On May 17th, Documentary Film "1944" to Be Premiered

Fresh Production Group and the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine present the documentary film “1944.”

On 18 May 1944, before 5am, someone knocked at the doors of all Crimean Tatars. Men were still on the frontline, and only women, children, and senior people were in Crimea. They were taken from their homes, put on cargos for cattle, and left in Central Asia and the Ural. In the film, the story of deportation is told by people who suffered it. They share their memories of the days of deportation; freight trains; the first years in exile, when thousands of people were dying of hunger and diseases; and how they managed to survive in such inhuman conditions. In total, 191,044 Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported, and 46 percent of them subsequently died.

The film’s directors, Fatima Osman and Yunus Pasha, did their best to allow Ukrainian and world audiences to find more about the tragedy of 1944, and let them feel and share the pain of history—so that such things will never happen again. The documentary film “1944” is an attempt to show what was unknown before. Personal stories that every Crimean Tatar family has must remain in the memory of posterity.

The first story, and the key storyline, is the story of Fatima, the film’s author. She knows about the deportation first-hand, and wishes to tell her kids about it—how she was born in exile in the 1950s; what she knew about Crimea from her relatives; and only at a mature age did she visit her native village, where her family had been deported from, for the first time.

The second story is the story of Fetiie, whose father was shot by Germans for helping guerrillas. On the night of the deportation, she was at her friend’s place, who was later deported to the Ural. Her mother ended up in Uzbekistan, and, being a kid, she walked a long and fearsome way to find her family.

In 1944, Khatidzhe Kurtasanova turned 12. She was the eldest of six children. Her father was taken to the Labour army; her mother was in the neighbouring village on the night of the deportation. For nearly half a year, she could not see her children because of the curfew. And when she did manage so, she found that only three children had survived. The others had died of hunger. The next morning, Khatidzhe’s mother died, and later, one of her sisters passed away, too. 12-year-old Khatidzhe took her only sister to an orphanage, thus saving herself and her from starvation.

Sadykh Adzhy-Selimov’s paintings is a separate storyline in the film. These are real stories witnessed by Sadykh-bei. They depict the deportation, a long way towards the areas of exile, children starving to death, and Crimean landscapes making the heart warm. For 20 years, Sadykh Adzhy-Selimov translated his memories in paintings. He was persecuted by security services, but he did manage to preserve his works. They appear throughout the film and show the story of the Crimean Tatar deportation.

The solemn premiere of the film is dedicated to the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Crimean Tatar Genocide.