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Brest. Fortress Heroes

Produced by : LLC “Aviator Production”
Year : 2010
Duration : 66 min
Number of episodes : 1
Written by : Alexey Pivovarov
The Brest Fortress was the first to stand on the way of the fascist blitzkrieg in June 1941and became a symbol of heroism for all Russian people. A lot of us remember the reproduction of the classical painting “Defenders of the Brest Fortress” by Pyotr Krivonogov and the inscription on the wall “I’m dying but I won’t surrender. Farewell, Motherland.” Self-sacrificing defense of the fortress and this inscription are historical facts. But there is also a shocking fact. The feat of defenders of the Brest Fortress could stay beyond the official Soviet history because almost all of those few defenders who happened to survive were captured by the Germans and Stalin clearly said: “There are no captives. There are traitors of the Motherland.” Only after the war Sergey Smirnov, a writer, the chief editor of the “Literary Newspaper”, managed to redeem good name of defenders of the Brest Fortress thanks to his publications. He began looking for the participants of the defense soon after Stalin’s death and found hundreds of people. Some of them were imprisoned, the others were in labour camps but all, without exception, lived in full obscurity and with a disgraceful brand of a betrayer. Most of them had not lived till recognition: they miraculously survived the hell of June 1941 and years of German concentration camps but fell victims of postwar repressions at home in the USSR. How could it happen that in June 1941 in spite of numerous evidences of the impending attack the garrison of the fortress was not ready to fighting and the Command from Moscow just repeated “not to rise to provocations”? Why the defenders of the Brest Fortress were beware of the local population perhaps even more than of the attacking fascists? How could a handful of soldiers without armament, ration, water and connection with the command continue to resist vehemently so long to the German military machine – artillery, tanks, aviation and attack planes of the elite Austrian divisions? Why did not they surrender? Did they still hope that our army was on the way? Or, like the Germans explained, did they think that in captivity they would be shot? Or maybe they wanted to revenge for their killed relatives and friends? All this is a part of the answer but there was also something else, thrice-told by propaganda and indeed something very personal. Something that made those people die but not surrender.