Blockade Diary By Elena Kochina (1981) Advertisement 3. As the Germans surrounded Leningrad, Elena Kochina, mother to a happy and prosperous young family before the war, found herself trapped between the cruelty of the besiegers and the indifference of the city authorities as she watched the transformation of her husband—with food, heat and water running out—from loving partner to desperate thief who stole bread from his own daughter. By late November 1941 she was reduced to hiding their meager rations: “Every day, as I leave the house, I conceal them in a new place: in the chimney, under the bed, under the mattress. But he finds them anyway.” A month later, with thousands now starving, she wrote a blood-stilling description of the struggle to survive: “Some seek to save their lives at any price: they steal ration cards, they tear bread out of the hands of passers-by, eating it under a hail of blows, they even kidnap children.” And yet, amid this nightmare, Kochina—like countless other Leningraders—retained her courage, dignity and will to live.

— tie to Man’s Search for Meaning book  

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