I finally have figured out which archive that could have my grandfather’s WWII military records- Central Military Archives of Ukraine in Kiev.
Talk about the wrong time to send a letter to archives in Kiev. I am hoping that by the time my letter arrives that the city will have some normalcy so I can finally get an answer on my grandfather’s military service.
I had assumed that since my grandfather served in the Red Army during World War II that all the records are still in Moscow. But since he was serving from Kiev, his hometown, it seems that Ukraine possesses his records.
A little more than a year ago, I learned the regiment where he served. I sent a letter to Russian Central Military Archives (ЦАМО Российской Федерации, ул. Кирова, д. 74, 142100, Московская обл., г. Подольск, Russia) back in January 2013.
The archives wrote a letter in April 2013, stating it did not have any records for that regiment. For some reason, the Russian Consulate General in New York City mailed this letter to me a few weeks ago.
So I am going to cross my fingers that my letter arrives at Ukrainian Central Military Archives (Галузевий державний архів Міністерства оборони України, вул. Бориспільська, 16, 02093, м. Київ) and the archives will find something on my grandfather. I don’t know about the chances that my grandfather’s records still exist.
He, his wife and baby daughter escaped Kiev in winter 1943 to southern Germany, thanks to my grandmother’s half-German ancestry. People in the Soviet Union were able to escape with the help of Germany if they could prove German ancestry.
It was bad enough that my grandfather was a POW of the German Army. Many Soviet soldiers were killed for being a POW so it was best for my grandfather to run for his life. His escape from a POW camp is another mystery.
I’ve heard that records of Soviets who were POWs or escaped the USSR were destroyed. My grandfather’s records also could have been destroyed by the terrible bombings of Kiev.
Unlike so many Americans, I don’t have letters from my grandfather to my grandmother while he served in the war nor photos of him in uniform. Some people are lucky enough to have relatives’ WWII uniforms and medals.
I don’t have a scrap of paper stating my grandfather served in the war that engulfed his hometown. My mother only has stories from her mother. I am hoping soon I can tell my mom about her father’s service in the Soviet Army.