Wednesday, December 2, 2015


During the siege of Leningrad which lasted nearly 900 days and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands civilians the People of Leningrad still managed in all these deprivations an album of thanks to the Scottish ( especially Airdrie and Coatbridge) People , the Album sent from Scotland gave to the starving and besieged civilians, according to a Leningrad headmistress " ... the unexpected gift gave them a chance to convince themselves, by demonstrating to others, that without food for their bodies, they could satisfy, through their own efforts, the hunger of their soul for beauty and art and harmony between nations."

You can get a fuller story in this article by a descendant of one the founding figures in getting the album of hope to the besieged city of Leningrad Wilma Stark.

"They trudged round the whole district, even during the blackout, collecting over 6,000 signatures - many more would have been collected but they only had a very short time-scale in which to gather the messages and signatures. They had to get them to London, and thereafter, they hoped, to Leningrad. With great care these signatures and messages were pasted into the pages of an album.
Margaret Plant designed the cover and decorated it with the local Buchanan Tartan, and lines from Burns' 'A Man's a Man for a' That'.
A deputation of housewives including Agnes Maxwell took the album to London and handed it over to the Soviet Embassy.
In 1988 the 'Dear Allies' book, written by Margaret Henderson was published by Monklands District Libraries. In this book Harry Walker spoke of the feelings of all those involved at that time in 1941... "We half-hoped that we would have some acknowledgement just to know that it had reached its destination."
In June 1942 a telegram was delivered to Agnes Maxwell, in Park Crescent, Airdrie. It confirmed that against all odds, the Scots Album had arrived.
Harry Walker remembered, "It was a miracle... It was unbelievable that women struggling with hunger and disease, and face to face with death, should find time to respond to our pledge of solidarity and admiration. The telegram was passed around with much gasping of disbelief, and weeping for joy."

 This article goes into more details about how the Woman of Airdrie worked tirelessly to gather signatures under a very tight timescale to send from Scotland to Leningrad.

"The late Harry Walker attended the committee meeting on that auspicious evening :
.“The eyes of the world were on Leningrad. We were all aware of the tremendous contribution of women volunteers defending the city, night and day, against the fascist forces.We had a large and enthusiastic women’s section in the Russia Today Society. All the women were deeply affected by what they had been hearing about Leningrad. They were desperately anxious to do something to feel part of the vast struggle that was taking place. The plight of Leningrad was the sole topic of discussion at that meeting. We agreed to act immediately, for we could not know how long the besieged city would hold out, the situation was so grave. We decided that a collection of women’s signatures should be made in both Airdrie and Coatbridge and somehow sent to the women of Leningrad with a message conveying our admiration and feelings of solidarity.”

You can see a 2 minute and 20 sec video news report from the BBC about the Leningrad Album in the link

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