Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Halime Ebe (born in Chita) with Bulent and Myself

Chita Mosque 1902

Hotel Dauria

Gorod Station (Main Train Station)

Amurskaya Ulitsa

View from Atomonovskaya Square

Chinese Image of Chita

I know nothing about the city of Chita, Siberia. My Father was born in Kobe, Japan, where there was a sizable Tatar community. His Mother was born in Chita. She's the Ebe that ended up living here in California. She would watch Lawrence Welk FULL BLAST and refer to him as "Lawrence Wreck". I know that there are Tatars in Siberia. I'm not sure what year she left Chita for Japan. Her name was Halime and she was very sweet to us. She worked very hard minding us.

When I watch Lawrence Welk, I think of her.

"At the end of the 19th century many Muslims settled in Chita, attracted by its trading potential. These Muslims were mainly of Tatar origin. They settled down near the Jewish quarter and built a mosque. Many Tatars resident in Chita today are their descendants.
Perhaps due in part to the influence of the early revolutionary exiles, Chita was a center for worker unrest in the early years of the 20th century. After Father Gapon and his workers were massacred in St. Petersburg in January 1905, Chita became a center for worker demonstrations, which led to armed revolutionaries taking control of the city and declaring the "Chita Republic". Troops sent by the Tsar quickly crushed the new government and its leaders were severely punished on the slope of Titovskaya hill.

She was occupied by Japanese between 1918-1920. From 1920 to 1922 Chita served as the capital of the Far Eastern Republic. From the 1930s through the end of communism, Chita was a closed city. During this period, foreigners were prohibited from travelling to Chita as were many Russians. The basis for the closing of the city was apparently its proximity to China and military installations. During World War II, a significant number of Japanese soldiers were taken by the Russians as prisoners of war. Through whatever machinations present at that time, they were put to work in the construction industry. In the centre of Chita you will find buildings with a definite hint of Japanese style. The buildings are not overtly Japanese, but they definitely differ from the other styles present.
In 1945, Pu Yi, the "Last Emperor of China", and some of his associates were held prisoner in the city, in a former sanatorium for officers."


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