Rhea Clyman

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Portrait of Rhea Clyman looking directly ahead.
Rhea Clyman, c. 1932

Rhea Clyman (originally spelled Kleiman;[1] July 4, 1904–1981) was a Polish-born Canadian journalist[2] who travelled the USSR and reported about the Holodomor. She was famously expelled from the USSR in 1932.[3]

Early life[edit]

Rhea Clyman was born on July 4, 1904, in Poland to a Jewish family. Her parents were Solomon and Anna Kleiman. In 1906 the family moved to Canada and settled in Toronto, Ontario.[1] When Clyman was five or six, she was hit by a streetcar and badly injured, requiring the amputation of one leg and many subsequent hospital visits.[4][5] As her father had died, she left school early, working in a factory to help support her family.[citation needed]


As a young woman, Clyman worked in New York and then moved to London.[5] She worked as a researcher for New York Times reporter Walter Duranty,[6] and then took a job as a foreign correspondent for the London Daily Express.[1]

In 1928, at 24, Clyman travelled to the USSR to report on Soviet reforms. However, she was exposed to the realities of the regime. She wrote for many newspapers, including the Toronto Telegram and the London Daily Express.[7][8] She travelled to the far north labour camps and travelled south to Soviet Georgia by car with two women from Atlanta. On the way, they encountered starving Ukrainian peasants in Kharkiv. When Clyman arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia, she was arrested on the charge of reporting false news about the USSR and soon deported.[9]

From 1933 to 1938, she worked in Nazi Germany, reporting for the London Daily Telegraph.[5] In 1938, she had to leave the country urgently because of growing reprisals against the Jews. The plane she was riding crashed while landing in Amsterdam; Clyman was injured but survived and recovered.[4]

From 1938 to 1941, she worked in Montreal as a correspondent for London Daily Express,[5] and then moved to New York, where she led a quiet life until she died in 1981.[7][5] She never married or had children.


Clyman was portrayed by actress Beata Pozniak in the 2019 feature film about Gareth Jones, Mr. Jones.

She is also the title character of the 2018 documentary Hunger for Truth: The Rhea Clyman Story.


  1. ^ a b c Moslem, Omar (November 30, 2019). "Meet the Jewish Canadian reporter who interviewed Nazi leaders and blazed a trail for women journalists". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "New Chapters in the Ukrainian-Jewish Relationship Explored at Canada's Limmud FSU (Part 1) – Rhea Clyman - UJE - Ukrainian Jewish Encounter". UJE - Ukrainian Jewish Encounter. April 19, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  3. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2017). Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780385538862. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b Masis, Julie (June 18, 2017). "How a female Jewish journalist alerted the world to Ukraine's silent starvation". The Times of Israel. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e Mcmaster, Geoff (November 22, 2019). "Historian reveals story of Canadian journalist who chronicled horrors of Holodomor". Folio. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Bonner, Brian (June 28, 2018). "'Hunger for Truth: The Rhea Clyman Story' tells how brave Canadian journalist wrote about Holodomor". Kyiv Post. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Gladstone, Bill (December 29, 2015). "Writer witnessed the horrors of prewar Soviet Union". The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Castle, Colin (2014). Rufus: The Life of the Canadian Journalist Who Interviewed Hitler. BookBaby. ISBN 9781926991382. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  9. ^ Prokopenko, Maria (25 May 2017). "Unstoppable hunger for truth". The Day. Retrieved 28 December 2017.