Tombs of prisoners of war and partisans dead in Belgium during the Second World War

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Dotsenko Tree (Bois de Stepennes)

In the forest Bois de Stepennes located near the town of Anthisnes, Liège province, there is a unique monument known as the “Dotsenko Tree”.

During World War II, units of the Belgian Resistance, which included a significant number of Soviet partisans, were engaged in combat operations in this territory. One of the most well-known Soviet commanders was Evgeniy Dotsenko (killed on 01.04.1944, buried in Comblain-au-Pont). One of the partisan bases was located in Bois de Stepennes, and this is the place where Soviet partisans left autographs on the trees, carving them with penknives. In 1975, one of these trees was cut down and sent to Volgograd, where it is still exhibited in the historical and memorial museum preserve “Battle of Stalingrad”, and instead the current monument was erected, which is an impression of a trunk, towering on a stone pedestal.

The concrete copy has hammer and sickle, a five-pointed star and the letters “ED (it is considered that these are initials of E. Dotsenko) IGSA AN” carved by E. Dotsenko’s hand.    

The pedestal has a sign with the inscription in French “To the Belgian Resistance members, Russian partisans, American soldiers who fought for the liberty of the city of Anthisnes, which remembers them 1940–1945–1975” (“Aux résistants belges, partisans russes, soldats américains ayant combattu pour la liberté à Anthisnes qui se souvient 1940–1945–1975”).

One of the authors of the project was Belgian Lucien Delrée (1913–1997).

On some near-by trees, which continue to grow around the meadow, you still can see the other autographs made by the Soviet partisans and their comrades.

 

Annual memorial ceremonies

2014

2009



Dear visitors,

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that spelling of the names, surnames and places of birth of Soviet citizens buried in Belgium may be distorted due to the fact that they are quite often written only in Flemish and French in registration books and on monuments.

We thank the Brussels-Belgian Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, the organizations of Russian compatriots and Russian foreign institutions accredited in Belgium for providing photos and their efforts to preserve the memory of the heroism of the Soviet soldiers who fell in the Great Patriotic War.

The Embassy will be grateful for providing any information and photos of Soviet military graves of the Second World War in Belgium and the ceremonies held on them. Please send material to the email address of the Embassy amrusbel@skynet.be with the note «War Graves».