Unknown Victim, Kommunarka, Moscow

Unknown Victim.JPG

Unknown Victim

It seems an ordinaty tract of forest by a new highway at Kommunarka, some fifteen kilometres south from central Moscow. But behind the rotten fence crowned with rusty barbed wire one can spot trees with photographs or printed portraits of the victims. The area became a secret execution place at the end of the 1930s. At least 16 000 people were shot & buried there. Most of them were notables, like politicians and officers of the army. The forest belonged to the dacha of Genrikh Yagoda, head of the NKVD, and when he was ousted at 1937, the new leader, Nikolai Yezhov, decided to turn the place to a mass-grave. Yagoda himself was soon buried there. Some of the victims will remain nameless forever. At 1940 the area was sealed, and it was opened only after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now there is a small monument and a new church at Kommunarka graveyard, but otherwise the memory of the thousands of victims is fragile, duct taped to the trees, eaten by time.

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