Diary of T.A. and A.F. Ilin-Zhenevskiy
The notes were being recorded by Alexander Fiodorovich as well as Taisia Aleksandrovna daily and were suddenly cut short with unfinished phrase on the last page.
The publication is made according to the typewritten copy, which is kept in the archives of the family of Viazovskiy. The notes for publication are chosen in such a way as to give readers the most comprehensive idea of the first days of war through the eyes of the Leningrad family, which shared the fate of thousands people.
T.A. and A.F. Ilin-Zhenevskiy, 1941
30th of June 1941 (Monday)
As the radio wasn’t turned of all the night, we were awakened by the report from the battle-ground. Although we have made some progress, our troops still keep on retreating in the main directions. Shura went to work. Annual leaves are abolished, that’s why Shura had to start his work right away. Shura was supervising 19(!) shops, more than ever before. By the end of the working day (5 o’clock) Shura didn’t manage to inspect 2 shops. It was intended to proceed with 3 hours long (labour service) public duty after 5 o’clock. But when Shura came to house-manager Toteush, the latter said that the lists were not ready and so there wouldn’t be any work that day. Taja went to the town Pushkin to inquire about the fate of Dubrovskiy’s son and returned home having learned that he was sent to his parents. The mother came to us in the evening and stayed for the night. We went to bed early again, at 11 o’clock, as it wasn’t allowed to switch the light on and we were to get up early the next day.
1st of July (Tuesday)
When Shura came to work in the morning, he got to know that the previous day there was extraordinary party meeting, at which district committee made an appeal to enroll in the army as volunteers. Almost all the staff of the Publishing House responded to the appeal and enrolled. Shura also consented and went to district committee meeting, which was held in the Publishing House. But there he wasn’t enrolled in yet, as he was a little too old (47 years old) and besides he was one from the senior command and political staff, which was not generally enrolled yet. They promised to find out everything and to let him know about the result. It was raining from time to time in the afternoon. As reported by the radio, our troops were fighting with superior enemy forces at main directions. At 5 o’clock Shura came to the house management again, but was told that public works wasn’t begun yet. Shura went to bed early, at 11 o’clock, and Taja had that night duty around the house from 12 till 2 o’clock. But her duty was protracted till 4 a.m., as the woman, who was to replace her at 2 o’clock, hadn’t came back from the country yet and so hadn’t came on duty.
6th of July (Sunday)
In the morning we were awakened by the radio at 6 o’clock, as well as all the last days. And we listened to the morning report about the seat of war. The German’s advance seemed to be lingered. Our troops maintained resistance. After report we fell asleep again, but at 9 o’clock we were awakened by the telephone call. Sidorov was calling from the Publishing House to tell that that day was declared as working day and Shura had to go to work.
We got up quickly, had tee and Shura went out. The German aeroplane appeared over Leningrad in the afternoon, it was apparently a reconnaissance plane. It was forced to land soon. We had dinner at mother’s place. In the evening we were reading aloud. Taja visited dentist and had her tooth filled. We went to bed about 11 o’clock again.
At 6 a.m. we were listening to the morning report from the battle-front. At 8 o’clock, when Taja was still in bed and Shura was getting up, air-raid warning sounded for the first time during our staying there. We got dressed quickly and went downstairs. Taja as the head of air and chemical defense went to the house management and Shura stayed downstairs. The warning lasted 20 minutes. There were three more air-raid warnings during the working day. But no aeroplanes were and no bombs were dropped. Apparently the enemy airplanes were kept off the city.
7th of July (Wednesday)
There were no air-raid warnings today. That seems to be the result of the yesterday’s bombing of Finnish aerodrome by our air-force units according to the report of the Soviet Information Bureau. By 9 o’clock Shura went to Sverdlovskaya hospital to doctor Lovtskiy. Doctor Lovtskiy prescribed him some corroborants – spermine and some other pills. Shura was at work today only 2 hours from 10 till 12 and at 12 o’clock he was to go to public works with other staff of the Publishing House. It was a long way to go –further than Srednyaya Rogatka. There they were digging tank ditches until 8 p.m. Shura got quite tired. The mother came to us and stayed for the night. Still in the morning Shura met I.Lotnov who was wearing military uniform. All the staff of the Party History Committee except Shidlovskiy who was ill enrolled in the army as volunteers.
10th of July (Thursday)
Although all Shura’s muscles were aching, he went to work and managed to do not only today’s work, but also the work he couldn’t finish yesterday. There were three air-raid warnings during the day, but that didn’t affect Shura, who spent that time working at shops. In the evening we were reading aloud. We went to bed at 11 o’clock. In the afternoon Shura called to “Bolshevik”, but failed to get a compensation for tournament fee. They asked to call on the 20th of July.
12th of July (Saturday)
Shura dropped in for two hours in the afternoon after working the entire night. He slept for one hour, then had dinner, changed his clothes and went somewhere for 3-4 days to work according to special instruction, having taken with him a blanket, a spoon, a cup and some foodstuff. Shura was very tired. Taja hung blinds at every window. It would be necessary to switch on the light in the evenings, as the “white nights” were decreasing. It was unbearable heat about 40 C in the sun. From 4 p.m. and till the night Shura was at the Gertsen institute, where from they were to go to public works. Only at midnight they entrained and went somewhere. [The staff of the Publishing House was sent to the village Panshino, Oredezh region – Edit.]
15th of July (Tuesday)
Shura and the brigade of the Publishing House got up at 3.30 a.m. and began to dig a tank ditch at 4 a.m. The spades were procured for that purpose. They worked till 11 a.m. At 11 o’clock they had soup with mutton, which the women from the brigade of the Publishing House bought and cooked. It was paid from their own money, there was no public financing. From 1 p.m. till 6.30 p.m. they were digging a tank ditch again. Several times their work was interrupted with heavy rain. They stopped working half an hour before the specified time because of rain. Some of the workers began to fall ill with dysentery. Everybody is still healthy in our brigade. At night we were suffering from cold and mosquitoes again.
17th of July (Thursday)
The nights became colder. That’s why Shura as well as his barn fellows slept very bad and got up early. Having wrapped themselves in blankets, shivering with cold they went to work by 4 a.m. They worked till 10 a.m. The break was from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. Shura used that break to go with Maslov to the neighbouring village to get some cigarettes. At 1 p.m. on their way back village boys sold them by chance a pack of cigarettes “Nord” for 2 rubles (instead of 1 r. 30 k.). The ditch was finished. They began to gather stones for pillboxes. At 3 a.m. the work was stopped and it was proposed to get prepared for the departure to Leningrad. The spades were to be taken with. We were joyful and exited. Then we were hiking in a large file to the station Cholovo (25 kilometers). We were very tired and exhausted. It was rumored that we wouldn’t go to Leningrad. But near the station Cholovo it was stated officially that we are going to a new work to the battle area. Having arrived to the station Cholovo they were lodged at the nearest peasant's houses in expectation of the special train. Shura, Maslov and his group occupied a house, having quarreled with another group which was already located there. They settled as they could and fell asleep. Shura slept on the floor in semisitting position. [At night the defense workers were moved to the station Peredolskaya and stationed in the village Zapolie – Edit.]
19th of July (Saturday)
They were awakened at 3 a.m. Then went to the village Letnevo (5 kilometers from the place) and occupied the houses. The gunnery was heard from afar. German aeroplanes were flying. In our sight one of them dropped a bomb so that 3 our gasoline cisterns exploded. There were a pillar of fire and 3 awful explosions. Our lads were nervous. At 8 p.m. we went to work near the village Voinovo. We dug tank ditch in a peatbog. We were standing barefoot knee-deep in cold water and working all night long. The mosquitoes bit awfully.
28th of July (Monday)
Shura began to feel himself very bad at work in the morning. He was exhausted and couldn’t wield a spade. In the afternoon he went to the doctor. Another doctor, a woman, was consulting that time. She listened to him attentively, excused him from working and put him in the list of the evacuated. Shura were rejoicing. He handed over the spade to the 4th platoon and his quilted jacket brought to the depot. He left the bread to Maslov and gave out his tobacco to the fellows. It was rumoured that there wouldn’t be the special train to Leningrad on that day, but those, who were ill, were nevertheless drawn up in a column and marched to the halt. Shura and some other lads were going in a heated goods van up to the station Oredezh. There Shura ordered something to eat for the remaining money. A passenger train came soon and Shura got on it. The train was going very fast and almost didn’t stop at stations. It arrived to Leningrad at quarter to 12. Shura didn’t want to spend the night at the railway station and decided to take the risk of trying to get home, because walking out after 12 was prohibited. He went to Nekrasov Street by tram and then walked. It was more dangerous to go along the Nevskiy prospect, because it was already after midnight. The policeman stopped him near the circus, but permitted him to go having learned that he had just got off the train. Shura’s identity was even checked in the […].
Taja was alone. She was ill. She caught a cold. She had a temperature 37,5. We had supper and talked until late at night. Shura washed thoroughly his hands and feet in the bathroom. Our talk was interrupted in the very beginning, as Taja was called to the post. In half an hour she came back.
29th of July (Tuesday)
Taja’s temperature rose up to 38,2. We called a doctor from Sverdlovskaya hospital. Doctor Lovtskiy came. He examined both Taja and Shura and gave Shura a sick-leave certificate until the 1st of August. Shura phoned Artamonov to the Publishing House and told him about his arrival. The mother came to us in the evening and stayed for the night.
30th of July (Wednesday)
Taja is having temperature all day long, but nevertheless is busy about the house. Shura is just lying and reading the novel “The son of Monte-Christo”. Something obscure is reported from the front, but German’s advance seems to be suspended, at least at the direction, where Shura was. The call-up paper was delivered to Shura from the military registration and enlistment office with the request to come at 10 o’clock the next day.
31st of July (Thursday)
We are staying at home, Shura is having a rest. We are staying at home even during the air-raid warnings. Taja went to the military enlistment office and told about Shura’s illness. She showed them the sick-leave certificate and she was told that Shura must come when he would recover. Mihail Afanasievich and Evgeniya Davydovna came in the evening. Ravinskiy also dropped in.
1st of August (Friday)
Today is the last day of Shura’s sick-leave certificate and he went in the morning to Sverdlovskaya hospital. Dr. Lovtskiy having examined Shura extended the sick-leave certificate until the 4th of August, prescribed a new medicine and recommended to consult professor Borishpolskiy to undergo a physiotherapy cure. On the way back Shura came into Police office and got the gun license, which he had to get as long ago as on the 15th of July. By 6 o’clock Shura went again to Sverdlovskaya hospital to professor Borishpolskiy. The professor examined him and prescribed Sollex. It is a large lamp, which warms that body part, at which it is pointed. Shura got today the first procedure. On the way back Shura had a mug of beer, he dreamt about while being at public work.
8th of August (Friday)
Today by 9 o’clock Shura went to Sverdlovskaya hospital to Dr. Lovtskiy. The latter didn’t even examine him, only asked about his state of health and closed up the sick-leave certificate. So tomorrow Shura must start his work. In the afternoon Shura was called to the military enlistment office and was told that he was to be assigned to the military and economic Academy. It was arranged that Shura will come to the military enlistment office tomorrow by 11 o’clock.
9th of August (Saturday)
At 10 a.m. Shura went to the Publishing House and delivered his sick-leave certificate. But he didn’t start the work yet, as he had to go to the district military enlistment office. He talked to Artamonov, the Head of the Publishing House and to Maksimova, the Head of control department. Shura came to the district military enlistment office in the prescribed time and was sent with the other conscripts (altogether 20 people) to the military enlistment office of the city, where he stuck around till 5 p.m. There the representatives from all the districts were gathered to choose among them those, who were appropriate for the military and economic Academy. Shura wasn’t economic executive and wasn’t chosen. He was suggested to proceed with his work in the Publishing House. In the evening Shura came to the district committee and got to know that he was already approved to be the political organizer of his household. Shura came from the district committee to the manager of a household Mikh.Ilich, compiled with him a list of communists and members of the Komsomol, who lived in the household and arranged about…
The notes in the diary are cut in the middle of a word.