Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War
Pages of 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 first exposition contained two exhibitions: "Armament of the Belarusian Partisans" and "Bolshevik Press during the Great Patriotic War". The exhibitions occupied 15 halls and had 1261 artifacts: 486 leaflets, newspapers and hand-written partisan journals, 325 pictures, 200 arms including captured and self-made guns and 176 pieces of art.
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. The building was erected according to the design of its architects, G. Benediktov and G. Zaborski. The principal front of the building faces October Square, and it is characterized by a laconic but strict plasticity with rhythmic segmentation of its facade.
The Museum’s exhibitions were greatly increased by the addition of new artifacts from the war’s fronts, and they included materials on the heroism of the Soviet people and the contributions of its commanders to the victory over the Nazis. The Museum received many new armament artifacts, such as a "Katyusha," a truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher, a howitzer and long range guns, as well as medals, uniforms, binoculars and officer map cases.