Leningrad Siege: Now and Then

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 1

“The Siege of Leningrad, also known as The Leningrad Blockade was an unsuccessful military operation by the Axis (Nazi) powers to capture Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) during World War II. The siege lasted from September 9, 1941, to January 27, 1944, when a narrow land corridor to the city was established by the Soviets. The total lifting of the siege occurred on January 27, 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive sieges of major cities in modern history and it was the second most costly.” – from Wikipedia.

During nine hundred (!) days a few million people city of Leningrad suffered from cold and hunger, being deprived of almost all supplies of food and fuel. Many thousands died, those who survived remember this not very willingly. The situation with food was so heavy, no food was sold/distributed among people except a few grams (not even tens or hundred grams) of bread, and not each day, that people had to eat stuff that they would never eat in normal life, like making soups of leather boots (because leather is of animal origin) or boiling the wallpaper because the glue with which they were attached to walls contained a bit of organic stuff. Of course many occasions of cannibalism occurred.

On those photos you can see some pieces of those old photos made during those black days overlaid to the modern city views, respecting the place and angle of view.

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 2

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 3

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 4

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 5

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 6

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 7

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 8

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 9

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 10

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 11

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 12

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 13

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 14

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 15

made by Segei Larenkov

121 thoughts on “Leningrad Siege: Now and Then”

    • OMG Russians are so brave! Troy fell, Rome fell, Leningrad did not fall. Despite half of them being starved to death, they never surrendered. Russians are the bravest people in the world! 🙂

      • I always thought the same. Very impressed with their tenacity, ability and strength.

        I love the movie, Come and See by Elem Klimov.

        It’s no Hollywood-American movie, thankfully. It’s much more realistic of the suffering and effort put forth, far before the Allied response, and far-far before the US response.

        One day my wife and I hope to visit Russia!

    • So much poverty and misery in poor Russia, some 60 years ago and even today. Russia truly is skipped by what we called civilisation and development in the west. 🙁

  1. Pingback: Das Kraftfuttermischwerk » Leningrad - 1944 mit heute
    • Dear Joe Schmoe,

      I provided an explanation, but the reply feature on this site chose to list it as a seperate post (probably because of it’s amazing depth of insight, revelatory information, and clarity). Please see my post below.

  2. Truly original work, one of the more interesting posts. I wish they did more photos.

    So you see people? This proves that everything was black and white back then – a few more out of the countless photographic evidence of this irrefutable fact!

  3. The giant sausages were dropped in to feed Leningrad peoples but they only like sweet sausages – these sausages were hot to taste and peoples did not like.

  4. Beautiful and fascinating photography. The NY Times recently featured at least one similar photograph, illustrating the change of a particular building or city block from the early 20th Century to today. I think it was part of a series–the one I remember seeing was of a block in Harlem, and there hadn’t been any significant change. (Which is telling in its own way…)

    The photos here of the people are particularly beautiful and poignant–like ghosts of old Leningrad haunting the streets of the present.

    Why did they have a scaffolding around the equestrian statue? Surely it wasn’t being built during or just before the siege.

  5. It’s hard to believe the city preserves most of his architecture from those days, but if you think back this city doesn’t even be attacked by the axis (or at last it wasn’t attacked with the idea of take it because Hitler didn’t want to maintain his population), it just was besieged.

    • it is on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. though it is in danger of removal from the list due to the policy of our latest city administration who let be ruined several buildings inside the city centre and even in the Nevsky prospekt. actually the historic architecture was intact throughout the whole Soviet rule.

    • I think it is wrong to say Leningrad was not ‘attacked’.

      As far as ‘maintaining the population’ goes, given Hitler’s opinion of the slavs, I doubt he would bother his head over maintaining them. Check out how slave labor was “maintained”.

      It is probably correct to observe that Hitler did not throw as much of his forces at Leningrad as he could have. But that is because his primary target was Moscow and he was in a hurry to get there. Luckily, he didn’t make it.

      Even more fortunate was his postponing of the starting date for the Russian campaign over the objections of the General Staff because he wanted revenge on England (London) for the minor, but symbolic bombing of Berlin. It also resulted in the destruction of aircraft that would have been handy in Russia. If he had followed the General Staff’s advice, General Winter might not have stopped him short of Moscow.

  6. What wiki article did you use?
    In the article on Siege of Leningrad we can read:

    “The Siege of Leningrad, also known as The Leningrad Blockade (Russian: блокада Ленинграда (transliteration: blokada Leningrada) was an unsuccessful military operation by the Axis powers to capture Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) during World War II. The siege lasted 872 days [12]from September 9, 1941, to January 27, 1944. The total lifting of the siege occurred on January 27, 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive sieges of major cities in modern history and it was the most lethal with over 2 million casualties on all sides of the battle.”

    where “and it was the second most costly” ?

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  9. Wonderful images, very haunting. I’ll have to see if I can find a good book on the siege as it’s a part of WW2 I haven’t learned much about. Sounds like it was a truly awful time and it’s surprising that school history courses in the UK seem to skip over it (at least they did in my day…).

  10. Pingback: The siege of Leningrad « Beats and Pieces
  11. 2 patrick: парень,не ссы против ветра..в какой бы ты не жил стране – помни! – наша страна все равно круче!

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  13. There was an Elephant from the Zoo that had been killed by a bomb. My Father inlaw was 8yrs old during the seige of Leningrad. He worked with a well known Professor from the Acadamy of Zoology in St. Petersburg. The Professor’s widow has the head and a foot from this Elephant in her house. It is very interesting to hear the stories of those who survived the seige. Thanks ER for another great post.

    • Did anyone save the elephant’s testicles? Maybe put them in a big, big glass jar? What a conversation starter they would make!

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  15. Leningrad, the Phoenix, rises from its own ashes as St. Petersburg and the talented eye of Mr. Larenkov is there to document the event. You are a master at melding history with visual art. Thank you!!

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  21. Hey Scot,read the russian banya page and about maybe 3 pages after that.Miss India is no longer with us.Now her name is highjacked by whoever!

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  43. These photos are amazing. As if the souls of those citizens still walk the streets. Like a flashback in time. Great work.

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  45. About 10 years ago I was at a Russian language school and lived with a Russian family. I remember on several occasions the father would get angry at me for what reason I could not determine. later I found out thru a friend that he had lived thru the Siege of Leningrad as a small boy – and had lost his sister and I believe his father to starvation. What he was angry at me for was, as an American, I was not finishing all the food that his wife cooked for me.

    The scars from things like that follow a person all their lives. Imagine eating sawdust. That’s what they did to survive. I’d be angry too.


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  55. @Motya, yes you’re right, it is like a flashbakc in time

    Such a beautiful series of photos, soul-wrenching

  56. These pictures can really leave one speechless. Like another poster above already said, it’s as if the ghosts of those who lived there still haunted the city; a flashback in time.

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  59. I read “The Bronze Horseman” a Novel by Paullina Simons (very recommended)its like the story come alive..
    seen all the figures dragged in the street by their family, ans see the beutifule winter palace…

    I wish all novel will have this kind of privilege.
    You should all read the book to understand the history of this city
    Great work and thank you

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  63. Excellent cet article ! Merci bcp ^^
    J’aime tomber sur ce type blog
    Bonne continuation.

    Facebook : http://goo.gl/Makbv
    My website: http://www.steeveaukingso.fr

  64. Brilliant post, I love the picture work, well done and thanks!
    I can’t imagine how the food restriction would be, I suppose we live a lucky life not having suffered that

  65. Someone said the Russians were brave because they ‘stuck it out’ well, that wasn’t their idea… Stalin wouldn’t let the people leave! He would shoot any solder that retreated!
    Did I read (or misunderstand) someone calling America ‘primitive’?
    The country that put the only men on the moon and all other countries want to be like us… yeah, we are primitive!


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