- Contributed by
- People in story:
- My graddad- Vladimir Shumkov
- Location of story:
- St Petersburg, Russia
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 December 2005
I know a lot of things about World War II. Some of my relatives fought in the war, but my granddad could tell the most stories as he was also part of the war.
My granddad survived the Blockade of Leningrad (now St Petersburg). He was born in Leningrad and when WWII started, he was only 9 years old. He lived alone with his mum. His dad was killed in the Soviet-Finnish war in 1939.
When Leningrad was surrounded by the German’s, the people started getting their food by rationing cards (not money). The German’s started bombing the city, and all the people had to defend it: the adults were digging a defence ditch against tanks and the kids an ma granddad as well, guarded the roofs of the houses and dropped the incendiary bombs onto the ground, which then they put out with water or sand.
Very soon, all the storehouses where all the food was stored for the whole city for a couple of years were burned. After that hunger started. Every person got only 125g of bread per day, which was made 50% out of paper. The winter in 1942-1943 was very cold. The temperature dropped down to -40 C. the heating and canalization collapsed. The people went to the river for water taking it from the holes made in the ice. For heating then, everyone got a metal eater, which they put in the middle of the room and heated with wood. All the windows were broken. Instead of glass they used plywood as a window. The wood soon went out so the heating worked with furniture and books (At the end of the War there was no tree or wooden building left in the city) still, in the house it was so cold that everyone slept in one bed, with all their clothes.
Very soon my granddad’s mum grew weaker and ill because she gave half her bread to her son (my grandpa). She wouldn’t stand up and walk anymore so my granddad had to get bread by himself. When he went to get his bread he saw a lot of dead bodies on the ground, no-one buried anymore because they were too weak to move. If someone died at home they would wrap a blanket around them and throw outside. A special car drove around the city and collected all the bodies. Sometimes people just fell of weakness whilst waiting for their bread or water. That fell died and stayed down until the car came to pick them up.
Then my grandpa couldn’t walk anymore either and him and his mum stayed in bed for a few days and didn’t move. Special groups of people went to each house so that disease would not spread. They found my grandpa and his mum and brought them to hospital. His mum died there a few days later, and my granddad as put into a children’s home.
The ‘blockade of Leningrad’ lasted 900 days. Out of 18 relatives of my grandpa only 3 survived the war.
A few months ago a book came out about the people that survived the ‘blockade of Leningrad’. There was written something by my granddad as well.
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