[the histories: world war II]

[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.


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.

  • Wow, your post gave me chills- especially the Bible. 

    Around ten years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust museum in Washington DC.  It was haunting and so very sad.   I pray the world never forgets, so we don’t repeat that part of  history .

    Thank you for your post- these memories are costly and precious. 

    • Yeah – when I think of what it was like back then… (And I left out the real chilly pictures from that museum…)

      I truly hope and join you in prayers that the world will not make the same mistake again. 

  • Wow. Amazing stuff.

    You should check out The Secret Holocaust Diaries – it’s by a Russian who was a little girl during WWII: 

    • Will check it out sometime.

      At the museum, considering that I’ve been there countless times (more than 20 for sure…), what I like to pay attention to the most are letters from soldiers (or to soldiers). They try to speak lightly yet you can almost hear the war sounds in the background. 

      • Wow. That’s some powerful imagery.

        • I need to go there sometime and take pictures of the actual letters. Perhaps this Saturday. If everything works out, I’ll share them here. 

  • Hazel Moon

    This an insteresting and amazing memory from your history!  Thank you for taking us on this wonderful tour and for allowing us to view your Grandfathers medals.  I remember VJ day and VE day when I was about 11 years old.   A cousin of mine was lost at sea in this war.

    • Yes, it certainly affected the entire world. 

      Thanks for coming over, Hazel 🙂

  • So beautiful, Zee. And seeing the Bible there is just perfect.
    It is such a different experience from mine. Brazil did enter the war, our president sent soldiers to help the Allies, but we were most affected by the multitudes of immigrants that came here to escape the war.
    Here to São Paulo, where I live, came many immigrants from Italy and Japan, and they influenced our culture, food, etc. Most of them were farmers running away from the war in their countries. That was the closest contact we, the regular people, had with the war.
    Thanks for sharing the information and photos, Zee!

    • That would definitely influence the culture when so many are coming from all over… Our food preferences have been changed since we had so many come here to study from China and Japan (Not due to the war, though)… Now you can see sushi and Chinese food literally on every corner. Granted, I like both of those food choices, so I am not really complaining 😀

  • Mary

    Thank you for sharing. It is moving and sobering.
    Australia had a part in both world wars. Sixty thousand died in the First World War which was a great number out of a population of just two million at that time. Our day of remembrance is called Anzac Day and takes place on 25th April each year. Lest we forget.

    • Wow, 60,000! I didn’t know so many died in the WWI from Australia. 

      • Mary

        Yes, this had a very big impact on Australia. Nearly every town in Australia has a World War One Memorial. Anzac Day commemorates the dawn landing on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey at dawn on 25th April, 1915.

  • Joanne Norton

    WOW!!  I’ve studied so much history over years, AND WWII [I was born between V-E day and V-J day, so very aware of that War], but I’ve never heard it from someone that was “there” during it.  Also, the total number of deaths.  Put together, what you posted is a real heart-toucher.  AND blessed to see the Bible.  Our Father didn’t disappear, after all, huh?    Thanks for sharing; this really made me think.

    • Well, technically I wasn’t “there” during it – but my grandparents were. 

      RE: the Bible – I was at the museum this past Saturday and they added to the display – turns out one of the Orthodox priests of that day was serving as a doctor / surgeon. So God definitely was there.

%d bloggers like this: