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. Abylkhan Nurpaliyev

The story of one photo. Abylkhan Nurpaliyev - e-history.kz

12 May 2015


Time is passing. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War. But years are not able to erase national heroism and courage demonstrated by Soviet soldiers and officers who defended the Motherland. The World War II claimed millions of lives, created orphans, and left behind injured and disabled people. That was the most cruel and bloodthirsty war in human history.

There was peace and harmony in Kazakhstan. The morning of 22 June 1941 was particularly fair. Nobody knew that the western border of the Soviet Union was experiencing battles.

Women and children saw off their husbands, fathers and sons who went to fight against the enemy.

I remember my grandfather, Abylkhan Nurpaliyev, with proud and pain in my heart. All his life he lived in the village of Samarskoye. He was born in 1916. In 1942 he joined the Red Army. His military service started in the Russian Far East. Later he was sent to the Western front. He fought in the war as a gunner being a part of the 2nd Belarussian front. Then he was transferred to the Baltic front. Together with his fellow soldiers Abylkhan Nurpaliyev was encircled by Germans somewhere on Belarussian bogs. The group of Soviet military men fought against the enemy during eight days.

My grandfather participated in liberation of Leningrad. He also participated in battle in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. In April 1945 the Soviet troops occupied Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) where the last centre of resistance of fascists in Eastern Prussia was destroyed. My grandfather often told us, his grandchildren, about the war and military feats of his fellow soldiers, military operations and how scary that bloodthirsty war was. I was a very little girl but still remember all his stories.

The winter of 1943 was very cold and snowy. Our gunners were preparing for the next fight. There was a silence. Soldiers tried to support each other — they told funny stories, some of them sang quietly, others talked about their relatives and future victory. When the time came our gunners attacked. Rockets flew, tanks roared, grenades exploded. Soldiers heard the voice of commander Ivan Savelyev "Forward! For the Motherland!" My grandfather took the next shell and ran to a gun. Suddenly he saw that his fellow soldier Zhanibek fight against one fascist. The German was tall and strongly built while Zhanibek was small and weak guy. Obviously, they were not equally strong. My grandfather gave the shell to one of his friends and rushed into fight to save Soviet soldier. That was the first time when he met the enemy face to face. Abylkhan had his father’s knife and sank it into the fascist’s body. The fascist was a very young man. But there was a war. There was no time to think and hesitate. My grandfather and his friend joined the battle then. When he finished the story I asked "Wasn’t you scared?" He responded "Of course, I was. But I was a Soviet soldier and defender of my Motherland. That was my duty."

He didn’t like to recall the war. He always cried watching movies about the war. My grandfather also remembered his friend who died protecting me from a bullet. And Abylkhan Nurpaliyev was injured and sent to a hospital.

My grandfather was awarded the medal for seizure of Konigsberg, two medals for bravery, the Soldier’s Order of Glory, the Order of Glory and other awards.

During the whole years after the war his regiment helped to reconstruct destroyed by German occupants Belarusian economy. He returned to the native village in March 1946. His wife Bigay was very happy to see him alive.


Abylkhan Nurpaliyev and his wife Bigay

After the war my grandfather worked as a bee-keeper in the farm named after Lenin, Samara area. Abylkhan Nurpaliyev participated in the Exhibitions of Achievements of the People’s Economy in 1964, 1967, 1979. For his labour achievements he was awarded one silver and two golden medals which were presented to him in Moscow. He had a difficult and long life and passed away when he was 88 years old.

Our generation bow heads to those who liberated the world from fascism and defended independence and freedom at the price of their lives.

I am proud of my grandfather Abylkhan Nurpaliyev. He passed away ten years ago but we, his grandchildren, pay tribute to the memory of all Soviet soldiers and officers. We are grateful for the peace in our country.

Zhansaya Moldasheva,
grade 10 student of the Regional Specialised Boarding School for Gifted Children named after Zhambyl,
Ust-Kamenogorsk, East-Kazakhstan region