Exactly 70 years ago, June 28, 1941, on the sixth day since Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union and waged World War II, Wehrmacht soldiers invaded and occupied Minsk. The city was occupied for 1100 days and nights. During the occupation the Nazis murdered more than 400 thousand people in Minsk and its surroundings (more than 70 thousand citizens of Minsk). But the city and the people survived. The history hasn't been forgotten today, and the hero-city is getting ready to celebrate 67 years since the liberation of Minsk from invaders on July 3.
In 1939, the population of Minsk was 238.8 thousand people. In 1941 and 1944, the city was subjected to aerial bombardment (the Nazis were the first to bomb, followed by Russians).
Newsreel of Himmler’s visit (Heinrich Himmler — one of the main political and military leaders of the Third Reich, the SS Reichsfuhrer in 1929-1945) to Minsk in August 1941.
Evening, June 24, 1941. Luftwaffe bombed Minsk. The city’s on fire.
Sunday, July 16, 1944 the liberated Minsk held a partisan parade. June 26, 1974 Minsk was awarded the title of the Hero City.
After the war, there was a question of transferring the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in Mahiliou. Thanks to the enthusiasm of all the USSR citizens, the city was promptly rebuilt and continued its development. There were built Minsk motorcycle and bicycle factory (1945), Minsk Tractor Works (1946) and Minsk Automobile Plant (1947). Minsk became one of the main centers of the Soviet Union, a center of engineering and high technology with advanced culture, health, education, transport and science.
Minsk Ghetto was Second in USSR by Number of Prisoners
Minsk ghetto was one of the largest in Europe and the second in the occupied territory of the Soviet Union after the Lviv ghetto, which totaled 136 thousand people. There were 80 thousand at the beginning and then more than 100 thousand prisoners in some streets, covered with barbed wire.
Trastianets was the largest place of mass destruction on the territory of Belarus during the Nazi occupation. It was created by the occupiers in 1941 near the village of Trastianets (south-east of Minsk, near Mahiliou highway) for the mass destruction of Soviet civilians and prisoners of war. There were prisoners from Germany, Austria, Poland, France and Czechoslovakia in the camp.
German soldiers marching to the east by the Government House
The number of victims Trastianets ranks fourth after such Nazi death camps in Europe as Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka.
February 1942. Jews from Minsk ghetto in forced labor at the station.
The «activities» of the death factory in Trastianets didn’t stop for a minute. On the eve of Hitler’s retreat, it was operating at full power.
At the end of June 1944, just a few days before the liberation of Minsk by the Red Army, 6.5 thousand prisoners, brought from the camps in Valadarski and Shirokaya streets, were shot and then burned in the former collective farm barn of the camp. Only two of them miraculously saved.
Minsk Preparing to Celebrate its Liberation
About three thousand men and more than 130 pieces of equipment will be involved in Minsk garrison parade on July 3. As described in the Defense Ministry of Belarus, the old equipment of the Great Patriotic War, as well as modern weaponry and military equipment will be displayed. Minsk residents and guests will be able to see the main types of the Air Force aircraft in the sky.
In addition, the parade will be attended by military personnel and equipment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.