Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2005

In Osteuropa 4-6/2005

Secondary theatre of war
The siege of Leningrad as remembered by the Germans

Jörg Ganzenmüller

Deutsche Fassung


Approximately one million people died as a result of the siege of Leningrad. Unlike Stalingrad, these events were almost absent from German memories over a period of decades. Other narratives dominated. In the Federal Republic, the main narrative was that of the Wehrmacht’s clean war, the failure of the Blitzkrieg at Leningrad and the decision to resort to siege warfare, supposedly an “uncontroversial way of waging war”. In the GDR the suffering of the population was mentioned, but it was subordinated to the Soviet narrative of heroism. In this way Leningrad became a symbol of the class war between Soviet power and big business. Only rarely was a story told in which the victims were remembered. In recent years the siege of Leningrad has found its place in German collective memory for the first time.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2005, pp. 135–148)