JUST a few weeks ago, on Christmas Eve, a remarkable 91-year-old South Essex woman died.

Her name was Luise Davies and she lived through one of the most brutal atrocities of the Second World War.

Born in Leningrad in the Soviet Union (now St Petersburg) in 1928 to a German mother and Ukranian father, Luise spent the last few years of her life living in Leigh.

Her life has now been told through a book in her own words, which is available to buy on Amazon.

Luise was a survivor of the Siege of Leningrad - the prolonged and notorious blockade of the historic city by German and Finnish forces, which lasted 872 days, from September 1941 to January 27, 1944.

Up to two million lives were lost due to starvation and hypothermia - including 40per cent of the population of the city.

Luise was just 13 years old when Hitler had ordered the siege to prevent energy, water, utilities or food supplies from entering Leningrad.

When it started, everything changed for Luise overnight. Residents of the city were rationed just one slice of bread a day to eat.

Speaking in the summer of 2018, Luise recalled: “We had to queue for our slice of bread and sometimes we’d be queuing for two days only to get to the front to find there was nothing left.

“There was no clean water available so we had to break ice off the frozen river so we could have a drink.

“People were so desperate for food that they ate cats and dogs – there were no animals to be seen wandering around.”

One day Luise returned home to find her mother slumped against the fireplace with her head down. Luise explained “I ran to give her a hug, but she was cold and stiff, she was already dead. I recall my father later pulling her body along on a child’s sledge that I used to play on.

“My mother was buried in a mass grave that was already full of corpses. People were dying in large numbers every day so mass graves surrounded the city.”

Luise had always intended to write about her experiences in Leningrad, but only found the time to gather her thoughts and write them down in her mid-80s.

Later published in her book, Just another war – How I survived the siege of Leningrad, Luise describes how her father helped her to escape from the city across the “Ice Road” - the frozen Lake Ladoga, where her long journey to freedom took her to the Caucasus, from there to Germany and finally to Ilford in Essex where she got married and raised her son.

Her father remained in Leningrad and died not long after she had managed to escape. Like so many others, he perished due to starvation.

Luise’s book has now been translated from English into Russian and German to make available to a wider readership. Luise sadly passed away recently on Christmas Eve - the year of the 75th anniversary of the end of the siege of Leningrad.

She had lived in Adams Elm House in Leigh, which is managed by South Essex Homes, since November 2011 where she spent her final years in peace and comfort.

Luise is survived by her son Michael, who helped her put together the book. Her beloved husband Roland died in 1997.

You can read all about Luise’s story in her book which is priced at £14 and is available at www.foyles.co.uk and also at amazon.co.uk.