How he helped me write a book about Minsk

Old Minsk was his real passion.

Like mine, which, despite the age difference, once brought us very close.

And this despite the fact that in total he lived in Minsk for only about eight years - six years from birth to the arrest and deportation of his father, and two more years in the occupied city, from 1942 to 1944.

But he had time to see, although burned, but not yet completely destroyed buildings of Zamchishche, Nizky and Rybny markets and Niamiga, he had time to walk along the narrowest and most beautiful streets of the Old Town - Demyan Bedny and Kalinin.

While working on the book "Unknown Minsk.

History of Disappearance" I specially went to New York to show him a few dozen selected pictures in order to understand their dating and what exactly was destroyed, where and when in Minsk.

This was very important, because the dating of pictures in the archives of Belarus is often wrong.

He introduced me to two friends of his youth who lived with him in Minsk during the occupation - Yevhen Kulin and Leonid Shkod, who also helped me with the dating of the photographs.

And I am very glad that Mr. Vytaut had time to read both volumes of my Minsk book - he turned the last page literally three weeks ago.

"Unknown Minsk.

The story of the disappearance" was the last book he read in his long life.

What can emigrants do and whether Belarusians need to be divided

In general, when I think about Vytaut Kipel and his friend Janka Zaprudnyk, thoughts come to mind about the importance for the people and the country of passionate people, people with great inner energy, with an inner drive and a dominant sense of responsibility.

Such people do not leave the path once chosen and remain faithful to the chosen values ​​once and for all.

Kipel was involved in the Belarushchyna, made it and served it all his long life.

Ten years ago, my wife and Vytaut Kipel came to the guest house of Yanka Zaprudnik and Nadzia Kudasava in the town of South River, New Jersey, to talk, among other things, about the mysterious death in France in the 1960s of the Belarusian writer Vsevolad Kravchanka, the father of my wife

Yanka Zaprudnik wrote a lot about it in the émigré newspaper "Batskaushchyna".

There was a feast and a long, almost whole day long conversation - no other topics were discussed, except Belarusian history and the culture of the Belarusian patriarchs.

They were interested in everything related to Belarus and its culture.

Their example shows how inappropriate it is sometimes to criticize emigrants from Belarus that they "get involved" in Belarusian affairs and Belarusian culture, not having the moral right to do so in principle, because they left.

The fate of Vytautas Kipel and his associates shows that they did not "climb" anywhere, they created.

With the full understanding that Belarus is in Belarus.

And their example is all the more relevant now, in the times of a new emigration wave.

In general, it is important for current Belarusians to understand that there can be no division.

We are all Belarusians, no matter where we live, and we all serve Belarus as we can and where we can.

And sometimes this service outside the Motherland is very important, even defining and decisive.

After the last war, several hundred thousand active Belarusians emigrated.

It was a powerful wave.

They created Belarusian schools and gymnasiums, Belarusian centers and libraries, founded the autocephalous Orthodox Church and Uniate churches with their bishops, built Orthodox and Uniate churches all over the world, published many magazines and newspapers, created a whole emigration artistic and scientific literature.

And that's the most important thing.

When a new wave of Belarusian national revival began in Minsk in the 1980s of the 20th century, I, as a participant in it, can say that the most important thing for us was the feeling of the presence abroad of the Belarusian emigration with its intellectual achievements - it was a necessary base and support. , a foothold to lean on.

The independent Belarusian political and, partly, cultural traditions were brought to us by emigration.

The flag, the coat of arms, the Belarusian People's Republic are symbols preserved for Belarus by emigration.

Including such giants as Vytaut Kipel and his associates.

Thank you very much for this and low bow, dear Mr. Vytaut!

Eternal memory!

The opinions expressed in the blogs represent the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editors.

  • Siarhei Ablameyka

    Radio Svaboda journalist