Military Review

I think I'm a blockade, too, even a quarter


Not everyone has the happiness of living

What can I say about my grandmother, Elena Aleksandrovna Ponomareva (before Fedorova’s marriage), a little blockade? If she had not managed to survive then, there would have been neither my father Nikolai Evgenievich, nor me.

When, in the summer of 1942, she and her mother, my great-grandmother Anna Vasilyevna Fedorova, were taken out across Ladoga to the mainland, it seemed to them that a new life had begun. On the mainland, they were first given rations and helped fight diseases. Unfortunately, this could not save her great-grandmother, and she soon died.

I think I'm a blockade, too, even a quarter

But she did not just give life to my grandmother, she did everything so that her life continued. Only seven years later, Lena Fedorova returned to Leningrad, where she entered the university and began a long, happy, truly new life.

And at that moment when the Great Patriotic War began, my grandmother Lena was still a child - she was only 10 years old. And she had to survive one of the horrors of the war - the blockade of Leningrad. My grandmother was very small, but she remembered many events, the memory of which she passed on to relatives.

Unfortunately, Lena's grandmother is no longer alive, but to the depths of my soul I was struck by everything that she told us. For me this история, even if the grandmother’s stories are not so long, she forever froze in memory. This is a story about human cruelty and human fear, about human impotence and about human possibilities.

Lena Fedorova will remember for life how at the end of August 1941 bombs whistled overhead. She went to school that day with her older sister to find out what the new school year would be. A terrifying foreboding literally haunted her. She and her sister never reached school that day ...

Grandma Lena always told this story with such horror that it scared anyone who heard it. But she will forever remember the days when she last saw her father and then her older brother for the last time. Father left home for the front at the very beginning of the war, and his brother, who was only 17 years old, was only closer to autumn.

In closed and already surrounded by Germans and Finns Leningrad, there was only enough food for a month, and this terrible news quickly flew around the whole city. But everyone already knew that fascist planes bombed huge Badaevsky warehouses, which doomed the city to extinction. Already in our time it became known that then destroyed food would hardly have changed the situation, but people were terribly depressed by the fact.

My grandmother remembered how her mother cried from the realization that she could not feed herself and her three daughters. Anya, who was 12 years old, 10-year-old Lena and a tiny five-year-old Tanyushka had to grow up very early. Tanya was soon evacuated on a barge through Ladoga, but no one from the family has ever seen her since. Perhaps she was lucky to stay alive.

And we can’t forget anyone

My grandmother Lena remembers how the first blockade in winter had to get food in stores and in some abandoned shops on cards. He also remembers that the rate of extradition per person was reduced not by the day, but by the hour. But there was still a terrible, unknown winter ahead.

Grandmother’s sister, Anya, fell seriously ill with the first siege in the fall. The cause was zinc poisoning. The fact is that people instead of normal oil were given peeled drying oil, which was diluted with paint, and it contained zinc. Soon, in a family of five, only two remained.

Once, my mother brought Lena the news: "They will lead the way on the ice." Joy at that moment knew no bounds, but in reality, not everything was so good. The first cars sank and did not reach the city, but they soon managed to solve this problem. There was some hope, and so my grandmother and her mother continued to live.

My grandmother, Lena Fedorova, was also wanted to be evacuated the very first winter, but she got sick, and therefore she was not taken in order not to infect others. In an amazing way, my grandmother managed to recover and survived. She remembers how her mother made chicken bones and skins soup. Today, one can only guess where she got them from. And once mother was able to get a chicken leg - a real luxury for the blockade. Where she got it is still a mystery.

In the first blockade winter, shelling was almost every day, mother and daughter lived without light, burned furniture to get heat. As my grandmother repeated more than once, it was scary that no one could be trusted: people went crazy from the cold and hunger, from the death of loved ones and from the fact that literally everyone could die at any moment. She herself did not really learn much to really be afraid.

Another significant day was May 1, 1942. Then, a bulb was given to each Leningrader. Maybe for us now this is not surprising, but then it was a real miracle. And what is surprising - all this time my grandmother went to school. True, by the spring of 1942, out of forty people in the class completed no more than a dozen academic years.

In the summer, Leningraders tried to grow products, but even if they managed to get seeds, they rarely grew into full-fledged products. My grandmother Lena recalled how her mother cooked nettle soup. Even completely immature sprouts and grass went to food. In the summer there was no bread at all, because it was not possible to deliver food to the city.

My grandmother never told me how they celebrated the new year of 1942, but remembered how much they were happy about the victory near Moscow and expected that they would break the blockade very soon. She remembered that she had learned to distinguish when our ship’s guns were fired from battleships and cruisers, because there were almost no gunfire from German guns. But that was only worse.

And my grandmother remembers the terrifying smell that began in the spring. The countless corpses left in the streets and courtyards after the first terrible winter were simply nowhere to bury. And practically no one had the strength to do this. Even the little girl remembered well that only closer to summer the city was able to be brought into relative order, but May Day siege of Leningrad was already truly noted - to spite the enemy.

Photos used:
from the family archive,,
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 6 June 2020 09: 48
    It’s hard to read such things, especially when they are sincerely written ..
    1. Terenin
      Terenin 6 June 2020 22: 50
      Quote: parusnik
      It’s hard to read such things, especially when they are sincerely written ..

      Of course, well done author:
      Anastasia Ponomareva, student of the Geological Exploration Department of the Moscow Polytechnic Institute S. Ordzhonikidze, TO-19
  2. alone
    alone 6 June 2020 09: 53
    I can only say that people who passed all these tests during the war were very reluctant to talk about the events of those times ..
    Once I asked my uncle to tell me about the war .. He looked at me with such sad eyes. I immediately understood everything at a glance .. He didn’t want to remember everything that had passed
  3. Essex62
    Essex62 6 June 2020 09: 57
    The feat of the Leningradites who defended the cradle of the Revolution is a symbol of Victory! Eternal memory to those who died under bombs and shells, who died from hunger, cold and disease! Not surrendered, fighting Leningrad, a bone in the throat of bourgeois aggression of the Nazi West.
    To each teenager to inspire, inspire and inspire to whom they owe their present sweet life.
    1. Dr. Frankenstucker
      Dr. Frankenstucker 7 June 2020 00: 11
      Quote: Essex62
      To each teenager to inspire

      keep in line with your pathos - then not "teenagers", but "teenagers")
      I hesitate to ask - who, in fact, will "inspire" 13-14-15-year-old puberty? Forty-year-old daddy-managers with Hyundai credit, mortgages, heartburn from Big Macs, shopping on the weekends, barbecues at the dacha and olincclusives with puke in Turkish pools - will they tell chubby kids about blockade rations? In the kitchen with dumplings?
      Or will teachers chatter a fresh mantra?
      The Internet?
      Hypocrisy is multifaceted. And he has a "patriotic" hypostasis, yes)
      Parents of today's "teenagers", forgive me, do not know a damn about history for the most part. They use populist maxims, not bothering to delve into the topic - clip, hashtag thinking ..... stupidity and manipulability.
      Are you touched by babies in the form of the Red Army? Sorry. I am not.
      1. Essex62
        Essex62 7 June 2020 10: 42
        I agree, comrade. I try to reach the consciousness of my children, to convince. But they are adults, they were formed under the wild capitalism. They are not similar to the ones you painted, probably patriots, but patriots are more likely a clip-art, glamorous-consumer Russia. The answer is, it was a long time ago and could not be returned. They have no desire to make life for everyone. Each for himself, firmly drove into their heads the law of the jungle.
        But if you keep silent, after some 10 years they will not remember the Great Patriotic War and the terrible losses of the People. The stapler is not eternal, "macaroshki" and the country will crawl onto the Kremlin stool, history is over.
  4. Vitaly Tsymbal
    Vitaly Tsymbal 6 June 2020 10: 13
    Thank you Anastasia! Thank you for not only remembering the history of your family, but also thank you for keeping history, the truth !!!! Here at VO there is a group of "alternative historians" who love on the topic if something happened wrong, it would be different .... You have only one truth:
    Unfortunately, this could not save her great-grandmother, and she soon died. But she did not just give life to my grandmother, she did everything so that her life continued.
  5. Ravil_Asnafovich
    Ravil_Asnafovich 6 June 2020 10: 19
    Unfortunately, some of our citizens completely lack an understanding of what feat Leningraders did during the days of the blockade. Grandfather fought on the Volkhov Front, as he always told us why you should know this.
    1. AU Ivanov.
      AU Ivanov. 6 June 2020 10: 35
      And you need to know. Otherwise, there are Koliizurengoy and Bavarian lovers.
  6. Asad
    Asad 6 June 2020 10: 37
    War, hunger, death of loved ones before your eyes is terrible! And we all whine that we live poorly!
    1. Vitaly Tsymbal
      Vitaly Tsymbal 6 June 2020 10: 52
      We do not whine, just thieves and idlers, we came up with the term "whine" in order to hide our theft and mediocre activity ... We also remember what and how it was, we just want to live better, and not stagnate. ... But I, personally, do not want the ineffectiveness of activities to create decent living conditions for the entire population to be covered up and justified by the words - JUST WERE NOT A WAR,
      1. Asad
        Asad 6 June 2020 11: 00
        I agree with you, I spoke out a little incorrectly. I remembered how a war veteran told how scary it was to get up to attack the MG38 fire, how he was collecting his guts from the bushes! I don’t feel like war at all!
  7. Vladimir Mashkov
    Vladimir Mashkov 6 June 2020 11: 34
    Yes, many participants in the Great Patriotic War did not like to remember that difficult time. My father did not like to talk about him, and my father-in-law did not like to talk about him either, when children asked him, playing with his awards (with toys it was hard). Father-in-law laughed it off, said that he had not fought, he was a clerk and entered himself on the award lists. And only now, having rummaged through the archives, we know that he heroically fought at Stalingrad, in the Kuban and in the Crimea, was twice (seriously and lightly) wounded. And now with portraits of my father and father-in-law - a machine gunner, commander of a platoon of armor-piercers and an anti-tank battery reconnaissance commander, who plowed three years of war on the front line - I go to the Immortal Regiment.
    And the feat of Leningraders is immortal.
  8. Van 16
    Van 16 6 June 2020 14: 47
    The feat of Leningrad and Leningradites has no price. The siege of Leningrad must always be remembered, and let those who doubt this feat be damned.
  9. Krasnodar
    Krasnodar 6 June 2020 15: 10
    The worst thing for a parent is to see hungry children
  10. Lynx2000
    Lynx2000 6 June 2020 16: 03
    Regarding the children and residents evacuated to Western Siberia, I can tell you that life in Siberia was no better either, they gave everything to the front, and they also took the evacuated to homes, except for working in the fields, and helped build factories ..
  11. Arnaut
    Arnaut 6 June 2020 17: 29
    We must remember and not forgive those who stole from the blockade.
    1. Dr. Frankenstucker
      Dr. Frankenstucker 6 June 2020 23: 40
      Quote: Arnaut
      and do not forgive those who stole from the blockade.

      the names of those "who stole from the blockade" let us here. We will anathematize, we will not forgive, etc.
      1. Arnaut
        Arnaut 8 June 2020 15: 52
        Googling who with the Dog earned their first millions in operations to remove stockpiles of strategic materials in exchange for food for pensioners (of which 30 percent were blockers).
  12. yasvet
    yasvet 6 June 2020 19: 23
    The cause was zinc poisoning. The fact is that instead of normal oil, people were given peeled drying oil, which was diluted with paint, and it contained zinc

    Drying oil, it is different, was industrial, "shop", which was cleaned as best they could, but there was a natural "samovar" with a minimum of impurities, which was used to impregnate wood.
    My maternal grandfather before the war, among other things, was carpentry, carpentry. He cooked drying oil and glue. Then, as everyone left to protect Leningrad, supplies of drying oil and wood glue remained and helped the family very much to survive the first terrible winter of 41 years.
  13. Old26
    Old26 7 June 2020 18: 08
    Quote: lonely
    I can only say that people who passed all these tests during the war were very reluctant to talk about the events of those times ..

    I agree. I was lucky somewhere in the years 77-78, being on a business trip in Leningrad, to talk (the whole evening) with two women-blockade women, the same age as the century. It was very difficult to make them "talk".
    Even their own grandparents, especially did not like to talk about the occupation, about what they experienced, although our city (Stavropol) was not occupied for very long, about six months

    Quote: lonely
    Once I asked my uncle to tell me about the war .. He looked at me with such sad eyes. I immediately understood everything at a glance .. He didn’t want to remember everything that had passed

    It's about the same with my father. True, his attitude towards such inquiries changed when I "crossed" the forty-year mark. Perhaps our grandparents did not want to tell us precisely because they did not injure the psyche of their grandchildren. But alas, the time is lost, now maybe they would tell something, but they have been dead for thirty years already.
  14. Seal
    Seal 8 June 2020 14: 26
    Quote: lonely
    I can only say that people who passed all these tests during the war were very reluctant to talk about the events of those times ..
    Many of mine survived the blockade in Kronstadt. They told me normally. In Kronstadt, as I later realized, it was still much easier than in Leningrad.
  15. And Makarov
    And Makarov 14 June 2020 08: 34
    Yes, it's hard to read.