Posts tagged Second World War

Astana Billboards and Beket’s Grandparents

These are the last two photos I took of the billboards of WWII veterans on my way biking out to the Astana airport. (I will try to get translations of the quotes next to each veteran that go with each billboard picture.)  Victory Day is tomorrow which is why it is fitting to feature Beket’s story about his grandparents.

“We live in a constant rush. That is why we do not have enough time to share it with our relatives. There are always some doings, some meetings. But it is in our power to change this sad fact.

I am proud of living in Kazakhstan. Kazakh culture has deep roots in the nomadic history beginning from Saks and finishing by the 21th century. Our traditions play a large role in our life. Kazakh people follow customs of being respectful to old people. Every male must know his family’s tree.

I am a happy guy because I have a lot of relatives. We are always gathering at holydays. I have grandparents both from mother and father’s side. Every summer I go to Shymkent where they live. I spend all summer just for being with them. My grandpa, Tulegen Zhakipbayev , is a veteran of the Second World War. He is an ex-army officer. And now he has written 4 books about his life experience, his life during the War. It was specially made for his kids, grandchildren with the aim to tell them a full truth about those 1940s years. I have already read them and still listen to his stories. Here is part of his book:

“… on the 3rd of September there will be 55 years since the victory over Japan. Unfortunately, this date is undeservedly not celebrated although this victory is the official end of the Second World war.  I am going to tell you about this victory more detailed.

Japan Army was on the peak at the end of 1942.  They captured northern and north-eastern part of China, defeated American Fleet in Pearl Harbor, occupied Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Indo-China, Malaysia. There were 1.5 million soldiers in Soviet Army in Manchuria. But both sides had signed a  Protocol of nonaggression.

…            The most dangerous was the “Detachment 731” which produced bacteriological weapons of mass destruction. ..

… Now and 1945 came. We stay in Transbaikalia. The Great News about the The Great Victory we met with thunderous soldiers cheers. Embraces, tears… But The War has not finished for us. Japan has declined the capitulation act. We began the war with Japan. Our actions were successful…”

I have read this book twice or maybe three times.

Each summer our big family gather in my grandpa’s huge house which was built specially to provide us relax and entertainment. I usually get up early in the morning and then water the garden. My grandparents put there grapes, peaches, apples. That is why it is so pleasurably to eat fruits on open fresh air.

Each 9th of May they visit us in Astana to participate in the Victory Parade. During this day they meet a lot of their old friends, comrades. Sometimes it is so harrowing: their tears so sad!

Life is passing day by day, that is why we must use this time to share it with our parents, Grandparents. They need attention, just few words.

We love you.”

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Iliyas’ Grandfather was a Gold Miner in East Kazakhstan

Every Kazakh family has a rich history, that begins from the far past this is because everyone in Kazakh traditional society must know about his ancestors seven generations back. Using this knowledge Kazakhs may find a lot of relatives (this fact is very important and can be helpful to prevent incest when people get married). So our family is no exception. But now I want to tell about my grandparents, my grandfather Adilgazin Kadyr and my grandmother Sadykova Kulash.

My grandpa was born in Boke village, where people mined gold, in 1940. This settlement is situated in East Kazakhstan, in the mountains. His father was gold miner, but the Second World War had taken him to the front as many other Soviet men. Many people like my grandpa starved. People who didn’t withstand difficulties became food for worms. But little Kadyr-ata survived. He was very smart and wanted to read, to study, to be happy. But his childhood is unhappier than ours. When my grandfather was 18 he went studying in the Pedagogical University in Uskemen. I’m proud of my grandpa, because he is hard worker. He ended studying in the university with good marks and had bearing arms in Turkmen for three years (he often tells me long stories about his military service).

Then he became teacher of history in Boke School. History is his favorite science, because he wants to know what events happened be in the past. In Boke he met my granny, teacher of biology and they got married. My grandma is great mother and a wonderful housewife. She brought my grandpa three boys. One of them is my father.

My grandpa’s hobbies are body-building and reading. Every day he and granny do some exercises, that help for their health, although Kadyr-ata went for boxing and took part in many different championships. My grandfather has a rich library, where you can find books with various topics and tastes.

The years went. By after teaching for ten years Kadyr-ata became headmaster of his school. He is very a good leader. His school won a lot of regional competitions, the graduates showed good results on exams and everybody didn’t forget my grandfather’s merits. But now he and my granny are retired and live with us in Astana. They are happy to see their grandsons everyday.

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Assel A’s Great Grandfather Loved Orphan Children

I want to tell about my great-grandfather from my father’s side. His name was Karim and he lived in western Kazakhstan.  I heard about him when I was a child because my grandmother always told me stories about her father.  Before the Second World War he worked on a farm and he had three children including my grandmother. When the war had begun, he was one of the first who had gone off to war. In the war he had lost one foot and so he returned back home. When he went back home he analyzed that most of the adults had died in the war. Then he decided to collect all the children who had lost their parents.

Even though he was injured in the war, he raised and supported these children by hunting without one foot by riding on a camel. My grandmother tells me a lot of stories about how my great-grandfather hunted. Also they ate some rabbits and a couple of camels. My grandmother said that when she was a child they would eat camel’s meat and the camel’s hump tasted like gum. And all children liked the hump because they chewed it like gum.

My grandmother always said we lived not rich but we always loved and respected our parents. And my father said that he was very kind and funny man, he always smiled and he loved children especially his own grandsons and grand daughter. I think that may be they lived in poverty but they had a big together family.

He was a wonderful man. I do not remember all the stories about my great-grandfather, but I really know that he was a hero.

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Manarbek’s Grandmother was “Heroine Mother”

For somebody she is – mother, for somebody else – sister, but for me she is grandma. I have imagined her long, gray hair, wrinkles on her face and deep brown eyes. Her name is Nazira Kazmaganbetovna, who now is 77 years old…She was born in Aralsk. According to her words her father was a fisherman, and of course, her favorite food is – fish.

Somehow I had asked her, whether she was happy with her life. Despite the fact that her childhood had passed through Stalin’s reprisal and the Second World War, her answer was: “Yes, I am happy!” But in her voice it was possible to notice both pleasure and sadness… Having breathed deeply, she continued: “In 17 years I was married to your grandfather but he passed away in 1975 and I stayed alone with 10 children.”

I also knew that after death of my grandfather it was difficult for her, she worked as the nurse in hospital. But despite all these difficulties she has not surrendered: she brought up children and educated them. In 2006 she received the award from the President of the country, a medal “Mother, the heroine”. Now she has 18 grandsons, 3 great-grandsons.

First I’d like to thank God that he gave her a long life and patience at difficult moments in her life and my grandma for her wisdom, kindness and for my Mom…

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Almas T’s Other Grandparent story – TRIPLETS!

It was March 19, 1956 and it was warm evening remembered by Nurtai Sadykov, my grandfather. He came home after work at usual time and saw that his wife Zubaira Sadykova (my grandmother) was staying on step-ladder and liming the ceiling. Their nine-year-old daughter Gulya was keeping a bucket with lime next to her. My grandmother had already been in her ninth month of pregnancy and that day she was too active. She did all possible house work with their four children. Four of them were really tired after hard working day. My grandfather asked her to calm down and think about the child inside of her and after that they begun to prepare dinner table for having the supper.

 Later on she asked her husband to see her off to the local hospital by joking to their children that it was high time to go and bring a baby. She also made fun of them by telling that they need another helper and then they would make progress in doing house work. My grandfather took his wife and accompanied her to the maternity hospital. On his way back home he popped in to his brothers’ house to tell them happy news. As it usually happened, all of them came to my grandparents’ home to wait for the birth of the child. The delivery was at eight o’clock and all of them started celebrating that. For all of them it was happy news to know that a girl was born. That baby was my mother. After approximately two hours all of guests were informed about the birth of another girlie.

 In post-war time for every family it was great news to have two new born children at once. They started to try to name them and it was a hot discussion. It was difficult to choose because the huge amount of names was suggested. During that hot debate the relatives and other guests were informed about third child’s birth. Of course all of them said that it was joke and it was decided to call to the maternity hospital to be sure. The nurse answered that it was true and they should rejoice and my grandfather said that he was really afraid for his love.

In the next morning all newspapers wrote about it and some of them my mother still keeps. Of course it was a sensation which intrigued all people. It was uncommon and still it is – to have triple birth. After that birth my granny got monthly donation and there was a woman, appointed by the government as a helper for bringing up the children until they were 7 years old. There were four children born after my mother; my aunt and my uncle birth. Also five-year-old German girl was adopted by my grandparents and in total they had thirteen children.

Now my both grandparents died and when I think about their life I realize how difficult it was because they saw starvation in the Thirties, the Second World War and collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. I suppose mostly because of their strong personalities they could look after the family and help the children to graduate universities and get married. That is a big deal.

I think it was a great time, even in spite of the fact that life was much harder. People cared more about their families and really appreciated it. Now, you would barely meet a family with thirteen children, even three of four is a rarity. Unfortunately we are too concerned about our work and too busy making money. I am happy that my mother had such a wonderful chance to live in a big family and have twelve brothers and sisters. I would like to experience the same, but we are only three in my family.

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Xeniya’s Grandfather had “too many friends”

My grandfather from mother’s side was named Vladimir Onishenko, he was born in 1935 in Semipalatinsk (East Kazakhstan) in family of officer Grigoriy and housewife Mariya. His father was Ukrainian, mother was Jewish.

I know interesting fact about my grandfather’s and his sisters’ life – they sewed mittens then sent them to Soviet soldiers while Second World War. His profession was vet, he graduated from Vet Institute. He was one of the first leavers of this Institute. Also he met with my grandmother in Institute. Her name was Liliya. After graduation he studied selection of cattle. He liked animals a lot, he saved the life of roebuck, an animal hurt by a poacher. He had The Rank of Candidate of Zoological Science, The Medal of Lenin. because he was a communist. Therefore he worked as a head of local administration is State of Semipalatinsk.

By the time he had two children – my mother and uncle. Due to his work they moved from village to village. My grandfather had the hobbies such as fishing, hunting and cars. He spent much time in a forests, lakes, rivers etc. He loved his 4 grandchildren – one boy and three girls. It’s a pity that he died. It was in 1995 and at that time I was only 5 years old.

My grandfather was much respected because he was very simple person. He could help everyone and did it. He had too many friends. They often went to parties, fishing, hiking and they loved played card games. He was kind, clever and smart. I remember how he told me very interesting fairytales. He loved my grandmother very much. She worked with him, helped and supported. They respected each other.

In conclusion, it’s clear to say that I love my grandparents from two sides. Each of them is an example of wisdom, kindness and honour. They will be always in my heart and memory.

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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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“Being Intellectually Wealthy” by Ainur T.

One Kazakh tradition says that any Kazakh person has to know his or her seven predecessors, meaning that we have to keep in mind all the information about our seven forerunners. This information is to be passed from generation to generation. Obviously, it is a good way to know more about your kin and memorizing them would certainly let you become more intellectually wealthy. However, due to some reasons like the wars and the periods of starvation in the 19th century had a certain affect on the information of your family roots and in some cases this information could be lost. These different events had an effect on my grandparents too.

I was lucky to see my grandfather from my dad’s side and grandmother from my mum’s and surely they will always be kept in my mind. Despite the fact that my other grandparents had gone to another world before I was born, I know their life stories from my parents’ tales and their pictures. They were really great people and they have their own good family history.

My grandfather was a Second World War veteran and he had lots of great different awards and medals for demonstrating his bravery during this terrible war. He was a commander. After the war he was respected by the village people for demonstrating his management skills when he was the head of the collective farm. His village was located in the eastern part of Kazakhstan. My grandfather’s wife or my grandmother was a respected school teacher, she taught Kazakh language.

My mom’s mother or my grandmother was a really good person and she was so kind, beautiful, and smart and there are many other great definitions that could be addressed to her. First of all, I personally thank her for giving birth to my mom.

There are also many things could be said about great-grandmother from my mom’s side. She had a real personal history of survival during the starvation period. My great-grandmother was able to cope with all these problems and she was a mentally strong lady. Passing through all the obstacles she faced can only be referred to hers heroism. She became known throughout our region, in Semey, for her ability to cure people of many diseases.  

In conclusion, I would like to say that in case if each family in Kazakhstan would go on keeping their families stories and traditions, our nation’s cultural wealth would be always kept. Because each family in the world constitutes nations and societies they live in. The main thing is that each person has to take care of his or her grandparents because their wisdom will sometimes help you keep moving in the right direction. 




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Marina’s Grandparents “Left a Trace on this Earth”

 My mother’s father’s name is Aldabergen. He was born in 1929 in Aktobe. My mother’s mothers name is Kimbat. She was born in 1928 in Uralsk. They got married in 1948 and moved to Russia. My grandfather was a farm labourer. My grandparents had a very large household, they were occupied with sheep-breeding, cow-breeding, horse-breeding, hen-breeding. They had many children – 11, but 4  died. My grandmother was a housewife, she liked plant-growing, sewing and embroidery very much. My grandmother died in 1971, her small daughter was 1 month and I never have been with her. Then my grandfather got married once again. He was a very strict, hard-working, diligent, a man of few words. My grandfather died in 1997.

My father’s fathers name is Gaziz. He was born in 1925 in Bashkiria. During Second World War he lost his parents, and his brother went to children’s home in Ufa. They could not find to each other for a long time. Their long –expected meeting took place only in 1959. My grandfather wanted to take him away to Kazakhstan, but his brother got married by that time and had two daughters, so he preferred to stay in Bashkiria.

My father’s mothers name is Malika. She was born in 1928 in the rich family. She suffered privations and went through many trials. Malika saw death of relatives, starvation, coldness. She had gift of foresight, prophecy. She could treat people for different illnesses.

My grandparents from my father’s side got married in 1946. They had not a lot of children – 7, but 3 died. My grandfather was a government purveyor, official in charge of procurements. He had sociable disposition. So he had many friends. He could turn his hand to anything. He stored up skins and wool. My grandfather died in 1991.

My grandmother was a collective farmer. She worked in the fields a lot – she gathered in the good harvests of potatoes, tomatoes, other vegetables. She gave birth to children, and right away went back to work. My grandfather’s mother looked after children. She loved my father and spoiled indulged him very much. My grandmother was also very hard-working. Owing to many-years physical labor she reached a great age and died quite recently in 2008. She was 80.

My grandparents lived in difficult time, went through wars and repressions, starvation and coldness. They did not receive any education, they could not even read and write. My grandparents slept too little, but worked hard to feed their children. They dreamt about their light future: that their children receive good education, find well-paid job live in the large houses, get married in time and gave births to many grandchildren. I think that they were happy people because they had left a trace on this Earth and gave birth to us.

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Murat’s Grandfather named Makhsut

From my opinion grandparents is a major part of any family, like foundation of house. They always can help you to solve different problematic situations and give good advice. And also grandparents love you for free, just because you are present in their lives.  In this essay I want tell you about my grandfather from my mother side.

My grandfather’s name is Makhsut and he was born in 15 September of 1930. His father was a butcher and mother was a baker, they worked for the government. My grandfather had two brothers and four sisters. Nowadays only two sisters of my grandfather survived. When Second World War began, my grandfather was only eleven years old boy. War time and also some years after it were very difficult not only for my grandfather’s family, but also for each family involved to this meaningless war.

Despite the hard times, his family survived. I think the major reason is because their parents had good jobs or to be exactly correct they had cereal jobs. Somewhere in this time my grandfather was between life and death, because he was bitten by snake. There was no opportunity to call a doctor or to give antidote, but to big happiness, my grandfather survived. You can wonder why? I can tell you. Because father of Makhsut found way how to help for his son, he sucker out all poison and put him into fresh mowed grass. And these actions helped to save my grandfather.

After completion of high school, he entered into the national university of Kazakhstan on biological faculty. But after one year, he got small damage on his foot and was forced to take academic break. Because studying on biological faculty requires being often in cold classes and his foot always hurt then because was too cold.

During academic break my grandfather was forced to go to serve in the army.  After that, he tried to enter into the university the second time, but there was no opportunity to do that.  On some day my grandfather met his old friend and he told him that in Uzbekistan he had a chance to start studying in current year. Grandfather went to the strange country without money and without any ideas where and how he would live. After arrival to the Uzbekistan and searching for university, he understood that there was no possibility to start study in this year. And he began to search for job opportunity, while he found job he lived in his friend’s dormitory. Dormitory looked like one big room with many beds and nightstands. Grandfather was forced to steal bread from nightstands, because he hadn’t any money.   But it was only three days and after that he found job in local factory. Grandfather worked on factory for one year and then entered in police academy. In 1956 he completed police academy and went back to Kazakhstan.

In 1957 he married my grandmother. They have two sons and one daughter, my mother. Grandfather worked in police force for more than 25 years. After retirement he was a director of bus station.  Now he is pensioner and enjoys life surround his loving natives and close friends.   

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