In memory of the victims of political repression
At the hasty trials held from 4 to 16 October 1938 – at the very height of Joseph Stalin’s Great Purges – the Supreme Court of the USSR handed out sentences in the cases of 507 Uzbek political prisoners, most of them members of the Jadid intellectual movement. Some of the best minds of the nation, including writers Abdulla Qadiri, Abdulhamid Chulpon, Abdulrauf Fitrat, the first Uzbek film director and photographer Khudaybergen Devanov, scholar and publicist Gozy Olim Yunus, literary critics Qayum Ramazon and Otajon Khoshim were given death sentences, which were executed within few days and even hours.
Their works, which could arouse the feelings of national identity and people’s pride in their own background and history, remained banned for over half a century. The reading and even storage of their books was deemed a criminal offence and the names of these outstanding intellectuals were virtually erased from people’s memory, falling into oblivion.
For many years during the Soviet era, it was a taboo subject that the abandoned wasteland near the Bozsu canal in downtown Tashkent was a mass burial site for intellectuals persecuted during the great purges.
At President Islam Karimov’s request, the Memorial Complex and Museum in memory of the victims of political repression were established there. The 31st August was declared Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression.
From the early years of independence, President Islam Karimov stressed the importance of reviving the spiritual, cultural and historical heritage of the Uzbek people, and raised the matter to government policy level. The rich scientific and literary legacy of the Jadid movement’s activists began to be widely researched, their books were republished and included in school and university curriculums.