Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
ABC, one of the most popular newspapers in Spain, published an article about the “heroic” combat path of the “Blue Division”, which fought against the USSR as a part of the Wehrmacht and was involved in the Siege of Leningrad.
The author of the publication called the soldiers of the division “fearless and brave fighters” who, “enduring hardships and challenging death”, “resisted with dignity” the Red Army, being at the same time “in the most difficult conditions”.
The newspaper notes that the Spanish division especially distinguished itself in 1943 during fighting near Volkhov, when its divisions took part in the “siege of Leningrad”.
“In Krasny Bor, a suburb of Leningrad, nearly 6,000 lightly armed Spaniards had to repel during several hours the most powerful blow of 38 battalions of the Red Army supported by a large number of artillery and tanks,” claims the author of the article.
At the same time, the newspaper says that the result of the operation, which came to an end with the liberation of Krasny Bor, is an insignificant victory.
“The successes of Stalin’s army were very far from being called a victory. It lost 7,000-9,000 people because of the heroic resistance of the Spanish volunteers. The ambitious operation ‘Polyarnaya Zvezda’ failed because the price for the liberation of Krasny Bor from Spaniards was too high,” writes ABC.
The publication caused a contradictory reaction from Spanish readers.
“The title of the article is sad. The ‘blue division’ allowed only to prolong the scandalous siege of Leningrad, during which about one million people died,” wrote jean_7844.
“You will not see an article in the German press that offers a reminder about the fight of Nazi army on the land of another country. This happens only in Spain,” noted Hemeroteco.
The “blue division” (the 250th division of Spanish volunteers) in the summer of 1941 totalled more than 18,600 people. During the lifetime of the division from 40,000 to 50,000 people were a part of its structure. The division lost nearly 5,000 people (killed) and nearly 9,000 were wounded. In October 1943 the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco withdrew it from the frontline because of foreign policy pressure and disbanded it.
The Siege of Leningrad, which began on September 8th 1941, lasted nearly 900 days. The only route – the Road of Life – that food was delivered to the city was laid on the ice of Lake Ladoga. According to different data, during the years of the blockade from 400,000 to 1.5 million people died. Only 3% — from bombing and shelling, the others — from hunger.
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