Posts tagged Lubyanka

Unwritten Places (Part III)

As I was going through the index of the book “Till My Tale is Told,” by Simeon Vilensky, I was writing down every prison or camp to make sense of it and tease out what I could that might be in Kazakhstan.  Here’s a fitting poem I came across that goes along with the poem “We’re Alive, We’re Alive!”

 “I write in the name of the living,

That they, in turn, may not stand

In a silent, submissive crowd

By the dark gates of some camp.”

Taganka – Moscow prison

Lubyanka – headquarters for Soviet Secret police  in central Moscow

Lefortovo – Moscow prison

Butyrki – largest Moscow prison

Solovki – special camp north of Moscow

Kazan – southeast on the Volga

Kolyma – Magadan, Sea of Okhotsk, Vladimir prison

Suzdal – like Solovki, a former monastery, northeast of Moscow

Verkhneuralsk prison

Elgen – women’s camp, 500 miles northwest and inland from Magadan

Serpantinka

Narym – central Siberia

Yaroslavl prison

Shapalerka prison

Mariinsk camp farther west from Kolyma

You get the idea that there were LOTS of campus throughout the former Soviet Union. An oft spoken saying among those women in gulag camps after living through tedious drudgery day after day:  “It may be worse, but at least it’ll be different”

p. 112 – “What you suffer is not as important as what you learn from the experience.”

p. 271 – “…Eleanor Roosevelt knew about huge numbers of political prisoners in Soviet Union, had come to the country and asked to visit the camps and see for herself.  This request had been categorically refused.”

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Uighur Grandmother – “Be Ready to Serve Your People”

Right now I am just 19 and I already don’t have either a grandfather or a grandmother.   However the situation was different just a few years ago, at that time my mom’s mother lived with us.  Her name was Aimkhan.  She was a very beautiful and kind woman.  She had 11 children, the youngest of which is my mother.  As long as I remember myself, grandmother had always lived with us. She lived a long life, so she always had something to tell.  My grandmother and her family were born in Eastern Turkistan (Xingjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) Kashgar city, but due to political reasons she had to migrate to Kyrgyzstan.  However she always told us stories and reminisced time in Kashgar.  One of my favorite stories is the one about heroes of Uighur nation.

 

         My grandmother got married when she was very young and my grandfather’s family was in politics. At that time after already failing one attempt to declare an independence Uighurs were preparing for a next try.  My grandfather’s cousin, whose name was Abdukerim Abbas was the head of the government of the unrecognized country.  According to the international rights in order for a country to be sovereign its independence has to be recognised by at least 3 countries.  Joseph Stalin, general secretary of the communist party of the USSR made the Clayton’s promise to be the first to extend recognition to a state.  Feeling very excited and glad about the possible future declaration of independence Abdukerim Abbas and all his delegates got aboard of a helicopter heading to Moscow.

 

The flight went all right but when they landed at the Moscow the situation went out of control.  As soon as they step on the ground they were taken to the KGB’s head office on the Lubyanka and tortured by the Russian agents until the death.  As for the Uighur people in China who were looking forward to coming their liberators back home both Moscow and Beijing prepared another version of what has happened that days.  For a long time people in XingZang couldn’t get in touch with anybody who went to Moscow on that  fatal plane.  Just as time passed it was announced that the plane was wrecked and no one survived.  It was clear for everybody that what happened to Abdukerim Abbas and his people wasn’t just an incident but people were too afraid to do anything.  Since this news flew across, my grandmother and her family had 24 hours to pack all their belongings and leave their homeland forever.  And this is the starting point when a great number of Uighur people emigrated to all Central Asian countries.

 

         At the end of this story grandmother liked to repeat “Always be ready to serve your people”. Unfortunately she had never come back to the Kashgar and never knew what happened to her house, neighbors and people she knew.  One of the things brought from Kashgar in 1960 was an album with pictures of Abdukerim Abbas and other members of the family.  I always feel proud to be a part of our family.  

by Makhfirat

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