- The Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad was the most tragic period in the history of the city. For everyone who lives in St. Petersburg, the siege of Leningrad became a keypoint, and for the older generation it brings out memories that they will never forget.
Less than two and a half months after June 22, 1941, when the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany, German troops were already approaching Leningrad. The Red Army was outflanked and on September 8, 1941 the Germans had fully encircled Leningrad and the siege began. It lasted for about 900 days, from September 8, 1941 till January 27, 1944.
Two million 887 thousand citizens (including about 400 thousand children) found themselves in the circle of German troops. Here were also Soviet troops but they didn't even consider any calls for surrender. Food and fuel supplies were very limited (enough for 1 or 2 months only).
All public transportation had stopped. By the winter of 1941-42 there was neither heating, nor water supply, almost no electricity and very little food. In January 1942, in the middle of an unusually cold winter, the lowest food rations in the city were registered - only 125 grams of bread per day. In just two months, January and February, 1942, 200 thousand people died in Leningrad because of cold and starvation. But a portion of the war industry continued to work and the city did not surrender.
Several hundred thousand people were evacuated from the city across Lake Ladoga along the famous "Road of Life" - the only route that connected the besieged city with the mainland. During the warm seasons people were ferried to the mainland, and in the winter they were transported by trucks that drove across the frozen lake under constant enemy bombardment. Meanwhile, the city lived on despite anything. The treasures of the Hermitage and the suburban palaces of Petrodvorets and Pushkin were hidden in the basements of the Hermitage and of St. Isaac's Cathedral where they were much more safe under bombardments. Most students continued their studies and even passed exams. Dmitry Shostakovich wrote his Seventh "Leningrad" Symphony, its score was sent to Leningrad and was performed in the besieged city.
In January 1943 the siege was broken by Soviet troops and a year later, on January 27, 1944 it was fully lifted. Hundred thousand people were buried on various cemeteries of St. Petersburg. The Piskarevskoe Cemetery became a memorial and one of the most significant war monuments.