Siege of Leningrad

Alayna Barnett

Background

The siege of Leningrad was an absolutely horrific time in history. It lasted nearly two and a half years from September 8th 1941 until January 27th 1944, killing an estimated 1,000,000 city residents due to starvation, cannibalism, bombardments, the cold, or Nazi soldiers. The Germans were trying to purify their nation in a way by getting rid of all Jews and people with deformities. Hunger and the cold were the biggest issues people faced. Many of the peoples rations were cut 1/3 of the daily amount forcing them to find other ways to satisfy their hunger. Coal and oil supplies were cut by September so there was no heat and not many warm clothes to wear. A lot of them froze to death. The Germans were constantly bombing the city so the people never knew if they were going to be next or if they would make it to another day. As more people died the struggle lessened because for example, there was more food to go around and rations wouldn't need to get cut more.

Hardships

Journal #1 Hardships or Hunger

According to City of Thieves, they which included Lev, Vera, and the twins consumed items like pigeons, family pets (page 7), others turn to cannibalism (page 59), or tiny scraps of bread (page 202), or muddy water (page 57) and things like that. The people of Leningrad had their daily rations cut down 1/3 of the daily amount. That's like eating only one meal a day instead of the three; breakfast, lunch, and dinner, mind you these meals would be small since they had to share with others and there wasn't very much food in the first place. The people were starving and not getting enough nutrients or anything that they needed to act normal and think right. The lack of food caused people to do unthinkable things like eat the family pets or kill their neighbors and chop them up for dinner. Now as you can imagine this has a major affect on their mental and emotional state.

City of St. Petersburg also known as Piter

Journal #2- Emotional & Physical challenges

Throughout the war Lev and Kolya faced many challenges, physical along with emotional. Challenges like these can do many things to a person like help them grow into a better, tougher person. The challenges that Lev experienced really changed him into a 'man' and made him tougher in a way, but maybe these challenges were so horrifying that they weren't really worth it.

Some of the emotional and physical Lev and Kolya faced were the story of the sheepdog, Zoya, and playing chess with Abendroth. The sheepdog was a story that Kolya was writing, to sum it up, it's about a stray dog that lived in an apartment which the tenants were fine with and were actually taking care of him. One day an old man that had been feeding the dog and had never stepped foot outside of the building looks out to see the dog dead in the street and the man goes outside to get the dog. It was very powerful the way that Kolya had talked about it and was sort of a sad thing for him to be writing and talking to Lev about during their trip to find eggs. The story of Zoya, a young girl that was taken to get raped by German soldiers and had run away that got tortured, is really emotional. It's disgusting to think about that men would be that gross to rape a girl then when she runs away and they know she is going to die any way because of the cold they waste their time just to torture her even more. When Kolya and Lev heard that story they were probably so appalled by it, anyone would've been, or should've been. Playing chess with Abendroth was a whole lot of thinking and 'manning up' for Lev. Deciding on how to kill him because he knew he had to and what to do about it.

War caused a lot of physical and emotional challenges for Lev and Kolya, but not all of them were directed at Lev and Kolya. These challenges helped Lev grow into a man.

Journal #3- Essential Question

War destroys national identities by making certain people that are capable of things or just are some things such as a Jew try to change it or lie about it. Abendroth states: "Don't bother you passed Kuefer's test, good, I respect that. You are survivors. But I am not a stupid man. One of you is a Jew posing as a Gentile; one is a girl posing as a boy; all of you, I assume are literates posing as illiterate. And despite the attentions of our vigilant mountain rangers and the esteemed Obersturmfuhrer Kuefer, all these ruses have succeeded." -Excerpt from City of Thieves, page 221. Lev, Kolya, and Vika are all posing as things that they aren't to survive in the camps. They knew that if they let any of the German soldiers know that they were literate they would have been killed right away, so they pose as illiterate, if it was known that Vika was a girl they would have been separated, and if they knew that Lev was a Jew he would have been killed. It is very smart to pose as something that you aren't because it increases your chances of surviving.