Soviet Union Jewish War Veterans of WW ll #russia #announcements #records
Jan Meisels Allen
The Blavatnik Archive (BAF) is announced that 2,700 of 12,921 total items in the Veteran Testimonies & Ephemera Collection are fully digitized, cataloged, and accessible online at www.blavatnikarchive.org/collection/veteran-testimonies.
BAF’s Veteran Testimonies & Ephemera Collection, the largest collection in the world on the experience of Jews in the ranks of the Soviet armed forces during WWII, was launched in 2006. Nearly 1,200 unique video testimonies by veteran soldiers and partisans have been recorded in eleven countries, mostly during the period of 2006-2014. In addition, thousands of items from the veterans’ personal archives were digitally captured during the interview process, including photographs, letters, postcards, diaries, and state-issued documents. Collections of veterans whose testimonies were not recorded have been added to the growing collection by family members.
Items from the collection that are available online include 188 video testimonies (20% women), 1,454 photographs, 615 state-issued documents, 165 letters and postcards, 26 newspapers and periodicals, and 6 wartime diaries. Subjects include combat and military service, life at the front, ethnic relations, Jewish identity, attitudes toward women, facing the Holocaust, pre and post-war Soviet life. For all items, the website provides full source-language transcripts with English translation, as well as subject, geography, and date metadata.
Also accessible on the website are 182 unique veteran profiles; each presents a biographical description, military profile, full testimony and the veteran’s personal archive of photos and ephemera.
The Blavatnik Archive Foundation (www.blavatnikarchive.org) is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating primary resources that contribute to the study of 20th-century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, Soviet and interwar periods. The Archive was founded in 2005 by American industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik to reflect his commitment to his family heritage, to explore his interests in historical events and people, and to expand his support for primary source-based scholarship and education. Currently, the Archive’s holdings of over 90,000 items include video oral histories, postcards, photographs, posters, drawings and illustrations, diaries, letters and documents, periodicals, leaflets and books.
Thank you to Saul Issroff for sharing the information with us.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee