The White Palace

The White Palace. Photo, 2013.In the eastern part of the Citadel, south-east of the Defence Museum, the basement of one of the last stone buildings of the old Brest-Litovsk have remained.

Originally, it was erected as a church in the second half of the 18th century on the site of the wooden church of Saints Peter and Paul, near the Basilian monastery which was founded in 1629.

During the construction of the fortress the building was reconstructed and adapted to the needs of the Officers' Assembly. It was named the White Palace.

In 1813-1814, Russian cavalry reserves were quartered here.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the three-storied structure housed a restaurant and a billiard room, an auditorium with a stage, a library, two classes of a school for officers' children.

The White Palace. Photo, 2009.In 1915, the building was damaged, then partially repaired during the German occupation. On March 3, 1918, the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty was signed here. According to the legend, on the wall of the billiard hall of the White Palace the head of the Soviet delegation Leon Trotsky left the slogan «Neither war, nor peace».

In 1920s and 1930s, it was a recreational centre, where cultural and educational events were held. There was a cloakroom, a dining room, a bar, a reading room, rooms for playing cards, generals' apartments. The ballroom was a place for big high-society parties, banquets, carnivals and annual Christmas balls for children. Upstairs, there was a library and archive. Two canons by the entrance to the building were just for decoration.

On the eve of the Great Patriotic War there was a club, a dining room, food and ammunition warehouses of the 75th detached reconnaissance battalion of the 6th infantry division of the Red Army.

The inscription «We die without disgrace» found the White Palace in 1958.During the fighting in June, 1941 the building was badly damaged, the roof collapsed and buried its last defenders. In 1958, on one of the walls of the basement an inscription was discovered that read: «We are dying without disgrace».

The damaged walls were disassembled in the 1950s.

In the post-war period, remains of more than 130 Soviet servicemen were unearthed on the site.

The walls of the basement have marks of shelling. In the eastern part of the basement concrete arches have remained. During the construction of the memorial complex and conservation of the ruins in 1968-1971, a part of the basement, facing the Ceremonial Square, was dismantled.

All photos in photogallery...