Posts tagged North Korea

Jo Ok’s Korean Grandmother tries to connect with North Korean relatives

I want to introduce my grandparents from my mother’s side. I’ve never seen my grandfather, because he passed away when my mother was young. He was born in North Korea, but he went to South Korea during the Korean War. He was a doctor, so he helped many people in Busan, South Korea. Until now some people who had been helped by my grandfather stay in contact with us.

My grandmother also came from North Korea. When she came to South Korea, she left her family in her hometown. She didn’t have enough money or any family when she came to Busan. I heard that Busan was the most safe city in South Korea during the Korean War, so many people went there. My grandparents met in church, my grandfather helped my grandmother. So she was in love with him. He proposed to her in church that same day and they got married, then they had four children. Three uncles and my mother is the only girl. My grandfather loved to play with his family. Every weekend they spent lots time to travel to other cities. When my mother was 10 years old, he was getting sick. That time was hard to get some medicine, so he died.

 I’ve never seen my grandfather, but when I see a picture, one of my uncles looks like my grandfather. My mother always told me if he were alive now, he would really love me. Maybe because I’m the only girl on my mother’s side.

Nowdays, my grandmother applied to the government to find her family. There is program to find family when they were separated during the war. Last year we visited Backdo Mt. which is nearby to North Korea. All she wanted was that she meet her family in North Korea. I wish her dream to come true.

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Yana’s Kyrgyz and Russian Connections

Unfortunately, only my mother’s father is alive. My grandfather was born in Kyrgyzstan. Very long time he worked in “The Union of Press”. Today he is pensioner. My grandmother was born in Bashkiriya (in Russia). She finished school and wanted to be a surgeon and went to Tashkent to enter to the Medical University. But she had not enough grades, and entered the Pedagogical University; instead she graduated as the teacher of geography. She met my grandfather and they married. They came back to my grandfather’s parents place in Kyrgyzstan.


During those times at schools, there were not enough teachers of Russian language and literature and my grandmother trained for a new field. And all her life she was the teacher of Russian language and literature. She worked at the village school in south of Kyrgyzstan. She was “an excellent teacher of the Kyrgyz Republic”; it is a reward. All her life she lived in Kara-Su, it’s the small town in the south of Kyrgyzstan. The last years of her life she lived with us in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. She was ill with cancer. Of course we helped her and took care of her. But she died. Grandpa and grandma have two children, my mother and her brother. My uncle lives with his family in Russia, not far from Moscow. He has a son.


My father’s grandmother with her family were repressed and they were sent to somewhere in Kazakhstan. Here she met my grandfather, they married. My grandfather also was repressed to Kazakhstan, but later than my grandma. After 1950s they returned to Dal’niyi Vostok in Russia, near to the border with North Korea. My father was born there. Then they went to another part of Russia. After that my grandfather decided to move to Kazakhstan. Even here the family of my father traveled a lot. And at the end they stopped in Ushtobe not as far from Almaty. My grandparents all their life worked in agriculture where they grew vegetables. They had four children, my father and three daughters. The fourth daughter died when she was a two years old. She was the twin of my father. The families of my aunts are so big, so I have a lot of cousins. Unfortunately my grandma and grandpa are dead.


I love my grandparents. I remember my childhood most of the times I spent with my mother’s grandma in south of Kyrgyzstan. My parents had some job, so they were forced to leave me there. Actually I liked to spend summer with my grandma; I had a lot of friends there. Two times I with my grandma went to Bashkiriya to her mother. So I met with my grand grand mother. Also I liked to spend time with my father’s parents, because as I said I have a lot of cousins. When all families from my father’s side are gathering together, we are more then 30 persons; it is always a lot of fun. The last time when we gathered was 2009 New Year, just few weeks ago.

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“Deportation” of Koreans to Central Asia by Natalya

My grandfather and great-grandfather back in XIX century, immigrated to the Far East from North Korea, along with many Koreans who moved to Russia. The emigration of Koreans into the territory of the Far Eastern empire encouraged by the king’s government for the development of its huge unoccupied spaces. 


My grandmother and grandfather were born in Primorye: in 1908 his grandfather and grandmother in 1910, after they married, they moved to Khabarovsk. On that day in 1937, they had two young children. But Resolution of the ANC on 21 August 1937, all the Far Eastern Koreans were declared ineligible and unreliable, resettled in Central Asia. I will not tell a lot about the hardships associated with the fact of eviction. People were simply immersed in a boxcar of goods and were allowed to take only the most necessary. And in closed cars for months were removed from the Far East to Central Asia. People were not given food, water garnered for short stops. Far behind the train people some were shot with rifles from the cars. In the case of the death of Red settlers, who were guarding cars they simply threw dead bodies on the railway from the moving train. For only they know the orders, some people landed amidst bare Kazakh steppes, and the composition of the remaining people to follow on. To survive, people were forced to dig dugouts, threw open steppe and planted corn or wheat, which they carried with them. Nobody now can say how many people died then when moved nor how many died from hunger and disease.


 If the face, the eviction of people, it is called the innocent word “deportation” in fact this was the repression – and even cruel. And with regard to their made to deport, it was true GENOCIDE. People were subjected to repression, until 1957, were on special category, called special continent and settler. They were used in the most menial, physically hard work, of them were working the army of good and terrible, inhumane, as the camp inmates, incomparable even famous for its atrocities in concentration camps.  


In conclusion, I want to say about my grandfather and grandmother; they were uneducated because they lived a hard life, all their lives they cultivated rice in South of Uzbekistan. They had six children, only four survived. In 1962 they moved from Tashkent to Sary-Agash, where they live to this day. Despite my grandparents being uneducated, they gave and raised all their children with a decent education. They were very fair, honest and decent people. Despite the fact that they had seen a lot of cruelty and horror, they were very gentle and kind people. Unfortunately, my grandfather is not already 19 years ago, but when he left us, he had his own house with several children and grandchildren, and he was happy that we lived in peace and harmony.         


My grandmother is alive to this day, and I hope that she would be long with us. For 19 years, there is a lot to learn from her, she survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and she is glad that in life there have been many changes. People become free and it is happy. We are her children and grandchildren, a lot of opportunities, for example, my brother last year, traveled for three months in the U.S. on the exchange, and this is as much a likely now.

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