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Mera Leybovna Sokolinskaya

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Born 1921, city of Vitebsk, Belarus [former USSR]. In June 1941 was mobilized for digging anti-tank trenches near settlement of Sovnizy, Leningrad [present day St. Petersburg ] region, Soviet Union [present day Russian Federation]. Witnessed siege of Leningrad, human cannibalism caused by starvation. During the siege of the city of Leningrad [St. Petersburg] was in evacuation working at a collective farm helping farmers. With her family [father Daytch Leyba Zalmanovitch, mother Daytch Beylya Ioselevna] was evacuation to a village of Verkhniy Uryum, Novosibirsk region, Soviet Union [Russian Federation]. Evacuation duration from July 22, 1942 through September 23, 1945. Graduated from a High School #11, Petrogradskiy district, city of Leningrad in 1941 , graduate of a Library Management College, city of Leningrad. Presently resides in Minneapolis, MN.

“The war was going on, already. Leningrad [present day Saint Petersburg, Russia] was almost surrounded [by German troops]. Well, food rationing started. It was so bad. There was no food, nothing. By sheer luck our mother found somewhere bottles of fish oil; they were hidden by my sister and I. What a lucky discovery it was! Mother used it for cooking. But that was only the beginning. It was still warm outside. When cold weather came in fall and winter, temperature dropped to -40Celsius (-40F). It was so cold that walls got frozen through. The Neva river water brought from used to freeze in the apartment. Water used to be taken from holes in the ice and it was brought home in large cans. Our house was near the river. People died in their apartments, fell in the streets. People stepped over the corpses if they could. Nobody was afraid of dead people. Brains were dulled. Many men lost their minds, gone mad.”

Photo by Kamil Dadashev

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