Four years of the Great Patriotic War. Just four years. This deadline for history is insignificant. But the memory of this terrible, bloodiest battle in the history of mankind does not leave us alone for more than seven decades. Eternal memory, the same as the Eternal Flame on the graves of fallen soldiers.
The war claimed the lives of tens of millions of people all over the planet. Only our former common country lost over 25 million in it. And this is not the final result of the tragedy – the counting of losses is still ongoing.
They were different – young and not so, from different cities and villages from the Caspian Sea to the Amu Darya, different professions and religions. However, then everyone had the same faith – that no one except them would protect their home. The war was thundering over thousands of kilometers, but its peals became more and more distinct, and they could at any moment reach your threshold.
They were all husbands, sons, fathers, grandchildren. But all of them, strangers, who yesterday did not know anything about each other, were united by a common destiny — war and one goal — victory. Leaving families, relatives, loved ones, taking up arms, becoming just soldiers, they without hesitation and doubt, with fearlessness worthy of worship, joined the huge army of Fatherland defenders to erect a great wall from their bodies like fireproof bricks an irresistible, seemingly destructive force.
Already in the first days of the war the army began to receive applications from volunteers with a request to enroll them in the ranks of the army in the field. Immediately, 3,000 volunteers were called up. Soon, 248 doctors and 662 paramedical personnel, including 140 graduates from the 1941 Turkmen State Medical Institute, went to the front. And among them was a young surgeon Sachly Dursunova. She went from Stalingrad to East Prussia. Being on the most dangerous battlegrounds, Sachly saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers.
There are no such fronts on which the Turkmen soldiers did not fight from the first to the last day of the war. There is no such land from the snow-covered fields near Moscow to the streets of defeated Berlin, where our countrymen would not lie forever, paving a terrible, woeful road to Victory. Turkmen soldiers took part in all the major battles of the Great Patriotic War without exception, having fought from Moscow to Berlin.
In the autumn of 1941, the formation of national troops began in Turkmenistan. The 79th, 98th and 99th separate Turkmen rifle brigades, the 81st and 87th cavalry divisions were created. The 81st Turkmen Cavalry Division became part of the 4th Cavalry Corps operating in the Stalingrad area. The corps was commanded by Lieutenant-General TT Shapkin, his deputy was Major General Yakub Kuliev. Here, on the banks of the Volga, the first Turkmen general was mortally wounded. Many Turkmen soldiers for their resistance and courage in the Battle of Stalingrad were awarded the medal “For the Defense of Stalingrad”.
In total for the years 1941-1945, more than 300 thousand of our countrymen fought against the Nazi invaders. Fought with dignity, showing examples of courage, heroism and dedication. In July 1941, Kurban Durdy was introduced to the rank of Hero of the Soviet Union.
In the future, this high rank received dozens of glorious sons of Turkmenistan. Over 70 thousand Turkmen citizens were awarded orders and medals for military exploits, 78 people were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. For courage and bravery, the highest marks of military valor — nineteen men were awarded orders of Glory of three degrees. Six of them participated in the battles at Stalingrad.
The main burden of the war fell on the shoulders of the soldiers, but the victory on the fronts would have been impossible without a strong rear. The motto of the time, “Everything for the front, everything for Victory!” was not just a rally slogan. People on this side of the war did everything possible to bring that bright day closer when the long-awaited, triumphant exclamation “The war is over!” Will be heard and the fireworks will shine many times brighter, reflected in the eyes filled with tears of people. But it will be later, but for now the tireless work is being done to support the front.
During the war years, evacuation hospitals were housed in Turkmenistan, where wounded soldiers recovered health, refugees arrived here, forced to leave the territories occupied by the enemy, children who had lost their parents, but found a new destiny in the distant region, warmed themselves with body and soul. It was here, at factories and factories, redeployed into the interior of the country, converted into defense enterprises, that aircraft and tanks, small arms, artillery pieces, and ammunition were manufactured. For the needs of the front, thousands of tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metal, hundreds of thousands of grenades and mines, hundreds of cars with warm clothes and linen, money collected by residents were sent from Turkmenistan. Turkmen women donated silver jewelery to the Defense Fund, many of whom were genuine masterpieces of jewelry and family relics handed down from generation to generation, without stinging and without pity.
The war not only changed the fates of yesterday’s schoolchildren, engineers, doctors, cotton growers, students, teachers, she suddenly changed the fates of their relatives and friends, transferring their wives to widows, children to orphans, mothers to inconsolable soldier Madonnas. Seeing off the sons and husbands to the front, the women, of course, hoped that they would all return. But not all have.
But they still believed and waited. First the whole war, then the rest of your life. For years, they looked hopefully at country roads, listened to footsteps and voices on the stairs, shuddered from the squeak of wickets, from ringing at the door and waited. They waited, despite the “burial letters”, the notices “your husband and son were missing …”. The ability to wait is also courage. This courage they did hold.
Year after year, the events of that war are fading. Already, several new generations of Turkmen have grown up who know about the Great Patriotic War from the stories of their elders, from books and movies. But they know and remember her, because there is no family in Turkmenistan that the war would not touch with its black wing, leaving a tragic mark in the fate of the people.
Former front-line soldiers are still alive. Maybe they live so long because the unlived life of their departed friends from the front-line brotherhood so early makes them live two lives – their own and their deceased friends’. They still hold on, but unfortunately, fewer and fewer remain among us those who endured on their shoulders front-line roads and battles. That is why we are all more careful and anxious about those who owe our lives to them.
The last war is receding into the past … But only Time is running, but it is unable to erase the historical memory of the people. Wounds on the body heal, wounds in the soul – never. And even after many years, already other generations will remember and honor the feats of front-line soldiers with the same gratitude. Today, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the dead soldiers, whose fate was unknown for many years, wage war against time, not letting their conscience fall asleep, not allowing the ashes of the dead, their courage, dedication and honor to be covered with a shroud of oblivion.
Turkmenistan, always with special respect and care, anxiously treated the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, living and fallen, who at the cost of their own lives defended our common peace. In 1989, on behalf of the government, employees of the Main Archival Administration under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan began work on creating the Khatyra – “Memory” books, which are designed to perpetuate and preserve the memory of the Turkmen soldiers who did not return to their homes who died in the Great World War II.
For ten years, the team of the research department, created specifically for this mission, step by step, collected bit by bit information about those who died in battles, died from wounds in hospitals, was tortured in fascist concentration camps. The result of this gigantic work, which was done by a team of only five people, was five volumes of the book “Khatyra”.
Having completed work on the book “Khatyra”, members of the scientific search sector began to create the book “Shohrat” (“Glory”). And again they did a truly titanic work, scrupulously collecting over five year’s information about hundreds of thousands of our countrymen, participants of the Great Patriotic War. And not only about veterans. The five-volume memorial book “Shohrat” is a historical documentary monument, which also tells about the unprecedented, legendary feat of self-sacrificing fighters of the labor front who forged victory in the rear. The book also tells how the military feat of warriors continued in the post-war years, when yesterday’s front-line soldiers were actively involved in the construction of a peaceful life, in the restoration of the national economy, in the development of the economy, science, culture, in the upbringing of the younger generation.
Everyone who did not return from that sacred, sacrificial march, missing, lying under the obelisks with the sad inscription “Unknown Soldier” had a surname, had a name given by parents at birth and they cannot, should not disappear without a trace. Each of us leaves at least some mark on this earth.
We are alive and free today because they have shielded us from trouble with their bodies and souls. Can we forget about it? This is our common history, common pain and common fame. Monuments and obelisks to fallen soldiers are a worthy veneration of the courage and heroism of all front-line soldiers, but the most imperishable memory remains in our hearts.