Post-War Brest

The Citadel of the Brest Fortress, Spring — Summer, 1945. The deserted, rough silence. Windows embrasures of the ruined military barracks look at visitors. It seemed that these ruins were guarding the peace of those who had been taken by the war. The bullet and shell-riddled Three-Arched Gate were still there. They were the landmark of the obstinacy of the Fortress defenders. The burnt-down White Palace was still soaring. But the military barracks from the Three-Arched Gates to the Brigit Gates were gone. Soon the Three-Arched Gates and the White Palace also vanished. In February 1946, they did not exist. An eye-witness of those events, a Soviet army officer, driving us, schoolchildren, to the Fortress to a sponsor concert in honour of the Soviet Army Day narrated that the bricks from the demolished White Palace had been used for the repairs of military barracks where the Red Army soldiers had been stationed. In his words, the Three-Arched Gates were pulled down because they impeded the movement of military vehicles.


Translated from Russian by Leo Levine and Sofia Levine