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Reminder of courage, kindness, sensitivity and understanding

German Chernobyl: People, Places, Solidarity, Future exhibition arrives in Belarus

By Yaroslav Demidov

The exhibition details the events around the Chernobyl disaster, its consequences and the international solidarity movement which appeared in Europe after the accident. Numerous Chernobyl initiatives were established across Europe in the early 1990s and continue their work today.

After opening in early 2011, in St. Peter’s Church in Dortmund, the exhibition has toured 50 German towns and been visited by over 42,000 people. Now, it is touring 25 Belarusian towns from 2012-2013.

“A unique pan-European movement of solidarity has promoted the creation of bridges of mutual understanding. This is set against a background of conflict resolution between the West and the East, the opening of the ‘iron curtain’ and the development of contacts. We are implementing definite projects regardless of the political situation,” notes Peter Junge-Wentrup, CEO of the Dortmund International Educational Centre.

Twenty five years after Chernobyl, over 500 initiatives have been operating in Germany alone, including via the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical communities.

The exhibition acknowledges the heroism of the liquidators who extinguished the fire and cleared the reactor’s fourth unit during the construction of the sarcophagus. They prevented even greater disaster across Europe, at the expense of their health and, sometimes, their own lives.

The exhibition’s tour of Belarus allows us to remember the liquidators’ bravery and is inspiring another project: to record their recollections as an audio archive for the future. It’s vital that we understand the sacrifices made by others, as it encourages a responsible attitude towards ourselves and towards all that surrounds us.

The second component of the exhibition comprises works by famous German photographer Rudiger Lubricht, who has been inspired by the Chernobyl theme for many years. His shots will be on show in Belarus alongside children’s drawings dedicated to the Chernobyl topic.

“It’s important that the informative part of the German exhibition is extended in Belarus, to include information on how the Belarusian state has worked to mitigate the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. One section describes how energy saving, renewable resources are the most promising for the nation,” notes the Director of the Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange, Victor Balakirev.

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