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The Hungry Winter of 1941-42 Talk by Dr John Barber

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Published on Feb 26, 2017

In this opening event of the programme of talks and film screenings, which accompany the art exhibition ELENA MARTTIILA: ART AND ENDURANCE IN THE SIEGE OF LENINGRAD, Dr John Barber talks about the first and the hardest winter in Leningrad in 1941-42 after the city was encircled by the Axis during the Second World War.

“Between November 1041 and March 1942 Leningrad suffered the most lethal famine to occur in any city in History. Besieged by the German and Finnish armies, cut off from the rest of the USSR, with food and fuel supplies minimal, and exposed to an exceptionally bitter winter, it saw starvation and the inevitable result, mass deaths, on an unprecedented scale. Smert’noe vremya, the Time of Death, is what people called it. Around half a million died in these months alone; many others would die later from the effects of starvation. Yet the majority survived, many due to evacuation across the Road of Life, others thanks to extra material and personal resources. How Leningraders lived and died during these terrible months will be the subject of this lecture.”

John Barber is a fellow of King’s College Cambridge. He is the author of Soviet Historians in Crisis, 1928-32, co-author (with Mark Harrison) of The Soviet Home Front, 1941-45: A Social and Economic History of the USSR in World War II (Longman, 1991), co-editor (with Mark Harrison) of The Soviet Defence-Industry Complex from Stalin to Khrushchev (Pelgrave Macmillan, 1999) and co-editor (with Andrei Dzeniskevich) of Life and Death in Besieged Leningrad (Pelgrave Macmillan, 2004).

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