Spring 2006 (14.1)
Sadigzade (1932 - )
was only five years old when both her father Seyid Husein and
mother Ummugulsum were arrested. Her father was shot almost immediately,
while her mother was sentenced to eight years in a prison camp
in central Russia. Gumral and her three older brothers were left
in Baku in the care of a niece. We have Gumral to thank for organizing
her mother's poems, prison diary and the correspondence with
her children. Gumral's diligence has led to the publication of
what is, perhaps, the most sensitive Azerbaijani literary record
of a mother's pain and anguish during that period. Pages 40, 46,
a three-months' search, we finally found the son of the author
who penned the insightful memoirs, "Bitter Days of Kolyma"
(originally published in Russian as "Gorkiye Dni Na Kolime"
in 1999, and a shorter version in Azeri in 2001). Dr. Mirza
Baghirov (1927- ) was only a child of 10 when his father
Ayyub Baghirov (1906-1973) was arrested in 1937. He saw his father
again 18 years later. Thanks to Mirza for publishing this superb
account as soon as he could after Azerbaijan gained its independence.
Mirza holds a doctorate in technical sciences and has served
as Rector of the Polytechnic Institute (14 years) and Lankaran
State University (8 years). p.58.
have Turan Ibrahimov, son of the late Aziza Jafarzade
(1921-2003) and the nephew of Ahmad Jafarzade (1929-2000), to
thank for introducing their works. Excerpts from the works of
both Aziza and Ahmad are published here in English translation
for the first time. See Aziza's "Burning Our Books"
(24), and Ahmad's poetry
"Hey Yusif" (31)
and his short story "Seven Days in 1937", which reflects
the fears of children growing up at that time (26).
Unfortunately, space precluded our publishing Ahmad's other valuable
memoirs here such as "Unfinished Diary" and "Unnamed
Heroes" and collected bayatis (traditional poetry).
a doubt, there's not a single person in Azerbaijan who has been
left untouched by Stalin's purges. The Repression Society (President
Ashraf Mehdiyev) has undertaken the gargantuan job of identifying
names, dates and locations. Sunyakhanim "Husniyya"
Javadova, who works there, helped us enormously in tracking
down the stories for our last two issues about Stalin. Without
her constant initiative in suggesting names and telephone numbers,
our job would have been so difficult to document this tragic
era in Azerbaijan's history. To our knowledge this is the first
time any of these life stories are being published in English.
Thank you, Husniyya.
Fazil Najafov (1935- ) never set foot in any Gulag camp
himself, but he has done an incredible job, recording in bronze
and stone, the psychic pain of the injustice of that period.
See his works here, in Ayyub Baghirov's depiction of the forced
labor camp of Kolyma. For more about Fazil's work and per-spective
on life, see earlier features in Azerbaijan International: "Frozen
Images of Transition" in AI 3.1 (Spring 1995), and "The
Expressive Magnificence of Stone" in AI 7.2 (Summer 1999).
Search at AZER.com. Also visit AZgallery.org. Page
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