If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

The story of one photo. Kazken Madyshev

The story of one photo. Kazken Madyshev - e-history.kz

20 April 2015

My grandfather didn’t like to talk about his fighting in the Great Patriotic War. It was too hard to recall that moments. When he was asked about the war tears appeared in his eyes.

Our grandparents are more than just relative for all of us. There are particular relationships between them and their grandchildren. There is something that others could never understand.

My grandfather and I are not an exception as for me he always was and remains the real hero, the hero of our Fatherland. What was his life story?


Kazken Madyshev was born in 1914 in Akmola region. Unfortunately, the date of his birth is unknown. Therefore, after the war my grandfather celebrated his birthday on May 9. There is a reason. The deal is this day for him as the second date of birth as he experienced the happiness of victory over enemy.

My grandfather and his three brothers were raised by their father as their mother had passed away. My grandfather finished only four grades of the school in the collective farm named after Kalinin. He was an ordinary young man with his own goals and plans. However, the destiny defined his life. Before the war he met a girl who was younger than Kazken.

They didn’t know that he would be sent to the front. So they got married and gave birth to a child. My grandmother told that her husband was very happy and ripped the shirt while it was still on his body. As people say, all good things must come to an end. And the Great Patriotic War began. Like all men my grandfather had to leave his wife and little child to go fighting.

On 15 January 1941 he was called to serve in the Red Army by the Stalinskiy Local Recruitment Office. He served as a driver in Far East. His mission was to supply ammunition and food to members of the Army. Everyone knows that the war showed no mercy to people — all of them went hungry, lost their relatives and friends and died. My grandfather saw how difficult was for servicemen to fight without any food. Kazken did his best to deliver food in time. Until they could die of hunger. Sometimes he had long trips. He had to move from one military position to another, hundreds of kilometres from one region to another spending super-human energy and endless hours.

My grandfather didn’t like to talk about the war. It was too difficult to remember such moments. And sometimes when we asked him about the war we could see tears in his eyes. However, his favourite story was about a famished and hungry soldier on a road. The soldier was a tall man so he seemed to be even weaker. The next stop was too far but Kazken gave his ration to this soldier. So they continued moving on. Certainly, you can say that it wasn’t a unique situation in the war but for my grandfather this meeting was particular.

On 25 September 1945 he was demobilised on the basis of the Order of the Presidium of the Soviet Supreme Council as a member of the 23rd Automobile Regiment. Subsequently, he obtained the military rank of Lance-Corporal. After the war my grandfather returned to his native village. Once he was walking I met a man wearing military uniform. He recognised that soldier whom he gave his food. It happened that the young soldier was Fedor Lyubarets, veteran of the Great Patriotic War. He also recognised my grandfather giving thanks for his help. This meeting was a fateful moment in their lives. The veterans became best friends and always recalled this story with a smile.

The war both gifted good friend to my grandfather and tested his love. My grandmother was waiting for him for all years of the war. But she had bad news. Their little first-born couldn’t overcome the war and died of hunger. My grandmother did her best working fifteen hours per day for the local plant. But the war was stronger. They raised eleven children and lived fifty years together. She helped her husband to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder and supported him even when the hope seemed to be lost.

Certainly, it is hard for my grandfather to remember those years. After returning back he didn’t find his elder brother at home. His brother graduated from a military school in Almaty and obtained the rank of Lieutenant. He was sent to the front along with my grandfather. But his further destiny is unknown. My mother and other relatives tried to find him but it was difficult as he had different surname. In addition he was enlisted as a missing person and my mother found nothing. She wrote letters to Moscow and waited for the response. And years later we obtained a letter that my grandfather’s elder brother was buried in Ukraine in a mass grave. Their middle brother also fought in the Great Patriotic War. He became a disabled person of the first group but continued working for the local plant.

I’m sure that grandfather had strong influence on his children and grandchildren. Together with his wife he raised eleven children and achieved his goal — established a good family. Both of them invested much in education of their children. They overcame all challenges and obstacles together until the death separated them. My grandmother died in 1999. For grandfather it was difficult to live without her but he found his happiness in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He is like a father for me. Since early childhood I have been raising by my grandfather. He became a model for me. I always admire him.


My grandfather saw the death of his friends. Very soon they remained together with his friend Zhumash Sadvokasov. My grandfather lived little more and also passed away. In 2014 he would have turned 100.


Kazken Madyshev and other veterans in our village

Unfortunately, I didn’t understand anything when he died as I was just a little girl. I regret that I didn’t say him that he was a real hero for me. But he will remain a hero for all of us — his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and what is the most important — for his Fatherland.

Yeskareva Diana,
grade 12 student of the Nazarbayev Intellectual School,
Shakhtinsk, Karaganda region