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Friday, July 1, 2016


6-year-old Tanya Savicheva, 1936

January 23, 1930
Village of Dvorishchi, Gdov, Leningrad Oblast (now Pskov Oblast), Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
July 1, 1944 (aged 14)
Settlement of Shatki, Gorky Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Cause of death
Intestine tuberculosis
Resting place
Cemetery of Shatki
Nikolay Rodionovich Savichev (1884–1936)
Mariya Ignatievna Savicheva (née Fyodorova) (1889–1942)
Siblings: Yevgenia (1909–1941), Leonid (1917–1942), Nina (born on November 23, 1918), Mikhail (1921–1988)
Yevdokia Grigorievna Fyodorova (née Arsenieva) (1867–1942) (grandmother)

Tatyana Nikolayevna Savicheva (Russian: Татья́на Никола́евна Са́вичева), commonly referred to as Tanya Savicheva (January 23, 1930 – July 1, 1944) was a Russian child diarist who endured the Siege of Leningrad during World War II.

Early life

Born on January 23, 1930, she was the youngest child in the family of baker Nikolay Rodionovich Savichev and seamstress Mariya Ignatievna Savicheva. Her father died when Tanya was six, leaving Mariya Savicheva with five children: three girls—Tanya, Zhenya (Yevgenia) and Nina—and two boys—Mikhail and Leka (Leonid).

The family planned to spend the summer of 1941 in the countryside, but the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22 disrupted their plans. All of them, except Mikhail (Misha), who had already left, decided to stay in Leningrad. Each of them worked to support the army: Mariya Ignatievna sewed uniforms, Leka worked as a planner at the Admiralty Plant, Zhenya worked at the munitions factory, Nina worked at the construction of city defences, and Uncle Vasya and Uncle Lesha served in the anti-aircraft defence. Tanya, then 11 years old, dug trenches and put out 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 she had died.

Tanya Savicheva's diary (1942) and photo (1936) in the bottom-right.
Below is the text translated from Russian. 1st row:
1.     [Sister] Jenya died on 28th Dec. at 12.00 PM 1941
2.     Grandma died on 25th Jan., 3 PM 1942
3.     [Brother] Leka died on 17th March at 5 AM 1942
4.     Uncle Vasya died on 13th Apr. at 2 o'clock after midnight 1942
5.     Uncle Lesha on 10th May at 4 PM 1942
2nd row:
1.     Mom on 13th May at 7.30 AM 1942
2.     Savichevs died.
3.     Everyone died.
4.     Only Tanya is left.
Русский: Дневник Тани Савичевой (1942) и её фотография (1936, внизу справа). Текст представлен ниже.
Первый ряд:
1.     Женя умерла 28 декабря в 12 часов утра, 1941 г.
2.     Бабушка умерла 25 января в 3 часа дня, 1942 г.
3.     Лёка умер 17 марта в 5 часов утра, 1942 г.
4.     Дядя Вася умер 13 апреля в 2 часа ночи, 1942 г.
5.     Дядя Лёша 10 мая в 4 часа дня, 1942 г.
Второй ряд:
1.     Мама — 13 мая в 730 утра 1942 года.
2.     Савичевы умерли.
3.     Умерли все.
4.     Осталась одна Таня.

Origins of the diary

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.

The first record in it appeared on December 28. Each day Zhenya 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 blood. Her weakened body could not endure. She died at the plant where she worked. Then grandmother Yevdokiya Grigorievna died. 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, Tanya was one of the 140 children who were rescued from Leningrad and brought to the village of Krasny Bor. All of them survived, except Tanya. Anastasiya Karpova, a teacher in the Krasny Bor orphanage, wrote to Tanya's brother Mikhail, who happened 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." In May 1944, Tanya was sent to a hospital in Shatki, where she died a month later, on July 1, of intestinal tuberculosis.

According to several sources, one of the documents presented by the Allied prosecutors during the Nuremberg Trials was the small notebook that once belonged to Tanya, but there appears to be no proof of this and an argument against its veracity being that if the diary had been really presented at the Nuremberg Trials it would have never left the court archives.

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

Contents of the diary

Zhenya died on Dec. 28th at 12:00 P.M. 1941

Grandma died on Jan. 25th 3:00 P.M. 1942
Leka died on March 17th at 5:00 A.M. 1942
Uncle Vasya died on Apr. 13th at 2:00 after midnight 1942
Uncle Lesha on May 10th at 4:00 P.M. 1942
Mother on May 13th at 7:30 A.M. 1942
Savichevs died.
Everyone died.
Only Tanya is left.

The memorial plaque on the house, when lived Tanya Savicheva, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The memorial plate in the court, when lived Tanya Savicheva, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Tanya and her diary have become an iconic image of the victims of the siege of Leningrad in the postwar Soviet Union. In May 1972, a memorial was constructed in her honor in Shatki, which was later expanded to a memorial complex.

Serbian poet Miroslav Antic wrote a poem "A lost rendez-vous" dedicated to Tanya.

2127 Tanya, a minor planet discovered in 1971 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh, is named in her honor.


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