Hero of the Soviet Union, Lenin Prize winner Musa Jalil is known worldwide for his immortal feat, his immortal verses. They have been translated into many languages. Books in various different languages are written about him. The name of Musa Jalil has been immortalised in his homeland in the Orenburg region, in Kazan. Magnificent opera theatre of ballet bears the name and named after the first head of the literary department. The libretto for the opera has been written by Jalil, “Altynchech”, “Fishing Girl”. Near the white-stoned Kazan Kremlin there stands a unique monument built to the poet-patriot. On February 15 there are always red carnations there…


To a Friend

Friend, do not grieve that we depart so soon.
Death lies in store for everyone on earth.
Man lay the limits of his years himself.
But years are not the yardstick of life’s worth,
Nor is the time between one’s birth and death
A credit worthy measure of its length.
Bloodspilled in the defence of a just cause
Brings heroes deathlessness, their cause-immortal strength.

– Musa Jalil. October 1943

Jalil’s Testament Written on Back Cover of His First Notebook

To the friend who can understand Tatar and will read this notebook. It was written by the Tatar people’s poet Musa Jalil. After suffering all the horrors of a nazi prison camp without yielding to the fear of the forty deaths, he was taken to Berlin. Here he was accused of being involved in an underground organisation and the distribution of Soviet propaganda … and put in prison. He will be sentenced to death and die. But he leaves behind 115 poems composed while behind bars. He is concerned for them. Out of the 115 he has therefore attempted to copy at least 60. If this little book comes into your hands, write out a fair copy carefully and accurately, keep it in a safe place and after the war get it to Kazan, have it published as the poems of the Tatar people’s dead poet. That is my dying wish.

–Musa Jalil. December 1943

Inscription on Front Cover

In prison September 1942-November 1943-wrote 125 verses and one big poem. But will they ever see the light? They’ll die with me.