A commemorative gesture towards the victims of the siege of Leningrad
Title: Humanitarian gesture towards the victims of the Leningrad siege
Commissioned by: Federal Foreign Office
Country: Russian Federation
Lead executing agency: St. Petersburg City Administration, Committee for External Relations
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
The siege of Leningrad by the German army has gone down in history as an act of brutality against an entire city and its population. It lasted from 1941 to 1944, a total of nearly 900 days. During the blockade of the city, it is estimated that over a million people lost their lives, most of them starving to death.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the siege on 27 January 2019, the German and Russian foreign ministers announced a German humanitarian gesture. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: ‘This gesture is a symbol of the fact that we are aware of our responsibility, but also a warning that such a thing must never be allowed to happen again.’ With this humanitarian gesture towards the surviving victims, Germany and Russia share a wish to send out a signal of reconciliation and remembrance.
The quality of life of the survivors of the siege of Leningrad still living has been improved. At the same time, dialogue between the different generations in both countries has been strengthened.
The project provides medical equipment for the war veterans’ hospital to support the survivors of the siege of Leningrad. This hospital in St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, is receiving new medical technology products such as rehabilitation equipment and a sterilisation unit, some of which has been adapted or manufactured specifically to meet the needs of the hospital.
The project also works with the Russian-German Center (drb) in St. Petersburg. It supports this Russian foundation in organising events in commemoration of the siege. Special get-togethers and educational and cultural events tailored to the specific age group are being held for survivors of the siege. As living witnesses to what happened, they are able to convey their experiences to younger generations. The activities specifically address young Germans and Russians. As part of various exchange projects, German and Russian school and university students, associations and representatives of different cultural centres meet and visit important historical sites.
A variety of events are planned to emphasise the value of the survivors’ experiences of the siege, which will be documented and preserved for future generations to learn from.