Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarianism
Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarianism
Kharkiv Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarianism

In 1940, 3809 captive Polish officers and 500 Polish civilians were shot here by order of the Soviet government.

Official status:
Historical Monument of local significance
Date of destruction:

Before April 23, 2022. Photo:

Kharkiv forest park is the place that has witnessed a horrific crime. In 1940, 3809 captive Polish officers and 500 Polish civilians were shot there by order of the Soviet government.

The Soviet Union continued to destroy Polish statehood. Hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers and civilians were taken prisoner by the Red Army after the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the occupation of its part according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

By the spring of 1940, 23,000 Polish officers remained in Soviet labour camps and prisons, many of whom used to be scientists, lawyers, and physicians before the war. They were Polish intelligentsia. In March-April 1940, the Soviet leadership ordered the execution of all of them. This is how the Katyn massacre was carried out – simultaneously in the Katyn forest, the Kalinin prison, the Kharkiv forest park, and other places in the USSR.


After April 23, 2022. Photo:

After April 23, 2022. Photo:

Together with the Polish officers, thousands of repressed and shot Ukrainians found their final resting place there. 2746 Soviet citizens of different nationalities were also buried there in 60 graves after being executed by the Soviet totalitarian ‘machine’.

Only 60 years after the tragedy, already independent Ukraine initiated the foundation of the Memorial to Victims of Totalitarianism together with Poland. In 2000, the Virtuti Militari Cross was installed at the site of remembrance, which is the highest military award of Poland for courage and an equivalent of the British Victoria Cross. Near the monument, there are stelae with the names of shot Ukrainians and Polish officers buried together in mass graves.

On March 23th, 2022, the memory of the murdered by the monstrous totalitarian ‘machine’ was desecrated by its successor — the Russian regime. Russian invaders shelled the cemetery with no military or civilian objects around. Russian ‘Smerch’ (Tornado) missiles with cluster munitions banned by the international law hit the cemetery and smashed some plaques with the names of the perished.

Whatever stored the memories may now become a memory itself.   

Similar postcards
The building of the School of Economics of Karazin University
Kharkiv region The building of the School of Economics of Karazin University

Kharkiv National University named after Vasyl Karazin, founded in 1804, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education not only in Ukraine, but also in Eastern Europe.

Hryhorii Skovoroda Museum
Skovorodynivka village, Kharkiv region Hryhorii Skovoroda Museum

National Literary Memorial Museum of the Ukrainian Philosopher and Poet (18th-century building).

Freedom Square (‘Maidan Svobody’)
Kharkiv Freedom Square (‘Maidan Svobody’)

The central square of Kharkiv. It ranks sixth in Europe. Here are the most important administrative institutions of the city.

Pavlov Manor
Kharkiv Pavlov Manor

190-years-old architectural monument in the classical style,  built in 1832, which used to be the manor of Kharkiv officials and became an excellent illustration of Kharkiv’s life in the 19th century.

Sports complex of Kharkiv Polytechnic
Kharkiv Sports complex of Kharkiv Polytechnic

Built thanks to the cooperation of students, professors, and institute personnel of the Kharkiv Polytechnic between 1985 and 1991, the sports complex became the site for practising over 30 different kinds of sport, as well as an Olympic training base and the only sports facility in Ukraine to receive the State Award in architecture.

Kharkiv school № 7
Kharkiv Kharkiv school № 7

An ancient building, erected in one of the historical neighbourhoods of Kharkiv in the early 20th century. Several generations of Ukrainians have studied at this school for more than a hundred years.

Former women’s gymnasium
Izium, Kharkiv region Former women’s gymnasium

A building of the beginning of the ХХ century in eclecticism style, which housed a female gymnasium from the time of construction and until the 1920s.

Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
Kharkiv region Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Church in the largest residential area of Kharkiv – Saltivka. The architecture of the building, built in 2013 for the Independence Day of Ukraine, resonates with Ukrainian Baroque traditions.

Kharkiv Art Museum
Kharkiv region Kharkiv Art Museum

One of the largest Fine Arts museums of Ukraine. The museum’s collection is one of the oldest and most valuable artistic properties of Ukraine.

Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Mykola Lysenko
Kharkiv Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Mykola Lysenko

One of the oldest musical theaters and the first permanent opera house of Ukraine. Its history dates back to the end of the 18th century.

Institute of Metrology
Kharkiv Institute of Metrology

The main center of ensuring the accuracy of measurements in Ukraine with more than a century of history.

Kharkiv Court of Appeal
Kharkiv Kharkiv Court of Appeal

Former House of Judicial Institutions was constructed in the best Neo-Renaissance traditions. The building has the features of Italian palazzos and the exterior of the house stands out due to its sophisticated design.

Palace of Labour
Kharkiv Palace of Labour

An extraordinary building of the early 20th century in the architectural ensemble of the Constitution Square in Kharkiv built in the Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism styles.

Constitution Square
Kharkiv Constitution Square

The oldest square in the city. From XVIII to early XX centuries, this place became the centre of the city culture.

'Slovo' House ('Word' House)
Kharkiv 'Slovo' House ('Word' House)

This house became a home for Ukrainian writers and artists in 1928. The Soviet government built it for the Ukrainian intellectuals, but soon this place turned out to be a trap.

Mala Rohan village, Kharkiv region Drobytsky Yar 

Holocaust Memorial Complex (menorah monument of 2002).

Holy Dormition Cathedral
Kharkiv Holy Dormition Cathedral

The cathedral is the oldest Orthodox church in Kharkiv and has great historical and art value.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
Derhachi town, Kharkiv region Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

A brick church constructed on the site of a wooden temple. The first mention of this building dates back to 1691.

Fire Department with watchtower
Kharkiv Fire Department with watchtower

Architectural monument, built in 1884–1886. For more than 130 years, the building has helped save the city and its citizens from fires.

See more postcards
Go to Top