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Democratic activists visited PavelSeverinets and honored the memory of Belarusian and Ukrainian patriots (photo)
Special prison detention unit in Okrestinastreet in Minsk is quite notorious in the Belarusian society for being the detention place for political prisoners. Democratic activists who dared to express their protest against the current authorities during the mass demonstrations are brought there. However, few people know that a small town of Bereza, located in Brest Oblast, has a similar “Okrestina” that dates back to the times of Y.Pilsudskiy.
The concentration camp Bereza-Kartuzskaya was created by the Polish authorities in 1934 as a place of extrajudicial internment of the opponents of the ruling regime. Y. Pilsudskiy’s political opponents, communists, activists of Jewish, Belarusian and Ukrainian national movements were kept there. The formation of the camp was caused by the assassination of BronislavPeratsky, the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs, by GrigoriyMatseiko, a militant of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). It is quite natural that initially Ukrainians were the main “visitors” to the institution: in 1934, 120 out of 200 prisoners were Ukrainian nationalists. People were allowed to be detained in Bereza-Kartuzskaya for up to three months without trial, solely on the basis of the administrative decision made by the police of the head of the province. The camp administration had the right to add another term (i.e. to keep the detainee for three more months), and this right was quite regularly used. The detainee could be released earlier if they renounced “the anti-state activities” and signed a special obligation note. The total number of the detainees for the entire time that the camp existed is estimated to be 8-10 thousand people. According to the Soviet data, on September 17, 1939 the detainees kept in Bereza-Kartuzskaya were freed by the Red Army.
On September 17, the Solidarity Movement “Razam” (“Together”) honored the memory of the Belarusian and Ukrainian patriots by visiting the former prison location in Bereza. TatsianaZelko, the Our Generation’s leader, took part in the trip, as well as Nina Baginskaya who had recently been arrested in the Nezavisimosti Square with a white-red-white flag. Later on, the flag was confiscated. By the way, MsBaginskaya made a new flag for September 17…
The poor state of the historical landmarks should be mentioned here. The place that, ideally, could be a pilgrimage shrine for representatives of at least three countries, is in an extremely poor condition. In fact, one can only look at the facade of the building… Although the Bereza-Kartuzskaya prison has an interesting history and all the chances to be an excellence tourist spot for the Ukrainians and the Polish. This place symbolizes the suffering of the citizens who dared to love their Motherland and defend it against the intervention. This prison was a place of concentration of people with various political views (both communists and OUN members were kept there). It also demonstrated that the common enemy could only be defeated by joint efforts.
The trip participants also visited PavelSeverinets, the patriot of the country, who is serving his sentence for the events of December 19, 2010. At the meeting with Our Generation’s Leader TatsianaZelko, Pavel said:
-- Only then there will changes in our country when our society consolidates. We should stop subdividing people into young and old, “left” and “right”, and so on. This year experience shows that the consolidation of the political forces at the high level is not as important as the consolidation of citizens at a more local level. The consolidation of citizens, and not that of the leaders, brings much more tangible results.





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