samart-dudaevaSamart Dudayeva was born in 1937 in the village of Prigorodnoye. She was deported from the village of Ulus-Kert to the city of Frunze (Bishkek), Kyrgyzstan.

“Until the deportations, our family lived in Ulus-Kert. In order to support my mother and seven children our father had to work very hard.

“On February 23, 1944 we were hurriedly put onto the “studebaker” trucks, taken to the railway station and there loaded into freezing-cold rail-wagons. We were beset by pestilence almost the moment we left. The people were dying of starvation and hypothermia. The relatives of the deceased were hiding the corpses of their beloved and dear ones in the hope of burying them properly upon arrival at our final destination. But at every station the soldiers would check the wagons; any dead bodies that were found would be thrown onto the railway embankment.

“When we finally arrived in Kyrgyzstan, even those who were supposed to collect us and take us onward were afraid to approach us. In the weeks that followed, we were made to live in former stables and on stock farms. Instead of beds, we were given half-frozen bales of hay. Five members of my family died that year. My brother and I were the only ones who survived.

“Later on we were moved to Frunze (now Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan).”