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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Odessa: Hero City of the USSR

From a folder of historic cards published in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War we continue our series looking at the Hero Cities and Fortresses as well as other sites and battles critical to the Soviet victory. The folder was entitled "No one is Forgotten. Nothing is Forgotten."

This sixth post looks at the Hero City of Odessa.

It is important to never forget the tremendous determination, courage and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples and Red Army in the great struggle of liberation against Nazism and fascism that was World War II.

The persistent and long-term defense of Odessa was of great military and strategic importance. Having held down the fascist armies for more than two months, the battle near Odessa had a significant impact on the course of hostilities in other sectors of the front.

At the beginning of August 1941, a 200,000-strong enemy grouping managed to cut off the Separate Primorsky Army in the Odessa region from the main forces of the Southern Front. The Nazi command counted on lightning success, but miscalculated. The heroic efforts of the Soviet soldiers stopped the enemy. The heroic defense of Odessa began. From the first days of defense, the regional and city party organizations and their combat assistant, the Komsomol, mobilized all the forces of the working people to repulse the enemy. At the call of the party, up to 100,000 citizens joined in the construction of defensive lines. In the first weeks of the war, more than 55,000 residents of Odessa and the region were mobilized and voluntarily went to the front to fight.

18 enemy divisions stormed the city. Being under siege, the city was left without water by the enemy but still stood its ground to the death. It continued to live and work for the front.

During the defense of the city, the enemy lost over 160,000 soldiers and officers killed, wounded and captured, up to 100 tanks, and about 200 aircraft. During the occupation, 6 partisan detachments and 45 underground groups operated in Odessa and the region.

On April 10, 1944, Odessa was liberated by the troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front from the Nazi invaders. For heroism and courage shown in the battles for the city, 14 people were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Many units and formations that distinguished themselves in battles were awarded orders of the Soviet Union, 27 of them were awarded honorary titles of Odessa. Over 30,000 people were awarded the medal "For the Defense of Odessa". In May 1965, the Hero City of Odessa was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal.

Monument to the Unknown Sailor - The monument in honour of those sailors who died fighting for the city.



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