In May 1941 Lena Mukhina was an ordinary teenage girl, living in Leningrad, worrying about her homework and whether Vova, the boy she liked, liked her. Like a good Soviet schoolgirl, she was also diligently learning German, the language of Russia's Nazi ally. And she was keeping a diary, in which she recorded her hopes and dreams. Then, on 22 June 1941, Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and declared war on the Soviet Union. All too soon, Leningrad was besieged and life became a living hell. Lena and her family fought to stay alive; their city was starving and its citizens were dying in their hundreds of thousands. From day to dreadful day, Lena records her experiences: the desperate hunt for food, the bitter cold of the Russian winter, the cruel deaths of those she loved. The Diary of Lena Mukhina is a truly remarkable account of this most terrible era in modern history. It offers readers the vivid first-hand testimony of a courageous young woman struggling simply to survive.
Lena Mukhina was a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl when the German army invaded the USSR in 1941 and besieged her home city of Leningrad. She survived the siege and returned to Leningrad after the war. She died in 1991.