The Russian people will spend very little time debating what sort of memorial to build at Beslan School No. 1.
Alan Kargiyev, university student:
"Fathers will bury their children, and after 40 days [the Orthodox Christian mourning period]... they will take up weapons and seek revenge."
A Beslan mother, Salimat Suleimanova, said: she was released early with her two-month-old daughter - but her five-year-old son was forced to stay. "I begged them on my knees to let me take Shamil out with me, but they wouldn't - now I don't know where he is.
"It was his first day at school."
A Russian official said six seriously injured children had been taken to Moscow for treatment. "One of them is a child, just 18 months old, with many knife wounds," he said. It was revealed that the baby had been repeatedly stabbed by a black-clad terrorist who had run out of ammunition.
Other survivors told how screaming teenage girls were dragged into rooms adjoining the gymnasium where they were being held and raped by their Chechen captors who chillingly made a video film of their appalling exploits
Dzetskelova, the mother of a 12-year-old: "She told me that several 15-year-old girls were raped by terrorists. She heard their terrible cries and screams when those monsters took them away."
The daughter said that the terrorists started to shoot from the roof, then one of them ran into the dining room and started to shoot from the window. "I saw kids and women falling to the ground. And I saw that vermin's face. I saw his smile as he killed my friends," she said.
Marina Kozyreva, mother of a schoolgirl:
"There were about 1,100 of us crammed in there. Periodically gunmen came in and for a joke ordered all of us to stand up or sit down. It went on like that all day long. They put a huge explosive device in the middle - about 50cm by 50cm - controlled by a trigger mechanism.
"The children behaved very calmly - much more so than the adults. The adults were talking to each other and because of that the gunmen shot many of them.
"Sometimes they took the boys' clothes, soaked them in a bucket used for the floor mop, then threw the clothes at us, saying 'drink that!'"
Marat Khamayev, 15:
"Before the assault the bandits started arguing with each other about something. I've spent a long time in Chechnya, I know the Chechen language, and they weren't speaking Chechen - they were just speaking a strange language like Arabic, and also Ingush.
"One of the gunmen was reading the Koran constantly, and I counted exactly 23 gunmen altogether.
"The older pupils were forced to carry desks to barricade the windows. When the assault started one of the bandits shouted 'I'll save you'. Everybody ran towards him and then he blew himself up, killing many children.
"The explosion took place under the roof - there was no external explosion... When the assault came I pulled two girls out with me."
Diana Gadzhinova, 14-year-old girl hostage: "There was an explosion in the yard. Then there was shooting... [My sister and I] stayed where we were, lying on the floor. But suddenly there was another explosion above us and part of the ceiling fell in. People were screaming, there was panic.
"I looked up and saw some children lying on the floor covered in blood and not moving. There was a dead lady lying beside me. Torn-off arms and legs were lying everywhere. There were bombs hanging on the rope they'd strung up between the basketball hoops, across the gym. And now these bombs began going off, one after the other, coming closer and closer to us. Anyone who could get up ran screaming to the windows and the back entrance corridor. Alina and I were near a window [both sisters managed to escape unscathed]."
Irina, girl hostage:
"I woke up under the debris and all was covered in sand - my ears, nose and eyes - and I could not see anything. Then we were taken to the dining room. There we were given water, then explosions started. And then we jumped out of the window and we were taken to the hospital."
Survivor Santa Zangiyeva, 15:
"There was this thin tall man of about 35, a typical Chechen, his right hand bandaged. He was the angriest of our captors, he was threatening us all the time and firing into the ceiling. It was so stuffy I was unwell, I fainted several times, so my mum asked him to take me to the corridor for a while to take a breath of air. To my surprise he agreed. In the corridor I was nearly sick, my legs gave way, and sat on a rucksack lying by the wall. But he said: 'Don't sit on this one, there are mines in it, sit on that one instead'...
"I asked him 'Will you at least let the children go?' He said: 'No - why? Your Russian troops in Chechnya catch children just like you and cut their heads off. I had a daughter, about your age, and they killed her,' he said."
Oleg Tideyev, whose son escaped:
"I saw a wounded gunman fall out of the [school] window during the fighting. Militiamen were evacuating children nearby. When they saw the gunman, they tore him to bits within seconds. I did not even have time to realise what was happening. I'll be honest: not even for a second did I think - I am witnessing the killing of a human being. It felt like a venomous snake was being trampled...
"They were scum. Professional, well-trained scum. Their actions were highly skilful, their shooting was first-class - you could not raise your head... The only thing they did badly was booby-trapping the building. It was not a good idea to let the hostages assemble explosive devices."
Anzor, a rescuer: "We broke in, and saw piles of men and women, and children too. The children were naked from the waist up. There was nowhere for us to tread, but we had to go in, so we did.
"I pulled four people out. Many people were thrown to the corners by the blast, or maybe they crawled there themselves. Few were alive. We had to find those who were still alive, but how? I made two mistakes myself. When I pulled one young girl out, there was another explosion. Just before that, two girls shouted and waved to us from a window, one was about seven, the other a bit older. I waved back to show I'd come for them right now, and they laughed they were so happy! Then there was an explosion, and I never saw these girls again. I'll keep looking for them in the school..."
Dr. Leonid Roshal, who negotiated with the hostage-takers:
"They did not give [the hostages] any food or medicines. They explained that the hostages themselves did not want to take anything, that they had gone on a dry hunger strike because they supported the terrorists. I asked them: 'Did the pre-school kids also go on hunger strike, even one-year-olds?' 'Yes,' they said, 'so don't bring anything in, they won't take anything from you'. That was the level we were talking on.
"They told the hostages that tap water had been poisoned. Sometimes they soaked shirts and rags in water and threw them to the hostages - one for every four people."