The Siege of Leningrad

The Siege of Leningrad

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The Siege of Leningrad by the German Armed Forces began on 8 September 1941 and ended on 27 January 1944. For 872 days the city was surrounded. Within, the inhabitants fell into despair, starvation and cannibalism. “A boy had died, and his mother put his body in the window frame. She didn't have the strength to bury him. Then she cut off pieces of him bit by bit to feed her daughter.” The desperation didn’t begin to subside until the spring of 1942, when aid packages reached the city via Lake Ladoga, and yet, despite the protestations of the Soviet propaganda machine, it was still not possible to feed all of Leningrad’s population. Well over a million people lost their lives during this period. It is a remarkable story both of heroism and mankind’s failings – and one of the worst atrocities carried out by Germany during the Second World War. The unbreakable will and suffering of the people of modern day St Petersburg remains, to this day, the stuff of legend. In her book “Blockade”, the British historian Anna Reid describes the events of 1941 and 1942. Her new, comprehensive study is based on eyewitness accounts and files of the NKWD, the Soviet Internal Affairs Ministry. Michael Kloft has interviewed her in detail for this documentary. Co-author Anna Sadovnikova has managed to find eyewitnesses in her hometown of St Petersburg who still recall the dramatic events. Along with rarely seen film and photographic material, original diaries and documents from the time illustrate the indescribable tragedy.
Starring Anna Reid
Director Michael Kloft