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FIR Newsletter: Leningrad and Auschwitz – the double meaning of 27 January

The International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) – Association of Antifascists reminds on 27 January not only of the anniversary of the liberation of the extermination camp Auschwitz in 1945, but in this year also of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Leningrad with the break-through of the blockade by the Soviet army on 27 January 1944.

The 900 days of the blockade by German, Finnish and Spanish troops have brought endless suffering, death and destruction to the city and its inhabitants. The aim of the blockade was to systematically starve the Leningrad population. On September 8, 1941, all supply routes for the megacity were cut off, leaving only the way across Lake Ladoga. In fact, more than one million people died of starving and malnutrition during the siege until January 27, 1944. History speaks – also for this reason – of a “extermination war” during the fascist war against the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, the people in Leningrad fought heroically for almost three years and thus not only resisted the fascist beast, but also set a visible sign for the whole world that the “invincible” Wehrmacht is reaching its limits. The heroic deeds of the inhabitants and the Soviet army, which in the winter organized the supply of the people via the frozen Baltic Sea and was able to blow up the Blockade Ring in January 1944, are unforgotten. After the war, the city and its inhabitants were rightly awarded the honorary title of “Hero City”. The city still bears this title today, even though it is now called St. Petersburg.

The international anti-fascist movement commemorates the more than one million victims of the blockade and pays tribute to the heroes who gave their lives for the liberation from fascism.