Blokada/Siege of Lenningrad: The Neva

seige of Lenningrad
Figure 1.--Here Lenningraders are getting water from the Neva River. (На Неву за водой.) Water was always available here, but as the river was frozen over, holes had to hacked open. Then the people weakened by pitifully low rations faced a long trudge hone in freezing conditions.

The Neva River has played a fascinating role in Russian history, including the seige of Moscow. The Neva (Нева́) is located northwestern Russia. It flows from Lake Ladoga through the western part of Leningrad Oblast including the city of Leningrad.St. Petersburg toward Neva Bay in the Gulf of Finland. It is only 74 km, but as it flows from Lake Ladoga it is a wide river and actually the third largest river in Europe in terms of average discharge. Only the Volga and Danube discharge more water. The Neva is the only exit for the water flowing into Lake Ladoga. The Neva navigable throughout its length. It is part of the Russian Volga–Baltic Waterway and infamous White Sea – Baltic Canal. Because of its location, numerous historical events have occurred here. The Battle of the Neva was fought here giving Alexander Nevsky his name (1240). Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg on the Neva (1703). And in modern times played a role in the German Siege of Leningrad. One of the fortified Soviet lines defending the city ran from the mouth of the Luga River to Chudovo, Gatchina, Uritsk, Pulkovo and then through the Neva River. The Germans severed the last rail connection to Leningrad when they reached the Neva River (August 30). Hitler told Finnish Foreign Minister Witting that Leningrad was to be razed to the ground and then given to the Finns (November 27). The situation in Leningrad was notable because it is so well documented. But behind German lines, all Soviets cities and the people in them were in the process of being destroyed and the people eliminated as forseen under Generalplan Ost. German aithorities limited transport of food into occupied Soviet cities. Only those working for the Germans were being fed. All of this was also in accordance with the Hunger Plan. The River Neva was to become the new post-war border between the greater German Reich and Finland. The city's water system beame inoperable because of all the erial bombing and artillery bombardments. Some times water could be found around a burst pipe. Ice ans snow were not useful because there was little food to melt it and eating smnow just added to tghe ability to stay warm. As aesult, the Neva became the only sure source of water, but during the winter the Neva froze over. Holes had to ne hacked down to the water.


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Created: 7:04 AM 9/24/2008
Last updated: 5:23 AM 6/3/2013