"Memory vigil": Searching for ancestors lost in WWII

Every year dozens of search groups from the Tver region keep "Memory Vigil" next to the town of Rzhev. They look for the remains of soldiers fallen there during World War II, and then rebury them with military honors.

As a rule, the Memory Vigils are the main task of the search units. It is during these vigils that searchers do "fieldwork" with shovels and probing rods. And it is there — in the field — that they find the unburied remains of Red Army soldiers and commanders, who are then given a proper burial with full honors by the search teams.

Searchers come from all walks of life: businesspeople, teachers, engineers, students, school pupils, rescue workers, children from orphanages. They do it on vacation, and invest a lot of money in equipment and gear. Some of them travel with their children.

Between January 8, 1942, and March 31, 1943, more than 700,000 Soviet soldiers died during the Battles of Rzhev. These battles became some of the bloodiest episodes of World War II.

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