The Petersburg Grand Choral Synagogue participated in the city-wide commemoration of the Siege of Leningrad and the thousands of lives it has taken last week, among them many Jewish ones. The commemoration, held on September 8th, the day of the beginning of the siege in 1941, fell on a Saturday this year and the synagogue included it as part of its Shabbat morning services – names or Jews, who perished in the siege, were read out loud followed by a special prayer.
“Remembering their names brings these people out from oblivion, gives them a legacy,” said historian Lev Lurie, who came up with the idea for city-wide commemoration. “Jews can especially understand and relate to this, having overcome several humanitarian catastrophes in the last century.”
Besides the synagogue over 60 public spaces in Petersburg, including the State Hermitage Museum, the Russian Fine Arts Museum and Akhmatova museum took part in the event.
“Over the last month members of our community as well as other Jews throughout the city sent us names of relatives fallen in the Seige,” said Mr. German Moizhes, member of the local community, who championed the synagogue’s participation in the event. “It is symbolic that their names were read there because the synagogue was one of the few public spaces during the Seige that did not close its doors to those in need,” he said.
The names will continue to be read during synagogue’s Shabbat prayer services until January 27th, the day of the Seige’s lifting in 1944, and those who wish may still send names to the synagogue’s e-mail.