Remembering 872 days of starvation and suffering
People in St Petersburg in particular experienced the suffering that Germans unleashed in Russia. In the city where the terrible Siege of Leningrad took place, we still find people who were forced to endure this dreadful time,
said Heiko Maas during his first official visit to Moscow as Foreign Minister in May 2018.
Leningrad, which is now called St Petersburg, was liberated from the Wehrmacht’s siege by Soviet troops on 27 January 1944, thus ending 872 days of starvation and suffering. Over one million people died as a result of the siege, which is remembered as a brutal act against an entire city and its population.
Germany recognises its historical responsibility. Foreign Minister Maas thus agreed a project to help survivors of the Siege of Leningrad with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in May 2018. As a gesture of reconciliation and commemoration, the German Government is funding the modernisation of a hospital for war veterans in St Petersburg. Large numbers of survivors of the siege are treated in this hospital. The funding will be of help to them.
The German Government is also funding the establishment of a German-Russian Centre in St Petersburg, where Germans and Russians, including survivors of the siege, will be able to meet each other to talk and remember the past. In total, funding of 12 million euros is being provided for the two projects.
Plans will soon be carried out
On the 75th anniversary of the Siege of Leningrad today (27 January 2019) , the two Foreign Ministers launched the start of the projects, which will be run in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH as the implementing organisation.
Foreign Minister Maas said this gesture also “stands for awareness of our responsibility and for how something like this may never be allowed to happen again”.