The newspaper "Red Star" 25 January 1944.
"Fireworks over the Neva." Author - Denisov.
Following the forward units, drive the Germans out of Pushkin, we enter into the city. Oryol gate installed by Catherine in honor of the victory of Russian arms were riddled with bullets and shrapnel. Behind them stretches the famous old parks. Now they have been cut down by half. It seems that there is some incredible storm swept. The trunks of century-old oaks and maple trees felled. Of these, the Germans built themselves shelters and dugouts that ugly turn black spots here and there. Are made barricades that stick out at every intersection wounded and devastated the city.
In Pushkin lived about fifty thousand workers, students, engineers, scientists and their families. Today the city is empty. Not a single soul or in the streets, or in parks or in the basements of houses. On the remains of the broken German cast-iron fence of the park hanging announcement that Russian can not enter into the forbidden zone. Who is it posted? All residents of the city the Germans exterminated or driven away to Germany.
There is not a single house. Everything was burned, destroyed, blown up. Wildly stick chimneys clean burning houses. Some houses still burning. For the Germans blasted the dam seen monumental shape of the Catherine Palace. It waving a big red flag. Here it hoisted the commander of one of the first to break into the city departments Lieutenant Ivan Sviridyuk.
Come closer, and in the fullness confronts us picture the terrible tortures suffered by Palace Museum. Its three-story hulk stretches over three hundred meters. At its finish in time spent over a hundred pounds of pure gold. He was crowned with gilded statues. Now there gaping gaps along windows disfigured facade. Colonnade covered with soot. From the gilding was gone. Statues removed or snow.
Inside the shattered palace worse. Blue room, the Amber Room, an art gallery - all beyond recognition. Lying on broken pieces of gilded columns, stripped away a unique interior walls, terrazzo flooring stolen, stolen paintings, the broken furniture. Palace Museum turned the Germans in zapakoschennuyu, crap stables.
In Pushkin lyceum Germans set up warehouses. Rooms academic building littered with crates of wine utensils. Bottles scattered everywhere from the German schnapps, brandy and rum. In the garden of the Lyceum was a monument to Pushkin. The Germans took the statue of the great poet. There was one pedestal. It continues to burn carved on granite immortal poetry of Pushkin:
My friends, our union is perfect!
It is like the soul is indivisible and eternal -
Steadfast, free and secure;
He grew together under the shadow of amicable muses .. .
Under the snow lay mines and bombs. Sappers carefully pave the way for other historical value - Alexander Palace. Here, too, everything is turned into ruins. Germans cut down with axes gilded moldings and hardwood floors. They got kicked out of the palace furniture that apparently did not have time to take out. The snow blackened skeletons of broken pianos and piano. The wind blows through the park silk upholstery of sofas and armchairs. The broken chair lying near the kitchen set up in the basement of the palace.
Before the main entrance to the Alexander Palace Germans made a big cemetery. There they buried about a hundred of his officers. The same cemetery can be seen in different parts of the Catherine and Alexander Parks.
We go to Pavlovsk. On the right and on the left is spreading thick black fog. City lights. The flames are knocked out of the windows of the Pavlovsk Palace. It was a beautiful bridge. He is survived by rare fragments of carved banisters. Under the bridge the Germans laid several boxes of TNT. Traces of the explosion can be seen for hundreds of meters around. Set on fire by the Germans near the Pavlovsk Palace are close to our gunners and officers of the District Council chairman Nicholas TOLSTIKOV and Secretary of the Communist Party of Eugene Kazan. They are looking glumly at the flames devouring pride in their city - the Palace Museum. Of additions and wings of the palace, still untouched by the fire, the sappers render mines, aerial bombs, electrical appliances, causing inflammation of the explosives.
Before the German occupation was about thirty thousand inhabitants. Now you will not meet a single living creature of the local population. Red Dawn on the street in a big house made of logs felled placed German commandant. Fleeing from Pavlovsk, he left his office a list of the last inhabitants of the city, dating back to October of last year. It is listed only 300 names. But these people are surviving by chance disappeared in recent days. They were shot or driven away to prison.
On the outskirts of our fighters shot down from the post huge sign. At her words, "He who enters the line towards Leningrad, will be shot without hail." These signs are on all highways and country roads, which carry forward our troops.
Our troops today stormed the Gatchina. Immediately fights broke out in the city. Our gunners beat the Germans, who have entrenched themselves in the ruins of the palace, on the banks of the Black Lake. The scouts quickly migrated to the Gatchina Palace fortress. Gatchina as Pushkin and Pavlovsk, bears the imprint of the wild rule of the Germans. The city has already embraced the second day of fires. The same solitude, the same mutilated Germans monuments.