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Microform Collection: World War II documents: Part 3, The Long Road Home

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Documents of Ukrainian Forced Labor Workers Detained in Soviet Filtration Camps in Germany

Published by Primary Source Microfilm

From the holdings of the Kiev Regional Archive

The spring of 1945 brought long-awaited victory and freedom for Ostarbeiters as the Soviet Army and Western allies stormed into Germany. After the Soviet government had decided to return Soviet citizens from Germany, a number of organizational measures were taken. From August to December 1945, the Soviets interrogated thousands of repatriates, most of whom were civilians. In the eyes of the Soviets, however, these individuals had not shown sufficient resistance to their recent German "masters," and so were treated as possible enemies in disguise - foreign spies or saboteurs. The NKVD had traditionall screened (i.e., "filtered") those who presumably threatened the Soviet system before the war. After the war, Soviet authorities created a "filtration file" (a dossier by individual) for the returning Ostarbeiters. In 1955, these filtration files became part of the special record at KGB archives. This change added new obstacles to those once interrogated: new impediments were placed before repatriated citizens' ability to leave; posed obstacles to landing jobs with various institutions and enterprises; hindered access to classified materials. In fact, the country distrusted its citizens for decades "just in case."

The "filtration files" had long been kept in the archives of KGB and considered a state secret. In June 1993 the Directorate of Security Service of Ukraine in Kiev moved the filtration files - 115,940 items in total - to the State archive of Kiev oblast, finally making these documents accessible to researchers.

The wealth of information contained within this collection is incomparable. All documents are originals, their authenticity (a significant issue in research of secret dossier collections of this nature), assured by the use of letterhead, official stamps, seals, impresses and certified signatures, as well as registration numbers, in/out markings, personal identification information, passport and identity card photographs, and fingerprintings. Some filtration files even include documents from various Soviet organizations and institutions, as well as materials in German or from allied armies (i.e., English, American and French).

Scope: approx. 180 reels in six units

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LOCATION: SML, Microform (Non-Circulating)
CALL NUMBER: Film B18962