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Monument "The Hive" at Zedelgem: A need for every citizen to examine their conscience

* Ceremony of solemn tribute at Rebecq on September 29th 2021 *

Tribute to the National Memorial to the Soviet Armed Partisans in Belgium 1944-2019
Rebecq, May 9th, 2021

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Sunday, May 9, 2021, a commemoration was organized by the association «The Belgians Remember Them» in tribute to the Soviet Armed Partisans who fought alongside the Belgian Resistance during WWII. These Red Army soldiers who had been taken prisoner on the Eastern Front and carried in Belgium, to the Belgian coal mines where they were forced to work.
Several hundred of these men managed to escape from the place of their detention and lined up alongside the Resistance. More than two hundred of them were killed in battle or executed by the Germans.

One of them, Vladimir Talda, rests in the cemetery of Rebecq. He was killed during the battles of the Liberation of Rebecs, September 3, 1944.

A large Russian delegation attended, including the Russian Ambassador to Belgium Alexander Tokovinin, the Minister-Counsellor Dmitri Borodin, the Defence Attaché Colonel Igor Kolodin, Major Alexey Kozhevnikov, Deputy Defence Attaché, Mr Igor Minaev, Counsellor of the Russian Embassy. On the Belgian side, we noted, among others, the Minister of State André Flahaut, the representative of the Minister of Defence, Colonel Olivier Degroote, Military Commander of the Province of Walloon Brabant, the Mayor of Rebecq Patricia Venturelli, the Walloon Deputy Dimitri Legasse, President of the Rebecq CPAS, Marino Marchetti and Alderman André Deschamps.

The current health conditions forced the organisers to restrict the number of participants at the event.

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After the people attending the commemoration have taken place, the President of the organizing association Wilfred Burie welcomes its guests. He goes on to say: " These days are very symbolic for me: May 9th is a sacred day in Russia, as May 8th should be in Belgium, may it remind us of the Allied victory over the Nazis, but this year, these two days coincide with a reduction in the health measures in force in Belgium for more than six months and the population benefits more from meeting with friends to enjoy these moments of freedom than from being in ceremonies for which, Distancing rules still apply.

On May 7th of this year, we had been inaugurating the Memorial of Rebecq for 10 years and the celebration of this day attests to the progress made since then.

On May 9th of this year, the coincidence of the calendar meant that it was also Mother’s Day in Belgium. This brings me to all the mothers of the soldiers who lost the most important thing to them during the Second World War: their child who never came home. You will allow me to honour on your behalf all those women who were millions to suffer the unspeakable pain of the loss of her child.” Together with his words, he placed a bouquet of flowers in front of the tomb of the Russian soldier Vladimir Talda, who died while fighting alongside the Belgian Resistance of Rebecq the enemies during the battle of liberation, on September 3, 1944."

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Wilfred Burie flowers the grave of Vladimir Talda in honour of the millions of mothers who have experienced the pain of losing their child to war


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Then, the Minister of State André Flahaut speaks: " The work carried out for ten years by the association “The Belgians Remember Them” demonstrates the determination of its members to preserve by all means the memory of those to whom we owe our Freedoms today. This determination was manifested again recently by the fight it is waging against the existence of a monument erected in a Belgian commune. It is the one located in Zedelgem that honours men who fought under the banner of the Waffen SS. It was erected there at the instigation of elements of extreme right-wing parties, always active in honouring those directly responsible for the massacres of the people of Europe, and especially the Jews as well as people who did not correspond to the Nazi model. No, the beast is not dead and continually, these facts must be recalled so that youth cannot be gangrened by this evil.

We will only be able to preserve peace between states by defending our democratic values and by promoting harmony and respect for one another by all means, among the governments of this world. It is not by bending to the brutality of today’s world that we will succeed in preserving peace, but by fostering exchange and mutual understanding."

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The Minister Flahaut during his speech


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Finally, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Alexander Tokovinin did his speech: " My presence today in Rebecq, in front of the tomb of Private Vladimir Talda, recalls the efforts made by my compatriots who fought alongside the Belgian Resistance almost 80 years ago. It recalls the friendship that unites them to the Belgians who welcomed them. The Belgians Remember Them Association has revived knowledge of these facts and through its action against oblivion, our soldiers are not forgotten. With my compatriots, I express my deep gratitude to those who foster the rapprochement of nations by preserving the memory of those who have united their forces in the same goal. In these difficult times, our mutual friendship is essential. Thank you!"

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The Russian Ambassador goes give his speech


The flowers were then laid. It was followed by the "Last Post" bell. If the rest of the ceremony has been disrupted by a sudden storm shower, those to whom the tribute paid to Rebecq today can rest in peace, we do not forget them!


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Wilfred Burie closed the ceremony by expressing his regrets about the upcoming return to Russia of Mr. Dmitry Borodin and Igor Minaev: "Like your compatriots who lived here in 1944 and who became the friends of the villagers, we have forged deep bonds of friendship between us since we have known each other.

On behalf of my compatriots, I wish you a happy life where you will go from now on. Good wind, my friends!

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Dmitri Borodin, Igor Minaev, Wilfred Burie and the Mayor of Rebecq, Patricia Venturelli


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Wilfred Burie with Russian Ambassador Alexander Tokovinin, Colonels Olivier Degroote and Igor Kolodin and Major Alexey Kozhevnikov


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