volksjager (volksjager) wrote in 1944,

900 days...

65th anniversary of the siege of Leningrad..

My Great Uncle, Lief Thornsen was there...

On September 8, the Germans had largely surrounded the city, blocking off all supply routes to Leningrad and its suburbs except for a single corridor across Lake Ladoga. Unable or unwilling to press home their advantage, and facing a hasty defence of the city organised by Marshal Zhukov, the German armies laid siege to the city for 880 days. In the chaos of the first winter of the war, no evacuation plan was available or executed and the city and its suburbs quite literally starved in complete isolation until November 20, 1941 when an ice road over lake Ladoga was established. The carnage in the city from shelling and starvation (especially in the first winter) was appalling. One of Nikolai I. Vavilov's assistants starved to death surrounded by edible seeds so that the seed bank (with more than 200,000 items) would be available to future generations. This ice road, named the Road of Life (Russian: Дорога жизни), could only be used during the winter, and during the rest of the year ships were used. However, the lifeline did bring food in, and civilians out, and allowed the city to continue to resist.
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