By Enid Gauldie
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Additional resources for Cruel habitations; a history of working-class housing 1780-1918
I know a boy who went out for a walk and never came back. This apartment was different because it was huge and practically empty, all the inhabitants had evacuated. We spent the first winter talking about food, telling each other what we had eaten before the war. We were allowed 125 grams of bread per day, 150 for workers. Milk and flour disappeared completely until the spring of 1942. The apartment had no water or electricity. We went to fetch rustysmelling water near the Moscow train station and lit the rooms with a small tinplate bottle filled with kerosene in which a wick lay soaking.
I opened it, slightly worried, to see our orangutan but this time in a colonel’s secret police uniform. ” That was when I realized that an additional car had been attached to the rear of our train during the night. The next morning, we stopped for a brief time in a station, and I got off to buy some pastries. Getting back into the car, I saw Beria standing on the steps. Extremely embarrassed, I did not know what to do and hesitated for a brief moment. ” He then reached out a hand, which I had to take, and helped me up.
We rushed down in the middle of the night to buy what we could. So she wasn’t wicked, but in a famine nobody gave away whatever they could get in addition to their regular rations. In another room, there were refugees whose house had been destroyed in a bombardment. A woman and her two children, aged three and five. She was so hungry that she even ate her children’s food. We heard through the wall, the little boy, the eldest, asking her where there was certain food because he’d heard on the radio it could be found in the city.