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Russian governor: Ola Memorial reminds us of atrocities committed by Nazis during war

SVETLOGORSK DISTRICT, 29 September (BelTA) - The Ola Memorial in Svetlogorsk District reminds us of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War, Governor of Bryansk Oblast Aleksandr Bogomaz told the media after visiting the Ola memorial complex on the site of the same-name village burned by the Nazis during the war in Gomel Oblast, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Bogomaz noted that Bryansk Oblast suffered heavy losses during the war years. "More than 150,000 residents of Bryansk Oblast were burned and taken for slave labor. In Bryansk Oblast there is the village of Hatsun, which, like the Belarusian Khatyn, was completely burned down by the Germans," he said.
"The new memorial complex [Ola] reminds us of the atrocities that were committed on our land. It was our common land. It was the Soviet Union. No matter what the West says today about the war, what it was like, how it was fought, no one can find an explanation for the atrocities when innocent children were killed and burned," the governor stressed.
According to Aleksandr Bogomaz, descendants must always remember about 27 million soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the name of Victory. “This is our common memory which we must never forget. We must always remember what our peoples had to live through,” he said.
On 29 September, Gomel Oblast Governor Gennady Solovei and Aleksandr Bogomaz, and also members of the Bryansk Oblast delegation laid wreaths and flowers at the memorial in Ola and observed a minute of silence.
In the morning of 14 January 1944 a German punitive force assisted by an army unit of about 1,000 troops surrounded the village of Ola. People were herded into the houses, which were then set ablaze. Those trying to run away were gunned down. As many as 1,758 civilians were shot and burned, including 950 kids. That was almost 12 times more than the number of people killed in Khatyn. The village of Ola never revived after the war. In 1958 a monument – a kneeling soldier with a wreath – was erected at the communal grave where the civilians and Soviet soldiers were buried (a total of 2,253 people).
The communal grave has been reconstructed to create the memorial complex Ola. It includes an entrance zone, a commemorative zone (in the area adjacent to the existing communal grave) and a footpath to connect the two zones along a former village street. A symbolic cross and a bell have been placed in the center of the commemorative zone. There is a bell tower nearby. It has been made to look like a village barn and contains a number of bells to match the number of villages, whose residents died there.