Faces of Deportation

About the photographer

Zarema Yaliboylu was born into a family of Crimean Tatar exiles the city of Gelendzhik (Russia) in 1986. When she was five years old, the family moved to Simferopol. By that time, the Crimean Tatars were finally allowed to return to Crimea.

Zarema started to engage in photography when she was 16 years old. Initially, photography was just a hobby – she also studied Law at Taurida National University. Only after graduation Zarema decided to become a professional photographer.

For eight years, Zarema Yaliboylu has been creating a film archive devoted to old Crimean Tatar houses, meeting with her fellow countrymen in their native villages in Crimea, taking portraits of the elderly Crimean Tatars as well as youth in national dress.

Zarema Yaliboylu is the author of several photo exhibitions.
Zarema’s dream is for her archive to become part of a comprehensive museum devoted to Crimean Tatar history.

Nuri Asanov


86 years old



He was born in the village of Buyuk Ozenbash, Bakhchysaray district.


In this village, the population had actively helped the anti-Nazi partisans. Therefore, during the deportation, people for a long time could not believe that they were driven being driven from their homes.
The Nuri family was taken to the Syuren station in the Bakhchysaray district, where cattle cars were waiting to take them on days long painful journey.
The family ultmately found themselves in Uzbekistan.

After returning to Crimea in 1989, they settled in Simferopol.

Dilyaver Muhterem


82 years old



He was born in the village of Ayvasil, Yalta district.


“On May 18 we were awakened from sleep by loud knocking on the door. At the door stood an officer and two soldiers with machine guns. They ordered everyone to gather their belongings and immediately gather outside.

We were brought to the Simferopol train station and loaded into cars intended for the transport of horses. There were so many people that there was enough space only to sit. As to any facilities, there were none.”

Dilyaver returned to Crimea in 1989.

Leniye Minabilova


84 years old



She was born in the village of Salgir Kyat, Krasnohvardiysk district.


In early 1944, the family lived in anticipation of the return of her father from the front. Crimea at that time was already free from Nazi troops. But on the morning of May 18, the family was awakened and forcefully expelled from home.

I will never forget the sounds the train rumbling or the wagon doors clanging shut. In the course of the deportation, my brother and sister died.

In 1975 she returned to Crimea with her family. In 1995 they moved to Simferopol, where she still lives.

Leylya Apti


90 years old



She was born in the village of Ayvasil, Yalta district.


At 4 AM on May 18, 1944, soldiers came and told us to rapidly collect our things because we were being deported. After all the Crimean Tatars from our village were gathered on the main square in the neighboring village, I was able to return home and pick up a few things.
My grandparents wound up in another car. We found our relatives much later, after arriving in Asia.

In 1990, she was able to return to Crimea and lives in Yalta”.

Zevide Ismailova


84 years old



She was born in the village of Kurtluk, Karasubazar district.


The family was deported to the Uzbek city of Namangan. Over the course of the next three months, two children and the father died, while her mother lost her hearing.

Since the children were in danger of starvation, she left them in an orphanage.

Zevide returned to Crimea only in the early 2000’s.

Izzet Izzetdinov


81 years old



He was born in the village of Chamly Ozenbash, not far from Sevastopol.


On May 18, 1944, Soviet soldiers burst into his home and ordered everyone to leave immediately and go out into the street. There trucks were waiting to take them away. The family at that time included seven children.
They all remembered how long and painful the journey was.

Izzet returned to Crimea only in the early 1990’s His family was not allowed to settle in his native Sevastopol. He now lives in Simferopol.

Vasfie Khairova


80 years old



She is the older sister of the leader of the Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Dzhemileva, born in the village of Boz, Dzhurchi district.


In the evening of May 17, 1944, trucks began to assemble in the village.

The next day, the entire family was taken away to Uzbekistan in a freight car.

The train reached its end point in Andizhan region, Uzbekistan. After returning from the war front, her father succeeded in locating the family and they were reunited.
Vasfile returned to Crimea in the early 1990’s. She lives in Simferopol.

Adile Ametova


84 years old



She was born in the village of Dermenkoy, Yalta district.


Our family was deported to the Urals. I remember that on the way many people died. At the final destination an ambulance was waiting.
They asked if there were any sick people and took away our grandmother. No one has seen her again. Our younger brother also died soon after.

We lived with the hope of returning to Crimea. But settling in our home village after return turned out to be impossible. Since 1990 I live in Simferopol.

Ayshe Gaziyeva


87 years old



She was born in Sudak.


A few years later the family moved to Alushta. During the war, her father died from illness.

On the way to exile she fell ill with typhus. Only when they were already in Asia, she was taken to a hospital.

In 1991 there appeared the possibility to return to the homeland.

In 1991 there appeared the possibility to return to the homeland.

Nariman Abdurakhmanov


75 years old



Before deportation his family lived in the village of Kadikoy, Balaklava district.


On May 18, 1944, Nariman’s mother, in the last stages of pregnancy, was awakened at 4 a.m by NKVD troops. With only a few minutes to gather some belongings, the family was brought to the Syuren trains station in Bakhchysaray district. Nariman was born in a freight train on the way to Samarkand.

After his return to Crimea in 1975, Nariman has organized annual reunions of former residents of his native village. He lives not far from Simferopol.