Siege Of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad,
Starvation and cruel noose around the city by Nazi fascists.
Hitler wanted them to suffer,
Content to let them starve slowly to death.
Rations of bread,
small and contaminated by dust and sweepings,
hardly any nourishment.
But we hear that was not the beginning of their trials.
Stalin, man of steel,
Who it turned out was no man at all,
But a monster created by the devil,
to torture his own people and murder them callously,
without regard for justice.
He set out to destroy the Bolshevik Revolution from within.
Kill all the members who had been there from the beginning,
Using young apparatchiks who would keenly follow orders,
In the hope of advancement, or at least survival.
The young will always gladly replace the old,
The ignorant take the places of the knowledgeable.
In 1936 he began a great purge of the Leningrad intelligentsia,
His own Party, rivals he believed, threats,
who might remember that Lenin said on his deathbed that Stalin should never be trusted to lead the Party.
The Revolution began in Leningrad,
It ended there too!
Even Lenin, who had used plenty of harsh means and terror,
Warned of Stalin,
But his message was not revealed,
until Stalin was already in partial control,
and then it was too late.
By 1939 the population of Leningrad had already been thinned,
By bullets in the head or firing squads in the forest,
Or by sending to the Gulag camps,
To be worked to death in the cold.
Just imagine if Hitler had come as a liberator to the Soviet Union,
To free the peoples of Ukraine and Lithuania,
To free the Russians from the tyranny of Stalin,
To treat all men and women as equals and friends,
Bringing justice to the lands without justice.
The Soviet peoples might then have joined him.
But Hitler was non such.
The people he thought his enemies were not usually his own supporters,
Although he did remove the leaders of the Brownshirts.
He pointed at races who once considered themselves to be Germans,
Such as the Jews, and declared them to be enemies,
And Slavs were to be slaves and underlings.
He was prepared to commit genocide,
But he seemed to have more confidence than Stalin,
Who tried to get rid of everyone,
Even if they were no threat to him.
Stalin feared everyone, even his own,
Hitler only the ‘foreigner’.
What a chance in history,
to be caught between two such evil despots.
Nowhere to run,
No one to look after them.
Hide behind the flag of whoever will win in the end,
And hope you survive.
It was the only way to survive,
If you were lucky enough not to be killed by your own side.
Bleak and atonal, harsh and wintry, the sounds of war,
marching clatter, the clicking of starvation, no animals left.
Dictators hold the reigns, man becomes his own animal.
Shostakovich speaks, in music,
pride remains, even in the end, after all seemed lost.
The dead rise again, almost dead, but breath and fire still inside,
to play the music of resistance.
The Dictators can never win.
(This was inspired, and influenced by the documentary about the Siege of Leningrad and Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony which was written and first performed during the Siege Of Leningrad in 1941/42. It was aired on 11/2/19 on channel BBC Four. The programme was titled ‘Leningrad and the Orchestra that Defied Hitler’)