Approaching Victory-in-Europe Day, we had a special session dedicated to talks about WWII, to be more precise, about the Great Patriotic War that swept across our land, cut across families, smashed lives, hopes and happiness.
Instead of sitting in our room, we visited some WWII sites, and shared the memories of our near and dear, who lived in war time, before and after.
Our first destination was the Pit memorial, the site of execution of 5,000 Jews from the Minsk Ghetto.
We spoke about the suffering and adversities that people endured on the territories occupied by the Nazi, the fight against them and how they tried to survive.
From the impressive heart-breaking memorial to the victims of WWII, we proceeded to the site of glory of the Victory.
This site is associated with Victory Day festivities. In the background you can see the Minsk City Hero stella and the dome of the new Great Patriotic War museum.
We changed our initial plan to go close to the museum, because there was a concert and the area was crowded.
Instead we found a nook in the adjacent park and talked about the war while listening to the WWII music from the concert.
We finished the session by reading Letter to My Wife, a poem by Miklós Radnóti, one of the greatest Hungarian poets, and attempted to translate Konstantin Simonov's verse "Wait for Me...", which is one of the most powerful in their simplicity poems of the war.
Here is what we produced.
Those who were unable to join this important session, as well as those who told the stories, are welcome to write these stories in English and publish on our website
. Tips on how to register and upload your stories is here
There is not a single family in Belarus who had not lost someone. Every family keep the memory of their near and dear at war time – extremely valuable information that reveals the true picture. Listen to those stories, and bring them to ICAN Club on May 8th. Bring photos, items, letters - everything you keep in your family archives.
Pay tribute, write history, make the facts and people known.
It is highly recommended that you take a look at these statistics The Fallen of World War II, graphically presented by Neil Halloran. That never ending red column that you can observe between 6:06 and 6:50 min is about mainly us, this part of the world. And if WE do not care to remember them, who would care?
The history of WWII is undergoing revision and re-evaluation with new documents and data being open. However, regardless of the political, ideological and moral assessment of the war, which keeps changing with the change of the authority, the fact that millions of people where dragged from their homes and thrown into the war machine remains regardless of the ideology. Look into the faces of these soldiers. Did you realize that many of the WWII fighters were, actually, teenagers, 18-19 years old, others below 30? By the way, the average age of fallen during the war was 23 :-(.
It is hard to end the talk about WWII - so much sorrow, and also of personal dignity and heroism it displayed. Feel free to share what you know about that bloody page of human history in the comments below or in our Community Talk.
ICAN Club is the best place in Minsk to practice communication is English and meet fantastic people. Join us every Tuesday at 6.30 pm.