Childhood Lost: Children of the Leningrad Blockade

Mikael Zakharov

Abstract


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My essay explores the impact the blockade of Leningrad had on childhood experience and development. I argue that the blockade had a profound effect on the mental and physical development of children. Many children were forced to grow up ahead of their years and take on adult responsibilities. Family roles were reversed as children worked in order to support their family and became caregivers for their parents. In other words, children were thrust into the unknown world of adulthood ahead of their time, skipping a vital developmental stage. Starvation affected the physical development of children by delaying puberty and stunting growth. For my research, I relied heavily on the diaries and memoirs of children who lived through the siege of Leningrad. In total I used 26 diaries and ten memoirs, as well as a large number of secondary sources. Diaries provide an interesting and personal take on the blockade.


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