“…This is not for the dead,
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Memorial Database of Jewish Soldiers, Partisans and Workers Killed in Action during the Nazi era
2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. The cost of victory was very high. The Jews had their fair share fighting in allied armies – American, British and French. Their names are honored and the relatives wherever they live could easily find when, where and how they perished. Not so with the Red Army, where, despite the fact that the number of Jewish soldiers and officers was very significant, their participation in the war was always concealed and distorted for one simple reason – anti-Semitism. Only after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 did the truth start to come out and the names of the Jews who were killed fighting in the Red Army began to be collected and published by different groups of supporters.
Various memorial books that contain the names of the soldiers and officers killed and missing in action were published in Moscow, Kiev, Zhitomir and other cities and regions of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Khazakhstan and others. Some of the books contain the names of all people killed, some contain only the Jews, such as the monumental Memorial Book in eight volumes published by the Union of the Jewish Veterans of the War. To this day about 30 such books have been published and their number is growing. There are also quite a few websites created for the same purpose: to save the names of the heroes for posterity. Our gratitude goes out to the creators of all the memorial books and databases – their enterprise to honor the Nazi fighters is no less precious and important than that of Yad Vashem to honor each Holocaust victim.
However, it is very difficult to navigate through all these sources even if you know Russian, and it is almost an impossible endeavor for the average Westerner because all of the above sources are published in Cyrillic.
Alexander Zaslavsky has undertaken a project to resolve both problems. He has begun to pull together these sources, creating his own Electronic Memorial Book, where he has collected 115 thousand names from the different published sources and the Internet. He also kindly agreed to share his collection exclusively with the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc., helping us to create and index the names in Roman letters, so those in the West who want to learn about the military history of members of their families can do so now.
Alexander Zaslavsky lives in Israel. His website is at http://jmemory.org . This is an on-going project and his final goal is to collect the names of all the Jews killed fighting against the Nazis and to make these names available for everybody. So far, the estimated number he is trying to reach is 205,000.
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JGS, Inc, 2008