Archive for August 22, 2008

Zhanna’s Grandfather – “Hard School of War”

My Grandfather’s Hard School of War

I have a grandfather from my father’s side. My grandparents live in the east of Kazakhstan, near the border with China during all their lives.  Every year when I visit my grandfather and grandmother they like to tell me many stories from their lives. Especially, my grandfather likes to talk about his father, who was the participant of the Great Patriotic War. Every time he said: “My father was a very brave, honest, kind person and I am very proud of him. When the Great Patriotic War started in 1941 I was only 13 years old and when my father said about it to me I do not fully understood the meaning of this words. When the years passed and the Great  Patriotic War ended I really understood the meaning of this words, I felt it and saw by my own eyes how much suffering, devastation, casualties and sorrow this war brought to our nation”.


The years of the Great Patriotic War was very difficult period not only for my grand-grandfather but for my grandfather and his family too. Because in this period of time there were real starvation and shortage of goods. My grandfather was only 13 years old and started to work in the factory which produced goods for people who went away to the war. He looked after his mother and began to earn for living, his childhood passed in such a severe conditions. It was a very good experience but at the same time very hard school for my grandfather.


          My grand-grandfather went to the War in 1941. At that time my grandfather and grandmother lived in the East of Kazakhstan. My grandfather every time wrote letters to the home and my grandfather was really happy to heard something from his dad, it is gave him a hope to live further and wait of his home-coming. My grand-grandfather was aviator and the leader of a team. He was a very optimistic person and every time he said that we will win this war. Also he said that it is very important to support each other and support of your relatives is the most important part of our life. After two years my grand-grandfather returned from the War and his family was so happy to see him again, especially my grandfather for whom he was an ideal of a man. But this happiness continued not so long because he was taken away again to the war. It was last time when my grandfather saw him because during the next year they did not receive any letters from my grand-grandfather. When the Great Patriotic War ended they receive a letter where were written that his father were found dead on the battlefield.


My grandfather celebrated his 80 anniversary this year and all our relatives were there to congratulate him with his birthday and I noticed there that my grandfather continue to tell the story about his father to grandchildren and I also listened to him despite the fact that I heard this story many times.  I never get tired of listening of my grandfather’s stories because every time he put whole soul into his stories.

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“Believing is a Way to Survive” by Yelena K.

‘There is no way to survive, but being optimistic’, – says my Grandma every time when I feel sad. When I was a child, I couldn’t understand her, and it was hard for me to believe these words, but few years ago, she told me her story, and since that time I have no right not to believe her.

         My Grandma and her family lived in Ukraine, they had their own manufacturing factory, it is impossible to say, that they were rich, but still they didn’t suffer from hunger and poverty. My Grandma was really gifted in music and she started study piano. She wanted to become a pianist.

          When World War began her father and elder brother went to fight for their Motherland, my Grandma, her Mom, two sisters and youngest brother were evacuated to Kyrgyzstan. But the process of evacuation wasn’t so easy, because there were millions of people, who had to be rescued, so my Grandma’s family were evacuated on the last platform, and on one station her Mom broke her leg between two wagons, so she and my Grandma (she is an eldest daughter) descended from the train, and her Mom was taken to the hospital and my Granny was taken to the orphanage. She didn’t even know where is her siblings, if her Mom still alive or not, but she continued praying every day, asking God for their life, life together.

           Almost one year my Grandma lived in the orphanage, her every single day was full of hopes. She expected every minute her Mom to come and take her home, and in 9 months her Mom was already able to walk, so she took her and continued evacuation. I am really delighted with her belief, and she always says, that there was no other choice: ‘The only opportunity to help my relatives was to believe. I thought, if I stop believing, they will immediately feel this, they will loose part of their strength, and not believing for me was equal to betraying’. When they arrived in Kyrgyzstan, they found their family, but I cannot say that they lived there, no, it was just keeping body and soul together, they dreamt about bread.

           After the war Grandma’s Dad and elder brother came back and started work, her father was a tailor and brother worked on factory. My Grandma has got a scholarship and went to Saint-Petersburg to study in university, and then she went to Almaty to work. Here, in Almaty, she met her first and the only love, my Grandfather. That time he just started working in hospital, an ordinary doctor from very poor family. He worked hard, he wanted to make my Granny a best present on their wedding ceremony, he wasted all his money, but he presented her a piano.

           My Grandma is sure that believing played a big role in her life and now I understand how it is important not to lose hope. Nobody will believe, but me.

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