Meaning of 1944 by Jamala & Song Story

The first place of Ukrainian Jamala at Eurovision 2016 surprised many, causing a flurry of various emotions: from jubilation to indignation. If before the start of the competition only her optimistic compatriots hoped for the triumph of the Crimean Tatar singer, then after the presentation of the performance, many experts and music critics saw her as a potential winner. A reliable indicator of the increased chances of the performer was the decrease in the odds of bookmakers for her victory.

Although Eurovision is officially considered a song contest, there has always been a place for politics in it. However, how could it be otherwise if the participants here represent entire countries and peoples. With this approach, the audience and jury members, casting their votes to the participants, will certainly take into account not only vocal abilities, artistry and entertainment performances.

Jamala, 1944 song, EuroVision

The story & meaning of the song 1944 by Jamala

It must be admitted that Susanna Jamaladinova’s performance was particularly politicized, given the theme of the song and the situation that has developed in her native Crimea. The composition is dedicated to the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944, from which the singer’s family suffered. Jamala knows about those tragic events from the memories of her grandmother Nazylkhan.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Jamala spoke about the history of the creation of the composition, and also explained what the song “1944” is about:

I am the author of this song. Accordingly, every word and every note has been through suffering. And the biggest problem in performing the song “1944” was that it was very difficult for me to cope with emotions on stage. Yes, these were tears from the experience and pride that I sing to such a large audience about the tragic fate of my great-grandmother. I mentally devoted all my performance to her.

… the song is not only about the Crimean Tatars. It’s about the pain that exists in this world. It is about repression, about the Holocaust, about genocide… The song is addressed to all those who imagine themselves to be a little king and think that they can decide the fate of people, take their lives and decide for them how to live.

When asked by a Deutsche Welle correspondent if Jamala thinks the theme of the song “1944” is too serious for an entertainment event, the singer replied:

I can’t know how Europe will vote. I just know that there are a lot more people who care than we usually think. And such people will definitely understand this song, even without understanding English or Tatar. They will understand it through music. I would really like to be supported. But the most important thing is that through the song I was able to simply address people once again. It may sound naive, but it seems to me that this is the meaning of art.

The song “1944” by Jamala received the highest number of points in the Eurovision Song Contest. Jamala represented her country – Ukraine, and deservedly brought home the victory. Her song touched the hearts of many people because of its difficult history regarding the Crimean Tatar people. He survived the deportation back in 1944, which was an absolute tragedy for him. Also, the song reflects the events that Ukraine is going through, fighting for the Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.

Jamala independently wrote both poetry and music for this composition. Her grandmother, Nazilkhan, helped her in this. Jamala recalls that her grandmother told about the terrible events that people had to go through – they were forced to leave their homes, their native land, everything they had acquired. They knew that most likely they would never come back here again.

Nevertheless, this page of history cannot be forgotten, and the song “1944” became a reminder of this. What is its meaning, why is it so touching to the quick and sits in the head?

The musical composition was created in order to remind of the historical mistakes of the past and not to do anything similar in the future. They say that history repeats itself, but the incidents of the last century that affected Crimea should not be repeated. We must make every effort to avoid war and abuse of civilians.

The song also touches upon a moral problem – a person is forcibly taken away from his native land, forcing him to leave his home built by his own hands, the garden he has grown, the household and come to a country where everything is terribly wild and alien to his soul. This break in connection with the native land changes a person, making him very angry, growing in him hatred and disgust for the one who dared to break this sacred connection.

The song reminds and directly says that the events of 1944 will never be forgotten and cannot be forgiven by those who organized this physical and moral mockery of the civilian population. The heads of the Union and the Russian Federation in particular did not take any measures to establish peace and avoid conflicts of interest. They brazenly and heartlessly took people out of their homes, committing one of the most brutal crimes during their reign.

Ethnic cleansing was carried out deliberately – during and after the deportation, according to historical sources, almost a third of the victims died. No one ever compensated them for the lost property upon returning home several decades later. Is it possible to somehow make amends to these people, who were deprived of the right to freedom and peaceful life under their native sky?

The song definitely deserves the attention of listeners – there is a lot of pain and suffering in it. Jamala has Crimean Tatar roots and is perfectly aware of the depth of the tragedy that has befallen her people. The history of this strong and strong-willed people should not be forgotten – everyone should be reminded of it, including those who organized this tragedy. There is a lot of blood on the hands of these people, because of them a lot of bitter tears have been shed. History repeats itself, but it depends on us whether some of the events from its list will repeat or not.

Song Achievements

Of course, it would be wrong to say that Jamala’s victory at Eurovision 2016 was made possible thanks to political trends. She presented a beautiful and touching song accompanied by an original and stylish production. The vocal performance of the composition was also impeccable. Whatever many skeptics say, this is a beautiful and bright victory, on which we congratulate the wonderful singer.

We are watching a music video with the song “1944”, which Jamala performs in the final of Eurovision 2016.

Video 1944 – Jamala

And now let’s watch the online official music video for “1944” by Jamala.

Lyrics of the song “1944” by Jamala

When strangers are coming…
They come to your house
They kill you all
and say
We’re not guilty
not guilty.

Where is your mind?
Humanity cries.
You think you are gods.
But everyone dies.
Don’t swallow my soul.
Our souls

YaslIgIma toyalmadIm
Men bu yerde yasalmadım
YaslIgIma toyalmadIm
Men bu yerde yasalmadım

We could build a future
Where people are free
to live and love.
The happy time.

Where is your heart?
Humanity rise.
You think you are gods
But everyone dies.
Don’t swallow my soul.
Our souls


vatanima toyalmadim

Song Quotes

It’s very personal.

Jamala, BBC

Jamala brought the best number at Eurovision this year, the best song, the best vocal performance and in general all the best to Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm … I think that not a single professional jury, if it is really professional, … can not put Jamala in first place .

Artur Gasparyan, MK

Any offensive “srach” in the comments will be cut mercilessly!

Think thrice if you are wasting your time while typing your angry opuses on the keyboard!


The Meaning of Jamal’s Song – 1944

The winner of Eurovision-2016, Ukrainian singer Jamala decided to turn to her roots in the contest entry “1944”. Jamala comes from the Crimean Tatars, but she was born on the territory of Kyrgyzstan – her grandmother was deported here in the fateful forty-fourth. Stories about the hardships that befell the deportees inspired the singer to create this song about despair, which captivated listeners and members of the Eurovision jury.

Historical overtones and meaning of the title of Jamal’s song – 1944

Crimean Tatars are a people who historically inhabited the Crimean peninsula. During the Great Patriotic War, however, the Crimean Tatars had a hard time. For three long years Crimea was under Nazi occupation. The Crimean Tatars not only fought in the ranks of the Red Army, but also formed partisan detachments that destroyed the Nazis. However, German troops recruited local residents into their ranks – some Crimean Tatars became collaborators, that is, they collaborated with the fascist army. This served as the starting point for the accusation brought against the entire Crimean Tatar people by the Soviet authorities.

On May 18, shortly after the liberation of Crimea from the invaders, the Crimean Tatars were urgently deported from the territory of the peninsula. More than two hundred thousand people were forced to leave their homes. The official accusation was that these people were helping the fascist troops, but, ironically, most of the real collaborators were evacuated to Germany, and they were not punished. Moreover, those who had fought in the ranks of the Red Army all these years were sent directly from the front to the places of special settlements.


Jamala performs the song “1944” at the Eurovision Song Contest

After the war, they tried to forget about the existence of the Crimean Tatars: until 1989, this nationality was ignored during the census, and in scientific works on the history and culture of the peninsula, the Crimean Tatars received unflattering characteristics – this was done in order to justify the cruelty of the deportation and introduce into the minds of Soviet people the belief that Crimea has always been primordially Russian, Slavic.

The struggle of the Crimean Tatars for the right to return to their historical homeland continued until perestroika. It was only in the early 1990s that IDPs were able to legally move to Crimea. In 1989, the family of the future singer Jamala also returned there. The tragic story of the 1944 deportation inspired Jamala to write a song that resonates not only with the events of the Soviet past, but also with our present.

Analysis of the text of the song “1944” and political parallels

According to the rules of the contest, the participating songs should not contain any political allusions or accusations. The jury did not see anything of the kind in the text of “1944”, although Jamala herself did not hide what event the composition was dedicated to. Of course, in the song there are no direct accusations against anyone, but they are read between the lines. Let’s take a look at the lyrics of the song line by line to understand what Jamala sings about in the song “1944”.

When strangers are coming, they come to your house, they kill you and say: “We’re not guilty, not guilty  ) – it refers to the seizure of the territory of Crimea by those for whom this place has never been a homeland. “Outsiders” are the troops of the NKVD. Murders did happen: according to eyewitnesses, soldiers shot on the spot those who did not want or could not leave, and on the road the settlers were treated so badly that many died before reaching the places of special settlements.

You think you are gods, but everyone dies ( “You think you are gods, but all people are mortal” ) – indeed, how else to characterize the consciousness of people who decide that they can decide for thousands of other human beings, for entire families and nations ? These lines are addressed to the Soviet government, but also to any tyrants for whom human lives are worthless.


Jamala performs the song “1944” at the Eurovision Song Contest

We could build the future where people are free to live and love ( “We could build a future in which all people are free to live and love” ) is already an appeal to contemporaries. Note: not “we can”, but “could” – Jamala clearly doubts that her contemporaries have learned a lesson from the sad experience of their predecessors. Involuntarily, events of the recent past come to mind: the annexation of Crimea, the ongoing military conflict on the territory of Ukraine… Jamala calls to pay attention to unresolved problems, to the tragedies that are happening next to us.

The chorus of the song is performed in the Crimean Tatar language. In translation, these lines mean “I could not spend my youth there, because you took my land from me ,” this is a quote, as her grandmother Nazylkhan told Jamala. The bitterness of these lines can only be understood by knowing the history of the unjust and cruel eviction of the Crimean Tatars from their historical homeland. And it is not surprising that a woman calls her lost homeland “her land” – after all, it was here that her ancestors lived. No one has the right to restrict a person’s freedom, to take away his land from him. This is the meaning of Jamala’s song “1944”.

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