Khatyn’s tragedy remembered
War veterans joined those from public organisations and labour collectives from the Minsk Region, alongside schoolchildren, in laying flowers and wreaths at the Eternal Flame. The remembrance event was dedicated to the memory of those killed at Khatyn and culminated in a mournful radio-call for the burnt villages.
Khatyn symbolises a sorrowful page in the nation’s history: the Great Patriotic War. On March 22nd, 1943, the fascists razed this village, murdering its residents; 149 people, including 75 children, were burnt after being locked in a barn. The only survivor was 56 year rural blacksmith Iosif Kaminsky.
The memorial complex honouring those killed opened on July 5th, 1969, marking the 25th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation. In fact, its first stage opened even earlier — in December 1968. Its design almost completely copies the plan of the destroyed village, with a log structure located on the site of each of its 26 burnt houses.
Inside each, an obelisk represents the original hearth and chimney, bearing a memorable plaque which lists the names of the deceased occupants. Each obelisk is crowned with a bell which rings through the day. The sculpture of the Unconquered Man is situated at the centre of the complex.
Belarus suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis, losing a third of its population. Over 9,000 villages and settlements were burnt, of which 600 were razed with their residents.