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Leningrad in the siege. The winter of 1941-1942

The winter of 1941-1942 during the siege became the most hard and tragic time in the city’s history. More than 4 thousand people died in Leningrad every day due to cold, hunger and bombardments. Ration cards were introduced in the city as early as on July 17 in order to regulate the food procurement. After the siege ring had closed the situation with food supplies started deteriorating day to day. The norms of bread rationing were diminished several time and reached their minimum during the period from November 20 to December 25, 1941. The soldiers at the front line received 500 grams of bread per day, industrial workers received 250 grams, while clerks, dependent persons and children below 12 years of age got 125 grams. The exposition has a sample of the norm of bread that was given to the citizens of Leningrad during the winter of 1941. The transport aviation and water transport on Ladoga that had to be stopped because of an unusually early winter could not provide enough food for the starving city. Deaths from starvation became massive. Special funeral services would pock around a hundred of corpses every day on the streets of the city alone. It was only after the beginning of a full-scale functioning of the ice route on Ladoga that the situation somewhat improved.

One more important factor that contributed to the increase in mortality of the citizens of Leningrad was the cold. After winter came the city practically ran out of fuel, the production of electricity amounted only to 15% of the pre-war level. The central heating in houses functioned no more, the plumbing and sewage froze, the city electric transport stopped. Only defense plants worked in the besieged Leningrad and manufactured products for the front line in spite of the hunger and cold. For most inhabitants of the city the only way of heating was the little "potbelly" stove. People would burn in those stoves everything they could find, including furniture and books. The exposition has a potbelly stove with a kettle, the silent witnesses of those sad days.

The starving city suffered constant artillery and air force attacks. In the defense of Leningrad a special role belongs to the ships of the Red Banner Baltic fleet: with their powerful artillery they protected the city from the attacks of the enemy planes and damaged the enemy positions close to the city. In the exposition you can see the paintings depicting the ships of the Baltic fleet defending the city.