Leningrad’s Southern Outpost

Memorial in the Silvia Park, Gatchina
Memorial in the Silvia Park, Gatchina
On 19 August 1941 the German 1st and 8th tank divisions opened the offensive on Gatchina and joined battle with Soviet defensive forces. Through August 25, 26 and 27 the Germans tried to take the town by storm, but were met with powerful opposition by its defenders. The villages of Pizhma, Pustoshka and Khimozi changed hands several times. The German aerial forces mounted a massive attack on the town and the aerodrome. In their frenzied flight Hitler’s planes shot down unarmed people who were constructing defensive positions.

On 13 September the defenders of the town were obliged to withdraw. But resistance to the enemy continued. Partisans were active in the neighbourhood of Gatchina; in the occupied town itself underground resistance workers distributed leaflets, carried out reconnaissance of the disposition of enemy forces, including those at the aerodrome, and helped Soviet escapees from German prisoner-of-war camps. In the spring and summer of 1942 underground organisations, with the help of German anti-Fascists, carried out a number of successful operations: a general of the SS was killed, an artillery barracks set on fire, a fuel tank at the aerodrome blown up…

On 30 June 1942, in the Silvia Park, 25 Komsomol resistance workers were shot by the Germans: Nadezhda Fedorova, Alexandra Drynkina, Yevdokia Potapova, Yekaterina Shilova, Valentina Dmitrieva, Igor Ivanov, Ivan Maximkov, Alexei Nikolaev, Alexei Orlov, Boris Sokolov, Mikhail Lebedev, Mikhail Matveev, Yuri Chernikov, Mikhail Zavaleikov, Alexei Kuprianov, Anatoly Barinov, Ivan Klochev, Sergei Stepanov, Yevgeny Krushelnitsky, Boris Marvinsky, Grigory Gorbachev, Nikolai Alexandrov, Vasily Raevsky, Konstantin Lovinetsky, Alexandr Gololobov. In the Silvia Park, at the very wall where they were shot, a memorial has been erected. The inscription on it reads: “In memory of the 25 Komsomol resistance workers who perished heroically on 25 June 1942.” Here, to the young heroes’ grave, soldiers and schoolchildren come to pay their respects to these faithful sons and daughters of the fatherland.

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