Tanya Savicheva

Among the documents presented at the Nuremberg trials by the prosecutors was a small notebook that once belonged to a Leningrad schoolgirl Tanya Savicheva. There are dates on six pages, with a death behind each one. Six pages — six deaths. Nothing else, only brief and concise records and a final remark:

Jenya died on 28th Dec. at 12.30 AM 1941

Grandma died on 25th Jan., 3 PM 1942

Leka died on 17th March at 5 AM 1942

Uncle Vasya died on 13th Apr. at 2 o'clock after midnight 1942

Uncle Lesha on 10th May at 4 PM 1942

Mother on 13th May at 7.30 AM 1942

Savichevs died. All died. Only Tanya is left.
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Tanya Savicheva

Tanya Savicheva was born on January 25 1930. She was the youngest child in the family of a baker Nikolay Rodionovich Savichev and a seamstress Mariya Ignatievna Savicheva. Her father died early, when Tanya was only six, leaving Mariya Savicheva with five children — three girls, Tanya, Jenya and Nina and two boys, Mikhail and Leka. The family planned to spend the summer of 1941 in the countryside, but the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany on June 22 ruined their plans. All of them, except Mikhail, who already left, decided to stay in Leningrad. Everyone of them worked to support the army. Mariya Ignatievna sewed the uniforms, Leka worked as a planer at the Admiralty Plant, Jenya worked at the munitions factory, Nina worked at the construction of city defences. Uncle Vasya and uncle Lesha served in the anti-aircraft defence. Tanya, then only eleven years old, was digging the trenches and putting out the firebombs.

One day Nina went to work and never came back. She was sent to Lake Ladoga and then urgently evacuated. The family was unaware of this and thought her dead. After a few days in memory of Nina, Mariya Ignatievna gave to Tanya a small notebook that belonged to her sister and that would later become Tanya's diary. Tanya had a real diary once, a thick notebook where she recorded everything important in her life. She burned it when nothing was left to heat the stove in winter, but she spared her sister's notebook.

Missing image
The diary is on display in St. Petersburg, in the Museum of Leningrad History
The first record in it appeared on December 28. Each day Jenya got up when it was still dark outside. She walked seven kilometers to the plant, where she worked for two shifts every day making mine cases. After the work she would donate her blood. Her weak body could not endure. She died at the plant where she worked. Then grandmother Evdokiya Grigorievna passed away. Then Tanya's brother Leka. Then, one after another, uncle Vasya and uncle Lesha died. Her mother was the last. That time Tanya probably browsed through the pages and added her final remark.

In August 1942 140 children were rescued from Leningrad and brought to Krasny Bor village. All of them survived... except Tanya. Anastasiya Karpova, a teacher in the Krasny Bor orphanage, wrote to Tanya's brother Mikhail, who was lucky to be outside of Leningrad in 1941: "Tanya is now alive, but she doesn't look healthy. A doctor, who visited her recently, says she is very ill. She needs rest, special care, nutrition, better climate and, most of all, tender motherly care". On May 1944 Tanya was sent to Shatkovsky hospital, where she died only a month later, on July 1, 1944.

Nina Savicheva and Mikhail Savichev returned to Leningrad after the war. The diary of Tanya Savicheva is now displayed at the Museum of Leningrad History and a copy is displayed at the Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery.

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