In June 2014, Yahad-In Unum undertook research on the Leningrad Blockade, interviewing witnesses and survivors of this part of World War II in Eastern Europe that saw more than 1 million people as the city was isolated by the German army for more than 900 days. Today, there remain thousands of witnesses to this tragedy who are still alive.
During its first research trip in Saint Petersburg, Yahad-In Unum interviewed 35 survivors.
Through its research, Yahad aims to save the memory of the suffering of a city and its residents, their resistance in the face of the German blockade that surrounded the city. It was a whole population that found itself at the time victims and mobilized, making up an integral part of the fight against the Nazis.
Though Leningrad was under occupation, the city was still effectively condemned to death by the Nazis. The soldiers of the Wehrmacht were rarely in the city itself, but the encirclement of the city by the troops prohibited the supply of provisions and the perpetual German aerial raids bombing all of the city’s neighborhoods led to death on a grand scale. The residents of Leningrad were victims of bombings, victims of the absence of food, victims of disease. The majority of the victims were women, children and elderly people. The goal of the blockade was clear: exterminate all the residents of Leningrad.
Yahad-In Unum’s objectives are the following:
- Save the individual and collective memory of the survivors of the Leningrad blockade, witnesses to the suffering of an entire city’s population. Gather their words on their individual suffering, their daily survival, as well and above all on the death of their parents, neighbors, colleagues.
- Safeguard the memory of the heroic acts of the residents of Leningrad and the city’s administration who did all they could to support the Soviet army and to resist the attacks and the advances of the German army.
- Document the Germans’ plan for the death of the Leningrad population through famine and through bombing the residents of the city.
- Establish the topography of the blockade: the sites of life, of death, factories, burial places of the victims.
- Work towards a better understanding for generations to come on this page of World War II history