June 22 — Russian Pearl Harbor Day

On June 22, 1941 Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.  This war would turn out to be the most murderous one in the history of mankind.  Every year on June 22 Russians  pause and remember those who died in this fateful conflict.  St. Petersburg/Leningrad played a special role in the war.  The city has survived a 900 days long siege.

During WW2 radio broadcasting was an essential media component of the war effort. This monument on Nevsky Prospekt is a replica of a war era loud speaker through which the citizens of Leningrad would get their news, music and the alerts about the approaching German bombers.

Many perished during this terrible time.

From 1945 till 1991 all the monuments commemorating the war were sponsored by the Soviet government.  After the fall of communism new kind of monuments have appeared on the streets and in the courtyards of Russian cities.

These monuments were sponsored and financed by the local communities and governments.  One such monument dedicated to the children who died during the siege was built in the courtyard of the apartment building 55 on Nalichnaia Street.

Children were weaker than the adults and many of them died during the first winter of the siege.  Many of them were buried in the mass graves in the North-Western corner of the Vasilyevsky Island at the Smolensky Cemetery nearby.  Funded by the local community this monument was constructed in 2009 and is dedicated to these smallest victims of this terrible time.

We visited the monument earlier today.  While in front of many war monuments I saw flowers today, in front of this monument we discovered toys.

Sculptor Galina Dodonova. Architect Vladimir Reppo (2009).

We also talked to the two old ladies who stopped by the monument .  They came to the monument to honor those who had to experience this time of troubles.  In 1941 they were only six years old.  One of them said: “We were children and we survived! That is why this monument dedicated to the children of the siege is so dear to us.”  They told us about their life in the city during the war, surviving daily bombing raids and starvation.  Sad stories but very lively and energetic ladies 🙂  They are the children of the siege.

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