Thursday, September 29, 2011

New book from Germany; Cengiz Dagci dies at the age of 92

On September 27th, the Gasprinsky Library hosted the authors of a new study of German occupation in Crimea called Reemtsma auf der Krim or Reemtsma in the Crimea: Tobacco production and forced labor under German occupation 1941-1944. The authors of the book, Karl Heinz Roth and Jan-Peter Abraham, were here to present their work. Dr. Karl Heinz Roth, is the co-founder of the Hamburg Foundation for the Social History of the 20th Century and is the author of numerous books and magazine articles on the social, economic, medical and scientific history of the 20th Century. Jan-Peter Abraham is a lecturer of Slavonic studies in Ukraine and Moldova and has translated numerous books from Russian and Czech.
Reemtsma in the Crimea documents the activities of the Hamburg tobacco company, Reemtsma, during the German occupation in Crimea in which approximately 20,000 people were forced to work in the tobacco fields and processing plants. The book contains many interviews of present day survivors of the occupation period.
Reemstsma in the Crimea is of particular interest to the Gasprinsky Library because tobacco farming existed mainly in the mountainous region of southern Crimea which at that time was mostly inhabited by Crimean Tatars. Its documentation of the ruthless exploitation of the population in the Reemstsma tobacco operation adds an important piece to the history of Crimea during the Nazi occupation.
For more information, please see the publisher website

On September 22nd, we received the sad news that Crimean Tatar novelist Cengiz Dagci had died in London at the age of 92. He is best known for his novels describing the tragic conditions of Crimean Tatar life between 1932 and 1945, as people struggled to survive between the Russian and German occupiers. Dagci wrote his novels in Turkish and they have never been translated into English. However, his novels were widely read in Turkey and are attributed to keeping alive the Crimean Tatar cause in that country.
As I did in my blog post of August 19, 2010, when the Gasprinsky Library celebrated Cengiz Dagci’s 90th birthday, I will again print his poem about the Crimean Tatar people and their ability to survive:
Aren't Crimean Tatars
a tree which is
supposed to die,
not to get greener
and not to give
new branches?
Since the day that they
lost their independence,
there wasn't any day
passed without
chopping the branches

of this tree, but
again new branches
came out of its body.
These branches were
not allowed to grow
and were chopped
again. But branches
came out again.
At the end,
this tree is chopped
at its root,
and thrown away
on a lonely, desert land.

But again new branches
come out of this body
and get longer and
longer, and they reach
to the land where
this tree was planted
one thousand years ago.

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