The seminar is dedicated to the history of the unprecedented 900 days of the siege of Leningrad during World War II which took the lives of over 800,000 civilians. The blockade of the city, known worldwide for its beauty and arts, became an example of mass heroism of the civil population: elderly, children, women. With the help of oral records, we will speak both of military aspects of the siege, and daily life of the population, including the protection of architectural monuments.
In this conversation, we will explore the events that lead to the encirclement of the former capital of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), by the Nazis in September 1941. 3 million civilians living in Leningrad were cut off from the supply lines and depended on the work of a unique 30 miles long "Road of Life" built on the ice of Lake Ladoga in winter 1942. A number of unsuccessful attempts to break the siege ended up in Red Army-led winter operations such as "Sparkle" and "January Thunder", which destroyed the Nazi's Army Group North and liberated the city.
By recounting personal accounts of the siege, we are going to look into various aspects of the daily life of the megalopolis: from rations to day-to-day duty on the roofs to protect houses from incendiary bombs, from the evacuation of the State Hermitage to fetching drinking water from ice holes in the Neva and canals. Despite the heavy toll of everyday losses, people continued to listen to classical music: performance of the 7th Symphony of Dmitry Shostakovich by a half-starved orchestra of Leningrad Philharmonic Society became an everlasting symbol of civil courage and heroism.
Led by Vladimir Ivanov, a journalist involved in collecting oral testimonies of siege survivors, this seminar aims to provide keys for understanding the most tragic siege in the military history of the world. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of WWII and Soviet war history.
About Your Expert
Holding an MA in Classics, Vladimir is a published author, exhibition curator, and acclaimed Context Tour Guide. He has made several guest appearances on podcasts with topics connected to the History of the Russian Revolution – as well as Photography.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.