War! ... What a cold word! How many people died during that war, how many children lost their mother or father, how many houses emptied?! ... The beauty disappeared from our village, and life lost its meaning. The peaceful life was destroyed completely. That was a faceless period which lasted 1418 days. The calamity referred to everybody and marked its passage in the life of each family.
Around half a million Kazakhs participated in the Great Patriotic War. Many of them were recognised as Heroes of the Soviet Union. They are Bauyrzhan Momyshuly, Talgat Bigeldinov, Sergey Luganskiy, Ivan Pavlov, Manshuk Mametova, Aliya Moldagulova, Boran Nysanbaev, and to name but a few. Thanks to the heroism of our grandparents and parents this year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
Destroyed cities were rebuilt, burnt steppes turned into lands under cultivation, territories with trenches became flat and wounds caused by the war were healed. However, there are scars. What comforts us is information about most front-line soldiers and officers who were missing. Information about them is published in periodicals and shown on the TV. My hero is one of them. His family was waiting for him, but he didn’t return home.
Once, my teacher Saniya told us about her missing uncle. The family obtained information about him only 74 years later. I got interested in this story and asked granny Marzhan to tell me as much as she knew.
— One of August issues of the regional newspaper "Yesbol" published an article entitled "We would like to find relatives of one soldier". Its authors wrote that Atyrau Region Department of Defence had informed that the search expedition of the Novgorod Regional Public Association named after N. Orlov had discovered the remains of the servicemen in the village of Pleshchevitsa, Novgorod region. The medallion contained the following information: name, surname, date of birth, military rank, and place of birth. It also specified that the soldier was recruited by the local military commissariat "Yesbol" and his remains were buried in the military cemetery of Valday area, Pleshchevitsa, May 8, 2014. The authors of the article aspired to find his relatives.
The name of granny Marzhan’s father is Sakan Dauletkaliev. He is an 85-year-old man, zootechnician and expert on farming of sheep, Honoured Worker of Agriculture of the Kazakh SSR, Hero of Socialist Labour, and pensioner. Sakan’s elder brother Kabdesh Dauletkaliev was born in 1920 in the village of Orlik, Inderskiy area, Atyrau region. In 1940 he joined the Red Army and was sent to the front when the Great Patriotic War started. The family received the only letter from him: "Tomorrow we will go to fight". After that he disappeared. The relatives tried to find him but without any effect. When Saken learnt that his brother was buried in Russia, he immediately contacted the author of the article. After a while together with his son Maksim and daughter Marzhan he went to Moscow.
— We went to Valday from Moscow. Valeriy Titov, the Head of the searching group "Pamyat", waited us at the railway station. It appeared that he rented a house for us. The next day we met the Deputy Head of the city administration Rudian Olga. She organised a meeting with journalists. She told about the city and introduced us to the members of searching group.
— Those men from the searching group are ordinary people. They have official work and families. And to conduct searching expeditions they take leave without pay. They are volunteers. We have several groups consisting of 20-25 people. All tools and food are bought by the group members. The city administration allocates foundation for burial ceremony and transportation. The searching group works from the late March to May 9. All the remains are buried on May 8 every year in one mass grave. Our uncle was buried on May 8, 2014 in the village of Yazvishche.
Searching work, group "Pamyat"
After the meeting, we saw the grave of our uncle. It is situated 40-45 km away from the city of Valday. We were welcomed by the head of the administration of the village of Semenovshchina Kumisina Zoya. She accompanied us to the village of Yazvishche. There are four coffins with remains of 134 people in that mass grave.
We set a gravestone there. Our father was nervous and barely finished his pray. We made some photos. The moment was so difficult that it is hard to express the feelings. It seemed like we left a part of our hearts there.
After that, we were brought to the place where the remains of our uncle had been found. There we were presented the medallion. "I have barely read the document from the medallion as the words had lost their colours and it was impossible to make it out", — Valeriy said. We expressed our gratitude to the Head of the group Valeriy Titov and Mikhail Orekhov who found the body of our uncle. Mikhail lost his arm when conducting searching work. He stepped on a grenade.
We presented gifts to the members of the searching group and the head of the village administration. Then we were brought to the museum of Valday established by the volunteers. It exhibits various objects discovered during excavations, including spades, parts of rifles, watches, scissors, and to name but a few. At the museum we also saw a German helmet and medallion, — granny Marzhan told.
Corner dedicated to Kabdesh Dauletkaliev, museum of Valday
I was deeply impressed by this family story. It was like I became a witness to the war. I am a daughter of independent nation. I am happy that I will have a bright future and live in the free country. There are so many countries without national consent and we live in peace. Our happiness is the peace. This was given to us at the cost of our ancestors’ lives and our grandmothers’ tears. May our mothers never stay along, our children never cry, our steppes prosper and the fire of war never return. Is it not the main wish of all people to live in peace? May the peace exist!
grade 8 student of the Secondary School № 21,
Aktau, Mangistau region