Siege of Leningrad
January 27, 1944 - This was the 872nd and final day of the Siege of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). It remains history's deadliest blockade of a major city, with over a million civilians killed.
The fall of Leningrad was to be Hitler's first Russian stepping stone on his way to Moscow, but the Soviets held their ground and suffered through 3 horrific years of starvation and bombardment. The Russian winters were particularly harsh as fuel supplies ran out. Pipes froze and burst, cutting off the water supply to large sections of the city.
Between January and February of 1942 over 7,000 people were dying every day, most of them from starvation. All the city's cats, dogs and even the rats disappeared as desperate survivors scoured the streets for food. Some even resorted to cannibalism.
The siege was lifted when a Soviet offensive finally expelled the German forces that had sealed the southern outskirts of the city. Before they retreated, the Nazis looted and destroyed many of the historical landmarks, and tons of valuable art pieces were carted back to Germany.
Here's a fascinating photo essay that superimposes images taken during the siege with contemporary shots of the same locations.