Archive for June, 2009

Gaukhar’s Grandfather Survived Stalingrad

I want to tell you about the story that I heard from my mother. This is a story about the person who was a commander of division in land forces, a very good carpenter and he was my grandfather. My grandfather was born in 1922 in a small village. There were two children in his family, he and his younger sister Kopey. They had very close and friendly relationship. In 1938 he studied in the technical college. Unfortunately, he didn’t finish that college because of the World War II.  For many people war is a very bad memory that they don’t want to recall. He participated in the great battle “Stalingrad“. He got a medal for courage. They often carried out reconnaissance. He had two serious wounds. His first wound was on the foot and his second wound was in the abdomen.

As my grandfather was recalling, before the battle the soldiers were very hungry and one Uzbek said that he could prepare something. He made plov and fed his comrades. Then my grandfather and Uzbek rested in the trench when suddenly a mine detonated and the Uzbek died. After the battle my grandfather suffered from the pain and his friend didn’t leave him. He would die if his friend had not helped him. Because all soldiers who stayed there were killed by other soldiers.

In 1945 he returned home and started to work as a carpenter to build houses. Also he repaired cars. He brought up eight children and educated six of them. My mother told me that she loved her father more than her mother. He was serene and never punished his children. He worked all his life. At that time he earned enough money. But all his money he sent to his children in order to educate them. He built a house where my mother and her brothers and sisters grew up.

Finally, I want to say that I couldn’t imagine how my grandfather, in spite of what he saw, was such a good father and he never complained about his life. He died in 1987.

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Zhamilya’s Grandfather Disabled but Much Loved!

This story began in 1941. It was the Second World War. Somewhere in Russia was a small village. The war had just begun. All the men went to the Front. Only women, children and old men stayed. Everybody was hungry. There was not any food or clothes. The time was passing and people were dying. My grandmother and grandfather saw all these horrible, cold, difficult times. The death was everywhere. In the winter it was harder to survive. Because during the summer, people ate fruits, vegetables and they were taking enough vitamins for their health. At the cold times they ate only fish, but it was not so easy to fish, because the weather was too cold and they didn’t have warm clothes. During these times they met each other. All their childhood they were playing, working together. Day by day, year passing years they grow up. It was love since childhood.

My grandfather lost his brothers and father during the war, grandmother lost her father. The Second World War had been continued four years. And it had finished 1945. After the Second World War it was still difficult and hungry life. Grandfather found a job. He worked farm, ploughed up the ground. Every morning he went to the farm and worked until the night. Only by this way he could nourish himself and his mother. The salary was just a cup of rice and bag with the important things for health of the week. And one day my grandpa fell down from the horse. He broke his leg and could not stand up for one year that is why he was retired from his job. Everyone was searching the work and employee was taking only strong and health man. They did not need to take disabled person, that’s there were a lot of invalids after the World War. But in the family there wasn’t man besides him. So even sitting at home he planted.

Meanwhile my grandma sorted out rice and collected vegetables with the fruits. They were going out for two years and then got married. My grandpa was 26 and grandma 23 years old. They loved each other and they got two children. They were living really happy. Their children grew up and moved to Kazakhstan. My uncle moved first, because of his institute. And after one year, my Mom left her parents` house and went to her brother in Almaty. At that time she found my Dad. My Mom and my Dad got married in Almaty. And then me and my brother were born. Mom gave me a life then left me with my grandpa and grandma, while I was baby. Three years passed and we left our village and went to Almaty. Till I was five, I was living with grandpa and grandma. And I was still living with them. But this year my grandpa died. It is really difficult for everybody. Mainly for my grandma, because she was living with him for 52 years. But it is life and we need to continue our lives. I know one day we will be together again, all our family. Everything in my story it is true, told by my grandpa and grandma.

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Vladimir’s Grandparents don’t speak about Soviet Past

Let me tell you about my grandparents. First of all, I want to tell you about my mom’s parents. My granddad went away when my mom was a baby. I still do not understand him and even I do not know the reason he went away. What about my granny she died when I was twelve. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I loved her a lot, granny was ill with cancer. She was a really good woman and she tried to give my mom everything she needed like clothes separate room and many other things. In that time, after the war it was very hard to earn money and pay to settle the accounts. Granny worked on three different jobs, also my mom helped her and after all they existed that terrible time.

What concerns grandparents on my dad side, it is another story. Both of them are alive and almost every week I see them. I can not tell you about them much because of little information about them. My granddad does not like to speak about the past. All I know is that he was physics teacher and he worked at the same school like my granny. She was a math teacher. They met each other and after some time got married. Grandpa was really good at physics he had a professor’s degree. After 2 years he became a head teacher but he did not like it and became a teacher again. He told me it was a very responsible job and he did not have enough time to do his physics job and he liked it much more than to do routine work.

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Khadicha’s Grandma’s “Story of One Life”

This story will be about my grandmother. When I started to write I didn’t know what title this story should have because most of our grandparents have there own exiting stories.  They are all very old, most of them were born before World War Two (WWII) like my grandmother and of course it changed all their lives.  They saw death of their close relatives and friend of their families.  WWII made a great influence on many people.

My granny’s way to Almaty was very long.  My grandmother was born very far from Almaty in Vladivostok in 1931. In her family were 4 daughters and 2 sons. She was fourth. When WWII started she was only 10 years old but she worked the field to help her parents. Her older brother went to the Front in 1943 before he reached 17. My great-grandfather fought against the Japanese.

In 1945 my grandmother’s family moved to Republic of Bashkiriya. They were Tatar. My great-grandmother said “If we have to die we will do it in our Motherland”. Time after war was full of hunger, poverty and unemployment. People were tired of war. The family was very big and they needed to find more food to feed all the family members. Grand-ma and her sisters and brothers couldn’t find a job. Her father did all the work that he could and worked very hard. He was the bread-winner, because of it he must be strong. Also my great-grandfather grazed cows. Once while on the pasture, he heard that in Almaty life is easier and people are very friendly. After that, he decided to move to Almaty so they sold all they had and went to Almaty.

They arrived to Almaty on April 6, 1947 and had no place where to go and live. They spent 15 days on the square near railway in the open air. Great-grandfather met a Tatar family who helped him get a job and found where to live. Grandmother got a job in a sewing-factory. Some times later her family got an apartment from the government. Life started to come right. Grandmother met her husband in 1951 in the House of Culture of Dance. They get married in 1953. For a long time she couldn’t become pregnant. My father’s oldest child was born 5 years later in 1958. But it wasn’t my grandmother’s last ordeal. Also she had 2 daughters. One of her daughters became drug addicted and her husband was killed 17 years ago.

Every time she says to us that life is very difficult thing but even though, she never complains. Three month ago she was in hospital. She didn’t want to go there but she understood that it will be better for her health. When we went to hospital there was no free places. Nurse said to her, “a few hours you will lie in hall, before we find a place for you”. She said “it won’t be difficult and uncomfortable for me, I will wait”. When we visited her, she never was in a bad mood. She is really strong person.

Some time ago she again surprised me. I thought that she to old to understand my problems.  But she noticed that I was upset and gave me really good advice. I didn’t know anything about her life before I asked her to tell me something. Now I understand that her experience is very big, strong, powerful and enough to grow up her 6 grandchildren.

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Nazgul’s Grandparents’ BIG Love!

It is a story about big love of my lovely grandparents. It was love in very hard time-after war period. Everywhere was lack of food, resources, lack of everything. All people were enduring the consequences of World War II. In spite of this difficult time, in North Kazakhstan, in a small city was born a strong, unbreakable love.

My grandmother’s name is Gulya. It is the Kazakh name, if to translate it to English it means “Flower”, a very beautiful name. My grandfather’s name is Uali, translated means “Brave”. My grandparents were studying at the same school. My granny was very beautiful, active, sociable, and merry girl. She was trying to take part in all social works in the city, school. Everyone loved her. She had a lot of admirers. In contrast to her, my grandpa was very strict disciplined, not talkative, not so beautiful and calm boy. But he was very good, kind, open person. In middle school he moved to a new class and met her, my granny. From this time starts new big love. They fell in love from the first time. Granny had noticed something interesting in him, something unusual, he was different from the other guys. Maybe because he had beautiful eyes and was very tall?


My grandparents graduated from school one day, together. After this, granny entered medical university, grandpa entered the agricultural university. All this time they were together. When they were 3-d year students, grandpa was working and earning money. He could provide a good life for himself and his Love. He decided to marry my granny. They had a modest wedding, just close friends and relatives. It was an appearing of new family.

My grandparents traveled a lot. They were in different countries, spent a lot of time together. After a few years later my granny became pregnant. It was a big happiness! They were waiting for this baby for so long! Nine month past, everyone was so happy, it was a boy! Ten years later they had three boys, three lucky boys. Grandpa was happy that he had so many boys, but granny was grieved. She always wanted a girl. It was a big happy family. Boys were growing together, studying at the same school. My grandpa loved granny so much. He was doing everything for her, He had own business, granny was sitting at home with a boys.

Time was going, years were passing. Almost sixty years, they still together, still in love! Boys become adults. They have theirs own children, own family. Now my grandparents are very old, but they are very happy! We are living with them, love them. They have spent usual life, nothing special: first meeting, first date, marriage, children, old age, grandchildren…but this life is full of love and happiness.

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Kristina’s Grandma Found 100 Roubles, 4 Months Wages

To be honest, I seldom meet my grandparents, but if I have free time I spend it with my grandmother in the kitchen with cup of tea and tasty pancakes. When I come to her, she likes to tell me about her childhood and always wants to explain to me, that I’m lucky, because I live in 21 century, while she lived in a poor family with 3 brothers and 4 sisters.  She was the eldest child in her family (10 years). My grandma’s mother was working 18 hours a day, because grandmother’s father died on the front. While her mother was working, she was cooking, bathing sisters and brothers, made clothes for them. She did not even have time to go to school. Also she told me that there was only one pair of shoes, and sometimes she walked by bare foot on ice and snow. There was little money in the family, so they spent them only on bread, sugar and salt. Also, they had their own cow and garden with vegetables and fruits.  As at that time there was lack of the food in shops, grandma and her family ate only that food which was grown in their garden.

When her brothers and sisters grew up, she had the opportunity to go to school. By the way to school, near railway station, she found 100 rouble, at that time it was 4 months salary. When she came home, she showed her findings to her mother. Grandmother’s mother immediately took her money and didn’t give any copeck to her children, because she needed to buy things for her family. After the World War II my grand mother began to work as a nurse.

Nowadays my grandmother has only one sister alive. She didn’t tell me, what had happened to all her brothers and sisters and I didn’t want to ask, because I saw how difficult it was for her to remember that period of time. Until this time, my grandma’s sister sends to her message of thanks that she was like a mother, babysitter and leader for her and all her brothers and sisters.

To sum up I want to say that each generation has their problems, our grandmothers and grandfathers go through the World War, it was difficult for them, and I understand what act they done for us!

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Akbota’s Families were Left Fatherless

Childhood without grandparents is not sterling and children who have grandparents are very happy. So, can I say that I am happy? Of course, in spite of the fact, that I have never seen both my grandfathers and one of my granny lived far from me, but my other grandma lives near us and more of that she lives with us while I went to school, down to 8 classes. So let’s begin the story about my grandmothers and grandfathers.

Firstly I want to tell about my grandparents from father’s side. My grandfather’s name was Sadyrbek. He was an operator of a state farm. Grandpa died at age thirty seven, when my father was only at five, that is why he remembers next to nothing. My grandma’s name was Aklima. She died two years ago. She was very ill because of high blood pressure and that is why she recently just rested on the bed. Her life was not easy because when she was thirty four she became alone with seven children. My granny was a strong woman, because she could grow up, bring up the children and each of them had received higher education, found their place in the society and got a family. Unfortunately, I saw grandmother seldom because she lived far from us, in a village which is near to Astana. She was very kind, affable and careful. Father’s parents lived in state farm in Turgai areas and during Soviet time they lifted virgin soil.

And now I want to move to the story about my grandparents from mother’s side. Grandfather’s name was Seitkazy. He graduated from the Agricultural Institute, and then he worked as the main agriculturist in the town of Issyk. He died at thirty three, when my mother was only three years old. She told me that she has only one very bright memory about her father: “She walked on the bridge and her parents held her hands, and she jumped and laughed.”

My grandmother’s name is Zhumagul. Now she is sixty seven years old. She is very cheerful, kind, and sympathetic. Her life was not easy too. When she was twenty eight, she lost her husband and became alone with four daughters, the elder child was at five and the youngest was a few months old. So, grandma had to bring up children and also work to support family.

After some years, the youngest daughter died when she was only nine because one nurse gave her injection incorrectly. It was the next blow for my grandmother, but she could find strength and further bring up children, give them high education and marry them off. Now grandmother is very happy, because she has five grandsons. She always cooks different tasty dishes, gifts, pies, cakes and makes us presents. Every week we visit her and celebrate all holidays together as one big family. And I remember when I studied at the elementary school, she always saw me off and met me, made me a dinner, helped me with my homework.

Finally, I want to say, that everyone should be happy that they have grandparents. We always should help them, make them happy with our progress, visit them more because they are always waiting for us and to tell that we love them.

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Aizhan’s Grandmother Taught in “Country No. 5”

It was in 1951. One young beautiful woman arrived to Uzbekistan from Russia. Exactly, from the Molotychi country. It is related to Kursk region. After graduating from training college she was sent to another country that doesn’t have a name in order to teach children. It was called “The Country № 5”.This brave woman’s name was Valentine. She worked and lived in school. And she met a pioneer guide there. He was the only person who spoke in Russian. It was my grandfather from my mother’s side. His name is Sahtash Hozhabergenov. And he is still alive.

Like my grandmother, he is a teacher. He worked as a teacher for 41 years. Also, he was a director of the “Pioneer’s Home”. Actually, he dreamed about theater because he wanted to be an actor. Anyway, my grandfather has a many hobbies. He plays all the types of stringed instruments. He liked to waltz with my grandmother and he called her “Frenchwoman” because she had curly, white blonde, had a light blue eyes. Amazing woman. Also, he paints very well. Especially, portraits and, very interesting, arms and flags of 15 Union republics on the red silk. I’m so proud of him when I’m writing all of it now. I didn’t live with him. Usually, he came to visit us to Almaty. But it wasn’t for long, maximum was three-four days. Unfortunately, I really don’t know him so much.

But I haven’t finished his story. My grandfather also was a hunter. One day, it was February when he came to home all icy. How did it happen? While hunting for fish, he fell down into the awfully cold water. So, all family beat off the ice on him. But the main thing is that this action was in a cold corridor. If you know, it wasn’t allowed be in a warm home, when you are so cold. He is a human who loves life, writes poetry and sings. He was grateful for the destiny of having children. They are four: Nurtas, Nurhat, my mother Galina and Sergei.

My grandmother Valya, (that’s how we called her) died in 1993. She had a cancer of lungs. After her death grandfather didn’t get married again. He still loves her. He says in Kazakh: “Кемпір үйді балалармен толтырып кетті”. In English it means: “Old woman fills the house with children and gone”. He cared for her seven years, so strong she was. For all of us she is a heroine. Seven years she struggled against the cancer. For life. Anyway, she is a winner. I love her so much. You know, I don’t speak Kazakh very good. All my relatives are Kazakh. I love them too. But I so deeply feel the Russian inside of me. I am proud of what I know, really know Russian language. One of the richest languages around the world. And I definitely know that we (I with my grandmother Valya) could be very close.

Now grandfather is blind. But, as I mention he loves life. And how he says for himself: “I wasn’t a communist, I don’t read a namaz, but I am Muslim”. He reads the Koran and believes in God. The Nurhat’s family lives with and care for him.


P.S. All grandfathers and grandmother’s personal information was given to me by my mother.

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Zhanar’s Family Survived Famine After WWII

As I am an ordinary Kazakh girl I also have got a lot of grandparents, because we call “azhe” our own grandmother and her sisters, and call “ata” our own grandfather, and his brothers, even though many of them passed away, I still have a grandmother who told me story of her childhood and the life of her father. My whole family from my father’s side comes from an ordinary family who had always lived in a village of Western Kazakhstan, so called “sovhoz”.

First of all, let me tell you about my Grandmother’s father, his name is Shinibek and he was born in a family with not so many children. He had lost his parents when he was still a child and lived very poor, he did not get an education as many people of that time, and he got married early. During that time (about 1930s) medicine was very poor especially in sovhozs, which was the main reason why my great grandma lost 4 of her children: all of them died from different diseases that are curable nowadays. My grandmother was the 5th child and the only one who survived. She was born in January of 1940, just after her birth, her father was sent to Finn War, this was at the beginning of World War II. He fought there for a couple years and later he was sent to war between the USSR and Japan. Meantime in 1946 when my grandma was only six, her mother died and she was taken by our relatives to live.
In 1947 her father came back from the war but it did not mean that for my grandma times became better, she also has seen times of starvation when all people where given out bread by coupons ( about 1952-53). She did manage to get her education of 11 grades but still she remembers those times as being very hard.

Shinibek ata married another woman whose name was Kapiza who became a stepmother to my grandmother. Raikhan azhe, who is my grandmother, got married to my grandfather Sali, they together gave birth to 5 sons and one daughter. The second child was my father. But, to tell, the truth, officially, I have no right to call my real grandmother Raikhan “azhe” because she gave my father to her stepmother Kapiza. She was my azhe when I was born, and she was the one who raised me and taught me speaking, but she died when I was 7. So I have Raikhan apa(aunt from Kazakh), whom I first time in my life called azhe, just because, otherwise, I would have confused you.


The tradition of giving the oldest child was very popular among Kazakhs of earlier centuries but even today some families do so. Because we have very strong connection between relatives and we give oldest son, so that when he grows up he could take care of elder people.


There is also another story that Raikhan apa told me, this is about her husbands father, whose name was Berkali and he was the Head (predsedatel) of Aul Sovet, but when there was a repression in 1939, due to a slander to his authority he was sent away. In 1952 he was discharged officially but nobody knew where he was and we even do not know where his grave is.

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Gaukhar’s Sad Family Background

My mother’s parents are closer to me and I know more about their lives than about my father’s parents. My grandmother’s name is Kulzada and I’m going to write about her life. She was born in 1934. Her parents were rich people and that was a time when people should have been afraid to show their status. When the Soviet government came, it was dangerous time when a lot innocent people were killed without any court. At the end of 1930s, her father was arrested and after 3 days he was shot. Her mother was left alone with 2 children and they didn’t even know that he had been killed. Her mother was waiting for him all her life and only in the end of the 1980s, when she was sent a paper that informed her that her husband was dead.

My grandmother, Kulzada, had a hard childhood with the days when there was nothing to eat and nothing to wear and they had to walk barefoot without any boots in the snow. But that was a hard time not only for them, but also for everybody, because it was war-time. She finished her 4-year education and was helping her mother, because her elder brother was sent to the war. She finished courses to be a seamstress and started to work by a trade. Then she married my grandfather and in their family 3 daughters appeared. The youngest is my mother. After my mother was born, my grandparents got divorced.

After that, my grandmother moved to Kostanaiskaya oblast where her elder brother lived. My grandmother’s elder brother married too and had 9 children, so there was a huge family. They lived close and helped each other, because that was what their mother always wanted to do. My grandmother had been working in a garment factory for 40 years and did a great job. She received a set of certificates of honour, medals and awarded ranks. She was bringing her three daughters alone without any help so that she had to work a lot. All of them graduated from universities. My mother finished university in Karaganda, married to my father and moved to Arkalyk. In the 1990th all sisters with their families moved to Almaty. My grandmother retired and came to Almaty too and started living in Kaskelen. She helped to raise us children. In 1998 her elder daughter and my aunt died, she left a 16-years old son.

My grandfather married a second time. He also had 3 more children – 2 daughters and 1 son. All his family lived in Karaganda. We didn’t know everything about them until we came to Almaty, because his daughter, my aunt lives here in Almaty. We meet sometimes for some holidays. She has a daughter and she is the same age as me.

Last year my grandmother died. She was 72. Everybody knew her as a kind and fair person. She had a hard life and she never complained, because that was outside of rules of a Soviet Union person.

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