Soviet childhood: homelessness and neglect of children in Central Kazakhstan during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945)

The article addresses children's everyday life during the Great Patriotic War on the example of homelessness, neglect, child delinquency in Central Kazakhstan. The number of children without parental care has increased significantly compared to the pre-war period. However, there were frequent cases of neglect, crime among children living in families. The state took upon itself all the care of Soviet children and a certain transformation took place in society in relation to war orphans. Despite all the measures taken, homelessness, neglect and, as a result, juvenile delinquency were a serious problem.The issues of homelessness and neglect of children in Kazakhstan during the war years are poorly studied today. The authors for the first time designated the regional aspect of the problem of child homelessness and neglect. Documents from the Archive of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Central State Archives of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as the State Archives of the Karaganda region are being introduced into scientific circulation. The article presents the general picture on the issue of homelessness and neglect of children in Kazakhstan by regions, as well as the work of children's receivers of the NKVD and measures to combat these phenomena. Despite the fact that the state and society was doing colossal work with the negative consequences of the war for children, the problem remained relevant and required large material and labor costs, more thorough work in matters of upbringing, education and organization of children's leisure.


Children, as the most vulnerable part of society, react most sharply to any negative changes. Homelessness, neglect, juvenile delinquency, as social phenomena, have always existed, but they are exacerbated precisely in difficult periods of history for the state, such as revolutions, wars, epidemics. Homeless children were considered as the children completely cut off from their family, without a permanent place of residence and occupation, or neglected children with weakened care by their parents or persons replacing them (lack of upbringing influence, control over pastime, connections, behavior).

During the Great Patriotic War, the number of homeless and neglected children throughout the USSR increased. Researcher of the military and post-war history of children's everyday life V.M. Korenyuk identifies three reasons for the appearance of homeless and neglected children during the war years: death of relatives in the war and rear, evacuation and loss of contact with parents and relatives, flight of children from orphanages, boarding schools, factory training schools, tinkering schools [1; 152]. The fate of millions of Soviet children during the war, especially in the occupied territories, was crippled [2]. Orphanhood and war for children in the theater of war were practically identical. A large number of studies by Russian authors, historians and sociologists, lawyers, psychologists, teachers are devoted to the problems of orphanhood, which show how difficult the situation of orphans was during the Great Patriotic War [3]. Modern Kazakhstan historiography partly concerns this issue, but there are no special works in this direction yet. The works of Z.G. Saktaganova, G.B. Sugirulimova, S.D. Shaimukhanova, K.K. Dzhumagalieva, and other researchers are devoted to the problems of homelessness in the 1920s and 1940s [4].


The historical-comparative method was used as a fundamental research method, which makes it possible to compare the dynamics of the increase in the number of homeless and neglected children, both in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), and in Central Kazakhstan in particular. Using the method of analysis, the reasons for such a sharp increase in the number of street and neglected children during the war

*Corresponding author email: years, as well as the increased child crime were identified.In addition, other special-historical research methods were used: historical-systemic, historical-typological, historical-genetic and others.

Results and Discussion

The problems of homelessness and neglect of children also took place in those territories where there were no hostilities. According to a study by the Soviet author A.M. Sinitsyn: “In Kazakhstan, in 1943, 29 350 homeless and neglected children were detained. In 1944, this figure increased significantly. Of the total number of detained street children in Kazakhstan in 1943–1944, 81 % did not have parents “ [5; 293]. Researcher M.S. Zinich writes that in the Kazakh SSR, as in a number of other regions of the USSR, they did not fight the problems of homelessness, neglect and hooliganism among children. In 1943, 27,850 street children were detained in Kazakhstan, 19,470 children in the Chelyabinsk region, and in the Molotov region the number of homeless children increased by one and a half times compared to 1942. The author notes that according to the results of the check in the above regions and republics, the commissions for the placement of children left without parents were actually inactive [6; 180]. In the Karaganda region, 797 children were detained in the first half of 1943, of which 470 were homeless, 327 were neglected [7; 451- 452].

Along with homelessness, neglect of children was a serious problem. L.M. Bliznyuchenko, President of the Public Association of Orphans of the Great Patriotic War of the Republic of Kazakhstan, says that war orphans are children with a difficult childhood: there was no father, the mother was at work all the time, and the kids were just growing up, they had to help the family and at works. They had no childhood at all [8]. In fact, war orphans are neglected children, due to objective circumstances, who did not have constant control and guardianship by adults.

According to the materials of the reports of the People's Commissariat of Education, in the first third of 1941, in a number of schools of the Kazakh SSR, educational work was unsatisfactory, cases of criminal offenses and anti-moral behavior (theft, hooliganism, sexual promiscuity) increased among children. Many parents placed all responsibility for their children’s upbringing on the school. As noted in the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Kazakhstan, issued in January, 1941 «On educational work among children and on measures to combat child crime, neglect” sides of a number of party and Soviet organizations. The judicial bodies, the prosecutor's office and the police did not sufficiently fight against child homelessness and neglect, did not use all the rights granted to them to liquidate criminal groups and the possibility of their appearance. Progress in the 1st quarter was 77.8 %, 37463 people dropped out from schools in the republic, including 18,950 people for an unjustifiable reason (in total, in the 1941– 1945 academic years in the Kazakh SSR, there were 1,142,618 students) [9; 49]. This was the situation in the republic before the start of the war. However, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, the problems of homelessness, neglect, child criminality increased many times, since there were much more social, material, psychological, and other problems in society. Evacuated children from orphanages, boarding schools, as well as families of special settlers began to arrive in the republic. Besides, in families where the head of the family went to the front, and the mothers were forced to spend most of their time in production or agriculture, the children were left to themselves, their upbringing was mainly carried out by state institutions. In addition to the lack of upbringing, there were serious material difficulties in the families of the front-line soldiers. Although some assistance was received from the state, in fact, these measures were not enough to maintain normal living conditions for the family. Thus, according to the children's rooms of the police, a significant number of detained children engaged in begging, petty theft and petty trade are the children of front-line soldiers, whose families, due to the lack of assistance from the relevant organizations, could not create the necessary living conditions for the children. For example, L. Navalenova is a 12-year-old girl and the daughter of a front-line soldier who has been at the front for 3 years, sold ¼ liter of milk and ½ kg of sausage on the street. The girl's mother, who has three children, due to the latter's illness, as well as the lack of clothes and shoes, was unable to work, and therefore became a donor and instructed her daughter to sell her donor rations in order to buy bread for the children. The girl Navalenova, who was in the 5th grade, left school. Another example, Viktor Anikin, a 3rd grade student, whom his mother sent to begging, since, working as a cleaner in the same school, she received 90 rubles in salary and was not able to feed three children. Anikina's husband was at the front, the family did not receive any help [10; 24].

In the certificate “On the state of child homelessness, neglect, crime and the work of children's institutions in the Kazakh SSR” for 1944, there is information that the materials at the disposal of the NKVD of the Kazakh SSR indicate a significant increase in child homelessness, neglect and crime in the republic. In 1944,the militia seized 35, 488 homeless and neglected children from the street, including 27, 289 by the territorial militia and 8199 by the railway militia [10; 23].

Table 1 presents information on the seizure of street and neglected children in 1944 in the context of the regions of Kazakhstan.

Table 1

State of child homelessness, neglect, crime in the Kazakh SSR in 1944


Children arrested in 1944

1 quarter

2 quarter

3 quarter

4 quarter




















East Kazakhstan


















West Kazakhstan






























North Kazakhstan












South Kazakhstan












Department of the Railway Mainline of the Turkestan-Siberian railway






Department of the Railway Mainline of the Karaganda railway










The table is compiled on the materials of the Archives of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

F.708. I.8. C. 1345. 23 P.

In the second and third quarters, the number of children detained on the streets was increasing in almost all regions. This was due to the fact that with the arrival of warmth, children began to run away from orphanages, foster families.Someone in search of parents, relatives, someone was looking for better living conditions, wandered, begged, some joined criminal gangs, were engaged in theft, robbery. Also, a significant increase in children taken from the street in the second half of the year, according to the materials of the reports, is noted mainly at the expense of children of special settlers in a number of regions: Alma-Ata, Kostanay, Kyzyl-Orda, North Kazakhstan, Aktobe, and others. Only from one Aktobe region, out of the number of children delivered to the reception center during 1944, 1,378 children turned out to be: Chechens — 526, Romanians — 68, Germans — 98, Moldovans — 30. According to the Alma-Ata children's reception center, out of 376 children delivered in October 1944, 115 people — Chechens and Ingush. The largest number of children detained and taken to the reception centers was in Alma-Ata, Aktobe, Kyzyl-Orda, Kostanay, Dzhambul and Semipalatinsk regions. In total, 14,732 people entered the children's reception centers of the NKVD of the Kazakh SSR in 1944. A survey of children admitted to the reception centers and a subsequent checkup revealed that the main reasons for the homelessness of these children were: loss and death of parents — 8011 cases (71 %); lack of supervision by relatives, especially by working single mothers — 1284 cases (11 %); material insecurity of relatives, most of whom are families of front-line soldiers — 1907 cases (17 %) [10; 23].

A large influx of detained children fell on reception centers, which were located near the railway line and at junction stations. The materials of the reports of the NKVD Directorate of the regions contain information that in the North Kazakhstan, Kostanay, Akmola and other regions, there were still a significant number of unsettled children and adolescents who did not have relatives or who for various reasons lost contact with their families. Most of these children lived in villages, did not study anywhere, did not work, were engaged in begging and theft. It was not possible to assign them to orphanages due to their overload, and the opening of new houses through the People's Commissariat for Education was too delayed [10; 23].

In the first half of 1944 in the Karaganda region, according to the report of the UNKVD inspector, junior police lieutenant Shchegolikhina, 470 homeless and 327 neglected children were detained, 63 children from among the street were sent to the children's reception centers of the NKVD, 407 were employed, 227 of the neglected were returned to their parents. In the second half of the year, 293 street children and 45 neglected children were detained. Of the street children, 122 were sent to the children's reception centers by the NKVD distributors, 181 were employed, and 45 of the neglected were returned to their parents. In the first half of the year, 265 children were from the families of workers, 35 were from the families of employees, 5 were from the families of collective farmers, and 23 were not identified. In the second half of the year, 25 children were from families of workers, 9 — from families of employees, 6 — from families of collective farmers, 5 — not identified. As a result of an inspection by the police, a fine was imposed on 59 parents who allowed their children to be neglected. 16 children were taken to court for criminal prosecution. Since the Karaganda region is an industrial region, there were accordingly a large number of workers, and as the figures from the report show children from working families more often than others were detained by the police [14; 12].

For five months of 1945 in the Kazakh SSR, the NKVD bodies, together with the executive committees, seized 13,916 street and neglected children in cities, railway stations and rural areas, 4510 of them were transferred to children's reception centers, 4,510 people were sent to orphanages, 2,403 people were sent to labor colonies — 409, to hospitals — 509, to agriculture — 104, to the railway — 28, to a factory training school — 231, employed — 156, transferred to parents — 407. In total, in the first quarter of 1945, 3200 people were admitted to orphanages, both existing and newly opened. In the first quarter of 1945, 1,715 children left orphanages, 424 of them were employed or sent for training, 595 were transferred to their parents, 105 were adopted or taken on foster care. As of May 1, 1945, there were 179 orphanages in the republic with a contingent of 27,330 people [10; 8].

Along with the growth of homelessness and neglect in the republic, there was an irreducible level of child crime. The number of crimes committed by minors in the USSR in 1942 in comparison with 1941 increased by 61 %, in 1943 — by 180.6 %, in 1944 — by 192.3 % [12; 17]. On June 1, 1943, the Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars and the Central Committee of the Supreme Party (bolsheviks) No. 174a “On the implementation of the resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (bolsheviks) to combat homelessness and neglect among children” was issued, which noted an increase in crime among minors and, that in comparison with 1942, it has grown in the republic by more than two times. A particularly high crime rate was among children of the Karaganda, South Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata, and Dzhambul regions. A commission was created to combat child crime, as well as plunderers of food in children's institutions [12, 40].

In the Karaganda region, detained street children were accommodated in the orphanages of the People's Commissariat of Education: in the villages of Kompaneisky and Maikuduk, in two orphanages of the Osa- karovka district, in the Karkaralinsky district and deaf children — in a boarding school for the deaf in the village of Novaya Tikhonovka, in the children's reception center of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs in the village of Maikuduk educational colony of the NKVD in the village of Shokai, Telmansky dis- trict.In 1944, 80 juvenile criminals were brought to criminal responsibility in the region, of whom 28 were students, which was 35 % of the total number of those involved. Minors were prosecuted for the following crimes: robbery — 18 people, including 15 students; theft — 39 people, including 10 students; bodily injuries — 12 people; rape — 4 people, including students. The presence of criminals among students, according to official conclusions, was explained by the fact that the bodies of the People's Commissariat for Education did not carry out the necessary educational work with students, did not organize the correct and cultural leisure activities with the latter [13; 1–8].

The most widespread types of crimes were skilled, simple and pocket theft. Among the minors brought to criminal responsibility, the most typical were hooliganism, rape, theft. For example, pupils of the 6th grade, school № 8 in Karaganda — Glushko V.P. born in 1929; Palkin N.S. born in 1929, a member of the Komsomol, who worked at the Parkhomenko plant; Vefetin A.P. born in 1929, a student of the shoe workshop of Kazpromsoyuz, together with Ivotskin N.I. born in 1927, who did not work anywhere, conspired to rape a 5th grade student Mishanina Elizaveta Vasilievna; they went to see her off at night, led her into the mine subsidence No. 18, where they committed violence. Both of them were brought to criminal responsibility. In the city of Petropavlovsk, 4 schoolchildren, headed by a citizen Korotkova Y. Ya. born in 1930, agreed to commit an apartment burglary along Kommunisticheskaya Street No. 108. The group was decomposed, theft prevented. In the city of Alma-Ata, Lvova G.F. and her adult daughter, taking advantage of the lack of parental supervision, organized a gang of children and youth, which in a short period of time committed more than 20 burglaries in the city. The stolen things were brought to Lvova's apartment, then sold in the markets. With the proceeds of money, Lvova arranged for the gang members at home, on Kalinin Street, house No. 70, group drinking parties, accompanied by debauchery, in which 14 people took part [10; 25].

Since childhood criminality during the war years acquired a wider scale, the number of convicted children and adolescents held in labor colonies increased, and from 1943, labor educational colonies began to be created for homeless and neglected children and adolescents detained in minor crimes (petty theft, hooliganism). The detention of children engaged in vagrancy, begging, hooliganism, juvenile criminals was entrusted to the police. Since 1943, children's reception centers and labor colonies from the jurisdiction of the Gulag were transferred to the NKVD.

As noted by E.F. Krinko, analyzing the offenses committed during the war years, notes that most of the crimes had mercenary motives, among them theft, robbery prevailed, the number of rapes and manifestations of hooliganism increased significantly. On the contrary, the students did not take part in premeditated murders, infliction of grievous bodily harm; cases of speculation were rare due to lack of access to material goods [14; 28].

In 1944 in the USSR, minors committed 64 640 crimes, including 61 robbery and murder, 581 murders, 3166 robberies and 54774 thefts. Children and adolescents mostly committed theft — 84.7 % of the total number of crimes [6; 180–181].

In 1944, 80 juvenile criminals were prosecuted in the Karaganda region, of whom 28 were students, which was 35 % of the total number of those involved. Minors were prosecuted for the following crimes: robbery — 18 people, including 15 students; theft — 39 people, including 10 students; bodily injuries — 12 people; rape — 4 people, including students [13; 1–8].

Since child homelessness is directly related to orphanages, their role was peremount for the prevention of child crime (living conditions of children, moral and psychological climate, educational work). There were facts of mass escapes from orphanages. More than 100 children, who fled from orphanages of the republic, were admitted to the reception centers every month. In total, in 1944, 1820, children who fled from orphanages and, Factory and Workshop School entered the receivers. On October 1, 1945, 496 children fled from orphanages and 459 children died. The highest mortality rate occurred in the first quarter of 1945, since at that time malnourished children entered orphanages, and the orphanages did not have enough food to restore the health of the children [15; 147–148]. The main reasons for escaping from orphanages were: poor living conditions, rude attitude towards children, unwillingness to study, attraction to the street, leaving to visit relatives in the liberated regions.

Children under 15, detained by the police on the street were sent to reception centers, where the status of the child was determined within two weeks, and if it was not possible to return the child to their parents or legal guardians, from there they were assigned depending on their age. Children under 14 were sent to orphanages, and over 14 years old, according to the resolution of the Council of the People's Commissariat of the USSR No. 697 of 06/26/1943 “On the employment of adolescents over 14 years old — inmates of orphanages, labor colonies of the NKVD of the USSR and children left without parents” — to hire children from orphanages, reception centers, without parents over 14 years old (send to vocational, railway schools and schools of Factory and Workshop School, as well as to industrial enterprises) [12; 4-13]. So, juvenile criminals were sent to colonies of the NKVD or labor educational colonies.

As noted by the researcher A.A. Slavko, despite the measures taken to expand the number of closed- type labor colonies for minors, they were overcrowded, which slowed down the pace of the fight against child homelessness, neglect and crime. In this regard, in the middle of 1943, a new type of colonies was created — labor educational colonies for homeless and neglected children [16; 46].

In 1943, due to the accumulation of a significant number of homeless and neglected children, the NKVD bodies of the Kazakh SSR were forced to open in the Karaganda region on the basis of the premises of the former correctional labor colony for adults, the Shokai labor educational colony for keeping 250 children. However, the Shokai labor educational colony, where there were no necessary conditions for organizing industrial training of pupils, in August, 1945, was eliminated.The inmates of this labor colony were sent to other colonies. When checking the state of work in organized labor educational colonies, serious shortcomings were found, both in the organization of consumer services and in industrial training of pupils [17; 156].

Not only children from the “street” were sent to children's colonies or labor educational colonies, but also children from orphanages, who regularly violated discipline, were noticed in hooliganism, theft, etc.According to the Order of the People's Commissariat of Enlightenment of the KSSR No. 3218 dated 01/13/1945, in order to streamline the sending of children from orphanages to labor educational colonies of the NKVD, it was required a special regime: the director of the orphanage shall issue a personal file for each of these pupils and send them to the Regional Department of Public Education.From there to the head of the NKVD Directorate. Upon receipt of the order from the head of the NKVD Directorate, the head of the Regional Department of Public Education will hand over to the director of the orphanage, who must send the pupil to a labor educational colony. Do not allow such children to flee from orphanages. Put on proper clothes for the season and provide food for the entire journey [18; 1].

On 01.01.1945, there were 15 children's reception centers of the NKVD on the territory of Kazakhstan, of which 14 were deployed in regional centers and one was located at the junction railway station Arys. For 1944 14,732 children and adolescents were admitted to the reception centers of the NKVD of the Ka- zakhSSR [10; 27].

When interviewing children admitted to reception centers, it was found that the main reasons for their homelessness and neglect were the material insecurity of the families of military personnel and single mothers, due to the lack of assistance from local organizations; the death of parents at the front and in the front line; loss of parents during evacuation and for other reasons; escapes from orphanages, factory and workshop schools, vocational schools, as well as from places of employment due to poor living conditions and the lack of serious educational work with children and adolescents.In the last months of 1944, there was a large influx of homeless and neglected children from among the special settlers (Chechens, Ingush, Germans, Karachais, etc.). Many children from the countryside were engaged in vagrancy, because local enterprises and collective farms did not employ these children.

The conditions of the stay of children, even temporary, in the reception centers of the NKVD did not always meet the requirements. For example, a survey of the children's reception center of the NKVD in the village of Maykuduk on 03/01/1945 showed the following: the children's reception center was designed for 20 people, consistsed of one common room, where children spend the day — playing, eating, studying, and 3 bedrooms (2 boys and 1 girl). The temperature in the children's centers was low, the children are sitting near the stove. The walls in 2 rooms were damp, which can be a source of colds, the beds are placed along the walls. The provision of linen and bedding is insufficient, children sleep on mattresses without sheets. There is no isolation ward for sick children. Medical care was provided by a nurse who calls the doctor if necessary. There are enough medicines, except for the dressing material [19; 3]. In reception centers, children were fed 4 times a day. Here is a sample menu for one day: breakfast — stewed cabbage with tea, lunch — borsch with pork, mashed potatoes with butter, afternoon tea — tea with white bread, dinner — porridge, tea [19; 190].

On January 23, 1942, the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR adopted the Resolution “On the Arrangement of Children Left without Parents”, which stated that the most important state matter was the placement of children left without parents, and the implementation of measures to prevent child homelessness. According to this Decree, it was ordered to ensure the identification of all street children and place them in reception centers [20; 103].

The most obvious way of the state's struggle against homelessness was the definition of children in children's institutions — preschool-type orphanages (3–7 years old), school-type children's homes (7– 14 years old), in the hostels of Crafts schools, Factoryand Workshop school, Railway schools (from 14 years old), in collective and state farms (from the age of 14). This concerned children who were left without parents or legal guardians, or in the event of their abandonment of parental rights or guardianship.

For children living in orphanages, it was compulsory to undergo labor training. The People's Commissariat of Education and the departments of public education obliged to achieve full coverage of orphans, neglected children and children of the Red Army in orphanages who could not provide supervision for children; to cover all inmates of orphanages with school and labor training, to achieve high academic performance and industrial work; to provide children in orphanages with the mastery of a particular specialty. Instruct the State Planning Committee of the Kazakh SSR to include in the plan for the supply of equipment and raw materials for educational workshops of orphanages [21; 144]. One of the types of struggle against homelessness and neglect was the introduction of adolescents to work by mastering a profession. For this purpose, inmates of orphanages were trained in workshops to obtain a working specialty or in subsidiary plots to master an agricultural specialty. Unfortunately, problems arose with labor training in the training and production workshops, not all pupils were covered by it, due to the lack of materials, as well as labor instructors [22; 24].

After graduating from schools, teenagers from children's institutions went to production or to work in the countryside. People's Commissariats, People's Communal Services and all industrial enterprises were obliged to provide the necessary conditions for the former inmates of orphanages working in their system [21; 144]. Since many adolescents, due to their age, physical development, could not always fulfill the duties assigned to us, and often, due to a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the issue, they simply could not go to work, disrupt the work process, etc., after which, were punished for violation of labor discipline, and during the war years, it was a serious crime. As a protest, or finding an alternative way to solve problems, especially having already had experience of living on the street, they could return there and begin to lead the old way of life — vagrancy, begging, hooliganism, joining criminal groups, etc.

Unfortunately, children who officially had a place of residence, parents or guardians, were also not spared by the influence of the street. Children, who were detained on the street by the police and engaged in begging, illegal trade on the street, caught stealing, etc., were neglected.The reasons for this behavior were associated with material problems in the family, lack of parental control. Unfortunately, a large percentage of neglected children were children from families of front-line soldiers.The situation in such families was rather gloomy: fathers on duty went to war to defend their homeland, mothers were forced to work for two to provide for themselves and their children, but often this was not enough to simply feed their children. Someone lacked the qualifications for higher earnings, someone lacked health, and, in general, the situation in the country was such that there was practically no opportunity in families to fully engage in raising chil- dren.Responsibility was largely assigned to government agencies, which, in turn, also experienced an acute shortage of qualified personnel. Komsomol and pioneer organizations, called upon to engage in the patriotic education of young people, also experienced difficulties with personnel selection, as well as with premises for organizing circle work, etc.Despite the fact that the state showed increased care for the children of the front-line soldiers, in fact the children of the front-line soldiers were the most socially vulnerable children during the war years. The researchers emphasized that during the war years in the USSR 273 million rubles were collected for children of front-line soldiers, a significant amount of shoes, clothes, linen, food.The number of children who used the services of various types of health institutions increased from 1.5 million in 1943 to 3.6 million in 1945 [14; 26]. In the Decrees of the People's Commissariat for Education, the People's Commissariat for Health, in official reports, the information that the children of front-line soldiers should be given the greatest attention, in comparison with children of other groups of the population, runs like a red thread. Children of front-line soldiers were among the first to go to pioneer camps, receive coupons for free additional meals in canteens, and were the first to receive medical care. However, in reality, such measures turned out to be insufficient to ensure normal living conditions for the children of front-line soldiers. In the reports of the NKVD, we find information that homeless and neglected children very often came from families whose fathers served in the ranks of the Red Army.

One of the means of combating neglect, albeit ineffective, was the organization of health campaigns during the holidays, visits of children to sanatoriums, and paramilitary camps. Although during the war years, especially in its first years, there were difficulties, of a financial, personnel, organizational nature, nevertheless, the state showed concern for its young citizens [22]. In the memorandum of the Karaganda city department of public education for July 26, 1943 “On raising children, combating homelessness, neglect and recreational activities among children” On June 1943, on the upbringing of children, the fight against neglect and recreational activities among children of the Karaganda regional council, the executive committee of the Karaganda city council, in the corresponding direction of this decision, carried out the following: 27 outposts were organized in the city at schools with a coverage of 3092 children; 27 playgrounds were organized at schools with coverage of 2,600 children; a pioneer camp (on Kapykhta) was organized with the calculation of 1600 students in three turns, mostly miners' children; a children's sanatorium was organized (at Kokpekti) with a calculation in three turns with a pass for 350 children; 650 students were employed in various industries during the vacation time; a children's room was organized in the city at the 3rd police station (Mikhai- lovka village); throughout the city, by the efforts of teachers with the involvement of social activists, a preliminary census of children subject to general education in the 1943–1944 school year was carried out.

In the city of Balkhash, as in Karaganda, measures were taken to combat homelessness and neglect among children. As of October 19, 1943, workshops (knitting, toy, shoe, tinsmiths) worked throughout the summer at secondary and incomplete secondary schools, where 60 students worked. The agricultural work was attended by students from three schools of the city in the amount of 250 people. It worked out 9,900 man-days, earned 40,800 rubles, 31 pairs of shoes, 160 meters of silk. The following work was done on health campaigns: the number of outposts in the city was 4, with coverage of 506 people, pioneer camps and recreation areas covered 500 people. But, unfortunately, a children's room has not yet been opened at the police department — a receiver, although funds in the amount of up to 40,000 rubles were allocated, the room had already been found, but the city police were not engaged in repairs or equipment of this room, and street children spent the night everywhere: on stairs, in garbage pits, etc. [23; 34].


Homelessness and neglect of children during the Great Patriotic War became a serious problem for the state and society. Existing before the war, these problems have intensified many times over. Childhood crime became even more widespread as a result of the neglect of children and constant material shortages. Children were literally forced to lead a criminal lifestyle, to join criminal gangs because of everyday problems, hunger, lack of attention from loved ones, educators, and public organizations. The most sad fact was that in many cases, the children of the Red Army, the children of those who defended their homeland on the battlefields, giving their lives, remained unsettled in society. It cannot be categorically said that the state did not take any measures to improve the lives of children left without parents, but these measures were, most often, insufficient.



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  8. Shvich, S. (2015). Deti voiny [Children of War]. Industrialnaia Karaganda — Industrial Karaganda, 65 [in Russian].
  9. Central State Archives of the Republic of Kazakhstan (further CSA RK). F 1692. Op. 1. D. 624 [in Russian].
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  11. Emelin, S.M. (2010). Organy vnutrennikh del v borbe s detskoi besprizornostiu i beznadzornostiu v gody Velikoi Otech- estvennoi voiny (1941–1945) [The internal affairs bodies in the fight against child homelessness and neglect during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).]. Vestnik ekonomicheskoi bezopasnosti — Economic Security Bulletin, 5, 17-24 [in Russian].
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  14. Krinko, E.F. (2006). Detstvo voennykh let (1941–1945 gg.): problemy i perspektivy izucheniia [Childhood of the war years (1941-1945): problems and prospects of study]. Vestnik Adygeiskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta — Bulletin of the Adyghe State University, 4, 25–31 [in Russian].
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  16. Slavko, A.A. (2009). Ispravitelno-trudovye uchrezhdeniia dlia nesovershennoletnikh narushitelei v Sovetskoi Rossii 1917– 1952 godov [Orrectional labor institutions for juvenile offenders in Soviet Russia 1917-1952]. Tver: Tverskoi gosudarstvennyi uni- versitet [in Russian].
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  20. Zhiromskaya, V.B. (2018). Rossiiskie deti v kontse XIX–nachale XXI v.: istoriko-demograficheskie ocherki [Russian children in the late XIX–early XXI century: historical and demographic essays] / Zhiromskaya, V.B. & Aralovets, N.A. Institut ros- siyskoy istorii Rossiiskoi akademii nauk; Nauchnyi sovet Rossiiskoi akademii nauk po istoricheskoi demografii i istoricheskoi geo- grafii [Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences; Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences for Historical Demography and Historical Geography]. Moscow: Institut Rossiiskoi istorii RAN; Tsentr gumanitarnykh initsiativ [in Russian].
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  22. Saktaganova, Z.G. & Abdukarimova, Zh.K. (2021). Povsednevnost detei Karagandinskoi oblasti v gody Velikoi Otech- estvennoi voiny: ozdorovitelnye kampanii v period letnikh i zimnikh kanikul [The daily routine of children of the Karaganda region during the Great Patriotic War: health campaigns during the summer and winter holidays]. Vestnik Yevraziiskogo natsionalnogo universiteta imeni L.N. Gumilyova – Bulletin of the L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, 2, 63-78 [in Russian].
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Year: 2021
City: Karaganda
Category: History