The exhibition "Please, enroll me as a volunteer..." presents a unique collection of applications asking to be sent to the front. Visitors will see applications of volunteers submitted to district military registration and enlistment office of Dzerzhinskiy district of Leningrad during first days of the war in June-July 1941.
On June 23, in accordance with the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, was announced a general mobilization of people between 23 and 36 years of age. But many people, for various reasons, exempted from conscription, besieged the military committees and recruiting offices at enterprises, district committees of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Komsomol with requests to send them to the front.
About 50 applications you can see at the exhibition, and the museum's total collection includes 130 documents. They were received by the museum in the mid-1940s and are now on display for the first time. Each document is an individual human story. The age of the authors of the applications ranges from 16 to 57 years old. Next to the exhibits are biographical information about volunteers. Information about life, death and exploits of the soldiers the creators of the exhibition found by studying electronic databases of soldiers of the Great Patriotic War.
“We were able to find information about these people - most of the applicants were workers and were not members of the Communist Party or Komsomol”, - says exhibition curator, chief researcher of the museum Alexander Kalmykov. “Usually, those were people who were not included in the first draft, either because of their age or for medical reasons, and could sit quietly at home. The documents of the epoch presented at the exhibition help to feel the emotions that overtook people during the first days of the war and the whole patriotic enthusiasm”.
The fates of the militiamen were different. Many of those who in the early days of the war wrote applications to be sent to the war field, had only a few months to live. But there were those who managed to go through the whole war and stay alive.
The history of receiving these items into the museum's collection is interesting. In 1943, when the war was going on and the siege of Leningrad had not been finally broken, the district military registration and enlistment office of Dzerzhinskiy district took 130 applications and gave them to the Russian Museum in a special folder. “They understood the value of these testimonies for the history of our country," Alexander Kalmykov noted. “And the Russian Museum felt that these exhibits were more suitable for the Museum of the Revolution, and that's how they came to us.”
The chief curator of the museum Svetlana Khodakovskaya told at the opening about one more exhibition opened in the museum to the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Mini exhibition “There was a war ahead...” presents exhibits related to the first tragic months of the war in 1941.
The exhibition is open until mid October, admission is free.