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Brest Fortress

Brest Fortress

Brest Fortress: the history of the building, a feat during the Second World War and a modern memorial

The famous Brest Fortress has become synonymous with unbroken spirit and resilience. During the Great Patriotic War, the elite forces of the Wehrmacht were forced to spend 8 full days on its capture, instead of the planned 8 hours. What motivated the defenders of the fortress and why this resistance played an important role in the overall picture of the Second World War.

uins of the Brest Fortress

Early in the morning of June 22, 1941, the German offensive began along the entire line of the Soviet border, from the Barents to the Black Sea. One of the many initial goals was the Brest Fortress - a small line in the plan of Barbarossa. The Germans took only 8 hours to storm and capture it. Despite the loud name, this fortification, once the pride of the Russian Empire, turned into a simple barracks and the Germans did not expect to meet serious resistance there.

But the unexpected and desperate rebuff that the Wehrmacht forces met in the fortress went down in the history of the Great Patriotic War so vividly that today ma

ny believe that the Second World War began with an attack on the Brest Fortress. But it could have happened that this feat would have remained unknown, but the case decreed otherwise.

History of the Brest Fortress

Terespol Gate, Brest Fortress

Where the Brest Fortress is located today, there used to be the city of Berestye, which is mentioned for the first time in The Tale of Bygone Years. Historians believe that this city originally grew around the castle, the history of which has been lost for centuries. Located at the junction of Lithuanian, Polish and Russian lands, it has always played an important strategic role. The city was erected on a cape formed by the Western Bug and Mukhovets rivers. In ancient times, rivers were the main communications for traders. Therefor

e, Berestye prospered economically. But the location on the very border entailed dangers. The city often moved from one state to another. It was repeatedly besieged and captured by Poles, Lithuanians, German knights, Swedes, Crimean Tatars and troops of the Russian kingdom.

Important fortification

The history of the modern Brest Fortress originates in imperial Russia. It was built by order of Emperor Nicholas I. The fortification was located at an important point - on the shortest land route from Warsaw to Moscow. At the confluence of two rivers - the Western Bug and Mukhavets there was a natural island, which became the location of the Citadel - the main fortification of the fortress. This building was a two-story building, which housed 500 casemates. There could be 12,000 people there at the same time. Walls of two meters thick reliably protected them from any weapons that existed in the XIX century.

Courtyard of the Brest Fortress

Three more islands were created artificially, using the waters of the Mukhovets River and a man-made system of moats. On them there are additional fortifications: Kobryn, Volyn and Terespol. This arrangement was very suitable for the commanders defending themselves in the fortress, because it reliably protected the Citadel from enemies. It was very difficult to break through to the main fortification, and it was almost impossible to bring stenobit guns there. The first stone of the fortress was laid on June 1, 1836, and on April 26, 1842, the fortress standard soared above it in a solemn atmosphere. At that time, it was one of the best defensive structures in the country. Knowledge of the design features of this military fortification will help to understand how the defense of the Brest Fortress took place in 1941.

Time passed, and weapons improved. The range of artillery fire was increasing. What had previously been impregnable could now be destroyed without even getting close. Therefore, military engineers decided to build an additional line of defense, which was supposed to encircle the fortress at a distance of 9 km from the main fortification. It included artillery batteries, defensive barracks, two dozen strongholds and 14 forts.

Unexpected find

At the North-Western Gate of the Brest Fortress, photo 1939

February 1942 turned out to be cold. German troops rushed deep into the Soviet Union. The Red Army tried to hold back their advance, but most often they had no choice but to continue to retreat inland. But they didn't always fail. And now, not far from Orel, the 45th Wehrmacht Infantry Division was utterly defeated. We even managed to capture documents from the headquarters archive. Among them, they found a "combat report on the occupation of Brest-Litovsk."

Accurate Germans day after day documented t

Three-arch bridge, Brest Fortress

he events that took place during the protracted siege in the Brest Fortress. The staff officers had to explain the reasons for the delay. At the same time, as was always the case in history, they went out of their way to exalt their own bravery and downplay the merits of the enemy. But even in this light,

the feat of the unbroken defenders of the Brest Fortress looked so bright that excerpts from this document were published in the Soviet edition of Krasnaya Zvezda to strengthen the spirit of both the front fighters and the civilian population. But history at that time had not yet revealed all its secrets. The Brest Fortress in 1941 endured much more of those trials, which became known from the documents found.

Word to the Witnesses

Three years have passed since the capture of the Brest Fortress. After heavy fighting, Belarus was recaptured from the Nazis and, in particular, the Brest Fortress. By that time, stories about her had become almost legends and an ode to courage. Therefore, interest in this object was immediately increased. The mighty fortress lay in ruins. Traces of destruction from artillery strikes, at the first glance, told experienced front-line soldiers what hell the garrison stationed here had to face at the very beginning of the war.

Attack by Wehrmacht soldiers, Brest Fortress 1941

A soldier of the Wehrmacht during the battle in the Brest Fortress

A detailed survey of the ruins gave an even more complete picture. Literally dozens of messages from participants in the defense of the fortress were written and scratched on the walls. Many came down to the message: "I'm dying, but I don't give up." Some contained dates and last names. Over time, eyewitnesses of those events were also found. German newsreel and photo reports became available. Step by step, historians reconstructed the picture of the events that took place on June 22, 1941 in the battles for the Brest Fortress. The graffiti on the walls told what was not in the official records. In the documents, the date of the fall of the fortress was July 1, 1941. But one of the inscriptions was dated July 20, 1941. This meant that the resistance, albeit in the form of a partisan movement, lasted almost a month.

Defense of the Brest Fortress

By the time the fire of World War II broke out, the Brest Fortress was no longer a strategically important object. But since it is impossible to neglect the already available material resources, it was used as a barracks. The fortress turned into a small military town where the families of commanders lived. Among the civilian population permanently residing in the territory were women, children and the elderly. About 300 families lived outside the walls of the fortress.

Due to the military exercises scheduled for June 22, rifle and artillery units and the highest command staff of the army left the fortress. 10 rifle battalions, 3 artillery regiments, air defense and PTO divisions left the territory. Less than half of the usual number of people remained - about 8.5 thousand people. A national panel of advocates would do honor to any UN meeting. There were Belarusians, Ossetians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Tatars, Kalmyks, Georgians, Chechens and Russians. In total, among the defenders of the fortress were representatives of thirty nationalities. They were approached by 19,000 well-trained soldiers who had considerable experience of real battles in Europe.

Wives and children of Red Army soldiers surrounded by German soldiers

The Brest Fortress was stormed by soldiers of the 45th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht. It was a special unit. It was the first to triumphantly enter Paris. Fighters from this division passed Through Belgium, Holland and fought in Warsaw. They were considered practically the elite of the German army. The Forty-fifth Division always quickly and clearly fulfilled the tasks assigned to it. It was singled out among others by the Führer himself. It is a division of the former Austrian Army. It was formed in Hitler's homeland - in the district of Linz. Personal loyalty to the Führer was carefully cultivated in it. They are expected to win quickly, and they have no doubt about it.

Fully prepared for a quick assault

The Germans had a detailed plan of the Brest Fortress. After all, just a few years ago, they had already won it from Poland. Then Brest was also attacked at the very beginning of the war. The assault on the Brest Fortress in 1939 lasted two weeks. It was then that the Brest Fortress was first subjected to aerial bombardment. And on September 22, the whole of Brest was pompously transferred to the Red Army, in honor of which a joint parade of Red Army soldiers and the Wehrmacht was held.

Fortifications: 1 — Citadel; 2 — Kobrin fortification; 3 — Volyn fortification; 4 — Terespol fortification Objects: 1. Defensive barracks; 2. Barbicans; 3. White Palace; 4. Engineering management; 5. Barracks; 6. Club; 7. Dining room; 8. Brest Gate; 9. Kholm Gate; 10. Terespol Gate; 11. Brigid Gate. 12. The building of the border outpost; 13. West Fort; 14. East Fort; 15. Barracks; 16. Residential buildings; 17. North-Western Gate; 18. North Gate; 19. Eastern Gate; 20. Powder magazines; 21. Brigid Prison; 22. Hospital; 23. Regimental school; 24. Hospital building; 25. Strengthening; 26. South Gate; 27. Barracks; 28. Garages; 30. Barracks.

Therefore, the advancing soldiers had all the necessary information and a scheme of the Brest Fortress. They were aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the fortifications, and had a clear plan of action. At dawn on June 22, everyone was in their seats. Mortar batteries were installed, and assault squads were trained. At 4:15 a.m., the Germans opened artillery fire. Everything was very clearly calibrated. Every four minutes, the line of fire was pushed 100 meters forward. The Germans diligently and methodically mowed down everything that could be obtained. A detailed map of the Brest Fortress served as an invaluable help in this.

The bet was made primarily on surprise. The artillery bombardment was to be short but massive. The enemy had to be disoriented and not given the opportunity to provide a cohesive resistance. For a short attack, nine mortar batteries managed to fire 2880 shots at the fortress. No one expected a serious rebuff from the survivors. After all, there were rear guards, repairmen, and families of commanders in the fortress. As soon as the mortars subsided, the assault began.

The South Island forwards passed quickly. Warehouses were concentrated there, and there was a hospital. The soldiers were not ceremonial with the bedridden sick – they finished them off with rifle butts. Those who could move independently were killed selectively.

Aerial survey, Brest Fortress 1941.

But on the western island, where the Terespol fortification is located, the border guards managed to orient themselves and meet the enemy with dignity. But due to the fact that they were scattered into small groups, it was not possible to restrain the attackers for a long time. Through the Terespol Gate of the attacked Brest Fortress, the Germans broke into the Citadel. They quickly occupied some casemates, the officers' canteen and the club.

First failures

At the same time, the newly-appeared heroes of the Brest Fortress began to gather in groups. They pull out their weapons and take up defensive positions. Now it turns out that the Germans who have broken through are in the ring. They are attacked from the rear, and defenders who have not yet been discovered are waiting ahead. The Red Army soldiers purposefully shot officers among the attacking Germans. Discouraged by such a rebuff, the infantrymen try to retreat, but then they are met with fire by border guards. German losses in this attack amounted to almost half of the detachment. They retreat, and settle in the club. This time as besieged.

The Germans cannot be helped by artillery. It is impossible to open fire, as the probability of shooting your own people is too high. The Germans try to fight their way to their comrades stuck in the Citadel, but Soviet snipers with accurate shots force them to keep their distance. The same snipers block the movement of machine guns, not giving the opportunity to transfer them to other positions.

Soldiers of the Wehrmacht in the Brest Fortress.

By 7:30 in the morning, it would seem that the shot fortress literally comes to life and completely comes to its senses. Defense is organized along the entire perimeter. Commanders hurriedly reform the surviving fighters and place them in positions. No one has a complete picture of what is happening. But at this time, the fighters are sure that they just need to keep their positions. Hold out until help comes.

Complete insulation

The Red Army had no contact with the outside world. Messages sent on the air remained unanswered. By noon, the city was completely occupied by the Germans. The Brest Fortress on the map of Brest remained the only hotbed of resistance. All escape routes were cut off. But contrary to the expectations of the Hitlerites, resistance only grew. It was quite clear that the attempt to capture the fortress immediately failed. The offensive stalled.

Self-propelled mortar system "Karl"

At 13:15, the German command throws into battle a reserve - the 133rd Infantry Regiment. This does not bring results. At 14:30, the commander of the 45th Division, Fritz Schlieper, arrives at the German-occupied section of the Kobrin fortification to personally assess the situation. He is convinced that his infantry is unable to take the Citadel on their own. Schlieper gives the order to withdraw the infantry at nightfall and resume firing with heavy guns. The heroic defense of the besieged Brest Fortress bears fruit. This is the first retreat of the illustrious 45th Division since the beginning of the war in Europe.

600 mm self-propelled mortar "Karl" (Karl Gerät 040)

The Wehrmacht forces could not simply take and leave the fortress as it is. In order to move on, it was necessary to occupy it. Strategists knew this, and it has been proven by history. The defense of the Brest Fortress by the Poles in 1939 and the Russians in 1915 served as a good lesson for the Germans. The fortress blocked important crossings over the Western Bug River and access roads to both tank highways, which were crucial for the transfer of troops and the provision of supplies to the advancing army.

According to the plans of the German command, troops aimed at Moscow were to march non-stop through Brest. German generals considered the fortress a serious obstacle, but simply did not consider it as a powerful defensive line. The desperate defense of the Brest Fortress in 1941 made its own adjustments to the plans of the aggressors. In addition, the defending Red Army soldiers did not just settle in the corners. Time after time, they organized counterattacks. Losing men and rolling back into position, they reorganized and went back into battle.

Thus passed the first day of the war. The next day, the Germans gathered the captured people, and, hiding behind women, children and the wounded from the captured hospital, began to cross the bridge. Thus, the Germans forced the defenders either to let them pass or to shoot their relatives and friends with their own hands.

Meanwhile, artillery fire resumed. To help the besiegers, two super-heavy guns were delivered - 600 mm self-propelled mortars of the Karl system. It was such an exclusive weapon that they even had their own names. In total, only six such mortars have been produced in history. The two-ton shells fired from these mastodons left craters 10 meters deep. They knocked down the towers at the Terespol Gate. In Europe, the mere appearance of such a "Charles" at the walls of a besieged city meant victory. The Brest fortress, as long as the defense lasted, did not even give the enemy a reason to think about the possibility of surrender. The defenders continued to shoot back even when they were seriously wounded.

First prisoners

Nevertheless, at 10 am, the Germans arrange the first respite and offer to surrender. This continued in each of the subsequent breaks in shooting. Insistent offers to surrender were heard from German loudspeakers to the entire district. This was to undermine the morale of the Russians. This approach has borne some fruit. On this day, about 1900 people came out of the fortress with their hands raised. Among them were a lot of women and children. But there were also servicemen. Basically, reservists who arrived at the training camp.

Captured Soviet soldiers

The third day of the defense began with shelling, comparable in power to the first day of the war. The Nazis could not help but admit that the Russians were defending bravely. But they did not understand the reasons that made people continue to resist. Brest was taken. There is nowhere to wait for help. However, initially no one planned to defend the fortress. In fact, it would even be a direct disobedience to the order, which said that in the event of hostilities, the fortress should be abandoned immediately.

The military who were there simply did not have time to leave the facility. The narrow gate, which was the only way out then, was under the aimed fire of the Germans. Those who failed to break through initially expected help from the Red Army. They did not know that German tanks were already in the center of Minsk.

Kaj soldiers with a white flag

Not all women left the fortress, heeding the exhortations to surrender. Many stayed behind to fight their husbands. German stormtroopers even reported to the command about the women's battalion. However, there were never any female units in the fortress.

Premature report

On the twenty-fourth of June, Hitler was informed about the capture of the Brest-Litovsk fortress. On that day, the stormtroopers managed to capture the Citadel. But the fortress has not yet surrendered. In the evening of the same day, the surviving commanders gathered in the building of the engineering barracks. The result of the meeting is Order No. 1 - the only document of the besieged garrison. Because of the assault that had begun, it was not even finished. But it is thanks to him that we know the names of the commanders and the numbers of the fighting units.

After the fall of the Citadel, the eastern fort became the main center of resistance in the Brest Fortress. Stormtroopers try to take the Kobrin shaft repeatedly, but the gunners of the 98th anti-tank division firmly hold the defense. They knock out a couple of tanks and several armored vehicles. When the enemy destroys the cannons, fighters with rifles and grenades go to the casemates.

The Nazis combine assaults and shelling with psychological treatment. With the help of leaflets dropped from airplanes, the Germans call for surrender, promising life and humane treatment. Through loudspeakers, they announce that both Minsk and Smolensk have already been taken and there is no point in resisting. But the people in the fortress just don't believe it. They are waiting for help from the Red Army.

The Germans were afraid to enter the casemates - the wounded continued to shoot. But they couldn't get out either. Then the Germans decided to use flamethrowers. Brick and metal melted from the terrible heat. These sweats can still be seen today on the walls of casemates.

The Germans issue an ultimatum. His surviving fighters are attributed to a fourteen-year-old girl - Valya Zenkina, the daughter of a sergeant who was captured the day before. The ultimatum says that either the Brest Fortress surrenders to the last defender, or the Germans will wipe the garrison off the face of the earth. But the girl did not return. She chose to stay in the fortress with her own.

Pressing issues

The period of the first shock passes, and the body begins to demand its own. People understand that all this time they did not eat anything, and food warehouses burned down during the very first shelling. Worse, the defenders have nothing to drink. At the first artillery bombardment of the fortress, the water supply system was put out of action. People suffer from thirst. The fortress was located at the confluence of two rivers, but it was impossible to reach this water. German machine guns stand along the banks of rivers and canals. The besieged's attempts to get to the water are paid for by their lives.

The cellars are overflowing with the wounded and the families of the commanders. It is especially difficult for children. Commanders decide to take women and children prisoner. With white flags, they get out into the street and walk to the exit. These women did not stay in captivity for long. The Germans simply let them go, and the women went either to Brest or to the nearest village.

1800-kg German air bomb SC 1800

On June 29, the Germans called in the air force. That was the start date of the end. Bombers drop several 500 kg of bombs on the fort, but it withstands and continues to snap at the fire. In the afternoon, another super-powerful bomb (1800 kg) was dropped. This time, the casemates punched through. Following this, stormtroopers broke into the fort. They managed to capture about 400 prisoners. Under heavy fire and constant assaults, the fortress lasted 8 days in 1941.

One for all

Major Pyotr Gavrilov, who led the main defense in this area, did not surrender. He took refuge in a hole dug in one of the casemates. The last defender of the Brest Fortress decided to wage his own war. Gavrilov wanted to take refuge in the northwestern corner of the fortress, where there were stables before the war. During the day, he burrows into a pile of manure, and at night he carefully crawls out to the canal to drink water. The major feeds on the remaining feed in the stable. However, after a few days of such a diet, acute abdominal pain begins, Gavrilov quickly weakens and begins to fall into oblivion at times. He is soon captured.

The world will learn how many days the defense of the Brest Fortress lasted much later. As well as what price the defenders had to pay. But the fortress began to grow legends almost immediately. One of the most popular originated from the words of one Jew - Zalman Stavsky, who worked in a restaurant as a violinist. He said that one day, while going to work, he was stopped by a German officer. Zalman was taken to the fortress and led to the entrance to the dungeon around which the soldiers gathered, bristling with cocked rifles. Stavsky was ordered to go down and take out the Russian fighter. He complied, and downstairs he found a half-alive man whose name remained unknown. Thin and overgrown, he could no longer move independently. Rumor has given him the title of last defender. It was April 1942. It's been 10 months since the war began.

From the Shadow of Oblivion

A year after the first attack of the fortification, an article was written about this event in the "Red Star", which revealed the details of the protection of the soldiers. The Moscow Kremlin decided that it could raise the military fervor of the population, which had subsided by that time. It was not yet a real memorial article, but only an alert about what heroes the 9,000 people who were bombed were considered to be. The figures and some names of the dead soldiers, the names of the fighters, the results of the fact that the fortress was surrendered and where the army is moving further were announced. In 1948, 7 years after the end of the battle, an article appeared in Ogonyok, which was already more like a memorable ode to the dead people.

In fact, the presence of a complete picture about the defense of the Brest Fortress should be credited to Sergei Smirnov, who at one time set out to restore and organize the records stored earlier in the archives. Konstantin Simonov picked up the initiative of the historian and a drama, a documentary and a feature film under his leadership were born. Historians conducted a study in order to get as many documentary footage as possible and they succeeded - German soldiers were going to make a propaganda film about the victory, and therefore the video material was already there. However, he was not destined to become a symbol of victory, because all information was stored in the archives.

Around the same time, the painting "To the Defenders of the Brest Fortress" was painted, and since the 1960s poems began to appear, where the Brest Fortress is exhibited as an ordinary entertaining city. They were preparing for a scene on Shakespeare, but did not suspect that another "tragedy" was brewing. Throughout time, there were songs in which from the height of the XXI century a person looks at the deprivations of soldiers a century earlier.

Brest Fortress

At the same time, it is worth noting that propaganda was conducted not only on the part of Germany: propaganda speeches, films, posters that encourage action. This was also done by the Russian Soviet authorities, and therefore these films also had a patriotic character. Poetry glorified bravery, the idea of the feat of small military troops on the territory of the fortress, trapped. From time to time there were notes about the results of the defense of the Brest Fortress, but the emphasis was placed on the decisions of the soldiers in conditions of complete isolation from the command.

Soon, the Brest Fortress, already known for its defense, had numerous poems, many of which were laid on songs and served as screensavers for documentaries during the Great Patriotic War and chronicles of the advance of troops to Moscow. In addition, there is a cartoon that tells about the Soviet people as unreasonable children (junior classes). In principle, the viewer explains the reason for the appearance of traitors and why there were so many saboteurs in Brest. But this is explained by the fact that the people believed the ideas of fascism, while saboteur attacks were not always committed by traitors.

In 1965, the fortress was awarded the title of "hero", in the media it was mentioned exclusively as the "Brest Fortress-Hero", and by 1971 a memorial complex was formed. In 2004, Vladimir Beshanov published a complete chronicle "Brest Fortress".


The existence of the museum "The Fifth Fort of the Brest Fortress" is due to the Communist Party, which proposed its creation for the 20th anniversary of the memory of the defense of the fortress. The funds were previously collected by the people, and now it remained only to get approval to make a cultural monument out of the ruins. The idea originated long before 1971 and, for example, in 1965 the fortress received the "Star of the Hero", and a year later a creative group was formed to design the museum.

She did a lot of work, up to the indication of what lining the obelisk bayonet (titanium steel), the main color of the stone (gray) and the necessary material (concrete) should have. The Council of Ministers agreed to the implementation of the project and in 1971 a memorial complex was opened, where sculptural compositions are competently and neatly arranged and the places of battle are presented. Today they are visited by tourists from many countries of the world.

Location of monuments

The formed complex has a main entrance, which is a concrete parallelepiped with a carved star. Polished to a shine, it stands on a rampart, on which, at a certain angle, the abandonment of the barracks is especially striking. They are not so much abandoned as left in the state in which they were used by soldiers after the bombing. This contrast emphasizes the condition of the castle. On both sides there are casemates of the Eastern part of the fortress, and from the opening you can see the Central part. Thus begins the story that the Brest Fortress will tell the visitor.

Brest Fortress in our days

A feature of the Brest Fortress is the panorama. From the elevation you can see the citadel, the Mukhavets River, on the coast of which it is located, as well as the largest monuments. Impressively made sculptural composition "Thirst", glorifying the courage of soldiers left without water.

Brest Fortress in our days

Since the water supply was destroyed in the first hours of the siege, the soldiers, themselves in need of drinking water, gave it to their families, and the remains were used to cool the guns. It is this difficulty that is meant when they say that the fighters were ready to kill and walk on corpses for a sip of water.

Brest Fortress in our days

The White Palace, depicted in the famous painting by Zaitsev, which was destroyed to the ground in places before the bombing began, is surprising.

Brest Fortress in our days

The building for the duration of the Second World War served as a dining room, a club and a warehouse at the same time. Historically, it was in the palace that the Treaty of Brest was signed, and according to myths, Trotsky left the most famous slogan "no war, no peace", imprinting it over a billiard table. However, the latter is not provable. During the construction of the museum near the palace, approximately 130 dead were found, and the walls were damaged by potholes.

Together with the palace, the square of ceremonies is a single whole, and if you take into account the barracks, then all these buildings are entirely preserved ruins that have not been touched by archaeologists. The scheme of the brest Fortress memorial designates the square most often by numbers, although it has a considerable length. In the center there are plates with the names of the defenders of the Brest Fortress, the list of which was restored, where the remains of more than 800 people are buried, and next to the initials ranks and merits are indicated.

Most visited attractions

The Eternal Flame is located near the square, above which the Main Monument rises. As the scheme shows, the Brest Fortress rings this place, making it a kind of core of the memorial complex. The Post of Memory, organized under Soviet rule, in 1972, has been carrying out its service next to the fire for many years. Here serve the Yunarmeys, whose watch lasts for 20 minutes and you can often get to the shift. The monument also deserves attention: it was made from reduced parts made at the local factory from gypsum. Then casts were taken from them and enlarged by 7 times.

The Engineering Department is also part of the untouched ruins and is located inside the citadel, and the Mukhavets and Western Bug rivers make an island out of it. There was always a fighter in the Directorate, who did not cease to transmit signals to the radio station. So the remains of one soldier were found: not far from the equipment, until the last breath, which did not stop trying to contact the command. In addition, during the First World War, the Engineering Directorate was only partially restored and was not a reliable shelter.

The garrison temple became almost a legendary place, which was able to capture enemy troops one of the last. Initially, the temple served as an Orthodox church, however, by 1941 there was a club of the regiment. Since the building stood very profitably, it became a place for which both sides fought hard: the club passed from commander to commander and only at the very end of the siege remained with the German soldiers. The building of the temple was restored several times, and only by 1960 it was included in the complex.

At the very Terespol Gate there is a monument "Heroes of the Border...", created according to the idea of the State Committee in Belarus. A member of the creative committee worked on the design of the monument, and the construction cost 800 million rubles. The sculpture depicts three soldiers defending themselves from enemies invisible to the eye, and behind them are children and their mother giving precious water to a wounded soldier.

Underground bikes

The attraction of the Brest Fortress are the dungeons, which have an almost mystical aura, and around them there are legends of different origin and content. However, whether they should be called such a loud word remains to be understood. Many journalists made reports without first verifying the information. In fact, many of the dungeons turned out to be manholes, a length of several tens of meters, not at all "from Poland to Belarus". The human factor played a role: those who survived mention the underground passages as something big, but often the stories cannot be confirmed by facts.

Brest Fortress in our days

Often, before looking for ancient passages, you need to study the information, thoroughly learn the archive and understand the photographs found in newspaper clippings. Why is this important? The fortress was built for certain purposes and in some places these passages may simply not be - they were not needed! But certain fortifications are worth paying attention to. This will help the map of the Brest Fortress.

When erecting forts, it was taken into account that they should only support the infantry. So, in the minds of builders, they looked like separate buildings that are well armed. The forts were supposed to protect the areas between them where the military were located, thus forming a single chain - a line of defense. In these distances between fortified forts, a road was often hidden, hidden on the sides by an embankment. This mound could serve as walls, but not as a roof – it had nothing to hold on to. However, researchers perceived and described it as dungeons.

The presence of underground passages as such, not only that is not logical, but also difficult to implement. The financial costs that the command would incur did not justify the benefits of these dungeons. Much more effort would have been spent on the construction, but it would be possible to use the moves from time to time. Such dungeons can be used, for example, only when the fortress was defended. Moreover, it was beneficial for commanders that the fort remained autonomous, and not turned into part of a string providing only a temporary advantage.

Brest Fortress in our days

There are certified written memoirs of the lieutenant, describing his retreats with the army through the dungeons stretching in the Brest Fortress, according to him, for 300 meters! But the

story casually talked about the matches with which the soldiers illuminated the way, but the size of the passages described by the lieutenant speaks for itself: it is unlikely that they would

Brest Fortress in our days

have enough such lighting for such a distance, and even taking into account the return trip.

Brest Fortress in our days

Brest Fortress in our days

Old communications in legends

The fortress had storm drains and sewers, which made it from the usual heap of buildings with large walls of a real stronghold. It is these passages of technical purpose that can most correctly be called dungeons, since they are made as a smaller version of the catacombs: a network of narrow passages branched over a long distance can only miss one person of medium build. A soldier with ammunition will not pass through such crevices, and even more so, several people in a row. This is an ancient sewerage system, which, by the way, is on the scheme of the Brest Fortress. A person could get along it to the place of clogging and clean it so that this branch of the highway could be used further.

There is also a gateway that helps to maintain the right amount of water in the fortress moat. It was also perceived as a dungeon and took the form of a fabulously large manhole. You can list numerous other communications, but the meaning will not change from this and you can consider them dungeons only conditionally.

Hitler and Mussolini in the Brest Fortress, photo 28.08.1941

Ghosts Avenge the Dungeons

Already after the fortification was surrendered to Germany, legends about cruel ghosts avenging comrades began to be transmitted from mouth to mouth. The real basis for such myths was: the remains of the regiment were hidden for a long time through underground communications and night sentries were shot. Soon, the descriptions of the ghosts that did not miss began to frighten so much that the Germans wanted each other to avoid meeting with the Frau Mit Machine gun - one of the legendary ghosts-avengers.

Upon the arrival of Hitler and Benito Mussolini, in the Brest Fortress, everyone's hands sweated: if ghosts fly out of there while these two brilliant personalities pass by the caves, troubles cannot be avoided. However, this, to the considerable relief of the soldiers, did not happen. At night, Frau never stopped brutalizing. She attacked unexpectedly, always swiftly and just as suddenly disappeared into the dungeons, as if she was dissolving into them. From the descriptions of the soldiers it followed that the woman had a dress torn apart in several places, matted hair and a dirty face. Because of her hair, by the way, her middle name was "Kudlataya".

The story had a real basis, as the wives of the commanders were also besieged. They were trained to shoot, and they did it masterfully, without a miss, the TRP standards had to be passed. In addition, to be in good shape physically and be able to handle various types of weapons was in honor, and therefore some woman blinded by revenge for loved ones could well carry out this. Anyway, the Frau Mit assault rifle was not the only legend among German soldiers.



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