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    09 september, 2019

    Day of Remembering the Victims of the Siege of Leningrad: Remembering every person by name

    Author: Alexander Malkevich, no comments

    On September 8, St. Petersburg held the Day of Remembering the Victims of the Siege of Leningrad: people read out the names of those who died in the Siege of Leningrad at 60 venues.

    All of this has a special meaning for me: I was born in the city on the Neva into a family of longtime Leningrad residents. My father was evacuated from the blockaded city, so it was necessary for me to participate in the event (at the House of Journalists on Nevsky Prospekt) and it produced the strongest impression on me.

    It is really hard to describe your feelings when you are holding in your hands lists with the names of dead Leningrad residents. For me it could be compared to visiting the Angels City cemetery in Beslan, where I went on several occasions, and each time I left feeling completely shocked. These are not just numbers — you let parts of address books with the names of people from specific buildings and apartments pass through you. You feel cold and empty and visualize the scale of this terrible disaster.

    In the lists I was reading I came across an entire family: father, mother and their 20 year old son. They died one after another: the father in September 1941, the mother in December and their son in January 1942.

    Most worst is reading children’s names. In my list I had a girl and a boy born in 1941. One died the same year and the other the year after.

    The sounds of gun salvoes and fireworks make people forget the names of the hundreds of thousands Leningrad children, their fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers who died during the blockade. The purpose of the event was to recall everybody, call them by name and understand the exact number of victims.

    The event is expected to result in releasing a tremendous and poignant city book of those who died in the Siege, which will allow us to see their names on the streets and buildings around us in real time and bring this history close and the tragedy of  it visible and tangible.

    Events like this are an absolutely proper initiative that should be promoted among young people. Social networks can and should be used for posting and streaming to allow our young people to see and feel all of this and perceive the horror of that awful tragedy that this great city on the Neva had to live through.

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