The Great Patriotic War (WWII) was one of the deadliest conflicts in Soviet history. For Russians, casualties amounted to approximately 26 million, half of which were civilians. The war was such a traumatic point in history that it still remains in the minds of the Russians today. In the West, we learn about the Second World War, but the focus is on the western nations’ participation, and the contributions of other countries, such as the Soviet Union, tend to be glossed over. The purpose of this research stems from this lack of awareness. Вечная Память, or “Everlasting Memory,” is an analysis of survivor stories from the Great Patriotic War with a focus on those who survived the Siege of Leningrad. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the pivotal moments of the war for the Soviet Union. The siege lasted 872 days, beginning September 8, 1941 and finally ending on January 27, 1944. It resulted in over four million casualties, with approximately a million of them being civilians. During the war, Leningrad faced severe food shortages, constant air raids and bombings, and deadly conditions in the winter. My research, an analysis of survivor stories from Leningrad and the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War, brings light to this event and tells of the siege through the eyes of those who had experienced it. The research explores how the survivors tell their stories and examines a number of recurring themes in the texts. Through translating and reading these stories, the hardships Soviet civilians experienced during the war should be remembered and shared.
Kayne Whyte, ’16
Sponsor: Lynne Ikach