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TATAR PRINTING IN THE NAZI POW CAMPS / ANTI-SOVIET PROPAGANDA / WWII: Tatar Xalьq Çьrlarь [Tatar chalyq čyrlary / Tatar National Poems]



An extremely rare pamphlet with Tatar nationalistic anti-Soviet songs was printed in a Nazi POW camp in a program to retrain the Muslim prisoners of war from the Soviet Union to fight on the German side.


12°. 66 pp. with black and white illustrations, [2 pp.] blank, colour illustrated wrappers, stapled (slightly age-toned and stained, otherwise in a good condition).


This exceedingly rare pamphlet with Tatar songs was printed in a prisoner-of-war camp Wustrau, north of Berlin, which was a branch of Stalag III-D.

The motifs of the texts are revolutionary and try to prove the long history of the Tatar rebellion against Russia: first against the tsarist Russia and then against the communist Soviet Union. The last part includes village and other songs. The lyric was in parts corrected and adjusted to the contemporary spirit.

The Tatar, Caucasian and Turkestani prisoners of war, who served in the Soviet army, were separated by the Nazis from the other prisoners in Stalag III-D and were placed in the Wustrau branch. The Germans encouraged the formation of nationalism among these Muslim groups, whose identity, culture and religion was supressed under the Soviets.

The intention of the Wustrau POW camp was to retrain the Muslim soldiers to fight against the Soviets with hope to regain their countries and right to their culture.

From 1943, groups such as Tatarische Leitstelle (Tatar Office) und Tatarische. Kampfbund (Tatar War Association) were founded in the prison camp, both of which started publishing pamphlets with traditional stories, poems and modern texts. According to one of the texts, the intention of such publications was of pure nationalistic nature:


The main goal of the quality literature is to educate the reader and our people in general in the nationalistic direction. To educate the reader in the nationalistic direction means to learn to love his own nation, to serve it and to fight for its happiness and independence.

(Chämidi, Tatar Ädäbiaty 1944. Translated from German from: Cwiklinski 202, p. 93).


The editor of our book, Šihab Nigmati, arrived to the camp in 1942 with the first group of prisoners and was one of the Volga Tatar pioneering publishers in the prison camp.

The letters used for the publication are Latin with additions of Turkish and Russian characters. The Tatar immigrants, who came to Germany in the time of the Russian Revolution and were also publishing nationalistic literature during WWII, on the other hand preferred writing in Ottoman characters, as that was the writing of their homeland in the time they left.

All the publications, made by the Tatar POWs in Wustrau are exceedingly rare, as they were only published in small quantities.

Worldcat mentions the title without any listed examples in libraries.

References: OCLC 754984383. Sebastian Cwiklinski, Wolgatataren im Deutschland des Zweiten Weltkriegs : deutsche Ostpolitik und tatarischer Nationalismus, Berlin 2002

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