Tanya Savicheva

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Tatyana Nikolayevna Savicheva
Tanya Savicheva.jpg
6-year-old Tanya Savicheva, 1936
Born (1930-01-23)23 January 1930
Dvorishchi, Gdov, Leningrad Oblast (now Pskov Oblast), Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died 1 July 1944(1944-07-01) (aged 14)
Shatki, Gorky Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Cause of death Intestine tuberculosis
Resting place Cemetery of Shatki
Nationality Russian
Occupation Diarist
Parent(s) Nikolay Rodionovich Savichev (1884–1936)
Mariya Ignatievna Savicheva (née Fyodorova) (1889–1942)
Relatives Siblings: Yevgenia (1909–1941), Leonid (1917–1942), Nina (1918-????), Mikhail (1921–1988)
Yevdokia Grigorievna Fyodorova (née Arsenieva) (1867–1942; grandmother)
The diary is on display in St. Petersburg, in the Museum of Leningrad History

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

Early life[edit]

She was the youngest child in the family of a baker father, Nikolay Rodionovich Savichev, and a seamstress mother, Mariya Ignatievna Savicheva. Her father died when Tanya was six, leaving his widow 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 22 June disrupted their plans. All, 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 plane operator 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.

Origins of the diary[edit]

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 in which 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.

Tanya first wrote in the diary on 28 December; her account was about her older sister, Zhenya. Each day she rose before the sun and 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 the repeated donations, and she died at the plant where she worked. Shortly thereafter, most of Tanya's family also died in succession - her grandmother Yevdokiya Grigorievna, her brother Leka, two of her uncles, and finally her mother.

In August 1942, Tanya was one of the 140 children who were rescued from Leningrad and brought to the village of Krasny Bor. 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 1 July, of intestinal tuberculosis.[1]

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,[2][3][4] but there appears to be no proof of this[5] 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.[citation needed]

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

Contents of the diary[edit]

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.


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.[1]

Serbian poet Miroslav Antic wrote a poem "A lost rendez-vous" dedicated to Tanya.[6]

2127 Tanya, a minor planet discovered in 1971 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh, is named in her honor.[1][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Миксон, Илья Львович (1991). ru:Жила-была (in Russian). Leningrad: Detskaya Literatura. p. 219. ISBN 5-08-000008-2. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  2. ^ Natalia Mikhaylenko (30 January 2013). "Leningrad siege: The captive's diary". Russia Beyond The Headlines. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Prominent Russians: Tanya Savicheva". Russiapedia. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Diary of Tanya Savicheva". Orthodoxy and the World. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Paul K. Lyons (1 July 2014). "Only Tanya is Left". The Diary Review. Retrieved 26 March 2015. [better source needed]
  6. ^ http://miroslavantic.blogspot.com/2008/08/jedan-izgubljeni-randevu.html
  7. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 172. ISBN 3-540-00238-3.