Siege of Leningrad

Akshar Patel


The Siege of Leningrad (known today as St. Petersburg) began in September 8, 1941 and lasted for two and a half years, claiming the lives of about 1,000,000 people. Hitler made an intelligent decision to circle the city and not attack it so he could save those valuable resources for the war and use the resources there. The city's enemies were hunger and cold because, by the end of September, the city's coal and oil were drained causing the city to not have central heating. The brutal winter caused the pipes to freeze and crack making the people of Leningrad not have drinking water. Cannibalism was reported due to the food supply being cut and the city's animal population becoming really low. The city had dead human bodies lying everywhere because they could not be buried due to the winter weather. By January 1944, the Red Army had pushed back the German army beyond Leningrad allowing the horrific siege to end.

Anna Andreievna was the manager of the Astoria Hotel who was interviewed after the siege was lifted. Anna Said “ The Hotel was turned into a hospital- just hell..." I know what is to be hungry. I was so weak I could hardly walk. I had to use a walking stick to support me." Then Anna talked about how life was in the siege and how she had to stepped over corpses in the streets and on the stairs. Some people went insane due to being so hungry. She also said how her weight dropped from seventy kilos to forty kilos in four months.

Major Lozak a staff officer in the Soviet Army was also interviewed after the siege and said how he would give half his officer’s ration to his parents, so that his parents could survive the months of famine: “ 250 grams a day instead of 350”. Major Lozak saw people die on the way to work all the time and when he got back from work and was coming home, he saw the same bodies buried by the snow.


Hardships or Hunger

Journal #1

Lev, Vera, and the twins faced many hardships on how they were dealing with their hunger like on page 7 they consumed pigeons and family pets. This was a hardship for them because they are not use to eating these kinds of foods. They were dealing with their hunger because they were so hungry they had no choice if they wanted or not. Another hardship they faced was trying to find food because it was running out quickly. Lev was still finding food but it was the fake kind of food like made out of books. When Lev and Kolya eat for the first time, they had fish soup since summer at the colonels house (p.52) The hardship was that they had to go on a quest to find a dozen eggs that was going to be difficult and dangerous.

Journal #2- Emotional & Physical Challenges

There were a lot of emotional and physical challenges behind the story of the sheepdog, Zoya, and playing chess with Abendroth that Lev and Kolya experienced. In the Sheepdog story it was emotionally hard for Kolya to kill the dog because he cares about dogs a lot. Meanwhile in the Abendroth, Lev had a lot of pressure on him to win against him so he could free Vika. Zoya had a physical challenges because she ran away and got her limbs sawed off.

In the story of the sheepdog, there were more emotional challenges than physical challenges. One emotional challenge was Koyla had to kill the dog because it was suffering. This was hard for him because he cares about dogs. A physical challenge that Lev and Kolya both experienced was the cold and being hungry and still having to walk ahead with nothing to fuel their legs. In Zoya story, she experienced emotional and physical challenges. She experienced physical because she got her limbs sawed off and emotionally because she was in a lot of pain when the German soldiers were sawing her limbs off. Playing chess with Abendroth affected Vika and Lev more emotionally because Vika was depending on Lev to win so she could be free. If Lev lost that would make Vika not be able to be free and have to stay.

Thus, there were a lot of emotional and physical challenges that each character had to overcome in each of the stories. Kolya had to kill a dog which was really hard for him because he has a special connection with all dogs while Zoya had to experience her limbs being cut off because she ran from the German soldiers. Lev had to Beat Abendroth in a chess game and free Vika and also show who was a better chess player. Each story had its specif types of physical and emotional challenges.

Journal #3 - Essential Question

War plays a helpful role in creating and destroying national identities for Lev because it turned him into a man that he wasn't before the war had started. In the beginning of the book Lev is very shy and can be emotionally affected by things he sees a lot or gets scared. When Kolya was fighting the cannibals, Kolya told Lev to run making Lev seem scared and also not being able to protect himself even when he had a knife. Koyla made Lev into a man because he took him and brought him out of his shell by mentoring him on things like girls. Towards the end of the book Lev finally talks to a girl and gets over his fear of being shy. Lev goes from being a shy and easy emotional scared person to being not shy at all and working in the military where is emotions don't get the most of him.