Soviet Dembelsky Albums of Service in the DDR "East Germany"
'Dembelsky Albom or “Demobilization Albums”, were created by Soldiers of the Soviet Army who were serving their mandatory service of 2 – 3 years. Before their service ended, they would put together photo albums of pictures, cartoon drawing and texts of their time serving. Like your traditional photo albums, which contained just photos. These were means of memorialization, serving as a visual basis for recounting an individual’s time in the army. The photos captured the moment in time, as the cartoon art work, to the story of what the solider experienced.
Each album was unique, some were store bought and others were hand crafted together. The cover usually contained the soldiers name, years of service and the number of the military unit he serviced in. The inside, layout was usually the same for all. The first page, would have a paper of the soldier call to service and unit. The last page, would have a paper of his order of demobilization issued by the minister of defense. Some also had hand drawn picture of how the solider returned home from service,usually by train or plane.
The albums contents, compiled from photographs, drawings and poetry, often shifted between military life, longing to return home, collecting soldiers memories of the army and their life among the comrades. One thing these demob Albums documented, was the reality and state of the Soviet Military during the Cold War.
Sometime depending on where the soldier was stationed, Demob photo albums were considered by officers as OPSEC violation and if found were burnt by political officers.