WWII Memorial Complex "Hatyn"
This tour introduces the memorial complex dedicated to the victims of Nazism in Belarus that was built on the territory of the village burnt with all its inhabitants in Spring 1943 by Nazi. Thus this village doesn't exist anymore. Khatyn has become a symbol of the tragedy of the Belarusian people, a mournful page in the history of the Great Patriotic War.
The memorial complex was open at the place of the destroyed village Khatyn in 1969.
Khatyn reveres the memory of nearly three million Belarusians who died in World War II.
Until 1943, Khatyn was a usual Belarusian village to the north east of Minsk.
The massacre occurred on March 22, 1943. Nazi rushed into the village and encircled it. The fact was that in the morning a group of nazi was attacked just 6 km away from Khatyn by partisans. As a result a German officer was killed. The death sentence to the innocent inhabitants of Khatyn was a revenge of German soldiers. All people - young and old, women and kids - were driven from their houses out into the barn. Nazi had mercy neither for the old nor for women with children in their arms.
149 people, including 75 children under age were burned alive. Only one adult, 56-year-old Joseph Kaminsky and 2 boys survived the attack.
Khatyn's story is not unique. In the Great Patriotic War 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.
Nowadays Khatyn memorial complex has 26 chimneys with bells - one for each of the houses in the village - which ring out every minute. Each chimney has a plate where listed family members who died. 6m bronze statue called "The Unconquered Man" - stands at the center of the memorial complex - memory to Joseph Kaminski and his son.
Two vast granite plates mark the place where the barn was located. Further into the memorial there is a cemetery for the villagers, and memory wall with figures about victims of Nazi in every region of Belarus. Also there is a small museum with photo gallery on the territory of memorial complex.