No other European city suffered more in World War II than Leningrad under siege, when over a million people lost their lives. Russian literature delivers a rich testimony of the events which have been all but forgotten by the West. Only a few works, though, also do the disaster aesthetic justice. By Oleg Yuriev, sign and sight
According to Hitler's secret orders No. Ia 1601/41 from 22 September 1941 on "The Future of the city of Petersburg":
1."The Führer has decided to erase the city of Petersburg from the face of the earth. After victory over the Soviet Union there will not be the least reason for the continued existence of this large city. Finland has also announced that it has no interest in the continued existence of this city, which lies on its new borders. (…)
3. It has been suggested that the city be surrounded securely and levelled with continual air raids and artillery of every calibre. If this results in the city's capitulation, should it be rejected?" On 8 November 1941 Hitler explained in a speech that the enemy would be "starved out" in Leningrad. The report registers "thundering applause".