Leningrad Siege Museum

The Siege of Leningrad was one of the most severe episodes for the USSR during World War II. By the 8th of September, 1941 the German group of armies 'Nord' finally reached the outskirts of Leningrad and besieged the city for long 900 days. The first year of the siege turned terribly difficult when the food supply ran out and dire famine ravaged Leningrad. An eye-witness, neurosurgeon I. Kudrin recalled: "The bombing of Leningrad started. Artillery shelling became worse and worse day after day. Evacuation stopped. Food products disappeared from the shops. Last thing I managed to buy was 6 cans of spinach puree. My wife grumbled at me later when I brought them home. The only hope was for the food cards. But after bombing of Badaev food warehouses, food supply for cards got much worse. Our daily share of bread shrank to 125 grams (1/4 pound). Every day we lost medical staff who were dying of starvation. I could barely move and often fainted. In November it started snowing. Nobody was able to clean the streets and soon all the vehicles were stuck in deep snow. Citizens walked, carrying water, firewood, and dead bodies on kid sleighs. Even worse was December and January when severe frosts (-41°C/-41°F) broke out. The streets were soon filled with the frozen dead left by relatives who had lost the strength to carry them away. I calculated I would die by February 1942. Every day my wife and I made long way to work on foot. I was afraid to check my weight. I hadn't been so skinny since my student years. Everyone around got easily angered, feelings between men and women disappeared. As to hygiene, we only washed faces and hands. But we didn't suffer from fleas or angina, or flue, or appendicitis. Many suffered from constant urination because of constant drinking warm water. It was cold in our flat because of the broken glass in windows. Our home temperature hardly ever reached more than 3°C (37°F). We celebrated New Year party with dishes of fried cat, boiled leather and oatmeal waste. I kept on working in the hospital conducting 5-6 surgical operations per day. But I soon, couldn't walk myself and was confinded to the hospital until June." Leningrad survived due to the 'Road of Life', a pathway laid on the ice of Lake Ladoga . Under severe bombing, trucks loaded with bread made their way to besieged Leningrad. Few of them managed to reach the city. But even those few gave life to thousands. In January 1943 the siege was broken and the railway reconnected the city with the rest of the country. A year later, on 27th of January, 1944, the siege was totally lifted and the city was liberated.

Open: 10:00am-5:00pm.

Closed: Wednesday and last Thursday of the month.

Tourists' Remarks

 " ... This impressive museum captures the difficulties of life during the Blockade. It even preserved some daily bread rations (not more than 125g) that consisted not only of rye flour, but also soy, oil caked and other strange mixtures ... "

" ... Though little visited by tourists, the St. Petersburg's State Museum of the Siege of Leningrad is worth a side trip to see something besides more piles of Tsarist gildwork. Though much smaller than its original layout, it still has lots of eerie exhibits documenting the 900-day WWII German siege of the city, when people were eating sawdust cakes, or bran fried in motor oil, or cats. There's plenty of old-school Soviet propaganda posters as well ... "

“ ... Dedicated to the Defense of Leningrad during the Second World War, or as the Russians call it, the Great Patriotic War, this museum is sombre yet absorbing. Full of displays showing the famine ravaged city (in November 1941, the bread ration was just 250gms a day for workers) and the heroic efforts to somehow get food in from beyond the blockade across the frozen Lake Ladoga, the famous "Road of Life" are depicted here ... ”

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