So what is a human? This is a being who always decides who he is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer on his lips.”
The project “The Future is Uncertain, Memory is Real”. The Virtual Story of the Stalag-352 POW Camp in Minsk is implemented by the Belarusian Touristic Union with the support of the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ Foundation). The project used archival documents from the funds of the Belarusian State Archive of Film and Photo Documents.
The authors of the concept and creators of the content are the «Media-lab Glagol» studio. The project gathered together artists, animators, designers, journalists, culturologists, historians, members of the search group, archivists, developers, theater actors and directors.
Stalag 352 (ger. Stammlager) is one of the largest POW camps in Belarus during nazi occupation. It was created by Nazi Germany in Minsk and existed from July 1941 to July 1944. Structurally, it consisted of two parts: the «Forest Camp» on the territory of the military camp in Masiukovshchina and the «City Camp» — in the «Pushkin barracks» along the Logoisk tract. It killed about 80 thousand people. Of these, a little more than 14,000 prisoners were identified by name.
Now the territory and buildings of the «Forest Camp» are being attacked by vandals and seriously damaged. The last barrack that survived from that time was demolished in 2019. The surviving objects — a former infirmary, workshops, a canteen, an officer’s house, a bathhouse — make Stalag 352 a unique place. This is one of the few camp complexes on the territory of the former USSR, which has survived to this day. The media project “The Future is Uncertain, Memory is Real” is an attempt to preserve this place of memory, even if it disappears.
The policy of the Nazis towards Soviet prisoners of war can be called the policy of extermination. Most of the prisoners were waiting for a painful death from hunger, cold, unsanitary conditions, exhausting work, torture and beatings ... Jews, Soviet commissars and political officers were subject to immediate destruction. Despite this, the tragedy of Soviet prisoners of war was hushed up for a long time because of the stigma «enemy of the people.»
Our task is to make the history of the Stalag 352 prisoners of war visible. We offer a way not to reproduce the past, but to work it out — a way to look into the future.
The project website gives an opportunity to virtually immerse yourself in the history of the camp. This is a kind of an art diary, which combines documentary, author’s audio performance, atmospheric graphics and animations. By means of multimedia, we revive and fix memories, lines from archival documents and artifacts found on the territory of the camp. We give voice to those who could not speak before: camp prisoners, their relatives, eyewitnesses of crimes, German guards, members of search expeditions. All this helps to recreate a picture of the elusive events that took place in Minsk 80 years ago. The project, we hope, will give hope and an example of how in the most difficult times in inhuman conditions it is important to preserve a person in oneself ...