As the Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, a special SS unit was tasked with collecting Soviet archival materials in major occupied cities, such as Kiev and Kharkov. Soviet census data from between 1932 and 1940 became source material for a detailed ethnographic map of the Caucasus published by historian and German military intelligence officer Wilfried Krallert in 1944.
The map legend assigns red triangles for Armenian, brown squares for Azerbaijani, green circles for Russian, purple circles for Kurdish and red circles for ethnic German settlements, the latter comprised eight settlements in northwestern Soviet Azerbaijan prior to war-time deportations.
Several differences are notable when compared to later Soviet and contemporary ethnographic maps. Kurds comprised the majority of Kelbajar population with two settlements marked inside Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) as well. The Kurdish population has since become assimilated into the Azerbaijani population.
Also notable is that the north-eastern contour of NKAO extends further than in later Soviet maps; as is known, NKAO’s administrative borders have had several permutations. Ethnic diversity of Kirovabad (present-day Ganja) with its large Russian and Armenian populations, the Armenian majority south and west of Kirovabad, sprinkle of Armenian settlements throughout northern Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani majority on the eastern side of Lake Sevan also added to the area’s ethnic diversity 80 years ago.
An earlier ethnographic map of the region, prepared by Russian scholar Nikolay Seidlitz, was first published in 1880, also in Germany. That map showed even great “inter-mixing” of ethnic groups with Armenian settlements stretching along the foothills from the Greater Caucasus Range from Nukha (Sheki) to Shemakha in what later comprised central-northern areas of Soviet Azerbaijan, as wells as several Armenian villages on Kura river, south and east of Mingechaur, that were absent by 1930s.