So how was it, in conditions when every board was worth its weight in gold, when people took apart anything made of wood to heat the house, how was it that these wooden panels were untouched?
Maria Yakovlevna: Because then there were real Leningraders, who protected things. Probably they thought it was too valuable to waste. Or who knows, maybe they didn't have the strength to take them down. I don't know. They burned some old magazines, there... But as you can see, this was preserved.
M.Ya.: Well, of course, people were more orderly then, it's obvious, but I don't want the other tenants... The other tenants are new, maybe they wouldn't like to hear this. But people themselves had a different attitude then, and Galina Rudolfovna is right when she says "At least you could, you could hire someone from the agency, the Neva Dawn, who would... do the cleaning." And now, if you don't have the strength, if you can't...
Nabutov: Do you think you could tell me how many people were living in this apartment at its most crowded?
M.Ya.: Forty. After the war there were forty. That's what it was.
Nabutov: How many people were living in the apartment before the revolution?
M.Ya.: Before the revolution? Before the revolution a banker lived here, by the name of Abelson. Who he was, nobody knows. People argue. At some point I heard, all I can say, I'm not sure precisely, but either in 1914 or 1916 two floors were added. But the building itself dates from 1828. Now people say that nothing was added. I don't know; that's what I was told. So he didn't live here so very long, that banker. Probably he had people make this apartment for him, the way some people do now. Of course, right after the revolution he made his escape. My mother used to say that he left... at this time... later they removed them, there were things of his that were sealed. And without any fuss, the apartment turned into a communal one.