Assessing the Scale of Famine and Death in the Besieged City
Quantifying the victims of the siege of Leningrad is one element of the complicated problem of assessing the total losses of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War over which professional historians and the general public still disagree.1 Estimates of civilian losses in Leningrad range between 649,000 and 1,200,000, and even a figure of two million has been given.2 Until recently it was assumed that the true number of dead Leningraders would be found documented in the secret archives, but thorough searches have dashed these expectations and shown the need for a meticulous source study of the materials discovered.3 Disputes over the numbers that perished have unfortunately diverted attention from such important questions as the dynamics of the death rate (in general and by population groups), the numbers and ages of males and females among the dead, and the demographic consequences of the siege. These interdisciplinary matters (involving history, source studies, demography and medical statistics) have been disregarded by specialists.4
KeywordsHospital Mortality Health Department Identity Card Leningrad Region Ration Card
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