Conversations with survivors of the siege of Leningrad: Between myth and history

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The following article is based upon a series of interviews conducted by the author with thirty survivors of the siege of Leningrad (1941–44). The purpose of the research was to explore the potential which oral history has in democratically repositioning our view of history away from grand master-narratives towards personal recollections. I sought to embrace various urban myths and stories which are often overlooked by historians because of a lack of supporting documentation. Consequently, it is hoped that these testimonies can illuminate our knowledge of the siege by bringing into focus the sights, sounds and smells of besieged Leningrad and the myths of everyday life. In addition, memories are examined which acutely recall the transformed topography of a wartime city ravaged by famine and without transport or electricity.


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