9 May 1945 is the official end of the World War II between Germany and Soviet Union and today I want to bring to your attention the most comprehensive official Russian database on soldiers lost during the World War II – www.obd-memorial.ru.
Compiling or estimating the numbers of deaths caused during wars and other violent conflicts is always a controversial subject. Historians often put forward many different estimates of the numbers killed during World War II. It is estimated that anywhere between 21.8- 28 million Russian civilian people lost their lives during this war.
The official Russian figure by Ministry of Defence for military losses (total dead and missing) from 1941 to 1945 is 8,668,400; including 6,330,000 killed in action or died of wounds and 556,000 dead from non-combat causes; 500,000 missing in action and 1,283,000 dead and missing prisoners of war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#endnote_USSR)
A “Memorial” database is an official Russian database which contains information about the Russian soldiers killed and missing during the Great World War II and the postwar period.
In 2012 the database contained 13.7 million digital copies of killed and lost soldiers’s records from 38 thousand archival files from various State and Military archives and 42.2 thousand passports of military burials in existing military burial places/cemeteries in the Russian Federation and abroad. Additionally, more than 1,000 volumes of Books of Memory/Remembrance uploaded into the database. Altogether there are about 29 million records of archival documents (not to be confused with the total number of combat deaths – 8.67 million) and about 10 million records from the Books of Remembrance. (data from the official website www.obd-memorial.ru).
As of November 2013, the “Memorial” database holds records about 31,658,381 people.
In 2014 the information in “Memorial” database will increase by 500 passports of military burials with lists of more than 50 thousand buried soldiers. In addition 974,585 personal files of soldiers from military recruiting stations and nearly 200 thousand documents confirming the fate of military servicemen will be added to the database. (Source http://izvestia.ru/news/561167)
Scanned copies of original documents come from the Central Archive of Ministry of Defence and Russian State Military Archive. This is a continuation of the project which started in 2007. Work is carried out annually and will be carried out until the entire collection of files does not reach into the database. Every year a certain amount of money is allocated, the contract is concluded and executed during the year. So keep checking the database every year. There is a big chance that you might find your lost relatives and ancestors.
How to work with the website: Once you enter the website you will see the search screen. In the first row, enter RUSSIAN surname of your lost ancestor. To achieve the best result you need to enter first name (second empty space) and then patronymic name (third empty space). Year of birth and the military rank during the World War II, if known, should be entered in the second row. Press “Искать“, ie “Search”. In the results screen you will find the full name, date of birth, date killed/lost and birth place.
This database is of a great genealogical value as you might find any unknown relatives of your ancestors from the same birth place. Sometimes fathers and sons are listed on the same results list. Horrible, horrible history. Lest we forget.
If yo need any help with the search, you can always ask me.