The Piskariovskoye Cemetery in Saint Petersburg (1924-1991: Leningrad) is the central commemorative site for the victims of the Leningrad Blockade by the Wehrmacht in the years 1941 until 1944. A majority of the fatalities was buried here in mass graves. The inauguration of the memorial took place on 9 May, 1960.
The Leningrad Blockade lasted from 8 September 1941 until 27 January 1944. The German Wehrmacht cut the entire city off from supplies; about one million people died of thirst and hunger in the almost 900-day long siege. From the start the killing of civilians through starvation was part of the Wehrmacht commanders' strategy and served as a preparation for the city's occupation. Only one route connected Leningrad to the outside world: the Road of Life, as it was already then known. Ships supplied goods via Lake Ladoga, on the way back they evacuated civilians. When the lake froze over, horse-drawn sleighs and trucks were used to bring in provisions. Between 1941 and 1944 more than 470,000 Leningrad residents and 50,000 soldiers who perished during the siege were buried in mass graves in the Piskariovskoye Cemetery.
Of the three million inhabitants of the city at the outbreak of war, about 700,000 survived until the liberation in January 1944. Around 1.4 million people could be evacuated over Lake Ladoga. In all, between 800,000 and 1,2 million perished during the Leningrad Blockade. 470,000 of those victims were buried in the cemetery along with 50,000 Soviet soldiers.
The two Leningrad architects A.V. Vasilyev and Evgenii Levinson designed the memorial site on the Piskariovskoye Cemetery. The sculptors V. V. Isayeva and R. K. Taurit created a large bronze statue of »Mother Russia« at the centre of the site. The dedication ceremony took place on 9 May 1960. It covers 28 hectares and comprises a museum, an eternal flame, the »Main Avenue«, with the statue at the end of it, and 186 mass graves. On each grave a stone slab is inscribed with the year of burial. There is no comprehensive register of all those buried at Piskariovskoye Cemetery. Engraved on the wall behind the »Mother Russia« statue is a poem by Olga Bergholz, among it the famous line: »Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.«
- Piskarjowskoje memorialnoje kladbischtsche-musej
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