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    There are many war memorial in Belarus. Some look alright, while other could have been designed by better by Soviet sculptor.

    Khatyn memorial (not to be confused with Khatyn’ of Smolensk where Poles were executed by NKVD) is one of my favourite memorial.

    Until 1943, Khatyn was a usual Belarusian village to the north east of Minsk. But on March 22, 1943, after a skirmish nearby in which a German officer was killed, the occupying German forces encircled the village. All the inhabitants were rounded up and taken to a barn, which was then set on fire. Some 149 people, including 75 children, died. Only one adult, 56-year-old Joseph Kaminsky, survived the attack. He found his injured son but was unable to save him. Khatyn’s story is not unique. In the Great Patriotic War (World War 2) the inhabitants of 628 Belarus villages were burned alive by the Nazis. 186 of these villages have never rebuilt. After the war, a memorial to all those who died across Belarus was built on the site of the former village. A handful of soil from each of the 185 burned and never rebuilt was brought to Khatyn to create a symbolic graveyard. Khatyn became the 186th village, the site of this symbolic graveyard. As a haunting reminder of the horrors of war, it has become one of the most important places in Belarus.


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