The past is the birthplace
of the human soul …

Heinrich Heine

To the loving memory of my parents,
Tatyana Smolovik and Nikolay Gubenko,
and my beloved brothers Yevgeniy and Leonid

My drawings represent my personal memories, memories of my relatives, friends, acquaintances, witnesses who were involved in the events that were taking place in the city. Even though these memories reflect only a small part of the history of the city, it is important for new generations of the residents of Brest to be aware of them as they help to better understand the history of the city and the flavour of the time depicted in my drawings.

Personally, I do not see drawings just as graphic records of my friends’ memories but rather as continuing conversation with them. Unfortunately, most of them are now gone. But they remained my living companions in my drawings.

I have kept their names in my memory and they continue to live on with me: Leonid Anfinogenov, Viktor Bovsh, Yevgeniy Borzdun, Vasiliy Vashchuk, Sergey Vitorskiy, Vadim Vorobyov, Vadim Gaikov, Vadim Godulenkov, Viktor Gomenyuk, Mikhail Korza, Igor Demyanenko, Aleksandr Kirchuk, Vladimir Moshchuk, Yaroslav and Igor Novakovskiy, Nikolay Rybakov, Georgiy Svorchuk, Aleksandr Tolok, Nikolay Tishuk, Ivan Tsarenkov, Vasiliy Shchekolodkin, Yevgeniy Letun, his parents — Nikolay Demyanovich, Mariya Ignatyevna, who inspired me in my work.

Thank you, my dear co-authors, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Vladimir Gubenko

Vladimir Gubenko (born in 1932) is a mathematician and physicist by education, an engineer by profession, a historian and artist by vocation. In recent decades, thanks to his many exhibitions in different museums and cultural centres, as well as his own memoirs, published in local newspapers, he became known to the public as an illustrator, whose hundreds of pencil drawings with the documentary precision of an eyewitness,truthfully and eloquently recreate historical events, architecture and everyday life in Brest during the 1930-1950s. Many journalists and regional ethnographers use V. Gubenko’s drawings to illustrate their literary projects and historical studies. Vladimir Gubenko is a true patriot, who loves and remembers Brest, making drawings of the city. His unique memory resembles a very sensitive photographic film that stores, in precise details, the long-gone pictures of life in the city, where the author has been living for nearly 80 year