Siege of Leningrad

Colleen Couture

Background

The Siege of Leningrad now known as Saint Petersburg, lasted close to 2 1/2 years, 872 days. The German troops encircled the city September 8,1941. By encircling the city, food and resource supplies were cut off. In just one month the cities coal and oil supplies had been spent. Cold and hunger were the cities greatest enemies, civilians resorted to using anything and everything to stay alive. Buildings were stripped of access wood and floor boards to use as heat and even things such as saw dust, pages of books and cannibalism were resources for nutrition. Russian civilians mot only battled hunger and the cold but Germans bombarded them with air and artillery attacks. The siege killed an estimated 1,000,000 people, and was a major event in World War II.


Source:

Eye Witness History

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/leningrad.htm

Hardships

Journal Entry

Hunger was a common enemy for all during the siege, the nutrition element was thrown out the window, eating things such as library candy made from paste and the pages of books, not things that should be consumed. Each Russian was given a ration card, which enabled them to claim food each day. The problem was "food" usually meant ration bread, pigeons, your own pets, and whatever else you could find to occupy the hunger (page 7), because Kolya and others were eating things that shouldn't be consumed it messed with their digestive system, Kolya specifically couldn't go poop. The Haymarket was another place you could find food. There was not much to sell, but what was sold came at a high price not affordable to common Russian civilians (pg. 48), Lev and Kolya were going to purchase "vodka" for 100 rubles, not a common luxury during the siege.

Journal #2-Emotional & Physical Challenges

Throughout the journey of finding the eggs there was a major strain on Lev and Kolya's physical and emotional capabilities of dealing with the war. The war played a huge part in Lev becoming a man and Kolya freeing himself as an author, having the courage to kill Abendroth, and the bravery to claim the courtyard hound as his own. From setting the sheepdogs out of there misery, to playing chess with the cruel man who tortured Zoya, they experienced it all.


Kolya had a heart for dogs, his story the courtyard hound made that very apparent. When Lev and Kolya saw the suffering sheepdog, Kolya intuitively set the dog out of his misery by killing him. This was an emotional and a physical challenge for Kolya because of his great love of dogs, but by slicing this dogs neck he was helping him, and releasing him from his suffering. The story of Zoya was a nightmare that will live on in Lev and Kolya's mind. Zoya stood up and tried to run away because she was sick of the sexual torture, due to the weather and malnutrition she didn't make it very far. When Abendroth found her he punished her and sawed off her ankles. This was an excruciating physical challenge for Zoya, but also emotional, being tied down and unable to stop what was going on. Playing chess with Abendroth was an emotional strain for Lev. Lev was very good at chess and knew all the right moves to win, when Lev recived the signal from Vika and Kolya that it was time. launching himself across the room, heart racing, adrenaline pumping, he killed Abendroth. He had never killed anyone, and the picture left in is head after that would never be erased.

Journal # 3- Essential question

Lev a Jew posing as a gentile, Vika a girl posing as a boy and the three of them literates posing as illiterates. The war changed each of these peoples identities. Being able to read and write is not something that you would want to hide, but because this would set them apart they hid there talent. Levs religion wouldn't have mattered in before the war but because they were viewed as different during the war he wanted to diminish any Jewish signs about himself. Vika's gender also not important in everyday life, during the war women were usually used for sexual pleasures, so posing as a boy would spare her from that experience. During the war people changed and lied about there identities to stay alive and fit the mold of the person who will experience the least hardships.