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September 8th 1941 What was it like

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Yuriy Zinchuk, host: “And now we move on to another very important subject. The Blockade of Leningrad began on September 8th 1941 – 78 years ago. And the revamped Museum of Blockade and Defense of Leningrad at Solyanyi lane re-opened to mark the date. It is a very good thing that the re-opening happened on the day. What was this day like back then? I’d like to remind that by then the Germans had already seized the Schlisselburg fortress, thus locking the city in a circle. With 2544000 residents of Leningrad inside of it. And here is what was

happening here on that day – September 8th 1941”.It was a Monday. Plus 15 degrees and sunny. The city was already being bombed, Badayevskie warehouses were already on fire. But despite all that – the city’s streets looked quite peaceful, in- between air raids. Ostrovsky’s “Guilty without fault” play was being staged at Lensoveta Theatre. The theatre of musical comedy was packed – the trendy play “The Bat” was on display. Cinema’s played the biggest hit of the season – “Chapaev” movie. Here’s the schedule of
cinema’s on that day. “Gigant” cinema – “Baltic Deputy” movie. “Aurora” – “St. Jorgen’s Day”
movie. “Moskva” cinema – “Oprhan” and “Anton Ivanovich is angry” movies.
 
The tickets cost 1.5 rubles. For reference, here are average salaries when the Blockade began.
Engineer got 500 rubles a month. Worker – 300 rubles. A factory boss, depending on the scale of
production, earned up to 1500 rubles a month. And the prices in stores on that day were much
higher than in peaceful times. Milk cost 4 rubles per liter. This is a lot! A special decree was
issued later to ban sales of milk higher than 2.5 rubles per liter. Meat cost 25 rubles per kilo. Ten
eggs – 15 rubles. One tram ride – 15 kopecks.
 
The besieged city has had monetary relations almost throughout the entire Blockade. The card
only gave you the permission to conduct a purchase. Even hot water cost money. Three kopeks
per liter. And one also had to pay the rent. If you owed money on your rent, you would’ve been
taken out of evacuation lists. And utilities fees too! And you could get evicted if you failed to
pay those! When the rough winter of 1941-2 came by, this was not done only because there were
no people around to apply these measures to debtors.
 
On September 8th, the first day of the Blockade, 24 people died as a result of air raids. 24 people
in one day. And that was just the first of 872 days, which became the biggest and the most
horrifying test for the mighty Leningrad. The first day of the Blockade”.
 
Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel

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