Oxana Cachilova

* 1977  

  • “Suddenly I heard gunshots, as if it were fireworks. Oh Lord, I thought, why would there be fireworks in full daylight? I jumped out, looked at the watch, it was about quarter past nine. Suddenly, I saw a bunch of people, pupils, running out from there. I thought, what could have happened? Then more gunshots. They were shouting: ‘They invaded the school! They occupy the school!’ I didn’t even have time to close the metal door. Then I thought I should close it, shots were being fired. I observed it all. The police stood nearby but they went into hiding. They hid in all corners, not even allowing the civilians to hide. Just so that they would be safe.”

  • “Then they sent us to Crimea. We stayed there for forty days. I had to explain it all over again to the psychologists… They sat down and I said: ‘Hear me well…’ And I told them the whole story. That their mother had died. He was really little back then, three years old, he can’t remember much. Sabinka celebrated her tenth birthday in Crimea. Arturek was seven. For two days they wouldn’t talk to me. The psychologists were working with them. Only the little one was cool. In two days they approached me and asked if they can call me ‘mum’. I told them: ‘Of course you can…’ So this was it.”

  • “I came out of the resuscitation department and wanted to go further. Suddenly, I halted and saw legs. I looked towards the left and could tell her by the legs. She was half-covered in a white sheet. I approached her, fell to my knees and thought, what if it isn’t her… Next to her was a fully covered child. ‘What if it isn’t her, what if it isn’t her? Dear God, let it not be her!’ I was scared but I pulled of the sheet anyway and it was her. She laid there without her blouse as she was when they shot her dead. I thought – alright, my sister. But perhaps one of the children next to her… I pulled off the sheet and it wasn’t any of her children but still my heart was hurting. I realized that this was difficult and kept telling myself: ‘Don’t scream, Oxana, there is no need. Don’t scream!’”

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    Beslan, 01.06.2014

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The policemen didn’t let the civilians hide; instead they hid themselves

Oxana Cachilová
Oxana Cachilová

Oxana Cachilova was born in 1977 In Chumolag. After graduating from high school she studied geography at a university. At that time her mother became seriously ill so she cared for her during her studies. A year after graduation she began working in a shop located next to the Beslan school. On 1 September 2004 shortly after 7 a.m. she cleaned up and opened the shop. Her daughter stopped by with her children. The older son soon ran off to the school while her sister and her daughter stayed to chitchat. At quarter past nine they left. Soon after, Oxana heard gunshots. She ran towards the school but was chased away by a masked man so she returned back to the shop. She took along a small girl who was blundering around the school and didn’t know what to do. When they tried to leave the shop the shooting began. Eventually they only left as darkness fell through the backdoor, crossing a vegetable garden. She had spent the next days waiting in the streets. When the Russian army cleared up the school and the dead and injured were transported in all directions she went to search in a nearby hospital. “Suddenly I halted; I saw legs, looked towards the left and recognized her by the legs. She was half-covered in a white sheet. ‘What if it isn’t her, what if it isn’t her? Dear God,’ I thought, ‘let it not be her!’” After finding both of the children safe and sound, Oxana Cachilova took them to Crimea where with psychologists’ help they recovered from the biggest shock. When they asked her if they could call her mum, she agreed.Translation coming soon.