Great Patriotic War Museum

Address: Minsk, Pobediteley prospect, 8
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 Today it is one of the most important and biggest war museums in the world, along with the well-stocked museums in Moscow, Kiev, and New Orleans. …In those terrible years Belarus lost every third resident. More than 3 million people died, including about 50,000 partisans and underground fighters. Throughout the country there were 250 death camps, including the infamous Trostenets, one of the largest after Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka… The collection of the world's first museum of the Great Patriotic War was founded in June 1942 when no one could predict how long the war would last...

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

Future exhibits were sent directly from the frontlines to the special republican commission which was set up to collect the documents and materials about the Great Patriotic War. The commission was working out from Moscow where it was evacuated to during the war. Among the museum’s first assets were the chronicles about the partisan movement, printed and handwritten books, handmade weapons… For nearly six months there was gap in the frontline near Vitebsk, the so-called Vitebsk Gate. Valuable items, material evidence of the atrocities of the enemy were brought through it to Moscow and were put on display in the State History Museum.

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

In November 1942 the Muscovites saw an impressive exposition titled as "Belarus lives, Belarus is fighting, Belarus will remain Soviet." It stayed open until August 1944 when it was moved to the liberated Minsk. The museum, the guardian of the memory about the courage and tragedy of the Belarusian people, was given one of the few intact buildings in the destructed and looted Minsk. It opened to the public on 22 October 1944.

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

The first expositions about the weapons of the partisans and military print media grew bigger with new rarities. Already in 1944 the museum workers explored the place of the Trostenets death camp. In 1949, they participated in the first excavations in the heroic Brest Fortress… In 1966, the museum moved to a building specially built for it in the central square of Minsk (now Oktyabrskaya Square). A unique open-air exposition of military equipment and weapons was opened in 1977 next to the museum.

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

Over decades of research into the Great Patriotic War the museum’s collection has grown many times: even now it gains 700—800 priceless rarities every year. In the 21st century upon the initiative of the Belarus president plans were made to create new premises for the museum that will boast more exhibition space and modern technologies to tell and demonstrate more facts about the tragic war…

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

The current premises of the museum are impressive not only due to their scale but also symbolism that reflects major milestones of the history of 1941-1945. The composition represents four main blocks to match the number of years of the war and the army fronts that took part in Belarus’ liberation. The museum has dedicated over 3,000m2 to over 8,000 exhibits that tell the story of the Great Patriotic War. There are about 145,000 rarities in the museum’s storage. They were collected during military operations in Eastern Europe and Germany and were presented by embassies of various countries in time of peace.

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

The exhibits are divided into 28 collections and showcased in ten themed halls:

- World and the war;

- World before and in the first years of World War II;

- Road of the war;

- Beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Defense in Belarus in summer 1941. The battle of Smolensk. The battle of Moscow of 1941-1942;

- Turning point of the war. The Soviet home front;

- Nazi occupation regime on the territory of Belarus in 1941-1944;

- Partisan movement and anti-fascist underground resistance in Belarus. Participation of Soviet people in European resistance movements of 1941-1945;

- Liberation of Belarus. The defeat of the Nazi Germany, its allies, and the militarist Japan;

- Belarus after the liberation. The years 1944-1950. Memory of the war;

- Heirs of the Great Victory.

Картинки по запросу музей великой отечественной войны минск

The most interesting exhibits include:

  • Collection of 27,000 documents (combat reports, orders, diaries, journals of military operations, soldiers’ performance evaluation reports, and others);
  • Letter of German Sixth Army Commander General Friedrich Paulus of 19 September 1942.
  • Collection of drawings (over 3,000 sketches, cartoons, and mini posters) and paintings (around 500 watercolor and pastel paintings);
  • Flags of military units and partisan detachments;
  • Military uniforms and civilian clothing of the USSR, Germany, Italy, the USA, Czechoslovakia, and France;
  • Personal belongings of famous people born in Belarus (Marshals of the Soviet Union Ivan Yakubovsky, Vasily Sokolovsky, Stepan Krasovsky…).

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