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Opinions & Interviews

2 Oct 2018

French ambassador: Charles de Gaulle’s stay in Belarus deserves further research

French ambassador: Charles de Gaulle’s stay in Belarus deserves further research

GRODNO, 2 October (BelTA) – Historians should pay close attention to the Belarusian episode in the biography of Charles de Gaulle, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Belarus Didier Canesse told reporters on 2 October, BelTA has learned.

During his trip to Grodno Oblast, the diplomat visited Shchuchin. According to available information, the town has links with a famous French military leader and statesman Charles de Gaulle. During the First World War, Officer de Gaulle was captured by Germans and spent several months in captivity in Shchuchin.

The building used as a war camp for the captive officers is still there. Charles de Gaulle’s comrade-in-armed described it in detail in his letters to the family. As it turned out later, it was a former plywood factory of the Drucki-Lubecki family. Now it is one of the facilities of the Avtoprovod enterprise.

“I was very curious about this place. I believe historians should study this information to back up assumptions with evidence. It is necessary to look into this fact carefully and work with archives. It requires teamwork of Belarusian and French specialists. If this hypothesis is proved, the place of Charles de Gaulle’s captivity will be marked with a commemorative plaque, for example,” Didier Canesse said.

“This fact is another testimony to the eventful history of Shchuchin District. We are glad to see links between countries and entire historical periods,” Chairman of the Shchuchin District Executive Committee Sergei Lozhechnik said. He noted that historical and cultural contacts often pave way for economic cooperation.

Top on the agenda of the meeting of the French ambassador with senior officials of the Shchuchin District Executive Committee were business projects and cooperation in education. Didier Canesse is also set to meet with top officials of Grodno Oblast and to tour a number of facilities.

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