Khatyn Voice: CTV special report

Khatyn Voice: CTV special report

Happy faces, expectations, urban fuss. After the winter respite, nature enters a new cycle. It seems that even sun is smiling at Belarusians. On the calendar is the twenty-second day of March.

This day is sacred in national and religious terms.

Ivan Krug, ethnographer, culturologist:
The vernal equinox comes to an end. There is a turn to the light forces. It was at this time that birds return.

These are the souls of our dead ancestors.

The "golden" rules of the tribal memory and the truth of Christian morality is put together. In the Polesie region, people usually "call" spring, which is an ancient tradition. In the church, forty Sebastian martyrs are called. The event is 17 centuries old.

Throughout Belarus we remember the victims of the tragedy that happened 75 years ago.

Brave warriors froze because of their faith in Christ, defenseless children, old men and women were burned alive because they were people. Because they had Belarusian pride. Golgotha ​​for Slavs was prepared by a selected race of inquisitors of the new world order.

Vyacheslav Selemenev, Leading Researcher of the National Archives of Belarus:
When Germans came to the occupied territory, they immediately began to destroy the population.

We go back to the past on an elevator. In order to get to the truth, we must climb to the 19th floor of the National Archives of Belarus.

Yevgeny Pustovoi, CTV:
It is here that one can find the most extensive and truthful database of all the destroyed and burned villages of Belarus. Without emotions, with the clerical language of military reports, all information about the atrocities of the Nazis in the territory of Belarus is stored here, in such folders. Most of the documents are declassified, and, therefore, there should be no insinuations, legends or conjectures about military hard times in Belarus.

The "top secret" stamp was removed from documents on the occupation of Belarus in the 1990s.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
They do not want to read. It seems that everything should be clear but we still hear some speculations on this.

Here it is - the story of Khatyn - in the palm of your hand, in the hands of the main investigator of the tragedy Vyacheslav Selemenev.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
This is the German version of how the village of Khatyn was destroyed. Here, in front of you, is the German report of Major Körner. The most interesting thing is that he writes in this report that the village was not burned. Instead he says it was destroyed during the battle with partisans.

Now the Second World is often represented as a Nazi military campaign against the Bolsheviks, and some even try to justify the Wehrmacht. Some say that the geniuses of military thought, although brainwashed by ideologists of Nazism, German soldiers behaved in the territory of the theater of war with dignity. Yes.

Like in the Middle Ages: burned and tortured.

Pavel Yakubovich, publicist, journalist:
It would seem that the Prussian military has nothing in common, no relation to the SS, to all these horrors of occupation. In fact, this is not true. Keitel, despite the fact that he managed the Armed Forces of Germany, said: "We (the Wehrmacht) can not guard the entire territory of the rear. Let it be guarded by fear."

But they failed to frighten.

On the contrary, they were afraid themselves. Therefore, even for troubleshooting communications, they sent whole divisions. So it happened on that ill-fated day.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
Guerrillas made an ambush. The battle was short-lived. Partisans killed the chief of the 1st company Wilke.

Wilke was a favorite of Hitler. The only Aryan athlete, who became Olympic champion in 1936 at the Olympics in Munich - the birthplace of Nazism. Maybe because of him the village of Khatyn was burned... Was it necessary to tolerate bullying, get used to the new order, like other peoples of civilized Europe? Now people believe Hollywood stories more willingly than real events. It is more convenient, yeah...

Piotr Petrovsky, expert at the analytical center of the NGO Belaya Rus:
Why is it today unfashionable in Europe to talk about collaborationism and the victims of collaborationism? Because if we recall, you can list on the fingers those European states that resisted fascism. As for our country, there have never been such questions and doubts. And there could not be.

And Khatyn is precisely a symbol of that power, that struggle of the Belarusian people.

And this, in fact, was a national liberation struggle for Belarus. But, on the other hand, this is a tragedy. And those sacrifices that we suffered during fighting... After all, the Nazis did not kill the population for no reason. They killed people because they resisted and fought.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
The fact is that if they had not resisted, even more people would have died.  After all, what did Germans do? Most operations were aimed not at defeating partisan formations, but rather at destroying the economic and human base. They confiscated all agricultural products. All they could take. If they could not take it out, they burned everything.

They left a dead zone after operations.

This time they decided not to persecute guerilla fighters. It is more habitual to fight with defenseless peasants.

Yevgeny Pustovoi, CTV:
On the site of each log hut stands a bell, it rings every 30 seconds. Here was the home of the Zhelobkovich family.

Closest to the shed of Kaminsky.

There the Nazis drove usual villagers. According to eyewitnesses, back then the weather was about the same as today: the snow was falling and the cold wind was piercing. Women, children, old people were barefoot. The monsters sarcastically said: "Never mind, you'll still have time to warm up."

Nazism absorbed the savagery of Germanic beliefs. In this Belarusian village, both 70-year-old people and a 7-month-old child were sacrificed to the mad ideology of superiority.

Half dead were three children and one adult witness.

Artur Zelsky, director of the memorial complex Khatyn:
This is the tragedy of Joseph Kaminsky, when he found his boy, the only one. The boy was still alive. A machine-gun burst cut his stomach, and he tried to push the organs back into himself. When he saw his father, he only asked if Mom was alive.

And a second later he died.

Natalia Kirillova, director of the state memorial complex Khatyn (1998-2008):
Viktor Zhelobkovich told me all the details. When the mother was killed and he was running out of the burning barn, she fell on him, covering him with her body.

And he even heard this last push.

The operation was led by the Hitlerites. Each division of the police had its chief - an ethnic German. Although the Dirlewanger battalion itself did not reach the purity of the Aryan nation.

The main criterion was loyalty to the ideals of SS.

The battalion actually consisted of former poachers. Who themselves became animals. Condemned in Germany for pedophilia, Dirlewanger and his beasts destroyed 200 villages in Belarus and became the inventors of perverted murders of civilians.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
The Dirlewanger squad first began to use this method for mine clearance: he ordered civilians to run into minefields.This is his directive. He is the first initiator of using civilians for demining.About 2,500 - 3,000 people died during mine clearance during this operation.

Some began to justify executioners in the early 1990's. At the same time, scandalous publications of "yellow" press and biased historians tried to warm their hands on Khatyn's Eternal Flame.

It was the time of the philosophy of trade.

Natalia Kirillova: 
It was a real dead season. There were almost no visits. The situation was depressing.

On the territory of the memorial complex, there stood kiosks that traded flour, cereal, vodka.

The rare visitors who did know what Khatyn was and thought they were being taken to the world-famous memorial complex, were probably shocked by this. We understood that this situation must be urgently corrected.

By massaging facts regarding those who burned Khatyn some tried to kindle national hatred. They said that it was security police who offered torches to Dirlewanger's thugs. The so-called Ukrainian 118th Battalion was formed in Poland. In its ranks were nationalists, collaborators, criminals and former prisoners of war.

They all bought comfortable life for 30 pieces of silver.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
They come to the camp and ask people: "Who will go to serve?" No one. Or maybe some individuals. They let them go. Every tenth is counted, taken away and shot. They ask again. "Who will go to serve?"

Pavel Yakubovich:
This topic regarding war crimes is taken apart into some very shameless and unscrupulous segments. They blame one nationality, some other nationality.

Today we thus repeat what the Nazis wanted.

They wanted to divide humanity into "supermen" - the Aryans and "untermen" - people who are unworthy to live.

It did not work out. The memory of Khatyn does not divide the peoples. On the contrary, it unites them.

Last year, tourists from 30 countries visited this place.

This is, of course, is not 1.5 million visitors during the Soviet Union. But after reconstruction, interest in the memorial came to life.

The year of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus Khatyn was visited by three heads of state at once.

Yevgeny Pustovoi: 
There was time when people forgot about Khatyn. And now, given the desire of some to change the established world order, it is necessary to recall the symbol of the burned Belarusian villages more often. After all, despite all political trends, Khatyn's bells ring with the same pain. It's good that people come here. Now, these young people, breaking ice near the memorial fire breaks the "ice" of historical oblivion.

Such places for us are the key objects that allow us to be a united people and one country.

This is my first time in Khatyn. And, when I came here and saw this monument , the first feeling was creepy.

Even at some intuitive level, you realize that we should be grateful to those people who simply gave their lives.

Those who, with a smile on their faces, took away the lives of others, rescued their own, ran to partisans and shot former masters in the back. Someone went to the West, someone did face the justice.

Gregory Vasyura is one of them.

He was pointing more at other punishers and even managed to live a pseudo-honest life of a Soviet leader. But he received his "nine grams of lead".

True, it was not only he who directed the destruction of Khatyn.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
Most interesting is that nobody has ever been looking for the commander of the battalion Körner, German.The same Smowski lived quietly somewhere in the West, in Canada. No one ever looked for him. And, in principle, apparently, no one would ever become interested in the 118th Battalion, if not for Khatyn.

Another executioner of Khatyn died on his lawn near his home in Canada. He died on the 9th of May, which is WWII Victory Day in Belarus. Perhaps one of the most wanted Nazi criminals, Vladimir Katryuk would continue to breed bees calmly, if it was not for Russian investigators. "Khatyn trace" led to the American archive. The yellowed pages shed fresh light on the Nazi's black business.

Vyacheslav Selemenev:
Russian historians Kovtun and Zhukov in the National Archives of the United States found reports of the Dirlewanger battalion taking part in the destruction of Khatyn.When we met with Germans and told them that they destroyed 9,000 villages in Belarus, they were surprised.  

They could not even imagine what was happening here.

One of the best movies about the war Go and See is now in color, but still without embellishment. 

Alexander Efremov, directory, People's Artist of Belarus:
Maybe this is not a concrete real life story.But it will remain for life for Belarusians. It is not associated with certain fantasies, ideas, but with a real concrete life.

Although from an artistic point of view, it is made flawlessly.

During the Soviet times, ideology also tried to hide the terrible truth about the war. Architectural symbol of the burnt villages of Belarus was created here in this basement by then not yet titled, but already ambitious architects.

Galina Levina, architect, winner of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus:
This is the workshop on Victory Square. Here famous authors Gradov, Zankovich, and Levin worked on the creation of Khatyn memorial.

Galina Levina preserved not only the architectural surname of her father, but also the smallest details from the history of the creation of the grandiose memorial.

Galina Levina:
It is important that in our modern world Khatyn is represented in European museums as an example of the high art of preserving Belarus' memory of the war.

Natalia Kirillova:
This is a kind of purgatory. I think that when a person visits Khatyn, they will not be able to do anything bad that day. Because this memorial makes you stop and think about the eternal.

Think about some values.

After receiving the Lenin Prize, father bought a doll for his daughter in Moscow's GUM store. True, Leonid Mendelevich architectural decision was too bold. The innovators could face a punishment and the memorial was to be demolished. But the idea was defended.

Galina Levina:
Furtseva, the Minister of Culture, when she saw the project... Of course, in the context of socialist realism it was a challenge.

She said to pull this down.

Everything was ready for it.

Yevgeny Pustovoi:
During the creation of the Khatyn memorial, it was not customary to talk about the victims of the Great Patriotic War. The Soviet people were winners, after all. Therefore, the sculpture of a burned Belarusian with a son dying in his arms was against all the laws of heroic and monumental art. But now the Unconquered is the symbol of Khatyn. The complex itself became a monument of monumental architecture, therefore it is impossible to change anything here, just like to rewrite the history of Khatyn. True, one change did happen here: instead of a wooden old cross a concrete one was put at the entrance to the cemetery. This is the only place left from the most famous Belarusian village in the world.

In Khatyn, 149 people were killed. Half were children.

Children of Khatyn. They are in every Belarusian family. For example, my relatives also died in the fire of punitive operations. The village of Leski, Kamenets district. And there are hundreds and thousands of such petals on the monument "The Tree of Life". They were reborn after the war. But they are yet to reach the pre-war scope.

Piotr Petrovsky:
"You should not have resisted and the Germans would not kill you." In my opinion, this is a complete forgery and complete betrayal. Because if you go to cooperate with the regime, if you do not fight the regime, then you are not a subject of history. There were many peoples who did not fight for themselves, for their identity, and many of them disappeared, assimilated.

Belarusians are not one of those.

There were a couple of dozen yards during the war in this village. The Nazis destroyed only two families. Usually the inhabitants hid in the swamp, or 'gat'. Hence the name Gostilovichi. Now it is a typical Belarusian agro-town.

A school, a kindergarten, a local farm and a cultural center. Here people go to the library and sing songs. In general, they live.

They live for themselves and, as they say, for every third Belarusian who died in WWII.