Memories of the front – Digital archive of Soviet Jewish soldiers in WWII

Blavatnik Archive collects memories and testimonies from Soviet Jewish soldiers who fought during WWII in the Red Army


With over 30 million men, the Soviet Red Army was the largest and most ethnically diverse armed force ever assembled. 450,000 of these troops were Soviet-Jewish soldiers. The Blavatnik Archive is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating primary source materials that contribute to the study of 20th century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, and Soviet Russia. The Archive was founded in 2005 by American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik to reflect his commitment to cultural heritage, and expand his support for primary-source-based scholarship and education. Primarily through its metadata-rich, item-based website, the Archive shares its holdings as widely as possible for research, education, and public enrichment.

The Online Archive contains digitised diaries, postcards, letters and video testimonies from Jewish veterans of the Red Army. The diaries offer a detailed view into the daily life at the front during the war and provide an English transcript for each page of the document (next to the Russian original text).

The website works with keywords and important meta data and offers therefor an essential tool for research about war experiences.

Boris Komsky. Wartime diary, July 1943-January 1945,

The transcripts can be downloaded as PDF with a full English translation and original. The items are indexed, but what is missing (and required for full research) is the context and origin of the documents, the holder, who preserved it? Was it scanned completely? Is this a full transcript?

Nonetheless, the Blavatnik archive is an important and well-designed and structured source for war experience and the study of war history.

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