Narrating one of the darkest and horrifying periods in the history of the city, the Seige (Blockade) Museum is dedicated to the 900 days of the Nazi siege of Leningrad – one of the longest, most destructive and overwhelmingly the most lethal siege in human history.
Conceived as a quick victory on the way to capture Moscow and with invitation cards for the Nazi victory celebrations already printed, the battle of Leningrad saw the German attacks being repelled by the defenders of the city and turned into a prolonged siege that lasted for 2.5 years. Historic documents show that Hitler had no interest in keeping either the city or its population following its capture and planned to raise this beautiful city to the ground and have its entire population exterminated.
The siege caused the greatest destruction and loss of life. German air raids and heavy bombardment of the city caused major disruptions of utilities, water, energy and food supplies. Residents of Leningrad suffered extreme starvation and lethal illnesses. The only food ration for one person in the winter of 1942 was 125 gr of bread which consisted 60% of sawdust and other inedible ingredients and distributed through a system of food cards. On Hitler’s express orders most of summer palaces located outside of the defence perimeter were looted and then destroyed, with many art collections taken to Germany. Many factories, schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure were destroyed by air raids and long range artillery bombardment. This resulted in the deaths of over 1.5 million city residents with another 1.4 million evacuated (mostly women and children) many of whom died trying to escape heavy Nazi shelling. Despite this unimaginable plight, Leningrad did not surrender as the city residents united in their fight against the fascist invaders.
The Leningrad Seige Museum showcases the events of those years and presents a collection of artifacts - historical documents, photographs, weapons and communication equipment, captured SS uniforms, etc. – which is nothing short of gripping. Visitors are advised to read up on the history of the siege of Leningrad beforehand to make most out of their visit.