Siege of Leningrad monument.
(photo credit: EURO-ASIAN JEWISH CONGRESS (EAJC))
Russian President Vladimir Putin acceptedthe invitation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Israel to attend the inauguration of a monument for the victims of the Siege in Leningrad
“We will soon inaugurate a monument in Jerusalem in memory of those who fell in the siege of Leningrad,” Netanyahu told Putin during his visit to Moscow on Wednesday. “I want to invite you as our guest of honor there in Jerusalem,” adding: “No one is more worthy than you.”
Putin responded, “I will come."
The Siege of Leningrad, one of the longest and most deadly sieges in history, was a lengthy military blockade by Nazi Germany against Leningrad, Russia, on the Eastern Front in World War II. The siege began on September 8, 1941 and didn't end until January 27, 1944, lasting a total of 872 days.
The siege caused extreme famine and led to the deaths of 1,500,000 soldiers, including 70,000 Jewish soldiers, and civilians. Additionally 1,400,000 people, mostly women and children, were evacuated but many did not survive, dying from hunger or bombings on the way. Some historians refer to the siege as a genocide of the Russian people.
The monument was constructed in a stele shape, a shape usually taller than it is wide and often erected in ancient times as a monument for funeral or commemorative purposes. Its steel surface will bear symbols of the State of Israel and of Leningrad along with captions describing the victims' heroism. The center of the monument boasts a bronze "memorial candle" and will be lit at night.
The memorial will be erected near the center of Jerusalem but its exact location has not yet been determined. The inauguration is scheduled for May 2019.
Former Knesset Member Leon Litinetsky initiated the plan for the monument. It was funded by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC), an organization that represents dozens of Jewish communities in eastern Europe and Eurasia.
"The project of the monument is the world’s first of its size outside of Russia and the former Soviet Union,” Litinetsky said. “The monument was designed to commemorate the heroism of the Red Army fighters and the people of Leningrad against the Nazis, which included 70,000 Jewish fighters who fell during the siege. The idea of inaugurating the monument came from both sides - from us and St. Petersburg’s government, which once again points to the historical issues that are common to both Israel and Russia.”
“I am proud to promote the project together with partners along the way, first and foremost the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, former mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, the current mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion and CEO of Jerusalem’s Development Authority Eyal Haimovsky,” Litinetsky continued.
“I believe this project will be another significant and historic factor that will contribute towards strengthening the ties between Israel and Russia. The monument will serve as an official venue in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, for celebrating the victory over the Nazis.”
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