The Russian government is sharing the joy of the 70th anniversary for the Soviet Army’s victory over the German army with the world. This anniversary is being celebrated with the opening of an impressive database.
Memory of a Nation 1941-1945 has more than 50 million records on Soviet Army WWII soldiers and that includes 2 million records on locations of soldiers’ burial sites.
The cherry on top of this tasty Russian torte is that paths of individual soldiers are shown on maps with details on their unit’s activities. It is so thrilling to look up my grandfather’s brother on this database and see the path he took with his unit through Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany and learn the medals he earned on his way to the Soviet Army’s victory.
I do not have the luck of finding records of my grandfather in this database. He was a “traitor” for getting captured by the German army, then escaping a German POW camp and finding a way out of the Soviet Ukraine during the war.
Every effort to find his records have failed after contacting military archives in Ukraine and Russia. Now that effort to contact military archives is no longer needed, thanks to this database.
The only caveat in using this database is that only keywords in Russian can be used in the search engine. Names and other keywords can be easily translated on Google Translate. This website can be viewed through Google Translate here.
To easily work through the website, here are some simple translations: фамилия: last name; имя: first name; отчество: patronymic name (middle name from the father, i.e. Ivanovich); год рождения: birth year; место рождения: place of birth; and дата выбытия: date of service ending.
Out of curiosity, I searched my great-grandfather’s Russian birth village to see who would appear in the database. This may be an easier way to find relatives in the database if it is easier to translate names of villages and small towns than complicated Russian surnames.
If people who are uncomfortable with Russian websites still aren’t convinced of the database’s value, here is an article in English, explaining the database in detail.
The effort to use this database will prove to be well-worth it in results for many people.