[the histories: world war II]

Joining Peter Pollock’s “One Word at a Time” blog carnival today: the word is Memory.

World War II has influenced everyone (after all, it was a world war). However, over here, in former Soviet Union countries, it goes by another name: Great Patriotic war – because a lot of the Nazi happenings took place on the territory of Ukraine and Russia.

Every single family has been influenced by that event to a different degree, but everyone has a connection. My grandpa was a soldier and I still treasure numerous medals. My grandma wasn’t behind on achievements either. Every single family here lost family members – total loss of USSR was around 13,900,000 people (in comparison, USA has lost 400,000).

Of all the museums in Kyiv, I like WWII museum the most, perhaps. It has such a deep and personal history.

To get to the museum itself, you go through a little tunnel with carved monuments.

Attack!

The museum is located beneath the Motherland Statue – in its base.

Motherland Statue / WWII Museum

This is one of the typewriters that has been used in the war.

Old Typewriter

German cross made out of German crosses.

German Cross out of German Crosses

A lot of concentration camps were also in Ukraine and Poland (which is right next to Ukraine). This used to be a person, in the war s/he became just a number. 4394.

Of all the pictures, this one is one of the most potent ones. This is a schedule of bombings of Berlin. All the items on display are authentic, so it is rather chilling to see the word “Выполнено” which means “Done.” Below is the date, September 1941.

Berlin Bombing Schedule

This is one of the medals that grandpa got – this one was for celebrating 20 years of victory. There is a soldier with a baby in his arms.

20 Years Since Victory

This one, for 30 years since Victory, features Volgograd (former Stalingrad – think Enemy at the Gate) Motherland statue.

30 Years Since Victory

Another order that grandpa has got – Order of the Red Banner of Labor. This order was established as the civilian counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner and was awarded for exceptional working achievements.

Order of the Red Banner of Labour

Medal “For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945.” It was awarded to Soviet service personnel who were on active service during The Great Patriotic War.

For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945

One of the last halls in the museum (they go in chronological order) is the Memory room. The walls are decorated with the photos of those who passed away. On the same table, there are death certificates along with glasses and army flasks – they symbolize the tradition to drink in memory of the fallen ones.

The Table in Memory Room

And among all this loss and pain, there is something that gives hope. It is a Bible in Slavic language. I was surprised to see this artifact there because USSR was a Communist country and Christians were persecuted… Yet, here it is.

The Bible

This is a part of the legacy that was passed onto me.