Director – Kim So-young (as Kim Jeong) – 2017 – South Korea – 87m
How an indigenous theatre company kept the culture of the Koryo people alive after they were deported by the Soviet authorities from Far East Russia to Kazakhstan in 1937 – in the documentary season: Korean Film Nights: In Transit presented by LKFF, the London Korean Film Festival
The Beijing Treaty (of 1860 although the date isn’t mentioned) ceded to Russia the so-called Maritime Province – an area of land stretching down to Vladivostock. The territory bordered on the Northwestern tip of Choson (Joseon), today’s Korea, and Chosons stated migrating into the Maritime Province, calling themselves the Koryo people. In late 1937, the Soviet authorities decided that the Koryos could potentially be Japanese spies and deported them in boarded up trains to Ushtobei, Kazakhstan, Central Asia.
The journey took two days and many children died, their corpses thrown unceremoniously out of the train at night. After the journey, the deportees faced a harsh winter, the eventual death toll rising to 40 000.
This story has been documented in Korea, but little else about the Koryos has. The first Kazakhstan Koryo settlement in Ushtobei is today marked by a memorial.… Read the rest