Hatyn, a former village in Logoisk Region of Minsk Oblast in Belarus, has become a symbol of the tragedy of the Belorussian people, a mournful page in the history of the Great Patriotic War.
Ordinary Belarusian peasants who cultivated the land, grew the harvest, rised their children, celebrated weddings and festivals.
The massacre occurred on March 22, 1943. Brutal fascists rushed into the village and encircled it. The inhabitants of Khatyn were innocent, however their death sentence had already been pronounced. All of them - young and old, women and kids — were driven from their houses out into the shed. The fascists roused the sick from their beds with rifle butts. When all people were finally in the shed, the door was locked and the Nazis covered the shed with straw, spilt benzine over and set fire to it. But the fascists with their machine guns dispassionately killed those who tried to escape from the flames of fire. 149 people, including 75 children under age were burned alive. The youngest baby was only 7 weeks old. The village was then looted and burned to the ground. 5 children and 1 adult - Iosif Kamisky (prototype of «the Unconquered Man» sculpture) recovered by miracle.
The memorial complex «Hatyn» was biult at the former place of the village (54 km from Minsk) in memory of victims of fascism on the territory of Belarus. Architects: Y. Gradov, V. Zankovich, L. Levin, sculptor S. Selikhanov. The complex repeats the layout of the former village, includes elements of the Village Cemetery, the Memory Square, the Wall of Sorrow, the Tree of Life.
The Memorial was opened on July, 5 1969, has since become a popular place of worship. Visitors meet «the Unconquered Man» bronze sculpture of a man who rose alive from the fire, brought out the body of a dead boy and bears it, bears through the years, as if saying by his compressed lips the eternal curse of fascism, the curse of every evil on earth.
Nearby, on the place of the barn, where the Nazis burned Khatyn people, there is a black plate, which resembles the roof, which was the last refuge of the dead. At a mass grave there is the Crown of Memory from white marble with the words of a mandate for the dead to the alive: «Kind people, remember: we loved the life and our motherland, and you, dear. We were burnt alive. Our request to all: let the grief and sorrow turn into your courage and strength and you will be able to approve rest and peace on the Earth forever. From now on nowhere and never the life will not die in a whirlwind of fire!». On the other hand the Crown there is a response of the living to the dead: «You are our relatives. Our heads are bowed in great sorrow, we are standing before you. You did not obey to the Nazi murderers in the dark days of the hard times. You accepted death, but the flame of love for our Soviet Motherland shall never be quenched. The memory of you in people is immortal, eternal as our Earth and ever bright sun above it».
The former village street is lined with gray (the color of ashes) reinforced concrete slabs. In place of every burnt house – a crown of gray concrete framework, inside of it there is an obelisk in the form of a chimney with a memorial plate on which the names of burned people of the hause are written, at the top threr is a bell, each crown has a reinforced gate. 26 Khatyn bells resounded the bitter memory of Belarusian land through the world. The Memory Complex is terminated by the Tree of Life memorial with the names of 433 villages of the republic, destroyed along with the residents and restored after the war.
The «Hatyn» Memorial Complex is a symbol of national memory. There are few places in the world with such a thoughtful, tense silence, as in Khatyn - only the rustle of steps on the concrete paths, only the dull thud of the bells. The sorrowful silence ... It hides the roar of raging fire, a baby crying, screams of mothers and curses of men dying in the flames. The memorial tells about the courage and rebelliousness of the Belarusian people with a harsh and concise language.
More than 35 million people have visited the state memorial complex «Hatyn» in these 35 years. These people came from more than 100 different countries. Among them there were such distinguished guests as UNO Secretaries General U Tan and H. Perez de Cuehlar, the president of the United States of America Richard Nixon, the president of Finland U. K. Kekkonen and M. Koivisto, the Indian prime-minister Radzhiv Ghandi, the Secretary General of the Cuban Communist Party Fidel Castro, the chairman of the Executive Committee of Palestinian Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat, the Romanian president I. Iliesku, the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbaev, the Chinese Communist Party chairman Hu Tzintao and many other famous politicians.
The «Hatyn» Memorial Complex was completely restored to the 60th of the liberation of Belarus from German fascist invaders. About Br1,2 billion were assigned for this aim, the sum includes Br. 400 million from Minsk Oblast Executive Committee.