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Book hunger or the role of books in WWII
Book hunger or the role of books in WWII

Video: Book hunger or the role of books in WWII

Video: Book hunger or the role of books in WWII
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There is a quiet but important date in the annals of the Great Patriotic War. On February 9, 1943, when the outcome of the war was still far from obvious, the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) adopted a Resolution on the creation of a state book fund of 4 million copies for the restoration of libraries in the liberated territories of the USSR.

At the disposal of "Kultura" were materials testifying to the great importance attached to the book during the war years.

Copernicus' salvation


Wartime newspapers called them "fighters of the cultural front." And those who on the front line in between battles created divisional, regimental and even company libraries. And those who, with a duffel bag behind their backs, made their way to remote sectors of the front with books ordered by the soldiers, and did not always find them alive. And the bookseller himself could be wounded or die. Then a sad message went to the relatives: "He died a death of the brave."

And how, if not fighters, can you name those who were able to hide the treasures of their libraries from the fascist robbery army? "Komsomolskaya Pravda" in December 1943, in the days of the liberation of eastern Ukraine from the occupation, reported: "Head of the Kramatorsk city library, comrade Fesenko, before leaving the city, hid 150 of the most valuable publications.

A. Borsch, an employee of Kharkov University, buried in an iron box the old albums of Italian architects (such copies were available only in the Louvre), the first editions of Copernicus and Lomonosov."

More than 100 million publications were destroyed in the occupied territory of the USSR. In Kiev alone, up to 4 million books were burned. Soviet literature especially frightened the fascists. Here is an announcement in the captured Starobelsk of the Voroshilovgrad region (now the Luhansk People's Republic): “I order the population of the city to immediately hand over all Bolshevik leaflets and, in general, all Bolshevik propaganda material, then German and any other weapons.

Whoever does not fulfill this order by January 1943 will be shot. What is - a weapon in second place! The fascists weren't joking at all.

Reading in the subway


Only a week has passed since the victorious end of the Battle of Stalingrad, and victory is still a long way off. Nevertheless, the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks adopts a resolution on the creation of a state book fund of up to 4 million books. The country has announced a labor appeal for the restoration of libraries.

Obliged publishers and printing houses to find ways to increase the number of published books. Newspapers published appeals to the people to carry out "book mobilization". Librarians went on campaigns to villages-villages with empty bags, returned with a priceless load. By the end of the war, more than 10 million were collected. And the book hunger subsided.

In the revisionist 90s, the historian Samsonov writes about the troubling days of October 1941 in Moscow: "There were only 12 people working in the reading room." And for me - as many as 12 people! Those who did not panic, did not flee, who believed that we would defend the capital.

And librarians "Leninka" worked for them, having learned to overcome fear, on duty on the roof under the bombing. Indeed, already on the night of July 22-23, incendiary bombs fell on the roof, threatening a fire. But they extinguished them quickly and bravely, throwing them into boxes of sand. Then they counted - they gasped: it turned out that 70 pieces were extinguished.

The war showed that the world's best Moscow metro turned out to be the world's best giant bomb shelter. Mothers and children spent the night here all the time, they were placed right on the station platforms. The smallest were given milk, the elders could while away the time in embroidery and drawing circles. During the days of the battle for Moscow, more than 200 little Muscovites were born in the metro. For adults, flooring was made on the rails for the night. The attendants kept order. Libraries also worked here.


“District and club libraries have opened their branches at all metro stations,” reports Vechernyaya Moskva on November 26, 1941. - A permanent readership has been created. At st. "Okhotny Ryad" is issued for the evening 400-500 books ". The Historical Public Library has opened at the Kurskaya station a literary and art exhibition dedicated to the Patriotic War of 1812; here you can also read history books and fresh newspapers.

In the first days of the counter-offensive of our troops, "Vecherka" tells about the preferences of the library readers. A. S. Pushkin: “Almost everyone asks for the notes of Napoleon or the partisan diaries of Denis Davydov.

Young people hold in high esteem books on aerodynamics, flight theory, engine building, aviation history, and artillery science. " Respectfully, by name and patronymic, the newspaper calls the most active readers - typesetter Mikhail Ivanovich Yakobson, technician Alexei Dmitrievich Monogov, baker Mikhail Sergeevich Shishkov and housewife Polina Mikhailovna Fomicheva, who “first took books from the series“For Beginners”, then switched to literature on raising children (she made reports on this topic), and now she reads classical literature - Pushkin, Tolstoy."

The newspaper also cites such an indicative fact - the number of readers of the library to them. Lomonosov Moscow State University increased by thirty people: "Often, library staff, returning from a shelter, find a line of readers at the door of the subscription hall."

Find for a spy

During the war, the library suddenly became a defense, strategic and even secret facility. Head of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) G. Aleksandrov and the head of the department of cultural and educational institutions of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) T. Zueva in a letter to the secretaries of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) A. A. Andreev, G. M. Malenkov, A. S. Shcherbakova, "On the Procedure for Serving Foreign and Soviet Readers by Libraries," they note that the Department "has materials showing the use of our public libraries by representatives of foreign missions and foreign correspondents for intelligence purposes," and asked to restrict foreigners' access to the funds.

It turns out that the representatives of the English, American, Chinese, Turkish, Czechoslovak, Polish, Mongolian, Greek and other missions evacuated to Kuibyshev (now Samara) sat for 8-10 hours daily in the reading room of the regional library. They showed "interest in the filing of central and regional newspapers, in reference material on the economic resources of the Volga region, in materials about the most important objects and access roads to Moscow and Leningrad …"

The check showed that “any reader of the library named after Lenin, systematically following the regional and district press, can get a complete picture of the economy and other special issues of interest to him in the region or district.

In the library of the House of Unions you can freely get books with the economic and local history characteristics of the regions of the Soviet Union, often with a complete topographic description of the area, with maps, routes, etc."


Stakhanov's book ration

During the war years, the concepts of "book hunger" and "book ration" entered life, which equated the book with strictly rationed products - bread, salt, soap. At that time, the distinguished miner Aleksey Stakhanov, who was transferred to work in the People's Commissariat of the Coal Industry, was living in Moscow. In a letter to Stalin, he complained about everyday inconveniences and material problems.

The Central Committee staff, who were instructed to parse the letter in essence, in a note to Malenkov reported about the improvement in the living conditions of the leader, but also point out: “From a conversation with Stakhanov it became clear that he reads almost nothing and is culturally lagging behind. We ask you, comrade. Malenkov, give instructions to give him a book ration. Of course, he will not immediately sit down for the books that will be given to him, but it will make him more interested in them."

Such an educational measure was widespread in the 30s and 40s. "Book rations" were compiled for different groups of the population. Librarians did it. The Historical Library has preserved a small-circulation collection of memoirs "On the work of public libraries in the Sverdlovsk region during the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet people."

It turns out that even before the orders and resolutions on the restructuring of the country on a war footing, librarians themselves went to the people "with loud readings" of books and newspapers. With homemade books from newspaper clippings of poetry and the most striking articles. We went to the families of those who had gone to the front, to hospitals, to workers' hostels. Young people were agitated for studying in the evening school.

In those memoirs, you will not find complaints about hard work, about the harsh conditions of the Northern Urals, about a modest salary and supply with cards of the second working category. During the years of massive military exploits in the war, it seems that the library workers did not even think of their work as heroism.

Educational program in Ukraine

Ordinary librarians did not know that the People's Commissar of Education Potemkin, who was then in charge of museums and libraries, appealed to the Central Committee three times with a request to raise the salaries of their employees, since the 2nd category of 200 rubles “does not at all correspond to the value of library work and the requirements for librarians.

He asked to resolve the issue of supplying librarians in accordance with the standards established for workers, and on the attachment of leading librarians to canteens for the party and Soviet activists. " There was no answer, and Potemkin, in his already third letter (dated April 30, 1943), presented a mournful list of librarians who died from exhaustion. I also listed those suffering from dystrophy and edema. The certificate of May 29, 1943, attached to the tearful letter of the People's Commissar, succinctly says: “Comrade. Mikoyan in the request of Comrade Potemkin refused."


Only when our troops reached the state border of the USSR, the Council of People's Commissars adopted Resolutions "On new wages for the heads of reading rooms, rural clubs …" and "On increasing wages for workers in public and school libraries …"

On the liberated lands, existing libraries are being restored and new libraries are being created. Particular attention was paid to the annexed before the war western regions of Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states, where a significant part of the population did not speak literacy. The chronicle testifies: “January 15, 1945 Volyn region.

Of the adult population, 15 thousand people are taught to read and write. In all western regions of Ukraine, work is underway to eliminate illiteracy. “February 6, 1945 Western regions of the Ukrainian Republic. For the fastest restoration of their cultural life, up to 19 thousand teachers left, sent 2 million textbooks, notebooks, fiction. New cadres of librarians are being prepared”.

ABC books, collections of problems, fiction, including national authors, are published in large numbers. And all this is in Russian and in national languages.

… The all-knowing Internet, indulging in a quick answer to any question, is pushing out of our life the eternal source of knowledge - a book, and the very selfless profession of librarians. But let us remember that it was the book that created the Russian man.


"Books during the war"