This Saturday, Belarussians are paying homage to the victims of Khatyn.
60 years ago, at the dawn of 22 March, the nazis burnt down the village of Khatyn located 60 kilometers to the east of Minsk. The occupants from the 118-th punitive police battalion forced all the village's 147 residents, including 75 children, the youngest of whom was 7 weeks old, into a barn and then set it on fire.
According to Viktor Glazkov, who chaired the military tribunal which tried one of the murderers named Vasyura, the battalion comprised 300 men.
Khatyn's tragic lot befell many other Belarussian villages as well. In all, 628 villages shared a similarly grim fate across Belarus during WWII. The remains of their residents are kept in special mortuary urns at the Cemetery of Burnt Villages in the Khatyn Memorial Complex.
A mourning ceremony was held there on Saturday. The ceremony was attended by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and representatives of many diplomatic missions who laid flowers to the Eternal Flame and paid homage to the victims of nazi atrocities.
The State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) in Minsk is currently hosting an exhibition of works of art stored in the vaults of the Museum's repository. All the exhibits depict the tragedy undergone by the Belarussian people during the Great Patriotic War. In addition, the Museum plans to hold a special literary soiree shortly. It will be devoted to the book "I Am from the Village on Fire" written by Yanko Bryl and Ales Adamovich. The event will be attended by witnesses of the wartime tragedies as well as by prominent writers, actors and public figures. The Museum is also going to hold a scientific conference "The Tragedy of Khatyn - a Tragedy of the Belarussian People."