Eating in besieged wartime Leningrad

One of the surest survival techniques was to get employment in food processing or distribution.  Leningraders with these sorts of jobs, unsurprisingly, seldom died of starvation.  All 713 employees of the Krupskaya sweet factory survived; so did all those at the no.4 bakery and at a margarine manufacturer.  At the Baltika bakery, only twenty-seven out of what grew from 276 to 334 workers died, all of the victims being men.  Canteen waitresses and bread-shop sales girls were notoriously “fat,” as were orphanage staff — a friend of Ostroumova-Lebedeva’s, spotting “Rubenesque” young women in a newly reopened public bathhouse in the spring, automatically assumed that they worked in bakeries, soup kitchens or children’s homes.  Menstruation having ceased for most during the winter, women who gave birth in 1942 were also assumed to have worked in a food plant or dining hall.  (The only two pregnant women Chekrizov saw during the whole of the siege were both waitresses in his shipyard’s cafeteria.)

That is from Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, by Anna Reid.  Here is my previous post on the book.


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