Siege of Leningrad

Lilly Riddle

Background

The siege of Leningrad happened when the Germans surrounded the city of Leningrad with their military forces and kept it so that no supplies could be brought to the city of Leningrad. This cut them off from the rest of the world, being cut off from the world meant supplies that were important for human survival couldn't make it into the city such as food so the people in the city could eat or have fuel for heating during the winter. Hitler decided to break Leningrad away from the world because he didn't want the valuable supplies that were in Leningrad to be destroyed so that when the city died he could have control of them. The siege of Leningrad started on September 8th of 1943 and lasted for two and a half years before it ended. The siege killed a million of the citizens of Leningrad, many of these people died due starvation or the cold that came with the winter. It was horrific for the citezens of Leningrad to live through. Anna Andreina survived it and described how a hotel in the city was turned into a hospital and that many times they could do nothing more than comfort the patients that came for help. She also mentioned that she would have little energy from getting little food and couldn't walk long distances and there dead just laying in the street. Many of people in the city of Leningrad had to take large measures so that they could survive the siege. They had to eat things that would normally be thought to not being edible or immoral to eat and destroy anything that would burn for heat and everyone be aware of the bombardment that the German's would send.

Hardships

Journal #1: Hardships or Hunger

According to the City of Thieves, which included Lev, Vera, and the twins consumed items like pigeons, family pets (page 7), they would also hunt down and eat rats (page 10). There were more things they would eat such as onion smeared with sunflower oil and ration bread, they even felt that this was a great meal (page 11). They also were willing to drink alcohol in the form of cognac off of a dead german (page 14). They had to deal with more than hunger though, they also had to deal with the siege. They also had to deal with being cold most of the time because of the resources to create heat had already been used up (page 7). They were also responsible for guarding their home on the roof of the building during the night and spending any free time they had to hunt rats so that they can eat more than the ration bread (page 10). They lived knowing that if they even received a single broken bone that they would die because of being so skinny they didn't have any fat or muscle (page 13). If anyone was caught doing anything criminal at all they were killed because the legal system couldn't give anything to those who weren't law abiding citizens during these desperate times, they lived knowing that if you were caught making a simple mistake that you were going to die (page 15). Lev, Vera and the twins eat many things out of desperations the siege brought and had many challenges both physically and mentally.

City of St. Petersburg also known as Piter

Journal #2 - Emotional & Physical Challenges

Horrors of War

War brings emotional and physical challenges to the people involved in the war. These makes war even harder to survive with sanity and health. Emotional challenges are things that get to people emotionally and scare people. These challenges can break down a person's sanity and cause emotional problems such as PTSD in soldiers. A physical challenge is an actual obstacle that a person must concur to survive. These can maim or kill someone fighting in a war. In wars people will fight to make even more of these for their enemies, this makes it so in war you can't escape either no matter how hard you try to. There were emotional and physical challenges that affected people in the siege of Leningrad.

The soldiers during the siege of Leningrad would go to extreme measures to try to find ways to survive without losing even more men. A way that they thought would help and used was starving dogs and training them to run underneath and explode tanks by them hitting mines (page 111). This they knew would kill the dogs that would have once been pets but had to understand that everything possible to survive. They would do this by starving the dogs and training them to find food underneath a panser's armor (page 111). They had to go and not feed the dogs that wanted food just as badly as the humans. They continued to use this technique even after the German's learned to shoot and kill all the dogs before they got to their vehicle (page 111). The German's had to learn to shoot dogs which are seen as pets instead of letting the creatures near their vehicle. This method makes people see animals as just another weapon in a war and it is used to destroy enemy vehicles and enemies. In the war soldiers didn't treat citezens of the enemy were not treated as fellow humans, but rather something you could use for your personal gain and pleasure. One way the German's didn't treat the Russian's with humanity is shown in City of Thieves through Zoya and the girls that lived in the farmhouse. Zoya was a young girl that was raped nightly by German officers and was impossible to comfort over it (page 130). Young women were taken advantage off and separated from family. They would have to deal with being mistreated in this way and have to have it done again and again. The other girls that lived in the same house and were also raped got tired of her breaking down when they went through the same thing and she stopped having anyone that supported her (page 130). Someone that is going through something that is horrible for them tends to lean on other people to support them. Zoya had to go through this when she knew that everyone in her life hated her or hurt her. She had nobody left to give her courage that someday it would get better. She tried to run away from what they were putting her through but she was caught and tortured by having both of her feet cut off while the other girls had to watch and she died from the injuries (page 132). She tried to get away from the horrid way she was being treated and was killed for it. The other girls were taught that if they ever tried to leave they would also die. They had to live and be treated in this way knowing that they would have to die to escape it. Stress comes with war, the stress that is knowing that if you screw up even the tiniest bit that you and others will be killed because of your mistake. When Lev was playing chess for Kolya, Vika and his freedom and a dozen of eggs to complete his mission he felt this type of stress. He had to play the game and win, along with figuring out how to get his knife out without notice (page 228). He knew that his friends would die if he lost the game but he couldn't think about that as he had to think about what to do during the game. He couldn't focus on the stakes of the game but focus on playing the game to the best of his ability. He had to work out the courage to kill the man across from him so that he could complete his mission (page 228). He realised that he had to kill the man so that he could complete his mission. He had to think about how to move his pieces so that he would win while figuring out how to unnoticeably take out his knife. He knew that he would die if either of the guards saw this and he had to build up the courage to do so anyway.

Wars bring emotional and physical obstacles that people have to face. This challenges are both from the nature of war and of strategies that people chose to use for the fight. People have had to overcome mental and physical bounderies to succeed in war and we continue to do so. Killing dogs and being okay with them being used, fearing that you will die if you stop and knowing that people will die if you slip up are challenges that people had to face during the siege of Leningrad.

Journal #3 - Essential Question

Essential Question

War plays a role in creating and destroying national identities. It can change who someone is and how they act with others along with who they will tell others that they are. People act as themselves when they are safe but war is not safe and causes people to do anything to save themselves. A country can change to survive just as much as a person can during a war. Lev from City of Thieves changed like many during the siege of Leningrad. In the beginning of the book he was very open with his identity telling a stranger he had just barely met in the crosses his name (page 21). Towards the beginning he also was scared of confrontation but knew that it was the cowardly thing to do when he ran away from the apartment of the cannibal instead of fighting him with his knife (page 60). After Lev experiences and hears what is happening with the war, he changes so that he can survive through it. He is now concealing who he truly is by lying about his religion and that he can read and write (page 221). He also has gained the courage to kill a man that treats others wrongly, he even killed a man and didn't run away from a fight (page 231). The war changed Lev from an open cowardly man to one that is careful with information and isn't afraid to fight. These are the changes that war brings to people so that they can survive fighting in a war.