Cover Osteuropa 8-9/2011

In Osteuropa 8-9/2011

Memory as a Secondary Theatre of War
The Leningrad Blockade in German Memory

Jörg Ganzenmüller

Deutsche Fassung


As a consequence of the German siege of Leningrad, approximately 1 million people died. Unlike Stalingrad, the topic played almost no role in German memory for decades. Another narrative dominated: in West Germany, there was the narrative of the Wehrmacht’s clean war, whose Blitzkrieg failed outside Leningrad, and which resorted to siege as an allegedly “uncontested means of warfare”; in East Germany, the suffering of Leningrad’s population was mentioned, but it was subordinated to the Soviet heroic narrative. Leningrad thus became a symbol in the class struggle between Soviet power and capitalism. A history that commemorated the victims was seldom told. Only recently has the blockade found its place in German memory.

(Osteuropa 8-9/2011, pp. 7–22)