Khatyn Memorial Village

Holocaust Memorials Museums

The Belarusian village Khatyn is known all over the world, although its life ended tragically on March 22, 1943. The village was not abandoned, but died with its inhabitants. It is a symbol of the terrible tragedy that people experienced during the Great Patriotic War. The memorial complex is dedicated to the death of this and other Belarusian villages and the death of every fourth Belarusian.

Photo credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. / Global Photo Archive / Flickr;

Until 1943, Khatyn was a usual village to the north east of Minsk, where Belarusian peasants lived. But the tradegy occurred in Khatyn on March 22, 1943, after an attack nearby, in which a German officer was killed. In the morning, a squad of punishers encircled the village. Old people, children, women and men were kicked out of their houses and all of them were taken to a barn, which was then set on fire. 149 people, including 75 children, died. Those who tried to escape were shot. In the flames that spread throughout the village, 26 houses disappeared and only 5 children and 1 adult were miraculously saved. Khatyn’s story is not unique. During the Great Patriotic War the inhabitants of 628 Belarusian villages were burned alive by the Nazis. 186 of these villages have never rebuilt. On the site of the former village in memory of the victims of fascism, the village of Khatyn and other destroyed villages on the territory of Belarus, a memorial complex "Khatyn" was erected. Architects: Y. Gradov, V. Zankovich, L. Levin, sculptor S. Selikhanov.