The Deportation of 1944 in the Cultural Memory of Crimean Tatar People (the Case of Literary Works of Ervin Umerov and Shamil Aladin)

UDC 008[341.43″1944″:821(=512.19)]

Nadiia (Nadia) Honcharenko

Institute for Cultural Research of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Kyiv.

ORCID 0000-0003-2588-0991


Keywords: cultural memory, communicative memory, Crimean Tatar literature, the deportation, Ervin Umerov, Shamil Aladin, Ukrainian translation.

Abstract. The article deals with the coverage in works of literature of the forceful deportation of Crimean Tatar people in May, 1944. Here, literary works are seen as functioning elements of cultural memory of the people. The works in question are Ervin Umerov’s short stories Loneliness, The Black Trains, The Permit, and Shamil Aladin’s novels Invitation to Devil’s Banquet and I’m Your King and God, recently published in Ukrainian translations. The importance of Ukrainian publications of works of Crimean Tatar literature, telling i. a. about the deportation of 1944, is determined by the persistence of negative stereotypes and anti-Crimean Tatar bias cultivated for decades. In the XXI century, much has been accomplished by scholars and journalists in order to deconstruct historic myths, i. a. the Stalinist black legend about Crimean Tatars’ “treachery” during the 2nd World War. True facts about the deportation of 1944 were publicized as well. Back in Soviet times, when telling the truth about tragic past directly was impossible, Crimean Tatar writers saw their mission in preserving at least some of the people’s memories in their works of fiction. The emotional and aesthetic power of historic fiction is of key importance in bringing images of the past to contemporary readers. Memories of the deportation of May, 1944 were parts of their life experiences both for Umerov (1938–2007) and Aladin (1912–1996). In their works written mostly during Soviet period, they transformed into fictional accounts both their own experience and tragic memories of their compatriots, using multi-layered plots, subtext and Aesopian language so as to bypass Soviet censorship.

Author Biography.

Nadiia (Nadia) Honcharenko, Junior Research Fellow, Institute for Cultural Research of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Kyiv.


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Published: March 10, 2020.

Vol 17 No 1 (2020).