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"Soviet Union: German Prisoners of War following" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2021 8:35 p.m. PST

….World War II

"During World War II, Nazi Germany sent its soldiers across much of Europe, the Soviet Union, North Africa, and the world's oceans. After the Third Reich's fortunes shifted decisively in the lost battle for Moscow in December 1941, the Allies began to inflict grievous defeats on the German army, which resulted in millions of casualties and prisoners of war (POWs).

At the time of the German surrender, on 8 May 1945, approximately twenty nations allied against former Nazi-controlled territories, held German POWs. The United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union held the vast majority of the eleven million who surrendered. Approximately 5 million were released almost immediately, and the last POWs in the Soviet Union would not return until 1956. Both the Western Allies and the Soviets committed crimes against the POWs. Thousands of POWs died in American stockades and French work camps. POWs in the Soviet Union, and in Soviet occupied countries such as Poland, had the worst luck. They were deployed in various kinds of work with few provisions and more often than not exposed to the harsh weather of Siberia. Hundred of thousands are estimated to have died…"
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Perun Gromovnik11 Nov 2021 10:07 p.m. PST

Well, they were treated much better then Soviet POW in Germany. At least they were not included in various experiments or just left to die from starvation and thirst or even worse

Wackmole912 Nov 2021 2:51 a.m. PST

Watched a Y tube video that said the worst nation to be a German POW was France.

YouTube link

Cuprum212 Nov 2021 4:53 a.m. PST

I am always amused by stories about an unknown number of prisoners in the GULAG camps (including prisoners of war). Whoever declares such nonsense does not at all understand how the state reporting for the used material was arranged under Stalin.
Each prisoner was assigned a work plan, uniforms, food, bedding, pay and much more. If a person dies, and the labor camp administration continues to receive allowance for him, this is a crime for which the camp director himself will be convicted and imprisoned. Of course there were excesses, but they could not be massive and, moreover, unaccounted for.
German historians include among the prisoners of war all those German soldiers who went missing on the battlefield. But in the conditions of the Russian front, in the snow, forests and swamps, hundreds of thousands of soldiers (both Russian and German) disappeared when their bodies were not found. The search continues now. Every year, search engines bring up hundreds, if not thousands, of unburied remains at the sites of former battles.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Nov 2021 9:27 a.m. PST

Cuprum2, Sir,

…And you believe this Gulag Twaddle?


chrisminiaturefigs Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2021 10:29 a.m. PST

Cuprum2, i watched a number of youtube videos of the search teams in eastern Europe and Russia discovering many bodies and repatriating the remains to war cemeteries.
Many of these skeletons were still with their guns, helmets, ammo, boots, frozen in time where they fell in their foxholes or trenches, no real burial at all.

Legionarius12 Nov 2021 3:36 p.m. PST

The Nazi war in the east was savage. The Soviet reprisal, not surprisingly, was equally savage. The Germans who followed their Nazi god and all the evil propaganda reaped what they sowed--with interest.

Cuprum212 Nov 2021 6:35 p.m. PST

The Virtual Armchair General, yes. I was once deeply interested in this topic and read thousands of documents related to repression and the Gulag.
I can say that there are a lot of myths surrounding this topic.

Legionarius, just read the memoirs of the German prisoners of war themselves, who returned from the USSR. Everything is described there. Both the bad and the good.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2021 10:23 p.m. PST

Are there any good…?


Perun Gromovnik12 Nov 2021 11:08 p.m. PST

After all atrocities and savage things that germans did they were not treated as bad as they deserved. Does any one know how many soviet pow's returned home from Germany

Cuprum213 Nov 2021 1:37 a.m. PST

I do not read German and have not looked for translations of these books into English. But I think you can easily find such books.
In the meantime, a few articles on the subject of the memoirs of German prisoners of war (in automatic translation, alas):



Birkemeyer, W. Eine Jugend hinter Stacheldraht. Als 16-jähriger Flak-Helfer in sowjetischer Kriegsgefangenenschaft. — Münster: Aschendorff, 2002

And the translation of the Russian annotation for this book:

Huscarle13 Nov 2021 1:28 p.m. PST

Surprised to read "the vast majority of ordinary Germans in east and west believed that they had suffered the most during World War II." They get no sympathy from me.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2021 2:20 p.m. PST

No sympahty from my part too… but both sides play the devil…

Seems there were many Russian prisioners alive when the Russian arrived to they Prisioner camp… because I have read that … they were forced to put on the uniform again and send to the front because of the lack of man power there….

Others… they didn't even have that "luck"…


Cuprum213 Nov 2021 9:41 p.m. PST

In the USSR, with the beginning of the war, a large number of prisoners were amnestied, convicted under domestic and criminal offenses, and who had served half of the sentence. Those fit for military service were drafted into the army immediately after their release. Political prisoners were released only after re-examination of their cases – this mainly concerned representatives of the middle and upper army command echelons.
Those released from prisoner of war camps were also recruited for military service after passing the appropriate check.
The shortage of personnel in Soviet divisions usually ranged from 30 to 50%, so that every soldier really counted. The stories about the incalculable "Mongol hordes" are silly tales of the German generals to justify their own defeats.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2021 2:38 p.m. PST


In the dozens of books that I have and also have read about WW2 … in the West … no one treated their fellow prisoners like the Russians did …

Agree about the "Mongol Hordes"… although the numerical and material superiority from 1944 on the part of the Russians was more than remarkable … not to mention at the end of that year and in 1945


Cuprum214 Nov 2021 5:06 p.m. PST

What do you know about what happened to the "red" Finns after the civil war in Finland?
What do you know about what was done with the political opponents in Spain after the victory of Franco and the nationalists?
In Europe, too, there were enough facts of cruel treatment of prisoners.

Yes, in 1944-45 the Red Army undoubtedly excelled in the number and equipment of the Germans.

Blutarski14 Nov 2021 6:37 p.m. PST

Is an argument being implied or made here that the Soviet army on the Eastern Front was inferior in numbers to that of the Axis?


Blutarski14 Nov 2021 6:51 p.m. PST

Also, while on the subject of the Spanish Civil War, perhaps someone can address the exciting experiences enjoyed by Catholics, Catholic clergy, the priesthood and nuns at the hands of radical socialists mobs. Also the activities of the Soviet intelligence apparatus (installed by Stalin in Spain as part of the Soviet aid program to watch over the ideological Soviet Marxist purity of the Spanish socialist political fraternity) makes for interesting reading as well.

There are precious few "white hats".


Cuprum214 Nov 2021 7:29 p.m. PST

Of course not.
The German army completely surpassed all its opponents in efficiency from the beginning of the war to almost the very end.
Here is some interesting, albeit superficial, research on this topic. The effectiveness of the Allied armies in Europe is also mentioned here (automatic translation):


Cuprum214 Nov 2021 7:33 p.m. PST

Are we not now talking about the fact that Europe had its own facts of cruel treatment of prisoners? In Spain, according to human rights activists, during Franco's rule, 700 thousand political opponents were killed and 1.5 million people were forced to flee abroad… If we make a projection on the population size of Finland, Spain and the USSR, the repression in these Western countries surpassed what happened in the USSR.

Perun Gromovnik15 Nov 2021 9:23 a.m. PST

Franco's Spain wasnt even geographically in west europe. Politically was closer to nazi germany then to western europe

Cuprum215 Nov 2021 5:55 p.m. PST

Did you now exclude Spain from Western Europe?))) I don't know if the Spaniards agree with you.
I know that in Europe there were many authoritarian regimes in the 20th century and far from only communist ones. Even in the United States, democracy was very peculiar – it was combined with racial segregation …

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2021 2:44 p.m. PST

When you have a Civil War… … all the demons accumulated in that country explode at the same time … producing an otherwise bloody and vengeful conflict … almost all the participants have a strong "motive" to attack their opponents (and often take revenge) … it is not the same when one country declares war on another … a vast majority have no idea why they are going to war … or lack the morals to kill another human (more than that of self-survival) …

There is no hate worse than the fight between brothers…

So… imho the Spanish conflict is not valid as an example…


Cuprum217 Nov 2021 5:02 a.m. PST

It is strange that you see this reason for the terror in Spain (and in Finland, by the way, the same thing), but you do not see absolutely the same reason in Russia.

As for the prisoners of war of the Second World War in Russia – read carefully the memoirs of German prisoners. They directly write that the warders and civilian personnel in the camps lived and ate not much better than prisoners of war. The country and the economy were destroyed by the war and were in a dire situation. Nobody set any task of special humiliation, special super-exploitation and, moreover, the destruction of prisoners of war.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2021 2:16 p.m. PST

So… German prisioners from other countries managed better because their economy were good…?

Not the nazis… but why in a logical time… soldiers could be released?…

How German prisoners of war lived and died in the USSR


German POWs and the Art of Survival



Perun Gromovnik17 Nov 2021 3:15 p.m. PST

Forced labor of Germans after World War II


More or less they were treated same everywere. As I said before, after all evils that they did they reap what they sow

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