What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

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Carto's Cutlass Supreme
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What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 8 years 10 months ago (Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:03 pm)

At the beginning of the war between Germany and the USSR, Germany captured 3 million Soviet troops. But in studying the holocaust myth, one doesn't hear about them so much. What happened to them and where were they during the war? One becomes familiar with concentration camps like Auschwitz, Dachau, Belsen, Theriesienstadt, Buchenwald, Mathausen,etc. But are there other massive camps for Soviet POW's we never hear about? I just want to get a sense of this group in relation to Jews in camps. Did these Soviet POW's ever go rampaging through towns upon liberation? Did these POW's die by the thousands from typhus at the end of the war?

With camps like Buchenwald and Auschwitz (including subcamps) we get figures of 100,000 plus workers. Auschwitz was majority Jewish and Polish and Buchenwald was majority German. But 3 million Soviet POW's would be enough for 30 of such camps.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby gbrecht » 8 years 10 months ago (Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:33 am)

I am sure they had some typhus problems during the bad epidemics with some of the Soviet PoWs, but from what I know, the Soviet prisoners were treated much worse than Western Allied PoW's. I also think your 3 million number might be low, i think it may have been as high as 4.5-6 million, I'd have to look it up to be sure. Like I said treatment for Soviet PoW's wasn't as good as Western Allied PoW's, and once Germany began to crumble and run out of food, they made even less effort to feed the Soviet PoW's. Not that I blame the Germans, the Soviets had terrible PoW treatment as well, they really didn't deserve any better.

If I recall correctly, after the war was over, the USA took control of a lot of liberated Soviet PoW's, and many of them didn't want to go back to the Soviet Union because they thought they would be sent to the Gulags. I think some of them were granted asylum, but eventually a lot were returned to the USSR and in turn many were sent to Gulags. Again trying to remember here, but I think about 3 million Soviet PoW's survived the war, but I believe the majority were sent back to the Gulags, probably never to be seen again.

Another thing most people don't know is that the Soviet Union, specifically Stalin, actually kept some of the US PoW's as bargaining chips to gain back their own PoW's, but after the US granted asylum to some Soviet PoW's, Stalin ended up sending many American PoW's to the Gulags, also never to be seen again. I think the number of Americans sent to the Gulags was around 30,000-50,000. My numbers probably aren't 100% accurate but it's been a while.

Actually I think if I remember correctly the reason the American PoW's in Soviet hands weren't returned was because the US wouldn't forcibly return Soviet PoW's that didn't want to return.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby gbrecht » 8 years 10 months ago (Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:38 am)

Didn't realize you meant 3 million early in the war, sorry.

Also, I believe many of their Soviet PoW camps were in Poland, not all but quite a few.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Lohengrin » 8 years 10 months ago (Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:19 am)

Some official information about the (total) figures and destiny of Soviet prisoners of War.

The total number throughout the War was 5 million, 2 million of which supposedly died during the War.

In the first months of the Russian campaign the Germans took 3 million Soviet solders POW. This enormous number was demoralizing and disastrous for Stalin; for the Germans it was unexpected high and much too much to handle.

In the early months of the campaign, hundreds of thousands (some say 1 million) died by malnutrition, exhausting, illness and wounds. Moreover, Stalin bombarded POW camps in the Baltic states, because he didn't recognize the Geneva Treaties and designated all Soviet POW's as "traitors". I don't know how much of his own people Stalin murdered in this way.

The Germans contacted the Russian authorities to come to support of their "comrades", but they refused vehemently.

Only after 3 months, October '41, the Germans were able to feed the prisoners properly, but the death numbers stayed high. On December 2nd, the Germans managed to raise food rations to a level higher than Soviet-citizens got from their Government (Hoffmann, Ostlegionen, pp. 83).

Having no other choice than stay in abominable camps on Russian soil, or escape and be shot as 'traitors' by their 'comrades', 2 million Russian POW's choose to go into German service. Hundreds of thousands so-called Hiwis, ('Hilfswillige') entered the German troops for support services. The gusto was so great, that German units limited the Russian volunteers in Army Service Units to 10%.

It must be emphasized that the Russian POW's who entered the German Army, did so at their own free will. Those who doesn't want it, had no reprisals to fear, because Hitler and the Germans only wanted "Unbedingt zuverlassige und einsatzfreudige Mannschaften" ('Decidedly reliable and enthusiastic men') (Hoffmann, Ostlegionen, pp. 90).

More than a million POW's als, especially ethnic groups who opposed communism and/or wanted autonomy for their States of origin (Georgians, Turkmenistans, Caucasians, Cossacks, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Vlassov Division soldiers, etc.) entered German military forces and were incorporated or sometimes transformed to security units, units against partisans, etc.

Also, more than a million Russian POW's were transported to German concentration camps; nearly all German men were in military service, so the the German industry desperately needed labor force.

Quite another story than usually told: "the Germans killed 5 million Russian POW's".

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 8 years 10 months ago (Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:33 pm)

Thanks for the replies. It's still an unclear subject to me, but better thanks to the replies. Thanks Lohengrin for the source of Hoffmann.

Gbrecht: I'm skeptical that Stalin sent a sizeable number of American POW's to the gulags. Do you have a source for that?

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby bridgebuilder » 8 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:02 am)

The best source that the Russians kept American armed services personnel in captivity is from the horse's mouth, as it were, the Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, in his speech to Congress of June 7th, 1992. In addition, the number of allied air crew, overrun by the Red Army in the German POW camps in the east and who never returned could easily number in the multiple tens of thousands. Bomber Command and the American air force were war-winning strategic weapons. It was not in Stalin's interest that such trained personnel should be returned home. Far easier to simply blame the Germans. remember that British Intelligence was run by Stalin and that advisors to Roosevelt at presidential level were also Stalin's agents. Philby was in charge of overseeing KGB and GRU operations and Roger Hollis, on whom the cloud has not raised, ran the whole intelligence show. The Venona decrypts showed that Stalin had an agent advising Roosevelt.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby bridgebuilder » 8 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:16 am)

Corrigendum: Yeltsin's speech on American POWs held in Soviet labor camps was June 17th, not June 7th.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 8 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:40 am)

It was not in Stalin's interest that such trained personnel should be returned home.
I don't believe that. The Cold War hadn't even started. And where is the source or relevant quote for this Yeltsin speech?

This has gone off topic.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby gbrecht » 8 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:10 pm)

Carto's Cutlass Supreme wrote:Gbrecht: I'm skeptical that Stalin sent a sizeable number of American POW's to the gulags. Do you have a source for that?


http://www.amazon.com/Soldiers-Misfortu ... 0915765837

http://www.fff.org/freedom/0895a.asp

edit: Sorry for inadvertently hijacking the thread.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Mortimer » 8 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:04 pm)

Lohengrin wrote:Some official information about the (total) figures and destiny of Soviet prisoners of War.

The total number throughout the War was 5 million, 2 million of which supposedly died during the War.

In the first months of the Russian campaign the Germans took 3 million Soviet solders POW. This enormous number was demoralizing and disastrous for Stalin; for the Germans it was unexpected high and much too much to handle.

In the early months of the campaign, hundreds of thousands (some say 1 million) died by malnutrition, exhausting, illness and wounds. Moreover, Stalin bombarded POW camps in the Baltic states, because he didn't recognize the Geneva Treaties and designated all Soviet POW's as "traitors". I don't know how much of his own people Stalin murdered in this way.

The Germans contacted the Russian authorities to come to support of their "comrades", but they refused vehemently.

Only after 3 months, October '41, the Germans were able to feed the prisoners properly, but the death numbers stayed high. On December 2nd, the Germans managed to raise food rations to a level higher than Soviet-citizens got from their Government (Hoffmann, Ostlegionen, pp. 83).

Having no other choice than stay in abominable camps on Russian soil, or escape and be shot as 'traitors' by their 'comrades', 2 million Russian POW's choose to go into German service. Hundreds of thousands so-called Hiwis, ('Hilfswillige') entered the German troops for support services. The gusto was so great, that German units limited the Russian volunteers in Army Service Units to 10%.

It must be emphasized that the Russian POW's who entered the German Army, did so at their own free will. Those who doesn't want it, had no reprisals to fear, because Hitler and the Germans only wanted "Unbedingt zuverlassige und einsatzfreudige Mannschaften" ('Decidedly reliable and enthusiastic men') (Hoffmann, Ostlegionen, pp. 90).

More than a million POW's als, especially ethnic groups who opposed communism and/or wanted autonomy for their States of origin (Georgians, Turkmenistans, Caucasians, Cossacks, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Vlassov Division soldiers, etc.) entered German military forces and were incorporated or sometimes transformed to security units, units against partisans, etc.

Also, more than a million Russian POW's were transported to German concentration camps; nearly all German men were in military service, so the the German industry desperately needed labor force.

Quite another story than usually told: "the Germans killed 5 million Russian POW's".

This article says that Stalin went out of his way to invite mistreatment of Soviet pows because he considered them to be traitors to the USSR. Stalin's War Against His Own Troops - http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/Teplyakov.html
There are 2 sides to every story - always listen or read both points of view and make up your own mind. Don't let others do your thinking for you.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Lohengrin » 8 years 10 months ago (Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:28 pm)

Thanks Mortimer, for providing this valuable link.

It gives a better insight in the destiny of Soviet soldiers who were in German captivity.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby bridgebuilder » 8 years 10 months ago (Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:12 am)

Carto's Supreme Cutlass finds it hard to believe that American prisoners were kept in Soviet captivity despite Yeltsin's plain statement to the historic joint sitting of both houses of Congress in 1992 that they were so held. The issue is NOT off-topic. The topic asks what happened to the millions of Soviet POWs in German captivity. We know that to a man, following "liberation" they were sent to the Gulag and largely worked to death. Of the Waffen SS, nearly a million strong, who laid down their arms, not a man ever saw Germany again and their fate is unknown to this day. Even the German captives of the 6th army that Paulus surrendered at Stalingrad (and who were not SS) had only a selected 5% survive the camps and return to Germany. Captured British and American airmen interned in German camps overrun by the Red Army likewise were not repatriated. (The only exception I am aware of is the British Wing-commander Robert Tuck, who was fortunately able to make his escape and location in western Poland known to British military officials before he could be freighted away and vanished.) The Soviets had a deliberate policy of exterminating their prisoners, whether German, Soviet, Baltic, Polish (remember Katyn!) English or American. That is to say, Stalin had them killed, no doubt after being sweated for intelligence. (I wonder sometimes if British or American prisoners changed their minds about the nature of the war before they died. No doubt British airmen who had been at Oxford or Cambridge had every bit of information they had, extracted from them in inventive ways. The same would go for Americans from Harvard, Princeton, Yale etc. And as for the missing Soviet prisoners? Blame it on the Germans as they blamed Katyn on the Germans. Missing airmen in their tens of thousands? Well, German air defences were terribly good, weren't they and no doubt the nasty Germans shot them all down and killed them. Except the poor bastards largely weren't dead at all. Not for a while, anyway, and not before they had their fingernails extracted.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 8 years 10 months ago (Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:56 pm)

Thanks Bridgebuilder and other people who replied. The 5 percent survival of Stalingrad surrenderers is a strong point, to show camp mortality rate in USSR for German soldiers. I'm still trying to learn about it and will try to take a look at Yeltsin's speech.

The Germans losing so many Soviet POW's because they couldn't handle the amount of surrendered soldiers is so terrible. And what paltry media/scholarly attention. I really doubt that whole angle of Stalin not "signing the Geneva conventions" played a role. The Germans would have been able to know that the average soldier had nothing to do with that.

But one way that the Soviet POW's hurts the holocaust myth, is that the huge need for blue collar workers such that that was the reason that Jews able to work, made the selection at Auschwitz, just doesn't make sense if the Germans had so many Soviet POW's that they didn't know what to do with them.

The sad story of the Soviet POW is something else.

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby bridgebuilder » 8 years 10 months ago (Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:12 am)

Thank you for the good grace of your reply and my apologies for my mistaken switch-around of "Cutlass" and "Supreme".

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Re: What happened to the 3 million Soviet POW's?

Postby bridgebuilder » 8 years 9 months ago (Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:53 am)

The following website might be of interest to readers. It claims that tens of thousands of American and British servicemen were transported deep into the Soviet Union and worked to death in Soviet camps, It fits in with what Yeltsin said to the American people in his speech to the joint sitting of Congress. I am not presenting it as in any way authoritative (though I do believe what it states to be true) but because it includes references that might be of interest to others who have read this thread. It is, that is to say, being presented not as an argument, but rather as food for thought that might further discussion should someone think it worthwhile to take the matter further. I hope the moderator will allow the post in this spirit.

http://www.taskforceomegainc.org/freedom.htm


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