The website iremember.ru – an open-access collection on oral history with more than 2,500 interviews with Soviet veterans of World War II. The project, which was started in 2000 as a small grassroots project, soon received state support and developed into an important element of Russia’s contemporary memory landscape.
(with lay over voices) on youtube
The website contains in the majority interviews and letters in Russian, but as well in an English version. The statements of the veterans are structured by their army service (infantry, artillery, paramedics) or by certain battles. Besides personal memories and stories, the website gives also insights into how the wounded were treated and how the medics worked along the frontline. Nina Erdmann, worked as a nurse in hospitals near the frontline during the war and tells the story of how she treated a German pilot.
Letters in research
Next to interviews, letters are as well represented. Field post documents from the front (or home front) are an unique insight into the life and the experience of its senders during a war. These can contain an impression about the mood, thoughts and personal experience of the writer. Memoirs written years or decades after the war can represent a distorted image of the true events but letters can show only a short glimpse in the everyday life. One must also note that the content and the style of the document vary from its receiver. A mother received a sign of life from the son (everything alright, I have enough to eat and I am doing fine), while letters addressed to a friend might include another story telling about front life. Account should be taken of what information the authors should share with others, what was essential to them, and what the other needs to know.
The letters introduced on https://iremember.ru/letters/ are a good example and more wholesome approach next to the study of interviews and veterans for military or war history “from below”.