Archive documents tell the story of wartime childhood in Moscow

Archive documents tell the story of wartime childhood in Moscow
An exhibition will showcase photographs, documents and heart-rending letters and recorded reminiscences by men and women who were children in Moscow during World War II.

Children’s library No. 155 will host the Wartime Childhood documentary exhibition prepared by the city’s Main Archive Directorate for the 75th anniversary of the Soviet counter-offensive during the Battle of Moscow against the German aggressors.

The exhibits tell the story of the city’s youngest residents, whose childhood fell on the harsh years of the war, show how the city took care of its children and the way the children helped adults.

“Archive exhibits illustrate the life of boys and girls who, weak as they were, shared wartime trials and tribulations with adults. Of especial interest are documents and photos that illustrate senior schoolchildren’s work in industry and in school workshops, in fortifying the city and its environs, at rural farms, and in civil defence fire and first aid squads. Teenagers helped soldiers’ families, tended young children, sent gift parcels to the frontline, and collected scrap metal to make the Moscow Young Pioneer tank column,” says Main Archive Directorate head Yaroslav Onopenko.

Exhibited documents include City Hall resolutions on children’s evacuation in the first months of the war, and on the work of schools, preschools and other educational institutions. A special section covers orphan relief. Documents from the 1940s illustrate wartime teaching.

No part of the exhibition arouses such emotion as children’s letters from wartime Moscow and their later reminiscences. Some letters never reached their destination.

The exhibition is crowned with photos of the radiant faces of boys and girls who felt that their wartime troubles and sorrows were over with the Victory salute.