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Main » Articles » ISSUE #3

How do we spend the Victory Day

It happened so that in the beginning of May I visited some of my relatives in Belarus in a small town called Zhlobin.  And for me this vacation was really something special.  Unexpectedly for me it all turned to be devoted to the Victory Day. 

I found the town very pretty, green and extremely clean. It was all decorated with flags, thematic pictures and beautiful flowers.

One evening,  when we were having dinner,  my aunt started talking about her childhood . She was born in 1941. During the War her family was evacuated from the Far East to Siberia and they had to stay with some of their relatives. Her family had almost nothing to eat. But the host family was quite rich and had some sacks of grain in their house. So time and again my aunt’s mother had to scratch some grains from the sacks to feed her children. Once  the host noticed that there was less grain in the sack that it should have been, and she told about it to my aunt’s mother. Her answer was: "You may beat me as hard as you want but it doesn’t matter to me because all I need is to feed my children”.

The next day the weather was not very good but we went on a car tour around the town. We were taken to a place called "Krasny  Bereg”. This memorial for Belarusian children – the victims of nazism made a deep impression on me. There one can see school desks as many as a normal classroom can house and a blackboard. They are placed in the open air, between  the forest and the apple orchid.  "One of the concentration camps for children was situated here during the War. For those children whose blood the Nazi took for their soldiers of Wehrmacht , and those who survived were sent to Germany to work. This memorial is in memory of children who struggled the nazi hell and died . In memory of children who had no childhood, children who will never take their sits at their desks, children who will never draw their future.” – says the note at the memorial. 

The Nazi brought over 1900 children from the neighboring towns to Krasny Bereg. There were over 260 concentration camps for women and children in Belarus. 

   On the blackboard there is a letter of a fifteen year old girl Katya Susanina from Belarus who was a German Nazi slave for the 1943. This letter was found inside a broken Russian ‘pechka’ after the city of Liozno was cleared from Nazi invaders in 1944. This girl was so desperate that in the day of her 15th birthday she decided to kill herself. 

Before doing this she wrote a letter to her father. On the envelope she wrote: "Dear man or woman, who ever finds this letter hidden from the German fascists,  please, as soon as you find my letter, mail it to my father. By the time you find it, my body will be already hanging dead on the rope.”

   This letter brought tears to my eyes.

What I liked about Belarus is that they love their country and the policy of the government is aimed at making people be proud of their country. They respect and value their history. Every teen that turns 16 years is greeted with a huge beautiful book about Belarus. Almost everything about the country of Belarus can be found in this book even the Belarus cosmonauts.

On our way to Mogilev we stopped at the Village Luchitsy to observe a great monument devoted to 6 soldiers – 6 heroes of the Soviet Union. On top of the hill there is a huge figure of guslar glorifying their great dids.

When I got on the train to Moscow everywhere was the sound of the old songs about the Victory Day. And I felt even more solemn.

The thing that stroke me when I got to Moscow on the 9th of May was a very old Veteran on the Belarus train station. Obviously he was coming back from The Parade on the Red Square. He was moving really slowly because he was really old (just like all the veterans who are vanishing as years pass by) and he seemed to be lost. Why if he was invited to the Parade and if we (as we claim) are proud of what he did and grateful to him for his acts of bravery, why those who invited him couldn’t make sure that he gets home safe?  Doesn’t  it really mean anything to us?

I remembered my mother saying: What will happen when there will be no veterans to tell us about the War, what will happen? Will there be another history? Will it all be forgotten?

                                  written by Anna Simonova

Category: ISSUE #3 | Added by: Guzeliya (12-May-2011) | Author: Anna Simonova
Views: 1036 | Comments: 2 | Tags: Russia, Belarus, Nazi, World War II veterans | Rating: 4.8/9
Total comments: 2
Having read this I once again thought how little I know even about geographically close countries like Belarus or Ukrain.
I happend to have only grannies and both served on the home front. Unfortunately I didn't ask a lot about that difficult time but I learnt about some painful and tragic moments form local history lessons and veterans that used to visit our school on the eve of Victory day.
I think that the real history lives in people - as long as they're alive we remember it.

I was in Belarus when I was 16. I remember our visit to Khatyn very well. It used to be a village not far from Minsk but in 1943 all inhabitants were burnt by the Nazis, only one survived. Of course, it isn't a unique story about WW2, but Khatyn became a memorial to all those people who died across Belarus during that war. Now it's a symbolic graveyard: there are many chimneys with bells that ring out every hour. To be honest, I was quite light-minded in my teens, I didn't think much about such serious things like war and peace, life and death, etc. Khatyn changed something in me, I felt pain in my heart and realized how life might be short. And I feel deeply obliged to all veretans. Victory Day is a great holiday for all our family.

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