27 August 1937 – Day of First Mass Fusillade in Minsk
On 27 August 2007 there have turned 70 years since the first mass fusillade of Belarusian intellectuals. On 27 August 1037 NKVD butchers shot a group of archeologists, teachers and Catholic priests, all in all more than 50 persons. A mournful event in their memory took place in Kurapaty wood.
People with flowers and candles gathered near a cross that has been installed to commemorate the murdered archeologists. It is the only cross in Kurapaty that has names that remind us about those who were killed 70 years ago. It was installed by archeologists, including an initiator of the action, archeologist Mikola Kryvaltsevich.
‘Three prominent Belarusian archeologists, Siarhei Dubinski, Aliaksandr Kavalenia and Aliaksandr Liaudanski, were killed there. They were charged with espionage for Poland and shot on 27 August 1937. It was doubtlessly a colossal loss. Our archeological science recovered from it only in 1960-ies,’ Mikola Kryvaltsevich said.
The researcher Leanid Marakou says that at present the names of 50 persons of those who were shot on 27 August are known. More than 50 persons were killed that day and the number can even approach 100. According to Marakou, mass repressions lasted in Belarus till November 1938. The fusillades were timed to the day of October revolution, New Year, the day of red army and the Labor Day.
The historian Ihar Kuzniatsou adds: ‘In these times there were introduced so-called genocide orders. The first order was to shoot about 2 000 and to send to Siberian camps for at least 5 years other 5 000. The wave of fusillades was growing.’
According to researchers, since August 1937 till November 1938 in Minsk alone the Soviet authorities killed about 10 000 persons and arrested about 100 000. All in all 50 000 to 250 000 were murdered all over Belarus during this period.