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Almost every man had gone to the frontlines or died of hunger. The city’s remaining inhabitants were women and kids, who had to defend the rooftops from incendiary bombs.
Enormous work was done to preserve the art and cultural heritage during the war. Today, in order to keep out rats and mice, the Hermitage museum keeps cats as staff members. Cats have saved the dying besieged city from potential epidemics.
Tania Vassoevich lost all her family to hunger, arranged proper burial for them, and kept on living. She made a detailed map in her diary so that she could navigate in the overfilled cemetery.
“…Hospitals were understaffed, needed people. I went to work there. It was something to do, and the workers got a bit more food allowance. Us, young girls went as volunteer helpers with no medical training, we were as young as sixteen…”
Dmitri Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony raised people’s morale throughout the siege.
Kids’ drawings and diaries were treasured as a window into real history and gave hope for the future.
“…We owe our survival to our cat Vasia. Every day he brought us mice to cook and eat…”
The Road of Life through Ladoga Lake was an extremely dangerous route, but it was the only lifeline to evacuate people and bring in supplies.