Nazism victims' memory honored in Belarus' Trostenets

Nazism victims' memory honored in Belarus' Trostenets

Minsk last week once again become a platform for reflection on the need to draw lessons from the past and avoid armed conflicts. Foreign diplomats, veterans and clergy gathered for an international rally in memory of victims of the Nazi death camp Trostenets, where 200,000 people were killed. At the site of the former death camp now stands the monument "The Gates of Memory" and the three elm. The trees - elms - grow for a long time. However, the memory of the bloody spots should live longer. So that this does not happen again. History is the foundation of the future. "A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step" - the story of the program Week on the CTV.

German Matthias Tumpel is not for the first time in Trostenets. He is Chairman of the Dortmund International Educational Center. This is the center that supports the construction of the memorial, and has even organized a public company to raise funds in many countries.  After all, it was in Trostenets where Jews from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Austria were brought in echelons.

Mr Mathias Tumpel, Chairman of the Dortmund International Center for Education and Exchange and the general meeting of participants of the Johannes Rau Minsk International Education Center: 
This memorial is a long-time reminder about our duty. These people need to find their final resting place here. Their relatives, descendants need this place.

Even 10 years ago, few knew about Trostenets. A sort of a separate chapter in the history of the Belarusian land, bathed in blood is an internationally recognized pain today. It is Europe's largest death camp and the last stop of the genocide machine.

Here now rise the 10-meter bronze "Gates of Memory". At this place once stood a collective farm barn, where Nazi shot and burned 6,500 people only 3 days before the liberation of Minsk. More than 200,000 people were killed during the long 3 years in Trostenets.

Representatives of Belarus and foreign diplomats lay flowers. The first one to bend is the German Ambassador to Belarus. Later Mr. Dettmar admits: "We do not want to conserve the pain, we want to immortalize those moments that will become benchmarks for future generations."

Elms symbolize these benchmarks. The three trees. What is also symbolic is that the word "elm" sounds in Russian as "vyazen", which means "a prisoner" in Belarusian.

Mila Isakson-Bolotovskaya, chairwoman and coordinator of the Keshet Progressive Jewish Community's educational programs:
We are talking about the tree of life, we talk about life, about the essence. And it is important what position, what philosophy we tell our children. To continue life, they need to retain the face of the family, they need to look for peace and goodness. If we plant a tree, we should understand roots it has.

After that, diplomats, officials and the clergy prayed about the souls of the dead and for peace on the Belarusian land in the temple-monument in honor of All Saints.

And here they laid the capsule with the earth collected a week ago from several places of mass destruction.

The capsule with the earth took its place in one of the niches of the crypt, but the urn with the ashes of victims of the death camps, which has been kept for 70 years in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, was installed in front of the coffin with the remains of an unknown soldier who died on the battlefield of WWII.

Peter Dettmar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Belarus:
We have a special degree of responsibility for what happened. These massive crimes were committed by German soldiers, the Nazis. Particularly important to me is that here today we see lots of young people - the generation of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those who were killed and tortured. It is important that this never happens again.