Memory for the sake of peace
The Memory for the Sake of Peace international youth team made up of students from Russia and Germany is ending its two-weeks long mission to search for and rebury the remains of World War II soldiers in Russia’s Kursk region south of Moscow. Igor Cherkashin, deputy head of the regional Committee on Youth Policy and Tourism, has more:
“The group comprises 10 students from Germany and 17 local students, members of the Center Search regional patriotic society. Throughout the past two weeks, they have been searching war-time burial sites of Soviet, German and Hungarian soldiers near the villages of Besedino and Iskra, working from dawn to sunset in an effort to do as much as possible. They have managed to transfer hundreds of remains to a cemetery near Besedino where the bodies of German soldiers and those of other nationalities who fought on Nazi Germany’s side during World War II will be reburied at a large memorial complex”, Igor Cherkashin said.
The complex occupying a vast area of 4,000 hectares is scheduled to open on October 7, becoming the largest German military cemetery in Russia. The remains of more than 50,000 German soldiers killed in battles in the Kursk, Belgorod, Oryol, Voronezh, Tula and Bryansk regions will be brought there for reburial. Similar German cemeteries already exist in the Smolensk, Leningrad and Volgograd regions where the former frontline passed. For now, more than 18,000 German soldiers have been reburied at Besedino. German war veterans and relatives of the killed will attend the opening ceremony.
The students spared a few hours for a sightseeing tour around the Kursk region. Igor Cherkashin:
“Excursions to Ponyri, Prokhorovka and the monastery of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God in the Kursk Korennaya shrine were organized.
In Ponyri, they visited the Museum of the Battle of Kursk, one of the greatest WWII battles, and in Prokhorovka, they paid tribute to thousands of soldiers killed in a major tank offensive in July 1943. On Saturday, the Russian members of the search team will be seeing their German friends off at a railway station from where the region’s premium train called Kursk Nightingale will take them back to Germany.