Hitler’s racial politics aimed at the extermination of the Jewish population at least in Germany as well as in her annexed and affiliated countries, but not only the holocaust cost millions of innocent lives. Also Hitler’s expansion politics towards the East permeated the continent with blood. Apart from soldiers killed in action, civilians too had to pay the price for Hitler’s megalomania. As from early winter 1941 the citizens of Leningrad were under German siege, among them the Conductor of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra Karl Elias Illyyich Eliasberg and many of his musicians. Carried on by the iron will of their conductor the half-starved men and women rehearsed Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony written in Leningrad at the beginning of the siege. The Conductor by New Zealand writer Sarah Quigley, that I’m re-blogging today as a bookish déjà vu, evokes the difficult months before the concert broadcast live in summer 1942.
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