The tragic fate of the soldiers and officers, the Crimean Tatars, who returned to their homeland after the war


The fate of some of them is told by witnesses of the terrible executions of officers and soldiers from among the Crimean Tatars who returned to their homeland from the fronts of the war, but did not find their families home – they were all deported as traitors.

The military cook Asim Dzhunevtov, who had hidden his national origin still had been proceeding with his service in the Crimea for a while. After May 18, some time passed, and he was ordered to go with an assistant on a business trip to the military builders on Ai-Petri.

“Early in the morning I got up to boil some tea. Not far from the house on Ai-Petri there was a pine forest on the right side – I went there for firewood. At that time, the trucks covered with a tarp tent arrived. People in military uniforms got off those trucks, their epaulettes were ripped off, belts were removed, eyes were blindfolded and hands were tired back. They were all barefoot. They were urged away from the forest, to the very cliff above Yalta. I began to count them – there were 25 people, all of them were wearing officer uniforms. And machine gunners were built against them. I realized that they would be fired, under the command of a colonel. And I noticed a general, judging by his clothes and shoulder straps, who kept walking back and forth, whispering something. I could not hear everything, as it was unbearable for me I turned away, and when I turned my face back, there were no more people. I didn’t hear the burst of machine-gun fire, probably they had been pushed off, there was a huge precipice.

I went back to the cauldron, two soldiers approached me and asked for a drink. I gave them cold tea, they drank. And I, in turn, began to ask who had been those executed? “Crimean Tatars, officers, they began to demand their families, rose a rumpus in Simferopol, they were arrested there and immediately sentenced to death. Among them were 5-6 Russian people [we are talking about mixed, Russian-Tatar families]. It happened in 1944, in June or July. ”

The similar incident was almost precisely repeated high above the shore between Gaspra and Miskhor a year later, an old Russian man from the local area was the witness of that. There, a group of Crimean Tatar officers was pushed alive from a cliff into the sea.

“Usually, such executions, they say, occurred in 1945-46, when demobilized officers, not having found their relatives in the Crimea, expressed their indignation against what had been done. They were invited to get together on a certain day, supposedly to help them go to the places of deportation, find families, but they took them out for execution.”

A similar, but not in all details, reprisal took place in a completely different region of the Crimea. In the Sudak region, near Tuak, a group of Crimean Tatar officers was blown up right in the  truck on which they  were delivered there from somewhere else. The famous partisan and authoritative witness Bekir Osmanov reported that 78 Tatar officers were shot on the slope of the Sapun Mountain (Sevastopol), he also specified the number of victims of the Tuak blasting – it was 12 people.

Much later after the deportation was completed, an execution by shooting took place in Korbekul, near the wall of a shed for drying fruits. Witnesses, this time not Tatars, say that the officers’ orders and medals were not removed, they sparkled in the sun until the last minute. Since the execution did not take place in a dense forest or on a deserted coast, many people observed it, and more details were preserved. Among the 7 people shot, two – Arnautov and Podosh – were locals, they were recognized by a Korbekul shepherd, a Russian boy Volodya Shelenga, who was walking with a herd near the sheds early in the morning. A pilot Muarrem Arnautov, the brother of the executed, learned about his brother’s execution by accident, from a roommate in the hospital, during a regular conversation, that is, from a completely independent source.

It is reported that in 1945 a large group of middle and senior Crimean Tatar officers (300-400 people) gathered in Simferopol. They demanded the return of their families to the Crimea. The matter bacame aware in Moscow and an order was received from the Central Committee of the Party to send the entire group temporarily to some sanatorium on the South  Coast until the technical side of the matter would be decided. A very specific person, a military driver Grisha, turned out to be a witness to this execution: “It was a deep night, we, not knowing why, stopped at the sanatorium building, some people began to be loaded into trucks, the security acted in such a way that each of these people had a guard who led him. I only heard that we were going to some dere (gorge). Nobody talked to us.  Upon arrival in that gorge, we having unloaded the people, began to drive off, I heard frequent automatic bursts, other drivers also heard that. There were approximately 400 people [who were executed].”

One more evidence is about the execution on the slope of Babugan, where the officers were taken directly from Simferopol; another of the same kind is about the slaughter near the village of Toply. And how many similar actions were carried out more professionally, that is to say, completely secretively?

Colonel Reshat Sadreddinov recalls how, after the surrender of Germany, the units in which he was stationed were transferred to Austria. Then I managed to get a leave warrant to go to Aqmescit. What he saw there was striking: not a single Crimean Tatar could be seen anywhere. In haste, he headed to the NKVD building, dressed in uniform, with orders and  medals on, with the awarded “TT”.

“On my coming a lieutenant was sitting there. I attacked him: how so, why? In response, he began to bustle at me, and I thought I’d shoot him, you rascal. I grabbed the gun. And then someone from behind gave me a command:

– About turn! Leave the office!

I executed the command and went out. And then a man came up to me and said: “People like you, Crimean Tatars officers came two months ago, demanding to explain why their families had been expelled. And they (200-250 people) were put on buses, taken out under Karasubazar and shot under the White Rock. You have 24 hours to leave the Crimea.”

“I still don’t know who that man was. I immediately went from Aqmescit to Moscow and it was there where I began to find out where my family was. ”

In three days, Reshat Sadreddinov found out that his relatives were in Uzbekistan, in the city of Bekabad. Arriving there, he found them in dug-outs, hungry and sick.

Anife Shevkieva talked about how her husband, senior lieutenant Ibraim Shevkiev, witnessed the execution of a group of Crimean Tatar officers between Novoalekseyevka and Dzhankoy. The train was stopped and they ordered all Crimean Tatars to leave it. Ibraim Shevkiev was without a leg, on crutches. Several officers, when they were told that their families were no longer in the Crimea, and that they should go to Central Asia, began to resent. The NKVD officers took them aside and shot them. Ibraim Shevkiev also told that some Crimean Tatar pilots who expressed outrage at the fact that while they were shedding blood on the fronts, their families were expelled from their homes and sent to die in a foreign land, were put into barrels and dropped from planes.

The fate of the soldiers, whose units were in the Crimea, turned out to be different. Asan Useinov from Uzundzhi (Balaklava district), who served in the Primorsky Army, recalls: “After May 18, they stopped trusting me …. I began to notice that they were watching me. One day the sergeant major called me and said: “Take the food, you will go to another unit, to the artillery regiment.” I handed over the machine, but did not take the products. My companion, a senior sergeant, brought me to the so-called artillery regiment located behind Simferopol which fenced with barbed wire. There they gave me new clothes. In that regiment, Crimean Tatar front-line soldiers were gathered from all over the Crimea, 150-200 people in total. Armed soldiers guarded us from the towers all around. But we didn’t have any weapons. Among us there were many Crimean Tatars officers and several nurses. One night, we were loaded onto trucks and brought to Simferopol, where we were cordoned off by “green caps”. We stood all night. In the morning we were ordered to line up in four and go to the station. the formation was led by ours, but “green caps” were walking alongside. We arrived at the station, the command “Attention!” was given.

A general (deputy Beria) came to us, we did not let him speak, we started shouting so that they would remove the cordon from us. The general gave the command to remove … and turned to us with the following words: “Your families are in Central Asia. Sorry, we did not have the opportunity to deal with them. You will now go to Uzbekistan without any guard. Your families are in a very difficult situation. I ask you not to linger on your way.”

Despite the scarcity of information that has reached us, some cautious conclusions can now be drawn. Apparently, executions of Tatar officers were not planned in advance – dozens of Crimean Tatar soldiers and officers lying in Crimean hospitals were safely sent to Central Asian exile upon recovery. The executions, most likely, were caused by the persistence and consistency of the demands of military officers (apparently, there were unexpectedly many of them in the Crimea), who probably enjoyed the sympathy of the Russian war veterans who were just like them. These Crimean Tatar groups competently and persistently demanded the cancellation of the deportation decree, which had no legal basis, contrary to the Soviet Constitution – all this was very serious. Then, obviously, some decision was made to “neutralize” them using the usual method for punitive organs. The corresponding order was obviously sent to the district military commissariats of the Crimea. This conclusion follows from the fact that the apparatus of RVC was the sole performer of the specified action. Further scientific investigation will certainly clarify this picture, drawn here in the most general terms.

Thinking about the fate of both small groups of Crimean Tatars who split off from the mass of the people and those civilians who remained at home after deportation, and military officers broke into the peninsula much later than the completion of the “ethnic cleansing” of the Crimea, lead to similar conclusions. Both the former and the latter could not help but realize that they were challenging the Stalinist regime; the challenge was not just dangerous, but leading to an almost inevitable death.

What guided these proud people, what turned out to be stronger than the natural and imperious instinct of self-preservation, even stronger than love for neighbors, to the eternal separation from which they knew they doomed themselves? There can be no two answers to this question: it was a powerful feeling of love for the motherland, for the Crimea, which they could not (did not want to?) overcome. This was precisely the feeling because of which, a few years later, the nation-wide and long-standing struggle for the Return began to flare up wider and wider. It was a feeling to which the entire national movement of the Crimean Tatars owed their achievements for returning to their homeland – to the Crimea.”


Author: Редакция Avdet