Siege of Leningrad

Carmellitta Le

Background

The Siege of Leningrad could be described as a lot of things, but many say it was a horrific event that took place on the historic timeline. German forces encircled the city of Leningrad, cutting off all their supplies leaving them to face a harsh winter, doing whatever they had to do to survive. Germans would take Jews and do whatever they wanted with them, using them for work or just killing them. Corpses everywhere in the street and on stairs, people were getting used to the constant death. If people were weak, mentally or physically disabled, they would eliminate them, just an obstacle on their path for total genocide. Starving people would resort to many different survival tactics, like using library book binding wax as a source of food. Starvation was a major killer, portions were cut, and near the end not a pet, rat, crow, or any living animal in sight. It was common that families would use the ration cards, found on their dead relatives. For elders who couldn't do much a soldier during the war said that he would give them half his ration a day so they could survive. The one positive was with the winter cold, lakes froze over and provided easier access for food, and a passageway for people to get out of the city.

Hardships

Journal #1: Hardships or Hunger

During the Siege of Leningrad, Lev and Kolya went through many hardships. Lev would eat bread made of sawdust (Pg 11) , and with the food Kolya had eaten had made him constipated for eight days (Pg 23). They traveled for a long time, until they came across the boy who had the chicken, but then they realized it was a rooster. (pg 93) They thought they were through, that they could go back, only to realize they still needed to continue. When the Germans were coming, they had to come up with a strategy to infiltrate them and make them think they were captured. Hiking for days and being treated terribly by the Germans (Pg 184). Then playing chess against Abenroth to see if they would live or die, and trying to complete their plan to kill him, to escape with the eggs and their lives, which almost went wrong (pg 230-231). Throughout their entire journey, trekking through the deep snow, and coming across obstacles along the way. They encountered physical and emotional challenges, like the sheepdog they knew it was a suicide dog, and Koyla killed it to put it out of its misery (pg 112).

Journal #2 - Emotional & Physical Challenges

The Siege of Leningrad brought on a lot of struggles for both sides fighting. Happening during the winter months, made it harsher for a lot of people to try to survive. Out in the streets or in damaged buildings, you would find corpse upon corpses and would simply have to walk past without a second thought. Constant bombardment by the Germans didn't make things better either. Building were being wrecked, Russians were being captured for work. Jews were put in a secluded place, only to be killed while trying to escape, or they were too weak. War was a horrible thing, and with it brought a bunch of emotional and physical challenges on the people.

Throughout the book there were a lot of physical and emotional challenges Lev and Kolya faced. Along their journey to find eggs, they came across a massive pile of half alive dogs. Kolya spotted one that was trying to crawl away although there was no hope. It pained them to see it in so much pain and knowing that those dogs were starved so that they would be better during combat. They watched it for a bit until they decided to put it out of its misery. A difficult task for anyone to do. After the dog, they stumbled upon a house filled with girls, later finding out that the house was a house of girls kept for the German's pleasure. They were told the story about Zoya the 14 year old girl. She faced many emotional and physical challenges which caused her to try to run away only to get caught and have her feet chopped off. This cause anger in Lev, he was mad about what the Germans were doing to innocent people. After taking down a couple German soldiers Lev, Koyla, and Vika found their way into a German camp. Making a deal with Abernoth, stating that if Lev beats him they are set free. The emotional challenge was a constant what should he do next, if he screwed up one time would they all die. Then came the choice of when to kill Abenroth, when Lev ended up trying it almost went horrible. He was pinned down and he had to use his strength to get free and end it.

War was a traumatic experience for most people, and it would be highly unlikely for someone to not face any emotional or physical challenges. Like the loss of a family member, or starving, or trying to use any energy you have left to escape. With everything going on around you, it was likely much of your family would not survive or be too weak, and families would have to make the decision to let them go as to not slow them down.

Journal #3 - Essential Questions

War can play a lot of different roles in creating or destroying national identities. If a specific nation is attacking another less powerful nation, they're deemed as the bad guys even though they had the right to in the first place. But they also gain the identity, that they are strong and undefeatable. It can also be seen in a different perspective, if you are perceived as a big, powerful country and you lose to other countries, it instantly destroys your national identity. Although it destroys the victim nation's identity, it creates a new better once for the country that won. However path that war goes, it will destroys one nation's identity while boosting the victorious nation's identity and how they are perceived.