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Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

The search of the graves of prisoners of World War II in Maktaral region

The search of the graves of prisoners of World War II in Maktaral region - e-history.kz

During the work of historical-ethnological expedition in Maktaral region of South Kazakhstan within the framework of “Zhuz auyl” «Жүзауыл», “Zhuz kariya”  «Жүзқария», “Shezhire” «Шежіре»,  and “Oyu ornek” programs was collected materials, concerning the history of the region during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Particularly, Aza Lazareva, 59 years, local historian activist, former director of the Museum of the History of cotton (the village Atakent of Maktaral district), told about the search for the graves of Japanese soldiers kept in the prison on the territory of Maktaral district.

“Japan for many people associated with Sakura, the decorative Japanese cherry, and Mount Fuji, which many centuries attracts a lot of pilgrims, also inspires poets and artists. Sakura and Fuji are favorite symbols of Japanese people. In Japan there is belief that there is no trust for someone who does not perceive the beauty of nature.

It is know that Japan is poor of natural resources. Their state consists of several islands. The main of them are Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. Japan is the archipelago country, located on the 4 large and almost 4 thousand small islands. It is mononational states, 99 % of population is Japanese.  Japanese believers believe in two major religions – Shinto and Buddhism, which emerged back in the early feudal era. Today, Japan is the country of high culture and universal literacy.

In 1945, Japan was the ally of Nazi Germany and kept holding considerable force against the Soviet Union in Manchuria, Korea, southern Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. In Manchuria located Kwantung Army that was commanded by General O. Yamada. It was the main land army. The army consisted of suicide brigade. Enemy force numbered more than one million people. The enemy’s group had more than one million people.

Night August 9, 1945, the Soviet government declared that the USSR in the war with Japan. Although, at the meeting of Supreme Council the Prime Minister of Japan Suzuki had declared a stalemate and inability to continue the war. Japanese command yet had ordered to the Kwantung Army to start a fight against the USSR. 

August 10, 1945 the Mongolian People's Republic declared war on Japan. Bloody battles began. “Japanese people showed their anger caused by the failures in battles on the Soviet prisoners”, - written in a brief history of the “Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, 1941-1945”. There is no need to describe these cruelties. They are typical for all military campaigns also military “hot spots” and internal conflicts.

It is noticeable that Japanese garrisons fought to the last man. Instead of being surrender they often preferred to commit ritual suicide hara-kiri (seppuku), ripping their stomachs.

September 2, at the Tokyo Bay on the board of the US’s battleship “Missouri” was signed the Act of the Japan’s unconditional surrender. The first signed the representative of Japan, the Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Chief of General Staff Yosidziru Umedeu. On behalf of the Allied Powers of nations the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in the Far East, the General Douglas - MacArthur, on behalf of the United States - Admiral C. Nimitz, on behalf of the Chinese Kuomintang - General Su Yongchang , on behalf of the UK - Admiral B. Freyder, on behalf of USSR - General K.Derevyanko signed the Act. Also the Act was signed by representatives of Australia, Canada, France, Holland and New Zealand.

During the World War II 4 million 126 thousand and 964 people were captured. For comparison, 5 million soldiers were captured by fascist. Only 3 million survived till 1945. Japan lost 84 thousand people. About 600 thousand people were captured, where 148 of them were generals. In POW camps were very strict discipline controlled by Japanese officers. People went to work with columns. I remember the story of an veteran about how prisoners worked in the fields of separation “Gardening” («Сад-огород»). Afterwards this department called 40 years of October, now – the village Nazarbel of Maktaral district. “So, one of the Japanese shouted something and all snapped to attention directly on the field. Then, he said something and hit another naval dirk”, - said veteran. The story of veteran can criticized, but most likely it’s true.

Some of the Japanese POWs worked with the camp leadership.

The largest number of Japanese prisoners was in the Karaganda region. There were 25 thousand people. In Karaganda, they built concert hall, and after a few years, it has restored a private firm from Japan. The Japanese build strong and safe.

For the maintenance of the Japanese military camps Soviet Union spent more material and money than they earned. The most difficult period for the Japanese military was 1945-1946 years and it is not surprising, as bloody battles were fresh in the memory. As well as space for camps were needed.  

From the family chronicle of German woman from Ilychevsk Lena Logvinova-Blank, we learned that “in a large protected are “Gardening” behind barbed fence lived prisoners. Prisoners themselves built barracks from cotton stalks and dung with clay”. She noticed that attitude towards Japanese and Italian was much better than to the German prisoners. However, everyone has their own truth, its own measures of suffering. 61 thousand 855 Japanese, including 607 officers and 31 generals died in captivity. There are no Japanese soldiers that were shot. 333 graves were found and the remains were taken home.

Japan has many temples across the county. They are dedicated not only to the god of rice – Inari, but also to the god of war Hatiman and the souls of dead warriors. The Japanese have a strong tradition of honoring those who died in the war. Therefore, the Japanese are still searching for the graves of prisoners of the war. 

I met the representatives of the Japanese delegation twice. First about 1994, then they did not have even approximate cards. For me as director of the museum, they had nothing to tell, except to admit that at the place where were cemeteries now cotton fields. For the second time, I managed to meet representatives from this delegation in November this year. The delegation consisted of the specialist and translator of External Relations Division of the Ministry of health care, Labor and Welfare of Japan Toshio and Kokoro Hatakeyama, as well as members of society the of the victim’s families during World War II, Mr. Seodzo Takanohasi and Mrs. Masami Kansmura. The translation from Russian to Japanese language provided Mr. Hironobu Ivaoka.

It should be noted that the delegation was in Kazakhstan as planned from November 5 to 18, 2013. The Japanese strictly followed to the approved plan, which include ​​courtesy visits to the embassy local government bodies of visiting places.

Photo 1 and 2; represent the visit of Japanese delegation in Maktaral region (from November 5-18) with the mission to determine the place of graves of Japanese prisoners kept in Pahtaral (now Maktaral district) after the Second World War. The Japanese delegation in the administration of Atekent village. The preliminary discussion of the possible burial sites.

Before getting into Maktaaral, the delegation visited the burials in Yangi - Shahar —348 camp office №3, where were buried 6 Japanese prisoners (burial point 9076), cemetery Keltemashash Tulkubas area where 5 people were buried (point 9087). Then the delegation traveled to Turkestan and visited the village Achisai where was located the department №1 of 348 camp (burial point 9074). In Achisai was buried 21 POW of Japan. There, in Achisai, burial in paragraph 9075 of the same 348 camp the department №2 buried 12 people. Japanese worked in the mines, apparently so here is the number of deaths.

The delegation arrived came to us on Novemeber12.Their plan included visits: burial points of 9038 camp the 29 department; search the 11 graves of Japanese soldiers in this area (in paragraph of 9039 burial) in department of camp № 3 - 24 burials, in 9040 burial in department № 4 - 17 graves.

Overall in Maktaral region the delegation searched 52 burials of the Kwantung Army. In South Kazakhstan they are 197.

In Dzhambul region around the city of Taraz, in 9051 burial point of the MIA camp department № 40 department № 9 the Japanese search group revealed the the traces of burial of 19 of their countrymen. Total, in South Kazakhstan, Almaty and Dzhambul there were 133 unknown fates of prisoners. The delegation had sufficient authority and financial means in case of burial, to make an examination of the remains and their delivery to the home.

The delegation has documents from the archives of the NKVD, with "top secret" materials on the camp № 29. The case was struck off from the register June 23, 1959. General Administration of POWs and internees led strict score. From its archives, we learned that 575,000 Japanese were captured in Manchuria, southern Sakhalin and Korea and sent to the camps.

The camp № 29 of POWlocated in the farm “Pahta – Aral”. At the Museum of History of cotton remained fairly scarce and cautious memories NKVD member  Yacov Zhivoglyadov. While studying the documents that brought Japanese I was impressed. For example, the director of the state farm "Pahta - Aral" issued an order for the number 337 of July 7, 1950. Content of order is “On the selection and securing land for the cemetery area for POW MIA № 29”, by the request of the camp commander. The following questions sound reasonable: “So, up till that time the prisoners did not die? And where are they buried?"According to the order of the director of the farm " Pahta - Aral" in securing space for cemeteries prisoners were distributed as follows:

1. Branch Camp№ 1 of MIA named after Dzerzhinsky.

2. Branch Camp № 2 of MIA in the department of Comintern.

3. Branch Camp № 3 of MIA  on the territory of department named after  Ilyich.

4. Branch Camp № 4 of MIA office in the department named after Stalin.

5. Branch Camp № 5 of MIA in the department named May First.

Today there is no "Pahta-Aral" farm and the name of the villages. The branch of the department named after Dzerzhinsky renamed to Esentayev, the Comintern was renamed after Igilik, the Iliich was renamed to Orkeniet, the Stalin to Madeniet, May First to Kok-Aral and October to Bereke. But the map of the farm remained the same.  On the map of 1938, which was in my private archive, the Japanese found about burial sites.  However, most of all the real help to them provided the chairman of Tajik cultural center Aqaba Khudaykulov, who knows very well all the bends of " Pahta-Aral". He knew all the cotton fields, as a schoolboy used to gather cotton, and then as the director of the high school "Mahtaaral". Among the documents that were in Japanese I saw the Act dated on June 6, 1950, which was signed by the Office of the Interior Ministry Shulga, the representative of executive committee of People's Deputies and the Head of District Komsomol Farm Ilisbayev. They carried out checks of POW camp cemetery department № 5 . So, in this Act , inspectors confirm that the cemetery of the May First village was opened on January 6, 1943 , but there is no order of director of the farm Maylibaeva on consolidation of land area under burial.

Based on this, in my opinion, all the cards burials were made later and apparently to comply with any instructions, the word is not completely reflect reality. Cemetery at this office was closed in January 6, 1947. There is no order and date associated with the repatriation of prisoners of war. As was stated in Act on January 6, 1947 the cemetery had 47 graves and mounds. According to the department's count  of the camp № 5 these are how much people were buried. On each grave was set insignia consisting of columns, of course, wood, stencil indicating the numerator - the number of graves , the denominator - the number of square, for example, 4/10.

The certificate, signed by Saecho a senior agronomist  of the department May First, it was confirmed that the area under the cemetery was 10 acres. It is fixed and it is the responsibility of management to keep the cemetery in office on May 1. Judging by the Act of June 6, 1950, the cemetery was surrounded by a wire in 3 rows, 2 meters high and half a meter deep ditch and a width of 30 cm in the Act states: "The observed shortcomings in the state and the surveillance of the cemetery have been eliminated during the audit".We had interest to another document - Act of May 4, 1959, signed by Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee Ilyichevsky soviet Bekzhanov, deputy director of the state farm "Pahta-Aral"  Makhanov, chief of the police department Ilyichevsky Dzhaksievym authorized ATC captain Vasil'chenko and approved by the Chairman of the Executive Committee Ilyichevsky Alzhanova. Act states that they have been examined and inspected the cemetery of 40 tombs buried with the Italian prisoners of war. This cemetery is located on the 358 challenge between the October and Pervomaiskii branch farm " Pahta- Aral". This cemetery April 27, 1947 it was placed under the supervision and protection of the executive committee of the district council Ilyichevsky in satisfactory condition , fenced and with identifying marks . For the inspection period , that is, 12 years later , mounds and markings fence collapsed. Cemetery located 5 meters from residential buildings , are not recoverable. The Commission agreed with the cemetery records removed and Land transfer under cotton crops ! And this at a time when there was a law that the time period should be 25 years after the last burial. Question with landscaping and cemeteries now remained unresolved. All cemetery authorities virtually unattended, do not leave, do not have the normal fences, driveways and guard.

Population often uses cemetery for grazing pasture. At the cemetery, the POW camp department № 5 of the № 29 camp of the Ministry of Internal Affairs USSR (Department of the October-May 1) 47 people were buried from December 1944 to April 1947. There were42 Italian and 5 Japanese among them. It is set on the plan diagram and legend-description, quite detailed. Khudaykulov Aqaba showed this place representatives of the Japanese mission to within a meter.

According to the map, the largest German cemetery there was a 16 meters by 8 meters, and from the irrigation canal it was located only some 7 meters . From the building of the camp offices in 75 meters . If you go by the Atakent , the German cemetery and lagotdelenie was right, and Japanese - on the left of the road. Remains of the foundation of the building number 5 lagotdeleniya lie near the bridge in the channel K-20 , Japanese and Germans cemetery was separated by canals and roads. Japanese translator explained the group often negative reviews about A. Hudaykulova disposal schemes, saying that the road or canal labeled incorrectly.

Camp office №5 with a dislocation on the department October Revolution predominantly targeted dumping since December 1943. These were Italian prisoners of war. From family chronicles Helena Logvinova Blanc: "They (the Italians) raced on the field, the weak and trembling. Although all were young boys. At lunch they brought some swipes of boiled cabbage. But there is always a piece of bread. Children adapted bartering bread frogs. We gave them bags of frogs thrown until the guard sees. And the Italians threw us bread. They tear off frogs legs throw them in boiling water and in two minutes they eat. "I must say that the famine experienced everything and prisoners and exiles and indigenous people.

While escorting the Japanese mission in search the assistance provided Safarov Turabek, 94 -year-old resident of the village Nazarbek (formerly "gardening"); Khamraev Darmon , 88 -year-old resident of the fin. Igilik (formerly the department of Stalin). By the way, he said that he knew my father, Maharbek Lazarev, who was commandant of the office. Now, restoring memory facts are extremely respectful, almost reverent, people's attitude towards my father , I understand how he risked helping families in times of famine, of evil time. Greeks told me how they have young children, almost devoid of clothes lying on the couch Russian furnace with swollen bellies from hunger and legs, and my father came and took out from under his jacket cobs and gave it to them. Previously, I did not realize even the price of these actions, but now I understand their meaning and proud of my father.

After Years, the old woman from the department, where I am the chairman of the executive committee Pahtaaral Village Soviet of People's Deputies, while activities on preparation of meat from the individual sector, heard: "Your father was a good and you are bad, because you force to sell the meat at a cheap price". Thatbringsussomuchhistory.

In the department of  Stalin also conducted irrigation works. I received a call at work from the head physician and health epidemiologist Myznikov that old graves were damaged. We quickly went to the scene and they were amazed: round, with fresh clay, human remains were brought. Immediately invited agronomist department Stalin Demin Alexander Pavlovich and tried to scold him for what he did, the more that disturbed graves could be a source of dangerous diseases. However, impulsive , Aleksandr Pavlovich countered: "And where I will take you to another land ? Here, where not a mop, around the grave!" And he was right: the burial, especially newcomers and died on the way prisoners of war occurred along the railroad tracks, in virtually every hole.

So on Pakhtaaral land under cotton the fields, even under some buildings, lie the remains of soldiers and officers of the Second World War.

The main task of the holy mission of this delegation was a precise definition of the Japanese burial places of the Kwantung Army prisoners of war and their reburial. They carried a lot of work not only in Kazakhstan but also in the CIS. Beginning with the release of the Decree of 04.12.1948 , the number 00374 "On repatriation of prisoners of war of the Japanese ," the Interior Ministry employees of the camps, special hospitals and battalions of Ministry of Forced Army was handed over to the Office for Repatriation of the Council of Ministers of the USSR in the camp number 380 in the port of Nakhodka 175 thousand Japanese prisoners of war, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and special camps hospitals 138 thousand  129 people and a battalion of the MVS 45 thousand 862 POWs.

During the dinner, which arranged for the delegation village of mayor Atakent

K. Aliyev and his deputy M. Zulpyharov, there was an atmosphere of hospitality and kindness inherent Kazakhs with their general nature. Sounded different wishes for peace, success and good. But it Hudaykulova Akaboya conquered all Japanese. He said the following: "Olipiza Bollman, tipi bayymaydy" then translated to Japanese translator: "If you will not be fed dead, the living will not be rich. Your attitude to the fallen soldiers is very well, so your country thrives in abundance ".

On behalf of those who accompanied the Japanese delegation, we learned that in Kentau, set in a park dead Japanese POW memorial plate. We all then thought: "Why do not we repeat the good work and do not establish a memorial plate for all deceased prisoners of war: Germans, Japanese, Italians, Romanians?".

Yes, time has reconciled all ... , - concluded Lazarev Aza Maharbekovna.

The State University, Ph.D. department of Ethnology SNA Institute of History and Ethnology named after Sh. Valikhanov.