By decision of the United Nations, April 11 is celebrated worldwide as the International Day for the Release of Prisoners of Nazi Concentration Camps. It was erected in memory of the international uprising in Buchenwald.
Like today in 1945 in World War II, the prisoners of Buchenwald, led by the International Political Center, staged an armed uprising, as a result of which they occupied the camp and held it until the arrival of Allied troops.
In 1958 a complex of buildings dedicated to the heroes and victims of Buchenwald opened here. The prisoners of Sachsenhausen, Dachau and Ravensbrück were also released in April 1945. Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Buchenwald and many other places on the map of Europe were turned to death millstones, weapons of mass destruction, medical laboratories and other experiments during World War II.
The concentration camps set up by the fascists in the territory of Belarus were no less hard, of which there were more than 260. The largest of them were in Minsk – in the areas of Nemiga and Trostenets, as well as in Ozarichi, Gomel, Polotsk and Bobruisk. More than 1.4 million people were killed in them.
The Assistance Committee of the Extraordinary State Committee for the Establishment and Investigation of the Crimes of the Nazi Invaders and their accomplices, established in 1944, collected data that fully revealed the bloody crimes of the Nazis.
The Nazis responded to the atrocities in the international trial in Nuremberg, which took place from November 20, 1945, to October 1, 1946. Open trials for the most brutal war crimes were held in the cities of the Soviet republics, including the Soviet Union. , Bobruisk, Vitebsk and Gomel.
Every year on April 11, rallies are held throughout Belarus to mark the International Day for the Release of Nazi Convicts. Wreaths and flowers bring to memorial plaques throughout the republic former concentration camp inmates, representatives of regional and local authorities, public organizations, labor collectives, students and pupils. Monuments have been erected on the sites of death camps across the country in memory of those who died in them. Every death camp is immortalized in the Khatyn Monument.
“Trostenets” death camp
The largest site of mass extermination on Belarusian soil during the Nazi occupation was the Trostenets death camp. It is on the same level as Auschwitz, Maidanek and Treblinka.
The name “Trostenets” combines many places of mass extermination of people: Blagovshchina Street – a place of mass executions. camp – near the village of Maly Trostenets, 10 km from Minsk along the Mogilev highway. Shashkovka Street is a place of mass burning of people. According to official figures, a total of 206.5 thousand people died in the Trostenets death camp.
The Trostenets were created in the autumn of 1941 on Blagovshchina Street, about the 11th-13th km of the Mogilev motorway near Minsk. The invaders brought the population here not only from Belarus, but also from other Central and Western European countries. After a while, the Nazis applied a new method of destruction: the convicts were overloaded and the completely exhausted were shot. There was a so-called labor camp.
Cruel arbitrariness acted in relation to the prisoners: any soldier of the guard at any time and without any reason could hit the prisoner, shoot him or hang him. The strict rule was the immediate destruction of anyone who fell ill or returned to the camp a second time after the escape. The prisoners suffered from cold, dirt and terrible lice. The food was scarce. The waste went to the kitchen, from which a kind of soup was made. They gave it once a day. From 120 to 250 grams of bread, tea or coffee substitute with saccharin – this was the menu of prisoners working hard.
The Trostenets death camp continued to operate until the end of June 1944. People will never forget these enormous, irreplaceable human losses brought about by the war against fascism. The first mourning and solemn meeting in memory of the victims of fascism took place in the Trostenets on September 3, 1944.
On June 8, 2014, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko participated in the ceremony of laying a memorial capsule at the site of the Trostenets monument. Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the Trostenets monument should be made of pan-European significance.
Ozarich death camps
In 1944, the Wehrmacht administration made extensive use of the practice of using the civilian population as a cover in the course of the Soviet invasion.
In early March 1944, in the occupied areas, in the immediate vicinity of the front line, not far from the villages of Ozarichi, Dert and Podosinnik, the occupiers set up three death camps, where, under the guise of evacuation, more than 50,000 people were evacuated. Gomel, Mogilev, Polessye regions of Belarus, and Smolensk and Oryol regions of Russia. These three camps were called “Ozarich Death Camps”.
The camps were swampy areas surrounded by barbed wire. There was a minefield around. People were detained in the countryside. The construction of huts or dugouts, the collection of wood for bedding, the creation of fires were strictly forbidden. The prisoners were not fed with anything, they were not given drinking water. Patients with typhus and other infections were transported to the camps from nearby settlements to transmit the disease to the local population and later to Red Army soldiers.
On March 18-19, 1944, troops of the 65th Army (Lieutenant General PI Batov) of the 1st Belarusian Front liberated 33,480 people from the Ozarich camps, of whom 15,960 were children under 13, 18 elderly, 13,404. . A terrible image appeared before the liberators: thousands of emaciated people in a typhoid fever were lying in a swamp in the rain and snow. The prisoners, still able to move, rushed towards the soldiers.
The implementation by the Wehrmacht generals of the inhuman facilities of the leaders of the Third Reich cost at least 20 thousand lives in the Ozaritsi concentration camp alone. In 1965 a memorial complex was built on the site of the Ozarichi death camp in memory of the detainees. Every year in early spring, people gather here to honor the memory of the innocent victims.
Three weeks after the occupation of Minsk on July 19, 1941, the Germans, implementing Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews, decided to create a ghetto. The Minsk Ghetto was one of the largest in Europe, for 800 days of its existence, about 100 thousand people from various European countries died here.
There was a separate area for the ghetto – about 40 streets and alleys southwest of Minsk, where, under the pain of death, all Jews had to move within five days. The forced labor of the Jews in some operations and in the cleaning of the damaged streets was a secondary task, the main goal being the “final solution of the Jewish question”, that is, the mass extermination of the people.
Throughout the ghetto, the Nazis maintained an extremely high population density: up to 100 people lived in a one-story house with 2-3 apartments, up to 300 in a similar two-story house. Unbearable congestion, hunger and unhealthy conditions caused epidemic diseases and epidemics in the ghetto. In addition, the Nazis abused the imprisoned Jews in every possible way: they robbed, tortured, stabbed with bayonets, threw them alive into the fire. Those sentenced to death were forced to sing songs, dance and then be shot.
At first, the Nazis killed those who could not work, then large-scale pogroms began. By the summer of 1942, the Nazis had destroyed almost all prisoners in the ghetto, only 2-3% of whom could survive.
On March 2, 1942, the Nazis shot about 5,000 Minsk ghetto detainees in the Rakovsky suburb. Also, 200 Jewish students of the orphanage together with their teachers were buried alive there. In this terrible place in 1947, in memory of the people who were brutally murdered by the Nazis, a simple obelisk was erected, from which the Pit monument began. Mourning gatherings are held here every year with the laying of flowers and a minute’s silence.