Tangrybergen Samandarov went to the front in April 1942. The whole family, including a pregnant wife and three daughters, saw him off. At that moment, nobody could predict that the soldier would never see the long-awaited son and would never hold him in his arms and would never clasp him to his strong male shoulder. Leaving his native Dashoguz, Tangrybergen promised to write letters, and sent them until one day the family was informed that their husband and father were missing.
His life journey has been suddenly cut short somewhere near Stalingrad, fierce fightings have been there. Almost nothing is known about the fate of the Turkmen soldier. An orphaned family, not finding confirmation of Tangrybergen’s death, applied to different archives several times, but the answer was always the same: “Nothing is known.”
Elmira Samandarova, a teacher of Russian language and literature from the city of Dashoguz, told us the story of her family. It was her grandfather who went missing on the battlefields, while the father of Elmira is the boy – the long-awaited by Tangrybergen son.
Much later, after the war, when Stalingrad will be renamed Volgograd, and Mamaev Kurgan will become a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of war children, veterans, and those who just come here to honor the heroes who gave their lives for peace on earth, the farther of Elmira will come here. He will be coming to Volgograd every year on May 9, and will be searching among the granite slabs with the names of the dead soldiers, the name of his father, whom he is proud of, and insanely regrets that he knows him only from his mother’s stories and from old photographs yellowed from time.
“At present, my dad is 78 years old,” Elmira Samandarova says. “But he still continues to go to the Eternal Flame, and is getting sad when watching films about the Great Patriotic War. Grandmother said that the long-awaited son of Tangrybergen was born in the same year when he was called to the front. She informed him in a letter about this joyful event, but never found out if my grandfather had read this message. My father and me continued to going to Volgograd and even found the surname of Samandarov on the plaque among the lists of the dead, but the capital letter does not match the name of my grandfather. His name is Tangrybergen, and on the marble, there is a letter “A” instead of the capital “T”. Although we do believe that, it could be a mistake, and this is our dead relative.
Elmira talks about another front-line hero. Her grandfather’s brother – Jumamurat Ishchanov – was an intelligence agent, fought near Ukraine. Carrying out a secret mission with a co-worker, Jumamurat was mortally wounded in his left leg and could no longer move by himself. The comrade with whom they were on a mission did not leave him, but put him in his coat and delivered his friend on his back to the medical unit.
After spending four hard months in a military hospital, Jumamurat managed to restore his health, but, unfortunately, the doctors amputated the soldier’s leg. Suffering the loss, Jumamurat began to write poetry, and his first poem was devoted to his “lost” leg. In it, a soldier says goodbye to his leg, as with the “living” part of himself, realizing that he will never be the same again.
“This story is like a plot of a sad movie,” Elmira continues. “I always tell it to my students so that they know about the feat of their compatriots and are proud that such heroes lived on our land. Jumamurat returned from the front to his native Dashoguz, and when a son was born to his closest relatives, he asked to name the boy in honor of the very friend who had saved his life. After the war, Jumamurat himself had a large family – 10 children, including 6 boys and 4 daughters. He lived to a very old age and on solemn occasions, he was very fond of putting on his jacket, hung with medals and orders.
Recently, Elmira Samandarova became a laureate of the XIX International Pushkin Competition, publishing an essay about the Great Russian poet. This year, on the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory, she again sent her essay to the competition, only now it is dedicated to the victory over fascism. Elmira dedicated the following verses to her grandfather:
… years have passed. There is no war anymore.
The son is now over seventy years old.
Every year he went to his father,
To say “Thank You” to him.