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26 Mar 2019

Shchetkina: Belarus Remembers campaign to show women’s contribution to the victory

Shchetkina: Belarus Remembers campaign to show women’s contribution to the victory

MINSK, 26 March (BelTA) – The campaign Belarus Remembers. Women’s Face of Victory is meant to show women’s enormous contribution to the Great Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, Deputy Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of Belarus’ National Assembly, Chairwoman of the Belarusian Union of Women Marianna Shchetkina said as she took part in a roundtable on 26 March, BelTA has learned.

The Belarusian Union of Women launched the campaign to mark the 75th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from the German invaders. It aims to show the role of women during and after the war. They fought on battlefields, created artillery units and flying squadrons, carried the wounded to safety, worked as snipers and scouts, blew up bridges, operated planes and tanks. Women worked for the Victory side by side with men,” Marianna Shchetkina pointed out.

She believes that the younger generation should know and value women’s contribution, that is why young people also participated in the roundtable. “You are our future, and there is no future without the past. You should remember the heroism and selflessness of the generation which endured the war,” Marianna Shchetkina told them.

The chairwoman said: “It is important to pass the historical memory down to next generations. Time will come when only archive documents can tell the story of the Belarusian people’s heroism in the Great Patriotic War. But now the witnesses of the war are still alive and they can describe all their pain, suffering, and hardship to the youth,” she added.

Marianna Shchetkina illustrated women’s contribution with numbers. During the war, the Red Army included almost a million women (over 980,000). Over 90 women were bestowed the Hero of the Soviet Union title, more than 150,000 were awarded medals and orders. Over 15 million women worked in the rear, supporting the economy in order to win. In the occupied Belarus, more than 70,000 women joined the underground resistance movement and the partisan movement, accounting for 19% of all the partisans. Over 2,000 medical staff and 570 women doctors were working in partisan units.

Ten Belarusian women were bestowed the Hero of the Soviet Union title (nine of them were members of the partisan and underground resistance movements), four of them posthumously. The first women from Belarus to get the the Hero of the Soviet Union title on 29 October 1943 were members of the Minsk underground resistance movement Yelena Mazanik, Maria Osipova, and Nadezhda Troyan. On 22 September 1943, they carried out the operation to eliminate Wilhelm Kube, the General Commissar and Gauleiter for Belarus. In January 1944, Zina Portnova, the legendary member of the underground movement, shot a German officer and tried to escape during an interrogation session, but was caught and tortured to death. On 13 November 1942, another member of the underground movement Vera Khoruzhaya was arrested and executed.

The victory in the Great Patriotic War was achieved thanks to great sacrifice and irreparable losses of the Belarusian nation. The German invaders left a horrible bloody imprint, unprecedented devastation of Belarus. And the work to rebuild the country fell on the women’s shoulders, too.

The chairwoman pointed out that Belarusians should remember their history, pass it down to children and grandchildren, strengthen the connection between generations.

Taking part of the event were also representatives of the Defense Ministry, the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War, the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Special guests of the event were women veterans.

The campaign Belarus Remembers. Women’s Face of Victory was launched on 16 March at the award ceremony of the national contest Woman of the Year 2018. This roundtable was the opening event of the campaign. The organizers of the roundtable are the Belarusian Union of Women and the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War which hosted the event with the support of the Defense Ministry and the National Academy of Sciences.

The Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War also opened a photo exhibition dedicated to the women who fought on the frontline and worked on the homefront, who inscribed their names into the history of the Great Victory.

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