MINSK, 22 June (BelTA) – Chair of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Natalya Kochanova, members of the Presidium of the Council of the Republic, heads of regional, district and rural councils of deputies laid flowers at the Masyukovshchina memorial complex on 22 June, the day when Belarus marks the National Remembrance Day of the Victims of the Great Patriotic War and the Genocide of the Belarusian People, BelTA has learned.
“In our country, we remember everyone who died, all those who defended peace and freedom in our land, and we remember those who rebuilt our country in the post-war period. Therefore, we must never allow the re-writing of history, this is our sacred duty and we should pass it on from generation to generation so that people remember the price our country paid for its freedom and independence,” Natalya Kochanova said. According to her, the war brought sorrow to every Belarusian home and everything must be done to prevent catastrophes and suffering on our land.
The speaker noted that a meeting of the Presidium of the Council of the Republic to discuss the work of councils of deputy will be held on 22 June. Therefore, the heads of the regional, district and rural councils of deputies joined the event.
Natalya Kochanova emphasized that Belarus has invested enough efforts to promote patriotism, but the new time poses new challenges. “The patriotic upbringing of any person begins with the family. We were born in such a long-suffering country, where people endured so much grief and did everything to make it such a beautiful country today. Patriotism is first of all about love for one's homeland, people, country, family, relatives and friends, parents. That is what patriotism is about. However, we are living in a different environment today. The whole world is flooded by lies and disinformation. History is being rewritten, untruth is pouring out from various information channels and sources. You know, it is very hard to comprehend,” Natalya Kochanova said.
“We are not the ones to betray and to forget. We will always remember. It is true, the country's development strategy should be adjusted at each stage of its development. The world is changing, people are changing, our traditions are changing. But our attitude to the motherland must always remain the same as that of those who defended their country in 1941, and those who defend it today,” Natalya Kochanova added.
The Masyukovshchina memorial complex is a tribute to prisoners of war and civilians killed during the Great Patriotic War in Stalag-352, one of the biggest death camps in the Nazi-occupied territory of the USSR. The prisoners were subject to inhumane treatment and systematic torture. People were kept in barracks, barns and stalls. The death camp was overcrowded; therefore, many prisoners had to live in the open where they died of exposure, starvation and diseases. Over 80,000 soldiers and officers of the Red Army, as well as civilians driven from Minsk and surrounding villages were killed in Stalag-352 from July 1941 to 3 July 1944. From December 1943 to June 1944 the Nazi kept here Italian soldiers and officers who fought on the side of the Soviet Union.
The memorial is located in a small pine park. A set of steps leads to the granite monument and the Eternal Flame is lit in memory of the victims. The territory of the memorial also includes mass graves marked by black marble slabs. A white rotunda displaying the Book of Memory stands in the middle of the park. The book includes around 10,000 names of former prisoners of Stalag-352. However, names of over 70,000 victims of the concentration camp are still unknown.