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Khatyn Memorial Complex

In the middle of the field, the occasional bell strikes. He weeps for the dead, tortured and burned alive people who were not destined to live to see victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Khatyn memorial complex became a memorial for 185 villages that were never rebuilt. Their inhabitants died at the hands of the Nazis, the memory of them lives on in our hearts, and their names are carved on granite slabs set on the symbolic cemetery of the villages.

History of Creation

After the liberation of the country from the invaders, many settlements were destroyed, especially the villages in places of active guerrilla movement. Often residents were shot or burned by being locked in a barn or house. A third of the families in Belarus have lost someone close to them. The erection of the Khatyn Memorial has become a tribute to the victims and a constant reminder to the living of the consequences of fascism, and a warning to posterity.

Khatyn Complex in Belarus

Immediately after the end of the war there was no opportunity to pay tribute to the dead civilians, wooden obelisks were placed on the sites of destroyed villages and hamlets. This is what happened with Khatyn. The monument had the number of houses and the number of dead. According to accounts, only three of the entire village managed to survive. These are the two boys and the blacksmith Joseph Kaminsky. After the Nazis left, he found his son’s body. He lost his entire family that day. Later it was his image that became the prototype of the central sculpture of the memorial.

In 1966, the government decided to erect the Khatyn monument in Belarus and announced a competition for the best design. As a result, a team was formed that included Gradov, Zankevich, Levin, and Selikhanov. Three years later, the monument was unveiled.

Khatyn in our time

Not much has changed on the property in half a century. The birches have grown taller, the ground under the base of the monument has sagged a little, but the bell is still ringing, urging people not to forget the horrors of World War II. A map of the Khatyn memorial is available in any tourist booklet.

Khatyn Memorial Complex

The territory of the complex occupies 50 hectares. The center of the complex is the sculpture “Unconquered,” depicting the only surviving resident with his dead son in his arms. It is made of bronze and is blackened according to the artistic design, symbolizing the resilience of a man who has passed through the fire of the fire.

The site of the mass burning is marked by a slab in the shape of the roof of the barn where the tragedy took place. The remains of the dead are buried next to each other in a mass grave, and a plaque with a symbolic injunction from the dead to the living is placed over it. The names of the residents are embossed below.

During the creation of the complex, the layout of the village was preserved. On the site of each of the 26 houses are symbolic log cabins with an obelisk resembling a stovepipe. Each is crowned by a dark bell. The names of the inhabitants of the house are embossed on it, with an indication of their age. In place of the wells were laid slabs with a recess, where rainwater collects.

Every 30 seconds there is a synchronous strike of 26 bells.

It is very hard to be in a village cemetery. All that was left of the houses and residents of 185 settlements were mourning urns with earth, the rest was burned to the ground. Only the names on the commemorative plaques remain. The map of Belarus no longer mentions these villages. Nearby stretched the Wall of Sorrow. Its 66 niches contain the names of the concentration camps that operated in the country during the occupation.

Khatyn, Belarus

Amazing by its capacity, the composition is located on the Square of Memory. There are three birches growing on the pedestal, and an eternal flame burns in place of the fourth as a symbol, as a reminder to the living of those who are gone forever.

A little to the side is the Tree of Life and the museum, its exposition is based on photos and documents from the wartime period when the memorial was built.

The Khatyn memorial complex has an important historical significance. It is necessary for patriotic education of the younger generation, awareness of the need to keep the peace and by all means oppose the revival of fascist ideas.

Location and hours of operation

Khatyn - how to get there, on the map

The complex can be reached by highway Minsk-Vitebsk. You need to go to the signpost 54 kilometer and turn right, after 4.5 km. A parking lot will be opened for visitors. Mode of the museum: from 10.30 to 16.00, except Mondays. You can enter the territory for free, the cost of the excursion is 35 rubles, for children and students there is a reduced rate.

The most convenient way to get from Minsk to Khatyn is to come as part of a tour group.

Khatyn on the map of Belarus

Feedback on a visit to Khatyn

Nadezhda, 48 years old:

My husband and I came from Kaliningrad specifically to visit the memorial complex. Among his distant relatives were those who died in one of the settlements. Since this place cannot be found now, we come here, to the cemetery of the villages. Every time a storm of feelings rises in the soul at the sound of the bell. It takes a genius to create such a strong impression, equally effective on people of all ages. Observed a tour of teenagers. They were noisy as they got off the bus and abruptly fell silent as they approached the Eternal Flame.

Andrew, 24 years old:

The first time ours was brought on a tour of Khatyn as part of a history lecture in the first year of the institute. I remember how stupefied we came out of there. The strongest impression has not been erased in four years. For some reason, I wanted to come here again, after graduating as a historian, to look at the memorial once more. Again the feeling of hopelessness of knowing that so many people died in favor of the idea of the superiority of the Aryan race, voiced by a generally mentally ill person, overtook me. The terrible aftermath of fascism, not stopped in time and spreading over half the world, serves as a constant reminder to posterity. An amazing combination of simplicity of forms and symbolism of images clings to the soul.

Video overview of Khatyn


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