The Book

About the Book

Two Regimes (A Memoir) by Teodora Verbitskaya as was translated by her granddaughter, Lucianne Vanilar, and published by Kendall-Hunt Publishing (,  is the story of Teodora Verbitskaya and her young daughters, Nadia and Lucy; swept up in the collateral damage of genocide, war and survival- before, during, and after World War II. This true story of Two Regimes is the story of three young women’s love, faith, courage, strength, determination, intelligence, and sheer will to live in the face of the worst adversity! This story of survival is an inspiration to everyone but particularly for girls and women, who must often pick up the pieces after or during devastation and start life anew.

Grateful Acknowledgement

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the below donors whose generous support and encouragement made this book possible. Their dedication to Two Regimes has been truly inspiring, and their contribution has made a significant impact on this Two Regimes project.

  • The Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta
  • US Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor Genocide Awareness
  • The Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC)
  • Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA)
  • Helen and Paul Baszucki Family
  • Douglas Darlington of Winding Road Films
  • Reg Garner of Reg Garner Photography
  • Camille Huk-Massier and Oksana Huk
  • Oksana and Peter Piaseckyj

Featured Passage

Here is a great passage from the book, showing what you can expect to find in it:

“Mariupol was a regional center, and our office was considered a regional one. The SelSoviet village councils associated with our district were called “the Periphery.” The farmers who lived on the Periphery, whether they had any livestock or not, were taxed with certain expected norms of meat production, and had to deliver them to our depot. In addition, surpluses were confiscated, arrears were fined, and livestock was forcibly taken away from the “evil defaulters,” that is, those who could not bear to part with their little cow or goat. Livestock was gathered in a large herd and driven to our base or to the slaughterhouse. They did not feed or water those poor, unfortunate animals. They were still hungry from their homes, and they starved and fell while en route, and were followed by special trucks, which carried heaps of the killed cattle, a forced slaughter.

The cows were not milked on the journey, and only upon arrival to the depot, some were milked by our janitor. The chickens, tied in cages, were not unloaded before being sent to the slaughterhouse, and also were not fed nor watered, because no animal feed was allotted for our base. Chickens tore out their own feathers and ate them; cows jarringly mooed, and the pigs, when you approached them, only begged for food, like starving children, with such mournful eyes, that can only be understood by those who are hungry. The government had no provision for their upkeep. They were merely confiscated property.

I actually witnessed a cow crying. An elderly couple was ordered to relinquish their only small heifer.

“We,” said the old man, “cried the entire journey, and my steadfast wife kept hugging and hugging her Mashka, and she, as if she understood where she was being led, was crying too. Look, she is even now still crying.”

The cow most certainly had tears streaming from her sad eyes. The elders kept embracing their little heifer. We all sobbed together, and then the bereaved old folks trudged ten kilometers on foot, back to their village of Starodubovka, robbed by the Workers and Peasants’ Administration.

-Excerpt from Part 1, page 36

The Author Teodora Verbitskaya (1900-1994)

Teodora Yefremovna Verbitskaya, was born in the village of what is now Hrunivka, in Sums’ka Oblast, Ukraine, in the year 1900. Her life was difficult and tragic. Her mother died in 1905; her father remarried; her only brother also died young; her husband was an irresponsible man. Terrifying social and political upheaval came, followed by the Holodomor, and then the Nazi invasion. She managed to endure throughout it all..

According to Nadia, her daughter, Teodora recorded her memoir for many reasons:

  • To hopefully set right the facts surrounding the death and destruction of people and property.
  • For her children and others to know what had happened to them (her family)
  • For her children to survive and (should she pass), to understand what she was thinking at the time, and to comprehend why it was she made certain choices, for herself and for others during an impossible war.
  • To preserve the memory and dignity of those who lost their lives.
  • For her own sanity.
  • To chronological horrific situations and experiences in order during the course of events also helped her to mark the passing of time in days, months and years.
  • So she could remember, should she survive, what she survived!