History, on this day : 80 years ago, the blockade of Leningrad is broken

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On January 18, 1943, fighters of Leningrad and Volkhov fronts achieve their junction south of lake Ladoga

The European Nazi invasion of Soviet Union has begun on June 22, 1941

French propaganda poster in 1941

On September 7, 1941, the Germans reach lake Ladoga, east of Leningrad, which is encircled by Finns to the north, on Karelian isthmus, Germans and Spaniards to the south and east

Situation map on September 21, 1941

Adolf Hitler’s ambition is to level the birthplace of Bolshevism. Fighters and civilians, about 3 millions people are living in the pocket

Kirov plant Komsomoltsy in 1941 (ROSPHOTO)

Life is harsh, no more electricity, food is rationed. Hundreds thousand will starve during the siege

Winter 1941-1942 on Nevsky Prospekt (ROSPHOTO)

Late November 1941, the road of life is bringing some supply to the city and allowing the evacuation of a number of civilians on the ice of lake Ladoga

On August 9, 1942, Karl Eliasberg and Leningrad Radio Orchestra play Dmitri Shostakovich’s symphony No. 7 in the Grand Philharmonia Hall. Before the concert, the conductor speaks in a radio address

Comrades,
a great occurrence in the cultural history of our city is about to take place. In a few minutes, you will hear for the first time the Seventh Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, our outstanding fellow citizen. He wrote this great composition in the city during the days when the enemy was, insanely, trying to enter Leningrad. When the fascist swine were bombing and shelling all Europe, and Europe believed the days of Leningrad were over. But this performance is witness to our spirit, courage and readiness to fight.
Listen, Comrades !

The musicians are suffering from starvation. During the concert, the Soviet artillery is pounding the Nazi batteries, in order to prevent the shelling of the hall. The symphony is broadcast, via radio and loudspeakers, for the inhabitants and enemy. Is a concert more heroic in the whole history of mankind ?

In front of Saint Isaac’s cathedral, autumn 1942 (ROSPHOTO)
Shelling on Nevsky Prospekt, winter 1942-1943 (ROSPHOTO)

Operation Iskra [spark] begins on January 12, 1943, a joint offensive from Leningrad and the east

(Vsevolod Tarasevich)

The success of the offensive liberates a corridor along the southern bank of lake Ladoga, where the road of victory will improve the supply of the undefeated city

On January 19, the words of poet Olga Berggolts sound on radio

… О дорогая, дальняя, ты слышишь?
Разорвано проклятое кольцо!
Ты сжала руки, ты глубоко дышишь,
в сияющих слезах твое лицо.

Мы тоже плачем, тоже плачем, мама,
и не стыдимся слез своих: теплей
в сердцах у нас, бесслезных и упрямых,
не плакавших в прошедшем феврале.

Да будут слезы эти как молитва.
А на врагов — расплавленным свинцом
пускай падут они в минуты битвы
за все, за всех, задушенных кольцом.

За девочек, по-старчески печальных,
у булочных стоявших, у дверей,
за трупы их в пикейных одеяльцах,
за страшное молчанье матерей…

О, как мы встретим наших ленинградцев,
не забывавших колыбель свою!
Нам только надо в городе прибраться:
он пострадал, он потемнел в бою.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s symphony No. 7

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2 responses to “History, on this day : 80 years ago, the blockade of Leningrad is broken”

  1. […] History, on this day : 80 years ago, the blockade of Leningrad is broken […]

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