Is it true the Nazis gutted and descrated T,'s home at Kiln?
They did a lot of damage during the three weeks that they occupied Klin
in November and December 1941, before the town was retaken by the
Russians. The Nazis used part of Tchaikovsky's home as a motor-cycle
garage, and the damage, although severe, appears to have been exaggerated
by wartime propaganda. Fortunately all the items of value had already been
evacuated to the museum at Votkinsk, and stories of manuscripts being
looted and burned turned out not to be accurate.
The Klin museum re-opened after restoration in May 1945, when they
celebrated the composers's 105th birth anniversary, as well as the end of
the Second World War in Europe.
Dear Mr. Boyd,
There are following facts about the dark period of the museum at Klin:
Concerning the 100th birthday of Tchaikovsky in 1940 the Russians
founded a new museum at Votkinsk, the birth place of Tchaikovsky far away
at the Ural. This circumstance is very important, because after the begin
of the aggressions of the Nazis against Soviet Union this new museum
offered the opportunity to save the fixtures and personel things of
Tchaikovsky, which could be transferred far behind the front of the war.
In august 1941 Jurij L. Davidov, the youngest nephew of Tchaikovsky
managed the transportation of Tchaikovsky’s library, his piano, the
autographs etc. via railway in two goods waggons to Votkinsk. So the
museum was now “divided” into two parts. The second step of evacuation was
planned afterwards. They prepared the evacuation of the residual furniture
and the furniture of Tchaikovsky’s brother Modest, copies of documents,
further books etc. But the armed forces of the “Wehrmacht” reached Klin on
November 24th and 25th 1941. The advance of the german soldiers avoided
the second transport to Votkinsk. Klin and the museum were occupied.
The soldiers established in the first floor of the museum a room to
store motor bikes and a repair shop for shoes. In the second floor were
accommodated more than 100 soldiers. For heating the rooms they burned
everything made of wood they found, although firewood was available…
On December 15th 1941 the fights in the closer region of Klin came to
an end. After 9 pm of that day the “Wehrmacht” left the burning city of
Klin and the Red Army began to disburden the district.
Short time later already on December 19th the British state secretary
Anthony Eden and the soviet ambassador of Great Britain I. M. Majskij
visited the museum in the context of a diplomatic mission with more than
The museum was opened for exhibitions, concerts and conferences on
March 1st 1942. The first visitors were soldiers and kids. On November
16th 1944 Tchaikovsky’s belongings were brought back from Votkinsk to
The ceremonial reopening was on May 6th 1945 after renovation and
rearrangement of the house.
Source of information: accompanying text to an exhibition of
photographs “To the 60th anniversary of the victory of the patriotism war
and the 60th reopening of the Tchaikovsky museum at Klin” created by
Tatjana Pavlova, department chief of the museum at Klin. German
translation available with more details concerning the military history in
that days at “Mitteilungen 13 (2006)” of the Tchaikovsky Society, arranged
by Wolfgang Glaab.