Hatyn (Translated by Leo Sutkin and Grif)
We are completing our trip to Belarus by visiting Khatyn - former village located approximately 50 km from/outside of Minsk.
In the spring of 1943 the village of Khatyn was completely destroyed by Nazis, as a revenge for the death of a German officer at the hands of partisans(guerillas). The people of the village including the women and children were pushed into a barn and set afire. Then, the village itself was burned to the ashes.
In 1969, a memorial complex was constructed here.
Caption to the right (in Russian and Belarusian):
“On the 22nd of March in 1943 the Nazis destroyed the village of Khatyn along with its inhabitants. In Belarus, the occupiers turned to ruins 209 towns, 9200 settlements and villages. In the hands of the captors 2,230,000 Soviet citizens died. This will not be forgotten!”
The memorial takes up a large territory and is done nicely. In style, it can be compared with the Piskarevsky memorial in St. Petersburg..
The statue “Stalwart” – a monument to the single surviving villager – Joseph Kaminski, blacksmith, whose son died in his arms from wounds and burns.
Caption in front of it:
“Khatyn is not the only one – 186 other villages along with their inhabitants burned to the ground on our Belarus soil.”
On the plaque on the left side of the photo is an inscription:
“Dearest people remember – we loved life and our Homeland, and you as well. We were burned alive. Our request for all of you: Let your grief and sorrow turn into the courage and the strength to reaffirm peace and tranquility on Earth. So that henceforth, nowhere and never in the swirls of fire will life be extinguished!”
Project authors – architects Y. Gradov, L. Levin, V. Zankovich, and sculptor S. Selikhanov.
As written by L. Levin:
“Work on the project captivated us, we came up with log foundations at the sites of former homes, obelisks in the form of chimneys, but something was missing. Overgrown by grass field, a witness to the tragedy, held a dead silence. And suddenly, in this brooding silence a lark began to sing unexpectedly. “Sound, there has to be sound here!”, - such was the birth of the bells of Khatyn”.
Here you can see symbols of burned huts and their gates.
On the tops of the “chimneys” are small bells, which sound in unison once every minute.
The inscription reads:
“World, over time, doesn’t remember such heinous acts all over our land. The Nazis built monstrous death camps. Stalwart people died there, with the firm belief in the victory of their Motherland”
Each niche symbolizes a particular death camp.
Trostenets (2 km from Minsk) was 3rd or 4th by the number of victims.
And written inside is the number of people that died in there.
On this note, we finish our visit to Belarus and head home.
Right over the border, in the Pskov region, a stork greets us.
And right before the settlement “Gorodok” – the pothole in the road, and a row of cars, changing a blown right front tire. We joined in this interesting activity :)
I would also express my thanks for transportation and the company to Vitaly Lunyov and Oksana.