It’s been 71 years since Georgian poet and war hero Mirza Gelovani’s death but today his body will finally return home.
Gelovani’s body was found in 1979 in a small Belarusian village, where his battalion was almost fully destroyed by the Germans in 1944 during World War II. Gelovani was 27 when he died.
Officials said the Georgian side had negotiated with the Belarusian side about the return of Gelovani’s body. An agreement was reached to send the poet’s body back to his homeland on May 8.
Once in Georgia Gelovani’s body will initially be taken to Kutaisi in western Georgia. After this it will be transferred to Tbilisi and granted a military honour. It will be buried in a new Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures, which was due to open in Tbilisi in the near future.
Georgia’s Public Broadcaster will make a documentary featuring the whole process.
Gelovani, with his poetry full of childlike admiration of nature, attracted attention when he was only 16, but it was only after his death that most of his poems were published and saw him become one of the most loved poets of Georgia’s younger generation. Most of his wartime poems are about patriotic heroics, sometimes transcending the horrors of war with naïve enjoyment.