Rhea Clyman

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

Rhea Clyman (1904–1981) was a Canadian journalist[1] who travelled the USSR and reported about the Holodomor. She was famously expelled from the USSR in 1932.[2]

Early life[edit]

Clyman was born in 1904 in Poland. She moved with her Jewish parents, Solomon and Anna Kleiman, to Toronto two years later.[3][4] She was run over by a streetcar while a child and lost part of her leg.[5] Because her father had died, she left school early, working in a factory to help support her family.


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.[4]

In 1928, at the age of 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 which included the Toronto Telegram and the London Daily Express.[7][8] She travelled to the far north labour camps and travelled south to Georgia by car with two women from Atlanta. On the way to Georgia, they encountered the starving Ukrainian peasants in Kharkiv. When the women arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia, she was arrested on the charge of reporting false news about the USSR and soon deported.[9]

In 1933-1938 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 in which she was riding crashed while landing in Amsterdam; Clyman was injured, but survived and recovered.[3]

In 1938-1941, 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 her death 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. ^ "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.
  2. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2017). Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780385538862. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  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.