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Is it true the Nazis gutted and descrated T,'s home at Kiln?

George Boyd

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.

Brett Langston

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 20 correspondents.

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 Klin.

The ceremonial reopening was on May 6th 1945 after renovation and rearrangement of the house.

Rüdiger Herpich

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.

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013