Posted: 20.04.2024 11:14:00

Which sites will receive money earned during nationwide subbotnik

Memory update

Nationwide subbotnik (voluntary labour day) is taking place today in Belarus. The generated funds will go exclusively for good purposes: 35 percent will be given to the Gomel Regional Executive Committee to reconstruct the Children – Victims of War memorial complex in Krasny Bereg and the same amount will be earmarked to the Brest Regional Executive Committee to create the Republican Centre for Patriotic Education of Youth on the premises of the Kobrin fortification of the Brest Fortress. Another 30 percent of the funds will be spent to reconstruct and restore memorials and places of military glory located in the regions and in the city of Minsk.

In the footsteps of feat

The construction sites of the Republican Centre for Patriotic Education of Youth on the premises of the Kobrin fortification of the Brest Fortress were given the status of an All-Belarusian youth construction site.

Director of the Brest State Regional Centre for Youth Creativity Viktor Ivanov shows what has already been done in the Republican Centre for Patriotic Education of Youth. The territory, freed from weeds and old trees, has been beautified. Builders have begun finishing work in the barracks of the 125th Infantry Regiment of the Red Army which will house a dormitory for 200 students. Due to comprehensive assistance, the general contractor Brestzhilstroi promises to commission the facility ahead of schedule – by late 2024 – instead of March 2025, as was planned.

“The President declared this project an All-Belarusian youth construction site, and young people are actively involved in the work. Since November 2023, more than 1,500 volunteers have worked here, including 200 students from different universities all over the country. The youngsters are trying to work hard,” Viktor Ivanov said.

An educational complex is being created on the historical territory of the Brest Fortress — on the premises of the regional youth patriotic centre, which was established five years ago in the headquarters of the 125th Infantry Regiment of the Red Army, built in the 1930s.

The casemates of the tenaille front and the Western Fort structures will also be adapted for the needs of the centre.

The first stage of construction envisages the reconstruction of a barrack room to accommodate 200 students, the arrangement of a zone of summer tent camps for 300 places, as well as military sports and playgrounds.

The youth construction is funded from three sources: the funds of the republican budget, the money generated during the nationwide subbotnik (50 percent of the earned income was received in 2023), and donations. The charitable account of the Brest Regional Executive Committee’s Capital Construction Department has already received over Br3m from citizens, enterprises and organisations.

Viktor Ivanov drew attention to the fact that since the creation of the Brest Fortress in the post-war period, such a large-scale construction project was launched on the territory for the first time,

“We are carrying out work on reconstruction, restoration, and renovation of our historical heritage. The project will enable us to unite all patriotic work in the country, to unite all patriotic clubs – there’re about 40 of them in each region – into a patriotic park. It will help us educate and comprehensively develop our younger generation.”

The work on the creation of the Republican Centre for Patriotic Education of Youth is managed by Belarus’ Defence Ministry together with the Brest Regional Executive Committee.

Memorial in Krasny Bereg to be supplemented with museum

During the Great Patriotic War, Krasny Bereg became the site of one of the most cynical and disgusting crimes committed by the Nazis on Belarusian land. In 1944, the occupiers created here a transit concentration camp for children who were used as donors. Boys and girls aged 8 to 14 years old – taken from families in surrounding villages and neighbouring areas – were brought to the barracks. According to eyewitnesses, mothers, distraught with grief, came for their children and threw themselves onto the barbed wire. Driving them away, the camp guards shot at women’s feet.

Young prisoners were kept in barracks, and a laboratory was equipped in the manor house. One of the rooms had a kind of screen with a hole in the fabric. The child was forced to stick their hand through it and blood was drawn – later sent for analysis. If the child was healthy, a tag indicating age and blood type was hung on the chest. Such children were taken to Germany to become donors for wounded Wehrmacht soldiers. According to available archival data, at least 2,000 children passed through the camp.

In 2007, a memorial complex was unveiled dedicated to the memory of children who became victims of the Great Patriotic War. Since then, tens of thousands of visitors from different countries have attended this site. Over time, the need for large-scale reconstruction arose.

Initially, the memorial was designed in the open air. Now the construction of a museum with an area of about 900sq.m is in full swing.

According to the design project, it will include exposition, exhibition and film lecture halls, enabling to improve the conditions for receiving excursions and delegations. The works kicked off on March 30th, during the regional subbotnik, with funds earned during the nationwide labour volunteer day accelerating the pace of the site reconstruction. Meanwhile, employees of the Zhlobin Museum of History and Local Lore continue to collect archival materials and exhibits for the future museum.