On May 18, 1944 all the Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea.


At the time when about 30 thousand Crimean Tatar men fought in the Red Army, their wives, children and elderly parents were loaded into cattle trains for alleged betrayal.


The eviction operation of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea began on May 18, at 5 am in the morning with knocking at the door. All the Crimean Tatars were loaded into cattle trains and prevented from returning home for almost half a century.




According to the decree, special migrants were allowed to take personal belongings and products in the amount of 500 kg per family. But in fact, they were given no more than 15 minutes to get ready.


According to the same Decree of the State Defense Committee No. 5859-ss, one doctor and two nurses had to accompany each echelon, and provide special migrants with medical care and food.




In fact, about 8 thousand people died on the way from hunger and disease. And people weren’t allowed even to bury the dead. Their bodies were just dumped from the wagons. On the way, which took about 20 days, people were allowed to eat only salted fish, others were not allowed to eat at all.


Crimean Tatars were deported to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Urals and other republics of the Soviet Union. The NKVD report states that in the autumn of 1944, 193,865 people lived in places of exile.




In the first years of deportation from hunger and disease, according to various accounts 15 to 46% of the population died.


The Crimean Tatars who fought in the war were deported directly from the Red Army in May 1945.


It was only at the end of the 1980s that the indigenous people of Crimea were able to return to their homeland on a mass scale. But it was preceded by a long, non-violent struggle for the right to live at home.