The extent of the city's suffering during the 900-day siege by the Nazis between 1941 and 1944 becomes clear on a visit to this sobering place in the northeastern outskirts of the city, used as a mass burial ground for 500,000 World War II victims. The numbingly endless rows of common graves carry simple slabs indicating the year in which those below them died, some from shelling, but most from cold and starvation. Memorial monuments and an eternal flame commemorate the
dead, but most moving of all is an inscription on the granite wall at the far end of the cemetery: a famous poem by radio personality Olga Bergholts ends with the oft-repeated phrase, "No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten." The granite pavilions at the entrance house a small museum with photographs and memoirs documenting the siege. (Start with the one on the right side; the pavilions are open until 5 and admission is free.) On display is Tanya Savicheva's "diary," scraps of paper on which the young schoolgirl recorded the death of every member of her family. The last entry reads, "May 13. Mother died. Everyone is dead. Only I am left." (She, too, died as a result of the war.) To reach the cemetery go to Ploshchad Muzhestva metro station, then take a public bus 123 or 178 up Nepokoryonnykh prospekt to the stop marked "Piskaryovskoye Kladbische."
May 13, 2005
This memorial is off the beaten path and rarely visted. We visited PISKARYEVSKOYE KLADBISCHE on a gray and cloudy day. It was quiet and peaceful. You read about the "horrors of war", hear about death and suffering on the news but seeing those rows and rows of graves really puts it in front of you in a magnitude that you can understand. All this death in one city in such a short time! We left profoundly changed.