was brought from America, and at
the end meals were being given to 10 million people
daily ; wc, too, in Europe did what wc could to help.
The sun shines down overpoweringly from the
cloudless sky, the villages smile peacefully in the
warm summer, the churches gleam white against
the blue high above the plain, and the peasants
come in their jolting telegas to the great waterway
—what a beautiful, soothing peace ! But black
shadows from that terror-stricken time cannot be
driven away. These very villages were cities of
death. In house after house the same dreadful sight
of dying and dead wraiths of humanity. Parched
grass and leaves, pounded bones and horses’ hooves
instead ofbread. No fuel, so that the skeleton bodies
froze fast to the ground ere life had left them. An
awful house where those of the family still alive
lay up on the great cold stove, so weak that they
could not raise themselves—between them a new
born child, on the floor an old woman raking about
in the fevered ravings of the last stage of spotted
typhus; driven out of the other houses, she had
found a last sanctuary here, whence they no longer
had the strength to drive her. In a children’s home
forty-two died last night, and they still lay in the
beds with the living beside them, who sat and
gazed with the great wondering eyes of children on
death, the great release from all suffering. Bodies
were dug up from churchyards to be eaten. Parents,
in their frenzy, killed their children to get food.

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