10 million records added to WWII victims database

Researching relatives and ancestors who were victims of WWII as concentration camp victims, forced laborers or displaced persons just got easier.

This week, Arolsen Archives (formerly known as International Tracing Service) posted 10 million records online for free downloading here. The database, which has more than 13 million records, doesn’t involve any registration so it is straight to searching.

The best part of this database is that it can be searched in English. Since the database had so many records uploaded quickly, the search abilities are limited to names and topics for now.

These records are in German but some records have English written along the German. Anyone who lacks German language skills could try Google Translate to switch the typed German into English.

Also, plenty of German genealogy groups on Facebook have members who are willing to translate documents. The Genealogy Translations group is a popular group for this type of help.

This database was last updated in November, when I found more documents on my grandparents. Three more important records were just posted on my grandparents, who were displaced persons from Soviet Ukraine living in southern Germany during the war.

I hope to post soon about the information the new records reveal about my grandparents. This update to the database will be one of many to come.

I will post here when Arolsen Archives has another major update to the database.

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Free database on WWII soldiers grows by more than 5 million records

Anyone researching their relatives and ancestors who served in World War II for the Soviet Union has more hope to find military records online for free.

More than 5 million records recently have been added to the Memorial database for soldiers who died, went missing or became prisoners of war. The website doesn’t require any registration.

Each entry on soldiers can include their full name, birthdate or birth year, place of birth, date and place of recruitment, last place of service, military rank, and reason service ended. The records of soldiers can be saved as jpeg or pdf files. Directions are listed at the end of this post.

Yes, the database is in Russian but there are free online translator programs that can switch the Russian to English (keep on reading). The search page has the keyword box titles in English but the keywords must be in Russian. An English version of the database nor any database on USSR WWII veterans don’t exist anywhere.

Here is an example of results that will be missed for those who don’t want to try a Russian website:

Here’s how to use the database without knowing Russian:

  1. Download the Google Translate web browser application for Chrome here and Firefox here.
  2. If you don’t use that application, open the next browser window into Google Translate for easier switching between windows.
  3. Type your relative’s or ancestor’s name and birthplace into Google Translate and have it translated into Russian. If Google Translate doesn’t work, try this website instead.
  4. Copy and paste the keywords into the proper keyword boxes and then click on search.
  5. The results will appear in Russian for those not using the Google Translate web browser application. Copy and paste the results into Google Translate.
  6. Once you see a potential match, click on the link and then copy and paste the text into Google Translate.
  7. The document below the text providing details on the soldier can be saved as a jpeg file by clicking on the disk symbol or saved as a pdf file by clicking on the file symbol with PDF written in red. The link to the individual soldier’s page can be copied by clicking on the link symbol.

Once that information is downloaded, the next step is to search for relatives and ancestors in the Memory of the People database, which has information and records on recipients of WWII medals and other honors. The same steps taken on the Memorial database can be used for this database, in addition to free databases here.

This all takes some effort but it is well worth the effort when the documents are posted online for free. Getting used to combining language translator programs with Russian military websites is a great skill worth maintaining.

The Russian government is determined to post online as many WWII records and soldiers’ information as possible. The updates to WWII databases will continue on a regular basis to honor the soldiers who made the sacrifices for the USSR.

Follow this blog with the top right button to learn about new and updated databases.

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Newly updated database reveals 2 million documents on WWII victims and refugees
Database of political terror victims in the USSR explodes past 3 million
Databases of Soviet Army soldiers as POWs provide wealth of information