Tuesday 27 January 2015


Since today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, there have been a number of speeches made on the topic. Unfortunately, the authors of those speeches didn't seem to be particularly well read, and one mistake exists among many of them: the idea that the 1st Ukrainian Front that liberated the camp was composed entirely of Ukrainians. Thankfully, the Ministry of Defense put up a number of documents associated with the liberation, one of which was a demographic overview of the unit involved in the battle for the camp, the 60th Army. Here is a page from it, listing the nationalities of soldiers, NCOs, and officers.

Out of 11374 officers, 7501 or 66% were Russian, and 2126 (19%) were Ukrainian. These nationalities the vast majority of the personnel, as the next highest (Belarusians) nationality is only at 311 officers (3%). Out of 22321 NCOs, 12603 (56%) were Russian, 7568 (34%) were Ukrainian, and 353 (1.5%) were Belarusian. Among privates, the numbers are a bit different, with 28347 Ukrainians (51%) out of 55848, 22294 Russians (40%) and 546 Belarusians (1%). 

Aside from nationalities, the document contains many interesting statistics. For instance, education. Most officers are well educated (1907 have 1-6 grades of school, 4080 have 7-9 grades, and 5387 have secondary or post-secondary education), but 20 NCOs have no formal education (127812 have 1-6 grades, 8642 have 7-9 grades, and 2300 have more), and 8962 privates have no formal education, 41472 have 1-6 grades, 8642 have 7-9 grades, and 1772 have more than that.

2388 out of the army's total number were women (1081 privates, 751 NCOs, and 556 officers and specialists). A rather significant amount (57 officers, 101 NCOs, and 1208 privates) were born in 1893 or earlier, so they were old enough to fight in WWI and would have been at least 52 when this document was written. More privates (7244) were born after 1924, more than any other age range. NCOs were also mostly from that range (3620), but officers were a little older. Among them, 1919-1921 dominated (1721).

This document and many others are available in the Ministry of Defense Media Library.

According to Krivosheev's calculations summarizing the demographics from January 1st, 1943, 1944, and 1945, this was the composition of the Red Army broken down by nationality:

Russians 66.402
Ukrainians 15.890
Belarusians 2.917
Tatars 2.165
Jews 1.644
Kazakhs 1.448
Uzbeks 1.360
Armenians 0.966
Georgians 0.917
Mordovinians 0.730
Chuvashes 0.730
Azerbaijani 0.673
Moldavians 0.621
Baskirs 0.366
Kirghiz 0.307
Udmurt 0.268
Tajiks 0.264
Turkmen 0.246
Estonians 0.245
Mari 0.241
Buryats 0.150
Komi 0.134
Latvians 0.134
Lithuanians 0.134
Peoples of Dagestan 0.128
Ossetians 0.123
Poles 0.117
Karelians 0.110
Kalmycks 0.046
Kabardians and Balkarians 0.039
Greeks 0.028
Chechens and Ingush 0.026
Finns 0.018
Bulgarians 0.013
Czechs and Slovaks 0.005
Chinese 0.005
Yugoslavians 0.001
Other 0.389

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