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Bekir Ablayev - A SHOT FROM THE PAST .

Updated: May 27, 2022

Today, I would like to publish the first part of the short stories created by a young Crimean historian and law student Bekir Ablayev.

Monika Górka translated the texts from Ukrainian into English.

Gurzuf, the Crimea, Ukraine. Created / Published between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900.Source: Library of Congress:

Looking through the family album I came across an old photo. A very young grandfather Abdureshit looked at me with a yellowed sheet of paper from the 1930’s, and next to him stood a man very similar to him, but a bit older.

I showed the picture to my father. He said that his older brother Abdurakip was standing next to his grandfather. Well, of course, how could I not guess that it was the same grandfather Abdurakip who told me so much about?

Grandfather Abdurakip was the older brother of my grandpa Abdureshitov. In his youth, Abdurakip was a healthy, strong man, he practiced sport.

In the village he had no equal in strength. There was a case when in his youth Gypsies came to the village with a big bear. They had this kind of play - a person who knocks a bear on its shoulders receives a reward of a hundred rubles, but the one who fails must pay the same amount to the Gypsies. There was no brave man in the village who dared to fight the bear, except for his grandfather Abdurakip, who twice managed to defeat a terrible beast. The Gypsies quickly moved to another village. Grandfather Abdurakip followed them... and killed the beast. Then the Gypsies didn't show up for a long time. It all happened in the days of his youth.

Then he studied at the Pedagogical Institute and worked as a teacher in his village. Everyone in the village respected and loved him because he was a scholar, a literary man. If someone needed an advice in difficult life matters, they turned to him, he always found time and a good word for everyone. Grandfather Abdureshit said that before the war he was often published in newspapers and magazines, but here began the Great Patriotic War. Grandfather Abdurakip was not drafted into the army and continued to teach children at school.

In November the Germans captured the Crimean Peninsula. In the village of Aq-Manay, as in all other settlements, they gathered residents and proposed the election of a local government, that is, a mayor. The leader had to be an honest, decent, intelligent, frugal man who would defend the interests of the villagers. All the villagers in one voice began to ask grandfather Abdurakip to take this position, as they have not seen a more worthy candidate. Grandfather Abdurakip could not refuse his fellow villagers, especially at the request of the elderly - the most respected people in the village.

In this position, he managed to do a lot for the village residents. He helped them in everything. Thanks to his efforts, no inhabitants were abducted into German captivity. He helped them with certificates that allowed them to travel around the Crimea and sell or exchange their belongings for food. There were wounded Red Army soldiers in the village, who were hided in the houses of villagers. And the whole village knew all this. Grandfather Abdurakip knew it too, of course. If the Germans found out about it, they would have executed him. To his credit, it should be noted that he had never done anything in his life that he would be ashamed of.

This is how the year 1944 came - the year of the liberation of the Crimea. There were rumours everywhere about how the police and the Nazi service, including the elders, punished the Soviet authorities. At that time, the conversation was short: a noose around the neck or a shooting, and who were you, why, for what, these are questions that are only asked later. The elderly people themselves offered Abdurakip's grandfather to hide for a while, and when everything calmed down a bit, he would return, and the whole village would defend him. And he was forced to flee. At night, he crossed the Syvash and found himself in the Kherson region. And then we know that on May 18 all Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia, the northern regions of the RSFSR, Siberia and the Ural...

Grandfather Abdurakip had to wait for better times. So months and years passed by. He got a job, but did not lose hope of finding his family and loved ones. In the early fifties, he managed to find a family in distant Kyrgyzstan, in the city of Mailuusuu, where Crimean Tatars worked in the mines. Stalin died, the thaw began, the Crimean Tatars ceased to be formally considered special displaced group. Life began to improve.

But the terrible stress they endured in the distant 1944, reminded them of itself in nightmares. In those days, it was not customary to mention such facts in people's life stories.

In letters, his former villagers repeatedly thanked him for the help he had given them in a difficult time, for saving their children from deportation to Germany, by issuing them certificates in which he reduced their age. But when a senseless case came to light, it sounded like a shot from the past ...

Grandfather Abdurakip came to the funeral of a relative in the city of Namangan in Uzbekistan in the early 1960's. There he accidentally met one of his fellow villagers, who after so many years, seeing Abdurakip for the first time, literally said the following: “Abdurakip? Have you not been imprisoned yet?” Grandfather waited for any words, but not these; having done so much good for his fellow villagers, he did not count on gratitude, but did not expect such heartlessness...

Having said such words, this nearby man went about his business. Ten minutes later, he probably forgot about the existence of grandad Abdurakip.

But these words made the matters viable. Arriving home, grandpa Abdurakip fell from a heart attack and, after three days of illness, died.

That's how one thoughtless word killed a wonderful man who saved his countrymen in difficult times.

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