Born July 28th 1928 Leningrad, Soviet Union.
Interviewed In: Montreal, Quebec
Child During Siege Of Leningrad – Dug Defensive Trenches
Zinovi was 12 when Germany invaded The Soviet Union. He was sent to the train station to buy vegetables when Nazi planes first attacked Leningrad:
“The Messerschmitts escorting the dive bombers started shooting short bursts of fire at the people gathered in the square. Well, the dead were silent. But wounded people started screaming. A panic started. Scared to death I started running to the nearby dune where I hid in a very old trench. A suburb train arrived at the station. The train stopped, the
engineer didn’t know what was going on. It stopped, the people poured onto the platform and into the square. That was where a big bloodshed took place. The Messerschmitts increased their shooting.”
The Siege of Leningrad technically began on in September 1941. Zinovi remembers the Nazis ensuring people would starve by attacking the city’s food reserves in late August:
“On the 31st of August, they burnt down Badaevsky warehouses. Badaevsky warehouses were on fire for 3 days and nights. Messerschmitts shot the fire engines that had come to the warehouses. They didn’t let the fire subside. Badaevsky warehouses were on fire for 3 days and nights. Leningrad’s 5-year emergency storage was burnt down there.”
Zinovi started the 5th grade while the city was under siege:
“We were given shovels and sent to dig trenches or rather not trenches but anti-tank ditches”.
His family survived by eating potatoes they grew in their garden and food that was originally intended for their cow.
Zinovi escaped Leningrad over the“ice bridge” in 1943:
“Some of the trucks sank into ice holes. However we crossed the lake Ladozhskoye safely.”
Zinovi and his family spent the rest of the war in Kazakhstan. He joined the army in 1947 and eventually became an officer, serving at bases in Konigsberg and the far east. Zinoviy later immigrated to Canada.