January 23 –  The city of Jerusalem hosted a special ceremony to inaugurate the Memorial Candle Monument, which is dedicated to the heroic defenders and fighters in Leningrad during World War II. 

The concept of the Memorial Candle Monument originated from former Member of Knesset Leonid Litinetsky, the World War II Veterans Council and Association of (Leningrad) Blockade Survivors in Israel. The monument was built and installed by two creative teams of artists. The Israeli team was led by architect, Udi Kasif and sculptor, Adam Perets, and the Russian team lead by architects, Anatoly and Lada Chernovs and sculptor, Vladislav Manachinsky. 

Erected high atop a hill in the Israeli capital, the Memorial Candle Monument is a towering 8.5-meter brass stele with a cast bronze element representing the candle’s flame. The flame’s movement is made possible by a spiral form illuminated at nighttime to create the special effect of an eternal candle.  

An estimated 600,000 to 1.5 million residents of the city perished during the 900-day blockade of Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, among them tens of thousands of Jews, many of whom enlisted in the Red Army or joined volunteer militias that defended the city.

President Rivlin pointed out that January 27 is a symbolic date for the shared history between Russia and the Jewish state, because on that date in 1944, the blockade on Leningrad was broken, and a year later, the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. That date is now International Holocaust Remembrance Day.