Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Shved took part in the inspection of a previously unknown site of burial of victims of genocide of civilians, found in a forest near the villages of Sloboda and Bortniki, Beshenkovichi district.
The Prosecutor of the Vitebsk region Igor Ukrainets, the Prosecutor of the Beshenkovichi district Andrei Starchenko, other prosecutors, employees of the local department of the Investigative Committee, servicemen of the 52nd separate specialized search battalion of the Armed Forces, a representative of the museum of the local lore arrived at the excavation site.
“Across Belarus, there are thousands of places where tragedies took place, thousands of places where innocent people, children, elderly people, women were killed. Until we pay tribute to the memory of all those who died, until every Belarusian knows why this happened, this may happen again, which is the case in some foreign States, where people forgot their history, forgot what Nazism is...This place was hard to find. This became possible thanks to the painstaking work of the investigation teams, the fact that we began to interrogate living witnesses, and they tell us about new sites. We not only preserve historical memory, but also understand who we are dealing with in the modern world – with the new fascists, those who want to re-establish their dominance. And we understand that we need to do everything to fight them, so that the people live well, so that we and our children have a peaceful future, and the Nazis do not return,” said Andrei Shved.
To discover the named burial site, in the framework of the criminal case on genocide information received from local residents was analyzed, archival information was studied, including that received from the State Archives of the Russian Federation in the course of provision of legal assistance in the criminal case. In particular, when studying the documents of the Extraordinary State Commission, it was established that one of the Acts of 1945 contained information about the execution in October 1942 of 365 civilians and their burial near the village of Sloboda.
As of today, the remains of at least 80 people have been raised from under the ground, most of them – women and children; numerous fragments of shoes, including children’s, buttons, fragments of combs, as well as cartridges and shells, have been removed, some of which are marked with stamps dated 1938 and the SS emblem in the form of two characteristic lightning bolts.
The Prosecutor General emphasized the exceptional importance of preserving historical memory, which “should be accessible, become part of our everyday life.” “There is an information war going on. And everything is decided on the information battlefield. And the truth, only the truth can defeat a lie... But the truth is here. There is no escape from this truth. And this truth needs to be told, to name the villains, to name the victims, to find relatives and work with them. Then no one will be able to defeat us in this information field,” summed up the head of the supervisory agency.
As part of the event, Andrei Shved answered questions of the media representatives.
Photo: Prosecutor General’s Office, BelTA, Belarus Today
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