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Report: the most notable items on display at the Leningrad Siege Museum


Ahead of the 70-th anniversary of the date when Leningrad was fully relieved of the Nazi siege, crew of the “Pulse of the city” program went to the storage vaults of the Siege Museum.


Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “We will now show you the Siege Museum as you have never seen it before. We’ll take you to the storage vaults, we thousands of items, photographs and diaries are being kept. Almost all of it was given to the museum by the city’s residents. It is necessary to be looked at – to understand that the Siege is not an abstract bookish notion, but a part of our city’s life. 

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “Door of steel, narrow corridors, vintage lockers filling the passageways. You could easily tell this is a storage vault. Here, photo and video documents, different diaries and letters are stored”. 

The Leningrad Siege Museum employee:  “I would first of all show the Siege bread to a person who has never heard anything about the Leningrad Siege. Its difficult to describe what has remained as bits of bread. You see droplets, and they have very little flour inside, and its of a very poor quality”

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “One can read of carpenter’s glue in books. Is this how it looks like?” 

The Leningrad Siege Museum employee:  “Yes, it was boiled into a liquid mass. Here we have lumps of sugar. Sugar was a genuine treasure for children. It was handed out at holidays, especially at New Year. These toys are from the bottom of the Ladozhskoe lake. Nazi troops sunk a ship with children on board. It was brought to surface only in 2003. Here we have soldiers’ dog-tags” 

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “Novozhilov Alexander, chief lieutenant”

Sofya Orlova, The Leningrad Siege Museum, keeper: “There’s a particular item on display – a Hitler doll. It is an often sight at exhibitions”. 

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “This doll was probably used in staged performances during the Siege” 

The Leningrad Siege Museum employee:   “This is a genuine diary written in those times” 

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “May I read a quote? “I was on a night duty at the factory. The Germans meanwhile dropped the 1st bombs on the Staronevskiy, buildings destroyed, a neighboring house was destroyed. September 9th, 1941” Here’s another one – “February 7th 1942. Veneamin died on February the 4th of hunger, despite Mariya’s heroc efforts” 

The Leningrad Siege Museum employee:  “Literally half-an-hour before you came here, a Siege survivor came here. She brought a book which was hit by bomb shrapnel. The book was published in 1941. It stood on a shelve, a family was sitting at a table. So it saved someone’s life. A unique item for our exhibition”. 

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “How often do the city’s residents bring you items for storage? And why are they doing that?” 

The Leningrad Siege Museum employee:   “They are afraid that no-one would need those once they’re gone. Their children would not keep it. And there are patriots who want to show how they lived through the Siege”. 

Yuriy Zinchuk, host “Pulse of the city”: “Have you brought something too?”

Siege survivor: “Yes, I’ve brought originals. It’s written “and Ode to a Samovar”, which saved us. The most difficult thing was going to buy bread. At 5-6 o’clock in the morning. We walked by the feel at the stairs. We lived in an old house which had double doors. So I was walking, opened one door and felt something cold with my hand at the second door. I opened it and went out. When I came back I saw a dead man in-between those doors, he froze to death. I still feel that cold with my right hand”