German singer Malik Harris voiced the destroyed landmark in Trostyanets, Sumy region
The House of the Koenig estate is a monument of architectural art, located in the middle of the arboretum in the city of Trostyanets. The estate belonged to Leopold Koenig, one of Ukraine’s biggest sugar magnates of the late 19th century. In the new video of the “Postcards from Ukraine” project, the Eurovision 2022 participant from Germany Malik Harris tells the story of a unique monument that has now been destroyed for the second time in its history.
Malik Harris has repeatedly spoken out in support of Ukraine. At the national selection for the song contest, he even went on stage with the words “I stand with Ukraine” written on a guitar. This time he participated in the Ukrainian Institute’s project “Postcards from Ukraine” to tell the world about the damage done to Ukrainian culture during the Russian invasion. It is not a coincidence that the singer talks about the House of the Koenig estate. Leopold Koenig was also the owner of a villa on Koblenzer Strasse which is the modern residence of the German president in Bonn.
Trostyanets, with a population of 20,000, is located only 30 km from the border with Russia. Before the war, it was a developed small town in Ukraine – with almost zero unemployment, investments in enterprises and modern infrastructure. Russian troops entered the town on the very first day of the full-scale invasion and stayed there for nearly one month until it was liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Then a sad truth of the aftermath of occupation was revealed. The Koenig estate was not spared.
The estate was built in the Art Nouveau style. It preserved valuable items of the beginning of the 20th century: a unique parquet floor and oak stairs, authentic fireplaces, a library on forestry with more than 15 thousand books, which began to be collected back in Koenig’s time.
At one time, the Koenig family significantly changed the appearance of the building. In particular, baroque forms were added to the facades, they were decorated with pilasters and bas-reliefs in the form of angels and chimeras. For more than a century, it was a vivid example of how Ukraine lived before the Soviet era:
“And now – how Russia, sparing no means, is destroying Ukrainian culture and life itself,” Malik Harris adds in the video.
Built as one of the last in the ensemble, this building has perhaps the most tragic fate. During its existence, the house of the manager of the Koenig estates was destroyed twice. For the first time – during the Second World War, when Trostyanets was occupied by German troops. The Nazis blew it up, but the building was rebuilt in the early 1950s.
The building was damaged for the second time on March 27, 2022, when Russian troops burned down this unique architectural monument of national importance while retreating from Trostyanets. Direct shelling by Russian tanks and a fire in the building significantly damaged the facades, destroyed the roof and ceiling, destroyed the interiors, and broke out the windows.
‘Postcards from Ukraine’ is a project of the Ukrainian Institute, which tells about destroyed monuments of Ukraine. With the support of USAID, a single database was created with about 100 monuments, where you can see the scale of the destruction and read the history of each in English.
As of August 26, there were committed 492 episodes of war crimes against the cultural heritage of Ukraine, as reported by Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.
The project team urges you to tell the world about the destruction of Ukrainian culture, distribute postcards on social networks and send them to your friends abroad so that the world learns the truth about how Russia is destroying the cultural heritage of Ukraine. Use the hashtag #PostcardsFromUkraine