Final preparations are under way in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park for Thursday’s dedication of the Memorial Candle monument to the defenders and residents of besieged Leningrad during World War II.
The 8.5-meter high monument honors the estimated 600,000 to 1.5 million Russians who died during the 900-day Nazi siege of the city today called Saint Petersburg, which lasted from September 8, 1941, to January 27, 1944, and is considered to have been among the most brutal in history.
The ceremony will include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon; Saint Petersburg Gov. Alexander Beglov; Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) president Michael Mirilashvili; Viktor Vekselberg, entrepreneur and chairman of the board of trustees of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow; Yuri Kanner, president of the Russian Jewish Congress; and Daniel Atar, chairman of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund.
The monument, conceived by former Knesset member Leonid Litinetsky, the Council of World War II Veterans and the Association of Blockade Survivors in Israel, is the collaboration of a design team in Israel led by architect Udi Kasif and Adam Steel Creations, and a Russian team led by architects Anatoly and Lada Chernovs and sculptor Vladislav Manachinsky.
Erected high atop a hill in Jerusalem, the Memorial Candle is a towering brass stele with a cast bronze element representing the candle’s flame. The flame’s movement is achieved through a spiral form illuminated at night, to create an effect of an eternally burning candle.
It is estimated that tens of thousands of Leningrad Jews died during the siege. A considerable part of the city’s Jewish population was enlisted in the military or joined the ranks of volunteer militias.