The role of Siberians in the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II., including residents of Novosibirsk, in key turning-points of decisive battles and wartime operations on all warfronts is widely recognized. More than a dozen divisions were formed in our region. In total the Novosibirsk region provided the army with more than 600,000 people during the war. One in five did not return from the front. Our compatriots sheltered Moscow from enemy troops and participated in Stalingrad, Kursk, and many other battles. They took part in the removal of the Leningrad blockade, the capture of Berlin and Prague, and participated in the defeat of the militaristic Japanese army. No matter where the people of Novosibirsk fought, they never encountered a section of the front or a sense of unity comparable to their own.
Over a period of almost twenty years, work took place in our region to catalogue information about wars and those who died in WW2. The results were published in a multi-volume book to remember the Novosibirsk region. Just as ambitiously, the work, “They Returned with Victory,” immortalized the names of the soldiers, sergeants, officers, and generals who came back alive to the Novosibirsk region after the war. However, research remains relevant even today because the meager information available now only covers about half of the compatriots drafted from the cities and regions in the modern-day administrative borders of the region. Until now, determining the fate of loved ones has been a very difficult matter.
In May 2013, under the initiative of the City Museum of Novosibirsk, a new, unique project began with the intent to make a database about the recruits and residents of the Novosibirsk region and city who participated in World War II, “Memorial to the Glory of Novosibirsk’s Residents”. This project is supported by an act of the regional organizational committee “Victory” and will be a priority during the preparation of events for the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II.
The goal of this work is to collect information and to remember the participants in World War II — residents of the Novosibirsk region — by means of systematic work preserving historical roots and identity, spreading moral values and raising young people in a patriotic manner.
This archive will contain systematic information about our compatriots, participants in World War II, concentrated in one place (organized by region and in alphabetical order). Foundations of regional and federal museums and archives, and archives of departments, enterprises and citizens are the sources of the material. The archive is basically digitized, credible files (letters, newspaper publications, excerpts from books, soldiers’ memoirs, audio files, photographs, videos, etc.) relating to the individual biographies of our compatriots from Novosibirsk.
The development of the electronic archive anticipates the creation of separate sections devoted to Novosibirsk residents — participants in different historical periods and events: Russo-Japanese War, World War I, World War II, local conflicts (fighting at the Chinese Eastern Railway, at the Khalkhin river, at the Khasan Sea, the Spanish Civil War, the Soviet-Finnish War, etc.), war workers, and patients in Novosibirsk hospitals.
Novosibirsk residents have already responded and take an active part in the completion of the archive.
The creation of a portal based on the archive’s resources has been planned for the anniversary of Victory Day in World War II. The portal will be used to provide the relatives, friends and descendants of those who died free access to accumulated, reliable information from a variety of sources about our compatriots. It will also refine and promptly update the incoming information. Access to the material will be organized through the internet, and through special terminals located in the City Museum of Novosibirsk and its regional branches.
As a modern way of perpetuating the memory of the heroic generation of World War II victors, the electronic archive will be an important element connecting the generations and will help establish historical justice in relation to the military and public services of our compatriots.
Deputy Director of MKUK “City Museum of Novosibirsk”