The large mound between the city of Minsk and the airport is a special monument to the Soviet Army who liberated Belarus from Hitler’s fascist regime. With Belarus free, the end of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 was now in sight. “Glory Mound”, … as this memorial is known, … was built with soil from the several hero cities in Russia and in Belarus as well as handfuls from Belarusian citizens. This place honors those who liberated Belarus. Opened July 5, 1969, military parades and frequent visits by government dignitaries and ordinary citizens are a regular occurrence.
Further down the road is a different kind of monument that is visited by few and represents a dark time in Belarus … a time that began in 1937 and ended in 1941 when Hitler’s army attacked the Soviet Union. It was during this time … prior to the Great Patriotic War, … that Stalin used the Kurapaty Forests as a killing field. Each day the NKVD, … the organization that Stalin used to enforce State security, … would bring truck loads of people who were rounded up from various areas in Belarus and who were considered to be enemies of the State. As they were brought into the forest, they were unloaded next to a pit … and shot to death in cold blood. During those fearful three years, an estimated 220,000 people were murdered in this forest. But, … it was kept secret. People in the neighboring villages knew about the killings but they did not talk fearing for their own lives.
During the difficult times of the war, the residents nearby cleared the forest for firewood. The mass graves became obscured with new growth.
It was not until 1987, … nearly 50 years later … as part of Glasnost, that an excavation was made and people began to recount the stories of the events.
This was only a small part of the estimated 12 million people who were murdered by the ruthless Stalin reign; a rule that began in 1924 and ended upon his death in 1953. The people of Belarus have suffered much during their history … civil war, starvation and famine, the purges of Stalin, the wanton killing by Hitler’s fascist army, and the radioactive fallout of Chernobyl.
The people of Belarus need a true hope … the hope that can only be provided by faith in Jesus Christ.
Will you pray for the leaders of Belarus?
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