Now and Then - Labour square

Labour square shelling siege of Leningrad

Leningrad, Labour square. September 13, 1941 / St. Petersburg, Labour square. October 2021

"Leningrad in the days of the Fatherland War. Artillery shelling". Part of an etching by N.A. Pavlov. Although the artist didn't mention a specific date, it can be assumed he depicted the shelling of September 13, 1941 which was mentioned in the diaries of many Leningraders. Here are a few extracts from Siege diaries with the descriptions of this accident.

Georgy Knyazev (1887-1969). Historian, director of the Archive of the USSR Academy of Science.

"Shells are bursting outside the city center today. Some of the residents of our apartment building, scared by yesterday's shots, didn't get out of the bomb shelter for the whole day. A. B. Modzalevskaya told all and everyone how she saw the entire catastrophe unfold at the tram stop on the square. I don't know how she could see it as all windows in the palace were shattered! Anyway, she said she saw "with her own eyes" the killed, those lying prone in one piece and the ones with their body parts thrown around, she saw how the gravely wounded writhed in pain, etc. Others didn't leave the bomb shelter out of animal fear of being killed or maimed by shell splinters. Only we and the Karpinskys went down our stairwell to the lower floors. All others beside the Krachkovskys stayed in the bomb shelter. They stayed home and didn't even come out to the stairwell".

Kulyabko Vladimir Grigorievich (1876-after 1942)
Consulting engineer at the Institute of Refrigeration Industry

Extract from the diary entry from September 13, 1941:

"Shura came back home all terribly agitated at around 9pm: an artillery shell that fell on the Labour square killed and wounded quite a lot of people. A policeman in guard duty was killed, one girl had both of her legs torn off, another one had a piece of her thigh ripped off by shrapnel, etc.,etc. Shells are falling on our Sennoy marketplace, on Gorokhovaya street, and they keep bursting and bursting, but what damage have they caused - who knows at the moment? We'll learn this tomorrow. The last one exploded at 9.20pm, and the intervals between them are up to 15 minutes. You just sit and wait: where will the next one hit? It's a blind, not targeted, shelling, so everything depends on mere chance. Shellings affect me harder than bombings. During air raids I would be tense for the time they last and when they are officially over I feel calm again. But now I'm "under the electric current" all the time, if one can put it this way".

Margulies Lev Mikhailovich (1910-1975)
Violinist and playwright

Extract from the diary entry from September 1, 1941 [The date is definitely misattributed because the first enemy shell fell on a residential building in Leningrad on September 5, 1941. Most likely it's an entry from September 14, 1941]

"I went home by car to pick up my musical score and, having practised for a few minutes before my first performance after a long break in studies, I played on stage. A.A. Bryantsev, the theater director, was present at the concert and he liked my playing. I saw him off to the tram stop and we met Remenchik along the way, who intimated us on the details of yesterday's heavy long range gun shelling of the Labour square. A shell hit a "Beer and Beverages" booth, blasting it to bits and killing the lady vendor. The fence of the Palace of Unions [Labour Palace, originally the palace of Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich - Alexander Shmidke] was damaged too."

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