Maestro shares memories of the Siege of Leningrad

Maestro shares memories of the Siege of Leningrad

The veteran conductor Vladimir Fedoseev, 91, told a Victory Day concert audience in Moscow of his personal recollections of the Great Patriotic War:

‘I still have it all before my eyes… It’s hard to say how we survived. God helped… We lived on the outskirts of Leningrad – in the Okhta area, and we had a garden there, where dad grew flowers. We built a bomb shelter in this kindergarten.

At first we were afraid and sat in the “bomb,” but soon the shell explosions no longer meant anything to us. One became indifferent. If the siren howls, you need to close the curtains so the light is not visible – this is the only thing we did.

I remember how my mother and I extinguished high-explosive bombs by covering them with sand… The only thing we had was a loudspeaker; from morning to evening the music of Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich sounded… My first impression of music was formed right then.

When Lake Ladoga was liberated, our family and all our belongings were loaded into cars, and we began to cross the ice in the direction of Murom under bombing. And at the very first station – Voybokalo – we were all loaded onto the train.

We placed our things in a freight car, and went for a walk – there were three whole hours left before departure. Then the Germans swooped in and began bombing the train. I was thrown somewhere by a blast wave and woke up in a creepy room – either in the basement or in the entrance. There were dead, shell-shocked people lying around, and I was the only one, little, with no mother, no father, no sister…

I started running, screaming, and eventually found everyone alive and well. In the evening, when we found each other again, we began to look for things. We see a fire that no longer burns, but burns out, smoldering, and all our furniture, all our belongings are in it… And on top of this charred heap stands my father’s button accordion – unharmed! We took him with us to Murom. It was, in my opinion, 1943.’

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