Database of Red Army Jewish Soldiers Killed in Battles or Missing in Action in World War II
World War II was one of the most cataclysmic event in recent Jewish history. We mourn the six million innocent victims who perished at the hands of the German Nazis and their eager collaborators throughout Europe. We are proud that Jews resisted the Nazis whenever they had a chance–whether in ghettoes, in the forests as partisans, or as soldiers in the armies of the Allied Forces. It has always been common knowledge that the Jews of the Soviet Union fought bravely in the Red Army in World War II, known as The Great Patriotic War to the Soviet people. Likewise, it has been known that the Soviet government denied Jews their battle awards and blacked out information about the Jewish participation in the war against the Nazis. The information, suppressed and hidden, nevertheless survived and outlived the "Evil Empire".
When the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, its archives became much more accessible to researchers. One project that started in the early 1990's was to compile a list, from the former Soviet Army and Navy archives, of all Jewish soldiers listed as killed or missing in action. At least half a million Jewish men and women fought in the ranks of the Red Army and the Navy. Many thousands were killed or missing and presumed dead. The work of compiling their names was done by the staff of The Central Archives of The Ministry Of Defense and The Russian State Archives of the Navy, at the request of the Russian Union of Jewish War Invalids and Veterans. The results do not list all Jews known to have died in combat. For example, my father’s cousin Iosif Feldblyum, missing in action 1943, was not listed in the database, nor were a number of his friends and classmates such as Isaak Arbisman, David Datskovsky, Mark Gammer, Grigory Filler, Iosif Kilevsky, Zinovy Zinder. There could be many reasons that files for these and many other Jewish soldiers have not been found. Nonetheless, the database contains about 100,000 names - the most complete listing today. As more records are found and are collected from private individuals, it is possible that additional volumes will be published over and above the eight books available today.
FAST Genealogy Service is offering Jewish genealogists records from this enormous collection. The copyright considerations allow us to present only the English translation of the records (see examples below). The information, including the references to the actual archival files, will undoubtedly open new research venues for many a genealogist who looks for missing links with their families in the Soviet Union of 1920's-1940's.
The Book of Memory was initially published in four volumes. Since the new information became available, four additional volumes have been published over the course of several years. Therefore, even simple lookup of one uncommon name involves looking through at least four different volumes. In the case of a more common name, e.g. Feldman or Cohen, the lookup and data entry require considerable time investment.
For several years, we have offered fee lookups based on the family name and the city of birth, which is listed in most records. Regretfully, we cannot afford this service because of the high volume of inquiries and must request a nominal charge of US $18.00. You are welcome to take advantage of the partial index to the Book of Memory to see if somebody has submitted a similar inquiry before (we do not save the initial inquiries and cannot answer questions such as "Who has inquired about Belkowski from Berdichev?") The index will be updated on a monthly basis.
All initial inquiries must be submitted as e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org, accompanied by an $18.00 payment via paypal.com.
The subject line should read "Book of Memory inquiry".
Put the name(s) and the town(s) into the message body, e.g.
1. Belkowski, Alex, Berdichev;
2. Belkowski. Moisha. Odessa ;
3. Belkowski, Anywhere (if you are not sure about the town of origin or suspect some Belkovskys lived in other towns).
4. Feldman, Boris. Anywhere.
My initial reply will look similar to this one:
The following are the results of the Book of Memory search:
1. Belkowski. Berdichev. No entries.
2. Belkowski. Odessa . No entries.
3. Belkovski, Alex, . Kiev. 1 record.
If the name is common and there are too many records to list individually, the reply will be similar to:
4. Feldman. Approximately 80 listings. Additional fee-based analysis is required.
If a record with the exact surname-firstname-town combination is found, we will translate and send it to you. If not, we will translate the first record with the exact surname-town combination. If that does not exist, we will translate the first surname-firstname combination, if available.
A portion of the fees will be donated to the Russian Union of Jewish War Invalids and Veterans, which has published the Book of Memory.
Please make checks payable to Boris Feldblyum, US funds only please, and mail it to:
FAST Genealogy Service
8510 Wild Olive Drive
Potomac, MD 20854, USA
We accept credit card payments via www.paypal.com. Reference email is: email@example.com
The records vary in their contents. Some are brief, some are very long, depending on the amount of information uncovered in the archives. The one Belkovskij record reads:
BEL’KOVSKIJ, Iosif Ionovich.
1921-1941. Born in Kiev, Ukraine. Drafted in the Leningrad district of Kiev. Sergeant, aviation [branch]. Died in battles in the city of Borisov, Belorussia. /SEIVV*/
Book of Memory, Vol. 5, p. 177.
An example of a more detailed record:
GURVICHIUS, Moisej Elyashevich.
1923-1943. Born: city of Panevezhys, Lithuania. Drafted: Kokand Military Commissariat, Fergana oblast, [Uzbekistan]. Red Army soldier, rifleman, 16th Lithuanian Division, 249th Rifleman Regiment. Died in combat. Buried: village of Krestyanovka, Orel oblast, mass grave. /TsAMO**, inv[entory] 18001, f[ile] 1426, sh[eet] 40/.
Book of Memory, Vol. 1, p. 417.
As the work progressed, the book included printed sources in addition to archival:
TALALAJ, Efim Mikhajlovich.
1898-1944 (1946). Drafted in Moscow. Missing in action.
KPM***, v.12, p.499. Book of Memory, Vol. 4, p. 48.
TALALAJ, Yakov Lejbovcih.
1916-1941. Born in Moscow. Political officer, 175th motorized infantry battalion. Died in battles.
KPM, v.12, p.499. Book of Memory, Vol. 4, p. 48.
* SEIVV is the acronym for the Russian Union of Jewish War Invalids and
** TsAMO is a Russian acronym for the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense.
*** KPM is a Russian acronym for the Book of Memory for Moscow, 15 vols. edition, 1993-1995.
Work in progress
We have received a number of requests for people not listed in the eight volumes. Perhaps, the information will be discovered one day, or will be submitted by someone who has it. If you wish, we will put your information on the Open Page on this web site. This information will be shared with SEIVV.
1. Surname, given name, patronymics.
2. Years of life.
4. Last known information, 20 words please.
5. How to contact you.
partial index to the Book of Memory
Book of Memory - Open Page
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