A Spanish soldier of the Blue Division (Spanish: División Azul, or División Española de Voluntarios) erects a cross for a fallen comrade during the Siege of Leningrad.

Marcelino Gil Martin was a Corporal of the Blue Division and fell in battle while fighting in the front of the Volkhov River. Blue Division then was transferred to Leningrad front. That was when his brother, Lieutenant Eustaquio Gil Martin joined the Blue Division. Eustaquio was allowed to travel along a soldier to the Volkhov sector to visit the grave of his brother in Novgorod. The photo shows the moment when the soldier placed a Spanish shield on the cross of the grave (information given by Carlos Caballero).

Although Spain was officially neutral during the war, some 47,000 Spanish men volunteered to fight for Germany. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco permitted volunteers to join the German Army on the clear and guaranteed condition they would fight exclusively against Bolshevism on the Eastern Front, and not against the Western Allies or any Western occupied populations.

In this manner, he could keep Spain at peace with the Western Allies, whilst simultaneously repaying Adolf Hitler for his support during the Spanish Civil War. Near Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), Russia, Soviet Union. August 1942.



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