Cannibalism In Leningrad Essay

1769 words - 7 pages

When the 900 day siege of Leningrad was finally lifted and the Germans fell back from the advancing Red Army, Leningrad was revered as a “Hero City” by the majority of Russians. A city Hitler thought would fall like a leaf held its own against cold, deadly winters and little supplies. But what many didn’t know were the darker secrets to the survival of the city—namely, the illegal consumption of human flesh. Inside the walls of Leningrad, moral and legal questions came to light on a daily basis concerning the cure for hunger provided by cannibalism, the methods of dealing with homicidal cannibals, and the legal prosecution of active cannibals while maintaining a certain level of secrecy so as not to stain the city’s reputation.
In September of 1941, under the orders of Adolf Hitler and Operation Barbarossa, the Germans completed their encirclement of Leningrad, or what is today known as St. Petersburg. The idea was to bring the city to its knees with the use of as little resources as was possible, and continue Operation Barbarossa, or the invasion of Soviet Russia. The day Leningrad was enclosed by the Germans and their Finnish allies was the first day of this unsuccessful 900 day siege, a siege that would cause some of the greatest desperation of WWII and the corresponding deaths of anywhere between 400,000 and 800,000 people. The only route for evacuees or supplies was the frozen Lake Ladoga, which was constantly bombed by the Germans—1 in 4 trucks that crossed this frozen path fell through the ice and killed those on board. The city was provided with about 1/3 of what was needed for coal, 1/12 of what was needed for sugar, and meat was a rarity. As the days went on and the siege lingered, hunger drove the remaining inhabitants to desperation, to despair, and finally to the taboo desire of human flesh. (Travel.)
In order to maintain general morale and health, rations of the citizens were set to less than one third of the amount of food needed by an adult. With inadequate nutrition, many citizens began to lose their sanity. (Eyewitness.) To add in to the mix, the Germans regularly bombed the city from the sky, terrorized the citizens, cut off transport, food, medicine, electricity, and heating during one of the coldest winters in Russian history. Water pipes froze over, leaving the people with inadequate drinking water. (Voice.) Over half a million people were killed in four months alone by German artillery, weather, or starvation alone. The earth was so frozen that the typical burial consisted of blasting a hole in the ground and dumping the corpses. There they remained to simply be frozen over and covered in snow. Most of the time, the bodies weren’t buried at all, and remained frozen on the streets. One man, a staff officer by the name of Lozak, described his daily journey to the workplace. Every now and then he would see a man stumble and fall along the side of the road, but he knew there was nothing to be done, and...

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