The items on display keep the memory of how the Hermitage and its staff lived from 1941 to 1945.
The Hermitage received the order to evacuate the collections on the second day of the war, and from that moment on, all employees were mobilized to pack the exhibits. From July 1 to July 20, 1941, 1.3 million works of art were taken out in two echelons. The third echelon with the Hermitage valuables was assembled, but they did not have time to send it - the blockade closed. The staff of the museum placed these boxes in the halls of the first floor and in the basements of the museum. But not only exhibits were hidden under the Hermitage: from September 1941, bomb shelters were organized in the basements of the museum (in the buildings of the Winter Palace, the Old and New Hermitage). They were inhabited not only by Hermitage people, but also by employees of other museums, art and culture workers, as well as residents of nearby houses - only about two thousand people. Those Hermitage employees who remained in besieged Leningrad did everything to preserve the buildings and collections in wartime conditions: they sealed the windows, lifted sand into the halls and attics, placed water tanks, shovels, asbestos caps and tongs for extinguishing incendiary bombs. Some of these instruments have survived to this day and are presented at the exhibition. Despite all the hardships of these years, the perseverance of the staff, their work and energy allowed the museum to survive and recover in the shortest possible time.