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:
- Download the Google Translate web browser application for Chrome here and Firefox here.
- If you don’t use that application, open the next browser window into Google Translate for easier switching between windows.
- 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.
- Copy and paste the keywords into the proper keyword boxes and then click on search.
- The results will appear in Russian for those not using the Google Translate web browser application. Copy and paste the results into Google Translate.
- Once you see a potential match, click on the link and then copy and paste the text into Google Translate.
- 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.
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