Nadezhda Shatenova of Vladivostok’s Arseniev Museum met with ILS students from grades 3-6 for a lesson devoted to people who lived in Leningrad (St Petersburg) during the blockade of 1941-1943.
“In 2019 Russia will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Leningrad blockade, a terrible torment which lasted almost 900 days and took more than one million lives – from hunger and constant bombing,” notes Nadezhda Shatenova. “We know what happened thanks to the notes people in the city kept in their diaries.”
For her meeting with the students, Nadezhda Shatenova brought along photographs, pages from diaries, and military artifacts, such as helmets, disarmed hand grenades, and a German gasmask cover. Seeing these items and holding them in their hands helped the children to get a better idea of the real people who had to endure this seemingly endless torture.
“One hundred and twenty-four blockade survivors, including 76 in Vladivostok, live in Primorye Region,” notes Nadezhda Shatenova. “One of them recalls how, as a child, he had to carry water in a container up the icy steps of the family's freezing home. There were larger containers around, but he was too small and weak with hunger to carry them.”
Life was just as bad for the children in the blockade as for their parents, forcing all the children to grow up literally overnight. Many of them remembered the sound of the metronome for the rest of their lives: quiet, steady ticks meant safety; louder ticks meant an attack is coming, head for the bomb shelter.
The students listened to the lecture with rapt attention and then asked many questions. After the lesson, they stayed to listen to Nadezhda Shatenova’s recollections of her relatives who suffered through the blockade.
“There is no one in our country who was not touched, in one way or another, by the Great Patriotic War,” notes ILS Principal Olga Shevchenko. “Our heroes endured it all for the sake of future generations, and we must always remember and honor them, and tell our younger generations about their great deeds.”