Contributor: C. Peter Chen
This article is about the 1943 massacre of the Byelorussian village; for the 1940 massacre of Polish officers, see Katyn Massacre.
After a partisan guerilla group attacked a German convoy and killed a German officer and three Ukranian policemen, German troops surrounded the nearby village of Khatyn and retaliated against the residents. Only three children, Volodia Yaskevich, Sonia Yaskevich, and Sasha Zhelobkovich survived, escaping the village and revealed the story to the world. They told the stories of villagers chased down by gunfire, and of the 149 people, including 75 children, herded into a shed which the German troops set ablaze.
Unfortunately, Khatyn was not an isolated incidence. Hundreds of villages were massacred by the order of Nazi officers in attempt to control the vast conquered territories by fear. Two girls who survived the burning in Khatyn were rescued by villagers from Khvorosteny, only to lose their lives later when Khvorosteny met with the same fate.
Outside Minsk, at the site of the Khatyn massacre, a memorial now stands to remind of the terrors of war.
Source: Khatyn Memorial Complex.
Khatyn Massacre Timeline
|22 Mar 1943||Khatyn Massacre: German SS men massacred civilians in the Byelorussian village of Khatyn, killing its entire population of 149, 75 of which children. The village was then burned to the ground.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945