Белорусский государственный музей истории Великой Отечественной войны

  • Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War
  • Belorusskii Gosudarstvennyi Muzei Istorii Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny

History

The Museum was opened to visitors on October 22, 1944 in the Trade Union House on Liberation Square, which was one of the few buildings in Minsk that had remained intact during the war years. The former partisans and underground members who were the core of the first staff of the Museum had first-hand knowledge of the fascists’ cruelty and the heroic fight of the Belarusian nation during the war years. They did not know much about Museum affairs, however. But they had personally lived through the burdens of war and were enthusiastic in the creation of the Museum’s expositions, accepting materials from many sources to enrich the holdings of the Museum. In addition, they helped with the voluntary clear-up of Minsk, their home, from its war-time ruin. The war had just ended, and the wounds of war were aching still. That is why the conceptual basis of the Museum’s expositions was to portray fascism’s crimes against civilians and to show the historic fight of the Belarusian people against the Nazi invaders. In 1964, the Museum was located at Karl Marx Street, 12. Two years later, in 1966, the Museum moved into a newly built three-story building on the Central Square (October Square today), where its expositions opened in 1967.

Archival and Other Holdings

Currently the collection of the Museum comprises over 100 thousand museum artifacts. A major portion of it was created during the first post-war decade. These holdings have been significantly augmented by relics from the war that have come from the family archives, private collections and archeological research.

The Museum’s collection of hand-written partisan journals and self-made guerrilla weapons are of particular importance and are internationally recognized for their cultural/historical value. These hand-written partisan journals are an original encyclopedia of life, detailing in personal terms the impact of the war and creativity of the Belarusian guerrilla fighters in 1941-1944. Likewise the hand-made weapons in the Museum’s collection reflect the native talent and ingenuity of the Partisans’ gunsmiths.

COLLECTIONS Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War Museum Collection

Currently the collection of the Museum comprises over 100 thousand museum artifacts. A major portion of it was created during the first post-war decade. These holdings have been significantly augmented by relics from the war that have come from the family archives, private collections and archeological research.

The Museum’s collection of hand-written partisan journals and self-made guerilla weapons are of particular importance and are internationally recognized for their cultural/historical value. These hand-written partisan journals are an original encyclopedia of life, detailing in personal terms the impact of the war and creativity of the Belarusian guerilla fighters in 1941-1944. Likewise the hand-made weapons in the Museum’s collection reflect the native talent and ingenuity of the Partisans’ gunsmiths. The Museum’s awards and medals collection has been developed from the Museum’s inception. The Museum’s holdings include individual prizes from the pre-war period, state awards from the Great Patriotic War period, which are part of the Soviet Reward System, unique, self-made partisan medals, medals from the Soviet Union’s allies and trophy medals from Nazi Germany and Japan. The pre-war symbols and pins are unique, as well as the pins of the defense societies and unions, and the pins of the military’s high achiever. The Museum has over 30 thousand newspapers, leaflets and brochures published at the fronts, in the occupied territory of Belarus by members of the underground, on the Soviet home front chronicle the Great Patriotic War’s progression. In addition, this collection includes German printed matters issued by the occupation authorities in 1941-1944. A constituent element of the Museum’s holdings is the large collections of battle banners from various military units and the self-made flags of the partisan formations. Also part of this collection are items of civilian and military household equipment.

Scripts Used

  • Latin

Sources