The Ghosts of Belarus podcast is in development.
In December 2014, I had the incredible honour of interviewing and filming Valentina, a survivor of the slaughter of more than one million Belarus civilians during World War II. Now 86 years old, Valentina spent her childhood literally running for her life across Europe with her mother and her infant brother—and with ghosts, whom Valentina is certain guided her family along the way. Ghosts of Belarus will capture her oral history to provide a context to her artwork and, crucially, preserve her life story before it vanishes—like many of Valentina’s generation.
Ghosts of Belarus was originally intended to be a documentary, and a five-minute short film was produced in collaboration with the award-winning Mat Owen from Miriam Pictures. However, high costs associated with licensing historic footage — even for a trailer, for a limited amount of time — means that we are unable to show the clip. Mat suggested creating a podcast as an alternative means for telling Valentina’s story, and happily, Valentina has agreed. We will update you when her story is available.
Multi-instrumental musician to provide soundtrack
Musician James Johnston (Gallon Drunk, Big Sexy Noise, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) will be providing the soundtrack to Ghosts of Belarus. Listen to Johnston’s stunning instrumental solo album, Hassan Falls to his Death, available at Trestle Records.
Photo credits: Many thanks to Hemogenes for Stalin Line; Witek Burkiewicz for Orsha railway station 2; Gregsintx for Smoke Plume; and Charles Tabri for Valentina.