The woman chemist who saved the country during the war

Today, we want to devote our rubric #НескучноеКраеведение to one single heroine - our countrywoman, whose courage and ingenuity saved the whole country during the Great Patriotic War. Her name was Lyubov Shapiro.

Immediately after graduating from the Forestry Engineering Institute in July 1940, she entered the position of a chief in the locomotive service of the Krasnoyarsk Railway road administration. A graduate of the Krasnoyarsk university was entrusted with a difficult task - to create a chemical-technological laboratory. The new work inspired a young woman, but suddenly a war came.

Before the war, chemicals for processing steam locomotive boilers were produced in Belarus and distributed in the form of briquettes throughout the network. But when the territory of the Union Republic was under occupation, supplies ceased and there was a problem with the elimination of scale in boilers, which could lead to their explosion. All the steam locomotives could stand up if Lyubov Naumovna in three months, released by Minister Kaganovich to search for an alternative substance, could not get a substitute for the Belarusian antiscale from local raw materials and arrange its production and supply. The idea was suggested by her father, a well-known wood chemist Naum Shapiro in the 40s. Thanks to this, it was possible to maintain the working condition of locomotive boilers on the road, not only during the war years, when railway workers transported equipment, food, wounded people and evacuated factories, but also until the transition to electric traction in the early 1960s.

Lyubov Shapiro worked as the head of the laboratory until 1959, then taught at the forest institutes of  Krasnoyarsk, Khimki and the city of Gorky. In 1999, she moved to Israel, where in February 2019, at the age of 105, she left this world in her right mind and solid memory.

We expss our gratitude to the staff of the Museum of the Krasnoyarsk Railway for sharing this amazing story with us!

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