The studies themselves were initiated in connection with the desire to learn about the fate of the 106th Kazakh Cavalry Division, which left the front from Akmolinsk in 1942. 106th Cavalry Division happened to get into the "Kharkov Kettle" in 1942, one of the major defeats of the Red Army. Many died, many were missing; there were those who were captured. Thanks to this project, we managed to get to know many people in our country and abroad. Their consultations, assistance and even just friendly participation were invaluable. There are those in whom we were disappointed.
The well-known poet, writer Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov said: "Once a letter came from the daughter of the defender of Stalingrad, Arystan Akhmetov, to the Writers' Union. It shocked me. This was a document of special human pain and memory. She asked me to find the burial place of her father, who was brutally executed by the fascists. The letter did not let me calm down, I went to the library, found literature, collected material. And then all this work materialized in the poem."
Forgive me for the handwriting, which is so uneven,
Where is my father, where is my father buried?
Fighters and supporters, fellow soldiers,
You shared with each other one greatcoat at night,
You smoked one cigarette in turn,
Where did you bury my father?
I remember that on one of the programs on TV I had a chance to spill a couple of words with Ilyas Autov, the leader of the music group Motor-Roller. Time was limited, recording of our program was over, and we had to start a new one. The conversation was about his song about the war, it often has to be cited - it really reflects the opinions and aspirations. Ilyas dumbfounded: "My two grandfathers also disappeared in the war."
It turned out that in Kazakhstan almost every family wants to know about the fate of their ancestors.
The Great Patriotic War is one of those pages of history that is not closed by those who experienced it, and by their descendants. This is not surprising. It was in such emergency situations as war, that mankind acquired an invaluable and diverse experience: military art, sacrifice, self-respect, compassion, and finally, survival. And although it is difficult to name a topic that would not attract the attention of researchers, nevertheless there are "white spots" - these are the fate of prisoners and missing persons.
"My grandfather did not like to talk about the war, in Soviet times it was generally impossible to say that he was in captivity, so this fact was hiding in the family, and now he is no longer alive, so we do not really know how it really was and what he and his family had to go through during the war. He had two brothers, they did not return from the war, one died on the way to the front under bombardment in the train. And the second was the intelligence officer - in general there is no information, where he served, how he died, even where his grave is we do not know. In Soviet times, we learned a lot about the history of the war, we know the heroes of the universally accepted ... But, for example, my grandfather, I think he is also a hero, because to survive and not lose heart, and return alive - it's his life - part of a common history, which we do not really know due to the fact that it was impossible to talk about it, people after the war, who past the enemy camps, were afraid to disappear already at home," Gaini Beigaliyeva wrote in her response.
Having learned the real hell in the fascist camps, those who survived went through a series of humiliations in the Soviet camps. Amnesty after the death of Stalin released them from the camps, but the verdict of "treason to the Motherland" on the famous 58th article was not removed. Up to date they have not received rehabilitation.
The bitter fate of those who were captured causes us to feel pain, compassion and faith, the belief that the name of each of them has the right to a good memory and should not be forgotten. So the Public Foundation "Research Center "Erlik Zholymen" started the project "The right to a good memory: the history of repression of former prisoners of war of Kazakhstanis of World War II", supported by the F. Ebert Foundation in Kazakhstan.
Within the framework of the project, the "History of Repression" Conference was held at the Central State Archives of Almaty, where an exhibition of documents reflecting the fate of those who happened to survive in Nazi camps and then to get to the Soviet camps, was exhibited. As an author and compiler I presented a collection entitled "The Right to a Good Memory. Returned names of Kazakhstanis of World War II". The collection includes the results of searches of missing persons and information about the fate of prisoners of war. At the conference with interesting reports spoke: Gulbarshin Salyk, local historian, Kokshetau "About the search for the soldiers of 106th Akmola Cavalry Division"; Akmaral Adiyetova, deputy director of the WKO branch of the Museum of Local History "Returned from non-existence: one of the first commanders of the cavalry regiment, Major Tazhigali Uvaissov"; Ivan Kapas, Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev "Twice dead: history and prospects of studies of the burial places of Red Army soldiers in the village of Yavorivka, Tcherkassy region, Ukraine"; Almas Dzhunisbayev, Institute of History and Ethnology named after Ch. Valikhanov, Almaty "On the life and fate of the Turkestan legionary Baba Alimzhanov".
In the hall you could see people who listened to all the reports with attention and great interest. Speeches did not leave indifferent participants and guests of the conference, there were those who could not hold back tears. From the beginning to the end there was a special atmosphere. Especially when Nurlan Seitov sang his own songs on the guitar, dedicated to his father and mother. His father, Nurkan Seitov, was the commissar of the 106th National Cavalry Division, which was surrounded in Kharkov, and then in German captivity. If you read his memories in the book, and listen to these songs, the heart shrinks with pain.
No less interesting and exciting were other speeches, primarily those of former prisoners of war.
Working with archival documents of the 106th Cavalry Division, in one of the documents I came across a familiar name and called Kaidar Seisembayevich Aldazhumanov. He immediately asked: "Zhamken?" "Yes," I answered. And he told about the fate of his relatives and his studies of prisoners of war of Kazakhstanis in his speech at the conference. Zhamken Aldazhumanov fought in the 106th Cavalry Division, was captured and then became a legionary. Zhamken in the summer of 1944, being on the territory of Albania as part of the Turkestan battalion, was blown up on a mine and his leg was amputated by German doctors in a hospital in the Italian city of Naples. There in November 1944 he was captured by the British. At the end of 1945, the Allied forces of England transferred him along with other prisoners of war to the Soviet side. In 1951, in the summer he was arrested and in August 1951 he was sentenced to 25 years as a traitor to his homeland. He was released in December 1955. Not rehabilitated. In the state archives of the RF, Kaidar Seisembayevich succeeded in revealing the documents where it was indicated how the captured (there were 25 thousand prisoners) were transferred to the USSR by the Allied troops.
Zhomart Dyussembayev was able to find thanks to his response to my article "The Forgotten Kazakhs of the Great Patriotic War", posted on the site of "Altynorda." Zhomart is looking for information about his grandfather, who was captured at the very beginning of the war. It is known that Makhmet Ata was the last months of the war in the concentration camp of Buchenwald. The grandfather was freed by the Americans, and for another year he was imprisoned in western Germany, he was offered to stay there, but he refused and was transferred to the Soviet side, and then was sentenced for 10 years without the right to correspond and exiled to the Khabarovsk Territory. For all appeals to the regional military registration and enlistment office, the regional archive and the administration of the Khabarovsk Territory, the answer was negative: no information, documents were lost. Only the Buchenwald Museum responded. In connection with a large number of appeals, the Buchenwald Museum asked to wait, and when they will find a card, the information will be sent to Zhomart. He himself managed to contact American friends, who in turn are looking for information about his grandfather.
Of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who met the war in the summer of 1941 on the western borders of the Union, there were no chances to find one guy from the Tarbagatay district or the East Kazakhstan region. Only he no longer wanted to be missing, and the key to the search was the name of the place from where he was drafted into the ranks of the Red Army. He was a relative of Ainagul – Kabdulin Seydakhmet, was captured at the very beginning of the war on July 9, 1941, was held in a stalag number 324, and died in a camp on the territory of Belarus on December 28, 1941. When I called Ainagul Sadykova and told about the presentation of the collection, where there is a section devoted to the search for the found relative Seydakhmet, Ainagul, having coordinated her actions with her relatives, left for Almaty together with her mother and daughter, their speech at the conference was very excited.
The letters came after the conference:
"I'm writing to you and tears are flowing down my cheeks by themselves. I've been looking for some information about my grandfather for several years. Maybe you will help me. Yours sincerely, Akbota Khamitova."
"I read the article on Azattyk's website about Zhomart Dyussembayev who tries to find information about his grandfather during the Second World War. We have a similar story in our family. And we are also unsuccessfully looking for information about the life of my grandfather. Can you help us? Because we do not know how to do it." From the letter of Aslan Akmukanov.
In recent years, on May 9, in every Kazakh city, people go to the march of the Immortal Regiment with photos of their relatives who fought in that war. The number of such people is growing every year. One day in Facebook, in a commentary, a lady wrote bitterly: "My father and father-in-law fought in that war, they were captured and lived the rest of their life without waiting for the rehabilitation." And she also wanted to be among those who passed through the square with photos of their relatives and pay tribute to their contribution to the Victory.
Translated by Raushan MAKHMETZHANOVA