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Video: We ate everything and soldier's belts: Memories of the Siege of Leningrad
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
You read the memories of the blockade and you understand that those people, with their heroic lives, deserved a free education with medicine, and various circles, and free 6 acres and much more. Deserved and by their own labor, they built that life for themselves and for us.
And generations who have not seen suchwar and such a nationwidegrief - they wanted gum, rock and jeans, freedom of speech and sex. And already their descendants - lace panties, homosexuality and "like in Europe."
Currant Lydia Mikhailovna / Blockade of Leningrad. Memories
- How did the war start for you?
- I have a photograph taken on the first day of the war, my mother signed it (shows).
I finished school, we were going to the dacha and went to Nevsky to be photographed, they bought me a new dress.
We were driving back and could not understand - crowds of people were standing at the loudspeakers, something had happened.
And when they entered the courtyard, they were already taking men liable for military service to the army. At 12 o'clock Moscow time, they announced, and the mobilization of the first draft has already begun.
Even before September 8 (the date of the beginning of the blockade of Leningrad), it became very alarming, training alerts were announced from time to time, and the situation with food became worse.
I immediately noticed this, because I was the eldest in the family of children, my sister was not yet six years old, my brother was four years old, and the youngest was only a year old. I already walked in line for bread, I was thirteen and a half years old in 1941.
The first wild bombing took place on September 8 at 16:55, mostly with incendiary bombs. All our apartments were bypassed, all adults and adolescents (they write that from the age of sixteen, but actually twelve) were forced to go out into the courtyard to the sheds, to the attic, to the roof.
Sand had already been prepared in boxes and water by this time. Water, of course, was not needed, because in the water these bombs hissed and did not go out.
We had partitions in the attic, everyone has their own little attic, so in June-July all these partitions were broken, for fire safety.
And in the yard there were wood-burning sheds, and all the sheds had to be broken down and firewood had to be taken down to the basement, if anyone had firewood there.
They had already begun to prepare bomb shelters. That is, even before the complete closure of the blockade, a very good organization of defense was going on, a watch was established, because the planes first dropped leaflets and the scouts were in Leningrad.
My mother handed one over to a policeman, I don’t know for what reason; she studied at a German school, and something in that person seemed suspicious to her.
The radio said that people were more careful, a certain number of paratroopers were dropped or they crossed the front line in the area of Pulkovo Heights, for example, it could be done there, trams would reach there, and the Germans were already standing on the heights themselves, they approached very quickly.
I have a lot of impressions from the beginning of the blockade, I probably will die - I will not forget all this horror, all this is imprinted in my memory - like snow on my head, they say, and here - bombs on my head.
For literally two weeks or a month, refugees walked through Leningrad, it was scary to watch.
Carts loaded with belongings were driving, children were sitting, women were holding on to carts. They passed very quickly somewhere to the east, they were accompanied by soldiers, but rarely, not that they were under escort. We, teenagers, stood at the gate and looked, it was curious, sorry for them and scared.
We, Leningraders, were very conscious and prepared, we knew that very unpleasant things could touch us and therefore everyone worked, no one ever refused any work; came, talked and we went and did everything.
Later it started snowing, they were cleaning the paths from the entrances and there was no such disgrace as it is now. This went on all winter: they went out and whoever could, as much as they could, but they cleared some path to the gate in order to get out.
- Have you ever participated in the construction of fortifications around the city?
- No, this is only an older age. We were thrown out on duty at the gate, we threw lighters from the roof.
The worst thing began after September 8, because there were a lot of fires. (Checking with the book) For example, 6327 incendiary bombs were dropped on the Moskovsky, Krasnogvardeisky and Smolninsky districts in one day.
At night, I remember, we were on duty on the roof and from our Oktyabrsky district, from Sadovaya Street, the glow of fires was visible. The company climbed into the attic and watched the Badayev warehouses burn, it was obvious. Can you forget this?
They immediately reduced the ration, because these were the main warehouses, right on the ninth or tenth, and from the twelfth the workers received 300 grams, children 300 grams, and dependents 250 grams, this was the second reduction, cards were just issued. Then the terrible bombing was the first high-explosive bombs.
On Nevsky a house collapsed, and in our area on Lermontovsky Prospect, a six-story building collapsed to the ground, only one wall remained standing, covered with wallpaper, in the corner there is a table and some kind of furniture.
Even then, in September, the famine began. Life was scary. My mother was a literate energetic woman, and she realized that she was hungry, the family was big, and we were doing what. In the morning they left the children alone, and we took pillowcases, walked through the Moscow Gate, there were cabbage fields. The cabbage was already harvested, and we walked around collecting the remaining leaves and stumps.
It was very cold in early October, and we went there until it was knee-deep in snow. Somewhere my mother took out a barrel, and we all these leaves, beet tops came across, folded and made such rag, this rag saved us.
The third reduction in rations was on November 20: workers 250 grams, children, employees, dependents - 125 grams, and so it was before the opening of the Road of Life, until February. Immediately then they added bread to 400 grams for workers, 300 grams for children and dependents, 250 grams.
Then the workers began to receive 500 grams, employees 400, children and dependents 300, this is already February 11. They began to evacuate then, they suggested to my mother that they take us out too, they didn’t want to leave the children in the city, because they understood that the war would continue.
Mom had an official agenda, to collect things for three days' journey, no more. Cars drove up and took away, the Vorobyovs then left. On this day we are sitting on knots, my backpack is out of a pillowcase, Sergei (younger brother) has just gone, and Tanya is one year old, she is in her arms, we are sitting in the kitchen and my mother suddenly says - Lida, take off your clothes, undress the guys, we will not go anywhere.
A car came, a man in a paramilitary uniform began to swear, as it is, you will ruin the children. And she told him - I will ruin the children on the road.
And I did the right thing, I think. She would have lost us all, two in her arms, but what am I? Vera is six years old.
- Please tell us what the mood was in the city during the first blockade winter.
- Our radio said: do not fall for the propaganda of leaflets, do not read. There was such a blockade leaflet, which engraved in my memory for the rest of my life, the text there was "Petersburg ladies, do not dig dimples", this is about the trenches, I do not fully remember.
It's amazing how everyone rallied back then. Our yard is a square, small - everyone was friends, went to work as needed and the mood was patriotic. Then in schools we were taught to love the Motherland, to be patriots, even before the war.
Then a terrible famine began, because in the fall-winter we had at least some grunt, but here there was nothing at all. Then came the hard days of the blockade.
During the bombing, pipes burst, water was cut off everywhere, and all winter we went from Sadovaya to the Neva to fetch water, with sledges, sleighs turned over, returned or walked home with tears, and carried buckets in our hands. We walked together with my mother.
We had a nearby Fontanka, so it was forbidden to take water from there on the radio, because there are a lot of hospitals from which there is a drain. When it was possible, they climbed onto the roof to collect snow, this is the whole winter, and for drinking they tried to bring it from the Neva.
On the Neva it was like this: we walked through Teatralnaya Square, across Truda Square and there was a descent at the Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge. The descent, of course, is icy, because the water is overflowing, it was necessary to climb.
And there the hole, who supported it, I do not know, we came without any tools, we could barely walk. During the bombing, all the windows flew out, upholstered the windows with plywood, oilcloths, blankets, pillows were plugged.
Then severe frosts came in the winter of 41-42, and we all moved to the kitchen, it was without windows and there was a large stove, but there was nothing to heat it, we ran out of firewood, even though we had a shed, and a pantry on the stairs, full firewood.
Khryapa is over - what to do? My father went to the dacha, which we rented in Kolomyagi. He knew that a cow had been slaughtered there in the fall, and the hide was hanged in the attic, and he brought this skin, and it saved us.
Everyone ate. The belts were boiled. There were soles - they were not cooked, because then there was nothing to wear, and belts - yes. Nice belts, soldier's, they are delicious.
We scorched that skin on the stove, cleaned and boiled it, soaked it in the evening and cooked the jelly, my mother had a supply of bay leaves, we put it there - it was delicious! But it was completely black, this jelly, because it was cow pile, and the coals remained from the scorching.
My father was near Leningrad from the very beginning, at the Pulkovo Heights at the headquarters, was wounded, came to visit me and told my mother that the winter would be hard, that he would come back in a couple of days after the hospital.
He had been working at a factory lately before the war, and there he ordered us a potbelly stove and a stove. She is still at my dacha. He brought it, and we cooked everything on this stove, it was our salvation, because people fit anything under the stoves - there were almost no metal barrels then, and they made everything from everything.
After they started bombing with high-explosive bombs, the sewage system stopped working, and it was necessary to take out a bucket every day. We lived in the kitchen then, pulled out the beds and the little ones all the time sat in the bed against the wall, and my mother and I, willy-nilly, had to do everything, go out. We had a toilet in the kitchen, in the corner.
There was no bathroom. There were no windows in the kitchen, so we got there, and the lighting was from the hallway, there was a large window, in the evening the lantern was already lit. And our entire sewer pipe was flooded with such red floods of ice, sewage. Towards spring, when the warming began, all this had to be chopped off and taken out. That's how we lived.
It's spring 42. There was still a lot of snow, and there was such an order - the entire population from 16 to 60 years old to go out to clear the city of snow.
When we went to the Neva for water and there were queues, there were even queues for bread according to coupons, and it was very scary to walk, walked together, because they pulled the bread out of our hands and ate it right there and then. You go to the Neva for water - corpses are scattered everywhere.
Here they began to take girls of 17 years old to the ATR. A truck drove around everywhere, and the girls picked up these frozen corpses and took them away. Once, after the war, it flashed in a newsreel about a place like this, it was with us on McLeanough.
And in Kolomyagi it was on Akkuratova, near the Stepan Skvortsov psychiatric hospital, and the roofs were also almost folded down.
Before the war, we rented a dacha in Kolomyagi for two years, and the owner of this dacha, aunt Liza Kayakina, sent her son with an offer to move there. He came on foot through the whole city and we gathered on the same day.
He came with a large sled, we had two sleds, and we plunged and drove off, this is approximately the beginning of March. Children on sledges and the three of us were dragging these sledges, and we also had to take some luggage. My father went somewhere to work, and my mother and I went to see him off.
Why? Cannibalism began.
And in Kolomyagi, I knew the family that did this, they were just pretty healthy, they were tried later, after the war.
Most of all we were afraid of being eaten. Basically, they cut out the liver, because the rest is skin and bones, I myself saw everything with my own eyes. Aunt Lisa had a cow, and that's why she invited us: to save us and be safe, they already climbed up to it, dismantled the roof, they would have killed them, of course, because of this cow.
We arrived, the cow was tied to the ceiling on ropes. She still had some food left, and they began to milk the cow, she milked poorly, because I was also starving.
Aunt Liza sent me across the road to a neighbor, she had a son, they were very hungry, the boy never got out of bed, and I carried him a little, 100 grams of milk … In general, she ate her son. I came, I asked, and she said - he is not, he is gone. Where he could go, he could no longer stand. I can smell meat and steam is coming down.
In the spring we went to the vegetable storehouse and dug ditches where before the war there was a burial of spoiled food, potatoes, carrots.
The ground was still frozen, but it was already possible to unearth this rotten porridge, mostly potatoes, and when we came across carrots, we thought we were lucky, because carrots smell better, potatoes are just rotten and that's it.
They began to eat this. Since autumn, Aunt Lisa had a lot of duranda for the cow, we mixed potatoes with this and also with bran, and it was a feast, pancakes, cakes were baked without butter, just on the stove.
There was a lot of dystrophy. I was not greedy before eating, but Vera, Sergey and Tatiana loved to eat and endured hunger much more difficult. Mom divided everything very precisely, slices of bread were cut by centimeter. Spring began - everyone ate, and Tanya had second-degree dystrophy, and Vera had the very last, third, and already began to appear yellow spots on her body.
This is how we overwintered, and in the spring we lasted a piece of land, what seeds were - we planted, in general, survived. We also had a duranda, do you know what it is? Compressed into circles wastes of cereals, pome duranda is very tasty, like halva. It was given to us bit by bit, like candy, to chew. Chewed for a long, long time.
42 years old - we ate everything: quinoa, plantain, what kind of grass grew - we ate everything, and what we didn't eat we salted. We planted a lot of fodder beets and found seeds. They ate it raw and boiled, and with tops - in every way.
The tops were all salted into a barrel, we did not distinguish where Aunt Liza was, where ours was - everything was in common, this is how we lived. In the fall, I went to school, my mother said: hunger is not hunger, go study.
Even at school, at a big break, they gave vegetable piles and 50 grams of bread, it was called a bun, but now, of course, no one would call it that.
We studied hard the teachers were all emaciated to the limit And they put marks: if they walked, they will put a three.
We, too, were all emaciated, we nodded in class, there was no light either, so we read with smokehouses. Smokers were made from any small jars, they poured kerosene and lit the wick - it smokes. There was no electricity, and at factories, electricity was supplied at a certain time, by the clock, only to those areas where there was no electricity.
Back in the spring of 1942, they began to break down wooden houses in order to be heated, and in Kolomyagi they broke a lot. We were not touched because of the children, because there are so many children, and by the fall we moved to another house, one family left, evacuated, sold the house. This was done by ATR, demolition of houses, special teams, mostly women.
In the spring we were told that we would not take the exams, there are three grades - I was transferred to the next class.
Classes stopped in April 43.
I had a friend in Kolomyagi, Lyusya Smolina, she helped me get a job at a bakery. The work there is very hard, without electricity - everything is done by hand.
At a certain time, they gave electricity to the bread ovens, and everything else - kneading, cutting, molding - all by hand, there were several people adolescents and kneaded with their hands, the ribs of the palms were all covered with calluses.
Boilers with dough were also carried by hand, and they are heavy, I will not say for sure now, but almost 500 kilograms.
The first time I went to work at night, the shifts were like this: from 8 pm to 8 am, you rest for a day, the next shift you work a day from 8 am to 8 pm.
The first time I came from shift - my mother dragged me home, I got there, and fell near the fence, I don't remember further, I woke up already in bed.
Then you get sucked in you get used to everything, certainly, but I worked there to the point that I became dystrophic … If you breathe in these air, and the food won't come in.
It used to be that the voltage would drop and inside the oven the hairpin, on which the molds with bread stand, would not spin, and it could burn out! And no one will look if the electricity is there or what, will be brought before the tribunal.
And what we did - there was a lever with a long handle near the stove, we hang about 5-6 people on this lever so that the hairpin turns.
At first I was a student, then an assistant. There, at the factory, I joined the Komsomol, the mood of the people was what they needed, stick together.
Before the lifting of the blockade, on December 3, there was a case - a shell hit a tram in the Vyborgsky region, 97 people were injured, in the morning, people were on their way to the plant, and then almost the whole shift did not come.
I worked then on the night shift, and in the morning they gathered us, told everyone that they would not be released from the plant, we were all left at their workplaces, in a barracks position. In the evening they let them go home, because another shift came, they worked it is not clear how, but you cannot leave people without bread!
There were many military units around, I don’t know for sure, but, in my opinion, we supplied them too. So, they let us go home for an incomplete day in order to take a change of linen and return, and on December 12 we were transferred to the barracks position.
I was there for 3 or 4 months, we slept on a soldier's bunk with a jack, two of them are working - two are sleeping. Even before all this, in winter I went to an evening school at the Pediatric Institute, but everything in fits and starts, my knowledge was very poor, and when I entered the technical school after the war, it was very difficult for me, I did not have fundamental knowledge.
- Please tell us about the mood in the city, whether there was a cultural life.
- I know about Shostakovich's concert in 1943. Then the Germans switched to massive shelling, since autumn, the Germans felt that they were losing, well, we thought so, of course.
We lived hungry, and after the war there was still hunger, and dystrophy was treated, and cards, all that. The people behaved very well, now people have become envious, unfriendly, we did not have this. And they shared - you yourself are hungry, and you will give a piece.
I remember going home with bread from work, meeting a man - not knowing whether a woman or a man, dressed so that it was warm. She looks at me I gave her a piece.
Not because I'm so good, everyone behaved like that in the main. There were, of course, thieves and stuff. For example, it was deadly to go to the store, they could attack and take away the cards.
Once the daughter of our administration went - and the daughter disappeared, and the cards. Everything. She was seen in the store, that she came out with food - and where she went next - no one knows.
They rummaged around the apartments, but what was there to take? No one has food, which is more valuable - they exchanged for bread. Why did we survive? Mom changed everything she had: jewelry, dresses, everything for bread.
- Please tell us how informed you were about the course of hostilities?
- They broadcast it constantly. Only the receivers were taken away from everyone, who had what - the radio, everything was taken away. We had a plate in the kitchen, a radio. She did not always work, but only when something needed to be transmitted, and there were loudspeakers on the streets.
On Sennaya there was a large loudspeaker, for example, and they were mainly hung at the corners, the corner of Nevsky and Sadovaya, near the Public Library. Everyone believed in our victory, everything was done for the victory and for the war.
In the fall of 43, in November-December, I was summoned to the personnel department and told that they were sending me to the front line with a propaganda brigade.
Our brigade consisted of 4 people - a party organizer and three Komsomol members, two girls about 18 years old, they were already masters with us, and I was 15 then, and they sent us to the front line to maintain the morale of the soldiers, to the coastal artillery and there was also an anti-aircraft unit nearby.
They brought us in a truck under an awning, assigned whom where and we did not see each other. They said at first that for three days, and we lived there either 8 or 9 days, I stayed alone there, lived in a dugout.
The first night in the commander's dugout, and after that, the anti-aircraft gunners took me to their place. I saw how they point guns at the plane, they let me go everywhere, and I was amazed that they were pointing up and looking down at the tables.
Young girls, 18-20 years old, are not teenagers anymore. The food was good, barley and canned food, in the morning a piece of bread and tea, I came from there, and it seemed to me that I even recovered during these eight days (laughs).
What have I been doing? I walked around the dugouts, the girls in the dugouts could stand tall, and the peasants had low dugouts, you could enter there only half bent over and immediately sit on the bunks, a spruce forest was laid on them.
There were 10-15 people in each dugout. They are also on a rotational basis - someone is constantly near the gun, the rest are resting, due to alarm there is a general rise. Because of such alarms, we could not leave in any way - we bombed any moving target.
Then our artillery was doing great, preparations began to break the blockade. Finland quieted down then, they reached their old borders and stopped, the only thing left on their side was the Mannerheim line.
There was also a case when I worked at a bakery, before the new 1944 year. Our director took out a barrel of soybean meal or he was also given separate seeding areas.
We made a list at the plant, who has how many family members, there will be some kind of edible gift. I have four dependents and myself.
And before the New Year, they gave out a rather large piece of gingerbread (shows with his hands the size of about A4 sheet), probably 200 grams per person.
I still remember well how I carried it, I was supposed to have 6 servings, and they cut them off in one large piece, but I have no bag, nothing. They put it on a cardboard box for me (I was working on the day shift then), there was no paper, at school they wrote in books between the lines.
In general, they wrapped it in some kind of rag. I often went on the tram step, but with that, how can you jump on the step? I went on foot I had to walk 8 kilometers … This is evening, winter, in the dark, through the Udelninsky park, and it is like a forest, and besides, the outskirts, there was a military unit, and there was talk that they used girls. Anyone could do anything.
And all this time she was carrying a gingerbread on her hand, she was afraid to fall, the snow was all around, everything was brought in. When we left home, every time we knew that we would leave and might not return, the kids did not understand this.
Once I went to the other end of the city, to the harbor, and walked all night there and back, so there was such a terrible shelling, and the lights flashed, the tracks of the shells, the fragments whistle all around.
So, I came into the house with a haircut, everyone was hungry, and when they saw her, there was such joy! They, of course, were stunned, and we had a New Year's feast.
- You left for Kolomyagi in the spring of 42. When did you get back to the city apartment?
- I returned alone in 45, and they stayed there to live, because they had a small vegetable garden there, it was still hungry in the city. And I entered the academy, I took courses, I had to study, and it was difficult for me to travel to Kolomyagi and back, I moved to the city. The frames were glazed for us, a woman with two children from a bombed-out house was placed in our apartment.
- Tell us how the city came to its senses after breaking through and lifting the blockade.
- They just worked. Everyone who could work worked. There was an order to rebuild the city. But the return of the monuments and their release from camouflage was carried out much later. Then they began to curtain the bombed houses with camouflage to create the appearance of the city, to cover the ruins and ruins.
At sixteen, you are already an adult, work or study, so everyone worked, except for the sick. After all, I went to the factory because of a work card, to help, to earn money, but no one will give food for free, and I did not eat bread in my family.
- How much has the city's supply improved after the blockade was lifted?
- The cards have not gone anywhere, they were even after the war. But such as in the first blockade winter, when they gave 125 grams of millet per decade (in the text - 12.5 grams per decade. I hope there is a typo in it, but now I have no opportunity to check it. - Note ss69100.) - this is already was not for a long time. They also gave lentils from military supplies.
- How quickly have transport links been restored in the city?
- By today's standards, when everything is automated - so very quickly, because everything was done manually, the same tram lines were repaired by hand.
- Please tell us about May 9, 1945, how you met the end of the war.
- For us, there was great jubilation back in 44, in January, when the blockade was lifted. I worked the night shift, someone heard something and came, told me - it was jubilation! We didn’t live better, the hunger was the same until the very end of the war, and after that we were still hungry, but a breakthrough! We walked down the street and said to each other - did you know that the blockade was lifted ?! Everyone was very happy, although little had changed.
On February 11, 1944, I received a medal "For the Defense of Leningrad". This was given to few people then, they had just begun to give this medal.
On May 9, 1945, a celebration, concerts were spontaneously organized on Palace Square, accordionists performed. People sang, recited poetry, rejoiced and no drunkenness, fights, nothing like that, not what it is now.
Interview and literary treatment: A. Orlova
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