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Deportation of Crimean Tatars. Crime told by witnesses. Part 2

May 27, 2016 14:55 0 3066

What do you really know about  Crimean Tatar deportation? We presetn 10 stories of Crimean Tartars who were deported from Crimea in 1944. In these stories there is an echo of the tragic May morning, long days in boxcars, years in foreign land and returning home... In the portraits you will see the conviction that Crimean Tatars have always returned to their Homeland. This is how it was and how it will be.

Our father worked at a collective farm and our mom was raising four children.  When the war began, our father got mobilized and he never returned from the war, he was lost in action. I don’t remember the day we were deported very well; I was only 6 years old.  I only remember that soldiers came to our home at 3 am.  I remember being transported in a cargo truck and then someone carried me to the cargo train car.

We were deported to Uzbekistan. We were crammed four families to one room and worked the cotton fields.  I was left at home with my younger sister.  I really wanted to be with my mom, so I’d strap my sister to my back, crawl under the train cars on the railway station and walk to the fields where my mom worked. Once neighbors saw my “trek” and told my mom.  She was forced to take us with her to the fields.  I was helping her carry muddy water from aryk and boil it for the field workers.  Local Uzbeks were poor too, but they were always ready to share a piece of flatbread with us.

I was left at home with my younger sister.  I really wanted to be with my mom, so I’d strap my sister to my back, crawl under the train cars on the railway station and walk to the fields where my mom worked.

I wasn’t able to go to school and never learnt to read and write.  I can count because I had to buy food at the market. When I got older, I was working as a helper in the agricultural aviation.  I was loading chemicals to the airplanes that were later scattering them to the cotton fields.  This type of work was hazardous.  Chemicals would seep even through the protective clothing and cause skin sores.  Since then, I have poor health, liver disease.

Mom married me off at 17 to save me from hard labor.  My husband worked at the cotton factory as a carpenter for 45 years.  Because of my poor health I only had one daughter, even though I always wanted a big family.

In 1988 we returned to Crimea.  My husband was originally from Simferopol and, after a long search we bought a small house in a suburb where we still live today.

 

Three armed soldiers entered and ordered to gather in 15 minutes. We thought that we were led to execution. One of the soldiers came to us a few days earlier. He once said that population census is held in the village. The mother then just cooked noodle soup, which he tasted with us.

We were gathered at the cemetery. In expectation of this, we felt fear and desire to live. When we went after the following group of people, father sent his nephew Cafer with me to our home. Cafer took a sheep from the basement and I climbed through the window. The father killed the sheep and the meat was distributed to those present. We were taken to the station Bink Suresnes from there (Tankove now).

We were gathered at the cemetery. In expectation of this, we felt fear and desire to live.

We tried to stay together, but we were forcibly separated: grandmother and uncle's family were hand in another boxcar and sent to Golodniy Step. My grandmother died there from starvation later. We were taken to Zinhatu, Uzbeki stan, in boxcars. Only plain and barracks were there. There were no local citizens. We lived in reed barracks where the prisoners lived before.

There were unsanitary conditions everywhere. We had 7-8 dead bodies every day. When we had no strength to bury them they were ate by jackals. The water in the channel was muddy like dirt. We were able to drink it only decocted. But people were drinking it and became ill. So do I. At first thoughts it was tuberculosis. Me and the guy, who also became ill, went to the doctor and he said it was just exhaustion. Being happy that I was not ill, I bought ice cream for some pennies I had. A guy who went with me died. He had tuberculosis.

A few months later we were able to move to Chirchik, which then looked like a kishlak. The local citizens treated us quite friendly, no conflicts or quarrels arose. Me and my sister were taken to work at chemical plant. We were asked about education, I said that in Crimea I went to college, but did not have time to finish it. That’s why I became a student accountant. So I got a job. I worked in the department, which was outside the plant because Crimean Tatars were not allowed inside the plant. I remember I went to work in galoshes and the mother's shawl was on my head. We joined this routine, and this routine joined us. But trees can not be pulled out with the roots and planted in new soil, our hearts were in Crimea. My father died of starvation on May 5, 1945. That was four days before the Victory day.

We returned to Crimea  in 1989, when I retired on a pension and bought a house in the village. My daughter moved here with her family earlier. The neighbors were very good and we had no problems with them. We were always willing to move to Bakhchisaray district, where we were born.

 

I remember May of 1944.  I was a child, not even 9 years old.  We were awaken at 5 am and dragged out of our home.  There were three kids in our family.  Our father and uncle were killed during the war and there were only kids, our mom, her two sisters and her elderly parents.  We didn’t take anything.  All our mom could do was get us dressed...

I often think about my mom and grandmother were never crying during our deportation.  Our grandmother took only Quran and walked out of our home.  We were brought to a large field where were kept under guard for 24 hours.  The next day we were rounded up, loaded into trucks and transported to Simferopol where we were shoved into boxcars.  There were no water, no toilets. A grandma died in the next boxcar, she was wrapped into a blanket and left by the side of the railway.

Soon we arrived in Perm in Molotov region. I don't remember how long we were in the boxcars. Here we were loaded into barge train cars and taken to Molotov region’s Krasnovishersk area. For the next three days we spent the nights on the barges. It was June but it was snowing in the middle of  summer. We were able to move freely here, no one really guarded us. On a third day we were moved to a school building with a large room where were spent the night. Three days later trucks arrived. Our family got settled. I remember the address: Naberejnaya Street, building 1, apartment 4. Our apartment was empty, no furniture, and no dishes. Soon grandpa got ill and died. There was no one to bury him. Mom worked on a loading dock at a paper factory. She asked her supervisor for help and he sent four people over to help bury our grandpa. Later my older sister got ill. She didn't suffer long and soon she died.

We lived in Krasnovysherks, which was a transportation hub. Only displaced and formerly incarcerated people lived here. We worked for the locals whom we called «shaldons».  When I was in third grade I was hired to help an old man for a 700 kilograms of potatoes.  In 1948 I went with him to a village to guard a collective farm property.  There was enough food there, we got fed.

We lived in Krasnovysherks, which was a transportation hub. Only displaced and formerly incarcerated people lived here.

My mom worked on a loading dock for a small salary, 170-200 rubles.  A check system was in place that managed the distribution quotas: children got 300 grams of bread, 300 grams of grains, 300 grams of sugar and salt per month.

We lived here until 1958, when I moved to Rostov region where many people like us lived.  I got married there and lived there for 40 years.

In 1993 we managed to move to Crimea where we bought a house.  I remember coming in March, building for three months and then going back to Rostov.  After retiring in 1996 I moved permanently to Crimea.  It wasn't hard to get settled, I got lucky with the registration, met good people on the way.

I ask Allah for peace on earth, because without war life is easy.

 

Aishe was born and lived in the center of Alushta. At the age of 19 she got married. Her first son was born in 1938  and she gave a birth to a baby girl in 1941, a few days before the war. Before the deportation she worked with her mother (Selime Sofu) at sanatorium. On May 18th in 1944 the soldiers came to their house at night, ordered not to take any things, said disobedience would lead to  shooting. Aishe with two young children joined her neighbors - Crimean Tartars. They all were escorted by trucks to the station Biuk Siuresn (Tankovoe) and then they boarded the boxcars. While being on the road they were rarely fed, many children died. There were stops on the way but nobody was allowed to leave. People got off the boxcars in Samarkand region, in the open field. Locals kept themselves aloop and showed their hostility. Arrived Tatars lived in a barn. While her mother took care of children, Aishe was working in a cotton field.

They all were escorted by trucks to the station Biuk Siuresn (Tankovoe) and then they boarded the boxcars. While being on the road they were rarely fed, many children died. There were stops on the way but nobody was allowed to leave. People got off the boxcars in Samarkand region, in the open field.

In 1945, after the war, Aishe's husband was demobilized and sent to Uzbekistan to his family. No one was allowed to enter Crimea. Arriving and seeing his family living in a barn, made him relocate his family to the nearest city. Due to this disobedience his family was arrested and sent to Kyrgyzstan to the village Tiiaa — Muiun, located near uranium mines. There two girls were born in the family — Nuriie and Fatime.

After the curfew regime the family moved to their relatives to Tajikistan to Dushanbe town. Two families lived in a tent. Soon, a large family was given an apartment; they already had five children (Jr., Mustafa was born in 1954).

Aishe's husband was always emotional over the unfair deportation of the Crimean Tatars. He once wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party, he stated he was a  war veteran who has went through all war, was deported, despite the merits he committed to the country. After this letter was sent, special organizations' representatives visited their house, searched around and seized the party membership card, all military records, military orders and medals.

Aisha lived in Tajikistan, she was the only one to provide for her five children. She was forced to have two jobs and eventually she was able to give her children a good education. The family returned to Crimea in 1992, following the youngest son who had relocated earlier. Aisha was already 74 years old. At first she lived with her son and then she was given a separate little room at a hostel for the elderly in a village Izobilne (named Korbek till 1945).

 

Aishe was born and lived in the center of Alushta. At the age of 19 she got married. Her first son was born in 1938  and she gave a birth to a baby girl in 1941, a few days before the war. Before the deportation she worked with her mother (Selime Sofu) at sanatorium. On May 18th in 1944 the soldiers came to their house at night, ordered not to take any things, said disobedience would lead to  shooting. Aishe with two young children joined her neighbors - Crimean Tartars. They all were escorted by trucks to the station Biuk Siuresn (Tankovoe) and then they boarded the boxcars. While being on the road they were rarely fed, many children died. There were stops on the way but nobody was allowed to leave. People got off the boxcars in Samarkand region, in the open field. Locals kept themselves aloop and showed their hostility. Arrived Tatars lived in a barn. While her mother took care of children, Aishe was working in a cotton field.

They all were escorted by trucks to the station Biuk Siuresn (Tankovoe) and then they boarded the boxcars. While being on the road they were rarely fed, many children died. There were stops on the way but nobody was allowed to leave. People got off the boxcars in Samarkand region, in the open field.

In 1945, after the war, Aishe's husband was demobilized and sent to Uzbekistan to his family. No one was allowed to enter Crimea. Arriving and seeing his family living in a barn, made him relocate his family to the nearest city. Due to this disobedience his family was arrested and sent to Kyrgyzstan to the village Tiiaa — Muiun, located near uranium mines. There two girls were born in the family — Nuriie and Fatime.

After the curfew regime the family moved to their relatives to Tajikistan to Dushanbe town. Two families lived in a tent. Soon, a large family was given an apartment; they already had five children (Jr., Mustafa was born in 1954).

Aishe's husband was always emotional over the unfair deportation of the Crimean Tatars. He once wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party, he stated he was a  war veteran who has went through all war, was deported, despite the merits he committed to the country. After this letter was sent, special organizations' representatives visited their house, searched around and seized the party membership card, all military records, military orders and medals.

Aisha lived in Tajikistan, she was the only one to provide for her five children. She was forced to have two jobs and eventually she was able to give her children a good education.  The family returned to Crimea in 1992, following the youngest son who had relocated earlier. Aisha was already 74 years old. At first she lived with her son and then she was given a separate little room at a hostel for the elderly in a village Izobilne (named Korbek till 1945).

 

Project organizer is a public organization "CrimeaSOS"

Idea  Zeinep Tasheva

Photography of Medzhit Vladlen Melnikov

Design  Olexandra Ryzhyk