"Архіви України"
№ 1 (289) / 2014

A.S. Tchaikovsky

HISTORY OF CAPTIVITY: tragedy and farce

The author tells about the problems of war captivity during the Great Patriotic War on the bases of used documents. The main attention is given to the analysis of the thoughts about the fate of soviet war prisoners and soldiers of Nazi Army in the captivity. There is presented the comparative characteristics of the main reasons of the not war losses of the warring sides, mainly in the war prisoners camps.

Key words: prisoners; the camps of war prisoners; the grievous not war losses; the Stalingrad battle; injured solders; ill solders; the medical and sanitary support; the list; the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht; the Oberkommando des Heeres; the Wehrmacht; the Red Army.


From time to time the mass media of Ukraine excite the public "historical sensation", which often relate to the Soviet past and usually debunking the "vicious" political regime as purely negative. It would seem to be easy-to approach to our coverage of the complicated history of a balanced, analytical, seeing life as mistakes of previous generations, so surely and positive sides. Especially looking back, we note that for some hundred years at their fate fell ordeals: three revolutions, two world wars, civil war, destruction, hunger, repression, disorder, poverty and misery, and with this - a huge labor achievements, military heroism, courage, bravery and self-sacrifice.

In this context, attention is drawn to the publication of "The bitterness of captivity! German prisoners of war in the USSR - unknown page of World War II "(Mirror the Week "№ 32 (129). - 2013). "To be fair, - stressed in the first paragraph of its some Sergey Goncharov - it is little known only for us (by" us "the author has in mind not only Ukraine, but all the" post-Soviet space ")." Unlike to "us", according to his words, in Germany to "the study of this question came with a purely German thoroughness and pedantry." Already in 1957 in Germany was created a scientific commission to study the history of German POWs. Since that time were published 15 "chubby" volumes of the series "To the history of German prisoners of war in World War II", seven of which devoted staying Germans in Soviet captivity.

Considering that in the defeat of the Third Reich decisive role belongs to the Red Army, and the number of Germans who were taken prisoner in the USSR, compared to the Allies was much greater, then seven, even "chubby", volumes are not so impressive.

Actually, never mind, by Western experts. Remark only that the number of publications about the history of German captivity, including in Ukraine without talking about the Russian Federation, Belarus and other former Soviet republics, has hundreds of different publications. As for the mentioned articles, at least we should make some comments. Apparently, a respected author, like most of his colleagues the pen, far from historical scholarship. Analyzing the article content, you can say with certainty that the material for the "research" failed "shear" of the Internet. in the best case in the hands of a collection of documents fell under the editorship of Professor MM Russian Zagorulko "Prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. 1939-1956 ".If this is truea pity that is ignored the main idea of the edition, which already emphasized in the preface: unprecedentedly fierce character of World War II turned the the traditional idea of captivity and trampled associated with it tradition of military honor. "Political and military leaders of the aggressors made captive in the course of the war. As a consequence, was created unprecedented in its cynicism technology of mass extermination, forced hard labor, physical, moral and psychological repression as POWs and trapped civilians in occupied countries "” [1, 9]. With such conclusions can not disagree.

In confirmation of the foregoing several examples. In order of command of Wehrmacht (Wehrmacht, from Wehr - weapons, defense and Macht - Power - military forces of the Third Reich. - Ed.) Required: "In respect of Soviet prisoners of war, even from disciplinary considerations rather sharply to resort to arms. Shall be punished every (German - A. Ch), who does not apply for the compulsion to implement this or insufficiently applies vigorously weapon ...

With wounded Russian prisoners have nothing to mess around for a long time, they should just mop up on the spot ..., supply them with food ... humanity is unnecessary "[3, 326, 18, 106].

Complementing the picture fates of Soviet POWs, we refer to Chief of General Staff Land Forces Wehrmacht Franz Halder, who wrote: "November 14, 1941. 146th day of the war. Molodechno (the territory of Belarus. - A. Ch) typhoid Russian POW camp. 20,000 people are condemned to death. In other camps in surrounding area although there is no typhus and a large number of prisoners die every day from hunger. Camps make terrible experience. However, any relief measures currently impossible "[4, 44]. Being in the Soviet captivity, Lieutenant General Kurt von Oesterreich, in its turn testified: "My career as head of the department of POWs at the headquarters of the military district of Danzig (in Germany. - A. Ch) started on 1 February 1941. Before that I was the commander of the 207th Infantry Division, stationed in France. In about March 1941, I was summoned to Berlin, where the Supreme Command (OKW - Obzkommando deg Wehrmacht. - A. Ch) held a secret meeting. Accompanied it Lieutenant-General Reinecke being a Head of POWs at a rate. In great secrecy General Reinecke said, tentatively in early summer, Germany invades the Soviet Union. According to this, the High Command developed the necessary measures, including preparation of camps for Russian prisoners of war who will come after the beginning of hostilities on the Eastern Front. I personally received from the Head of the task to prepare on the territory of Danzig Military District Camp 50 thousand prisoners. However, he pointed out that if the field is not possible in time to create a camp with covered barracks, then arrange them to be outdoors. Reinecke gave further instruction on the treatment of prisoners, providing shooting without warning those who only try to escape ... ". According Oesterreich, in Tory on the former military site "under the open sky was opened permanent camp, fenced by barbed wire." For its construction involved contained in Stalag XX-B23 (camp for enlisted personnel. - A. Ch) British prisoners of war. "In June 1941, - recalled a former lieutenant general - a few days after the German invasion of the USSR, I received orders to rate the High Command. In this document, the so-called "commissioners erlas", who was in the march German troops and administration prisoner of war camps named Fuhrer ordered to shoot polls prisoners belonging to the political structure of the Red Army, as well as the communists and Jews.

In subsequent orders rates stated that the corpses of executed bury masses in the pits, if it is possible burn, removing them from identity discs. Orders received I passed on to perform subordinate commandants me Stalag XX-B Major Seeger colonel Bohlmann and lieutenant colonel Dulnichu . Carrying out the order, the latter immediately shot over 300 people. The corpses were buried in mass graves in a cemetery in the vicinity of the camp XX-C. At the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942, I was summoned to Berlin for a meeting of heads of departments on POWs. Spent his new head of the Prisoners of War Major-General von Grevenitts. Discussed how to deal with Russian prisoners of war, who as a result of injury, exhaustion and disease were unsuitable for use in works. On the issue raised by several officers those present, including doctors, who said: such prisoners should be concentrated in one place - a camp or hospital - and using poison to kill. Based on the discussion Grevenitts gave orders: disabled prisoners put to death attracting medical staff of camps. Returning to Danzig, through Seeger, Bohlmann and Dulnicha I spent these guidelines into practice, warning them that the killing of Soviet prisoners of war was made very carefully, so that it did not become known outside the camps "[5, 36-37].

Received the post of Chief of Prisoners of War at the headquarters of Army Group B (formed in July 1942 from a part of Army Group "South", functioned on Voronezh, Stalingrad sector. Disbanded in February 1943 - Ed.), Von Oesterreich arrived in Ukraine. Was dismayed to learn that acquired "experience" remains unclaimed, for the killing of Soviet prisoners of war using poison is already used for a long time. Then was obtained Himmler signed a top-secret order - c in August 1942 to begin marking the Red Army POWs in advance caused signs. In his own written testimony Osterreich stated: "Russian POWs were held in camps in unbearable conditions, fed poorly amenable mental humiliation, died of starvation and disease. In Stalag of Danzig Military District only because of exhaustion and disease died more than 40 thousand people, and in under my command Stalag in Ukraine - 6-9 thousand I should also point out that in the latter case in both camps of prisoners in separate barracks under arrest contained up 20 thousand Soviet citizens taken hostage from areas affected by the guerrilla movement. After their pacification ... workable men and women from 17 to 40 years were taken to work in Germany. As I remember this action then succumbed to over 10 thousand people "[6, 168-177]. In the remaining von Osterreich was silent. Their fate can only guess.

Let us refer to the testimony of one of the direct participants in the war, a former artillery officer division "Pasubio" Italian 8th Army Eugenio Corti. Remembering the events of Stalingrad, he wrote: "This morning (December 1942 - A. Ch) was a rumor that the Germans shot all Russian prisoners. Only Italians as a result of a bayonet charge captured more than 200 people. Later rumors were confirmed. We even went up to the individual parts. It was said that the prisoners were built in rows of 10 people, along which the soldiers went and shot. Most often in head. As far as I know, none of the prisoners could not survive ... Witnesses of murder of Russian prisoners were told that they were standing in front of his executioners raised high the head and nothing asked for, but in their eyes darting fear and despair "[7, 107-108] .

Official statistics show by the end of 1942 the number of Soviet soldiers and civilians who died in the Nazi camps, prisons, and as a result of other criminal acts occupiers, almost 2 million people. But it was not the limit. Based on the objective logic of military-political confrontation, the defending side, in this case primarily the Soviet Union, had to resort to an adequate response to enemy action, spreading with regard to its soldiers and officers extremely brutal technology of captivity. However, in reality the conditions of isolation of enemy prisoners of war in the Soviet camps, as it is trying to prove Mr. Goncharov, in no way were not the technology to continue the war. Even a superficial analysis of the situation with the presence of soldiers and commanders of the Red Army and civilians in the Nazi camps, the soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht and the armies of its allies in the Soviet allows you to see significant differences. The main one is that in the second case, there was no mass extermination of people. Treatment with the same chiefs and soldiers of the Red Army's brutality has no analogues in the world.

According to generally accepted canons of military combat and non-combat calculating losses (deaths due to disease, died in captivity, as well as a result of accidents), and other such reasons are considered non-combat losses. Taking into account this fact, we note: during the 1941-1956 years. of the total number of prisoners of fascist armies in the Soviet Union died (killed) a little over 700,000 (19%) of them in Ukraine more than 100 thousand people [5, 12]. Mortality peak occurred in 1943-1946 gg.

The main cause of deaths - disease, the effects of severe injuries, physical and nervous exhaustion, malnutrition, frostbite, etc. Facts of violent death in the camps were only 1-2% of the total. Due to various circumstances and reasons, he was higher in combat, as well as on the way to their permanent places of detention protected contingent.

In contrast, in Stalag and Oflag (contained in the last command and political personnel), and especially in prisons and concentration camps of Nazi Germany extermination underwent more than 3.3 million Soviet prisoners of war (58% of the total), and for other information - about 4 million . [1, 11]. And that's not counting the deaths of many thousands of those who were in other places of detention in the occupied areas of of the USSR and in Germany and other countries. Not by chance, according to incomplete data, the general loss of life only in Ukraine during the war amounted to 10 million lives. About 10% of them were non-combat losses of the army, was taken prisoner.

For the sake of objectivity it should be noted that - the figures in any case not idealize the position of the enemy prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, especially in war. With fanatical faith and without it in the greatness of the Fuhrer (Duce, Cowden, etc.) or cursing in the soul together all the commitments, but obeying the centuries to develop a sense of duty (orders and commands), millions of soldiers and officers of the army axis Berlin - Rome - Tokyo joined them without question countries went to war ... and died. Captivity in this case was seen as a gift of God, deliverance from hell or sent down by over the opportunity to redeem their sins and others. But it was not the end. Being surrounded by barbed wire, these people continued to suffer and die from injuries, cold, disease, accidents, injuries, and in some cases, it must be confessed, of becoming victims of tyranny and violence. As a consequence of the surviving enemy soldiers and officers after the war returned home not all. But remember something else: in the Soviet Union, including Ukraine, the number of children, widows and mothers who did not wait from the captivity of their fathers, husbands and sons, turned several times larger.

Analyzing the position of Soviet prisoners of war, the German historian Professor Pfeffer wrote that "only some of them had experience great cruelty, but as a rule, despite some antics by too licentious people, treatment of prisoners was quite correct" [3, 327 ]. His colleague K. Streit. in turn. believes that only at first sight the fate of prisoners of war on both sides of the front lines seem similar because "both sides tens of thousands have already died in the days of sorrowful way to the camps on both sides of the vast masses of reduced fatalities by a horrible death from hunger and epidemics."

Mr. Goncharov goes much further, stressing that "while Soviet historians condemned Nazi for their attitude to the Soviet military, they did not even mention that during the war, crimes against humanity have been on both sides of the front." Focuses on the events of the Battle of Stalingrad without any explanation argues that in Soviet captivity died at 200,000 more prisoners than is evidenced Soviet official statistics. Considering the this fact, discuss this question in more detail.

In the historical and political literature especially the identity of one of the main developers of the plan "Barbarossa" - plan to attack Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus (in 1940 - 1941. - Chief Quartermaster - First Deputy Chief of Staff of the OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres - General Command ground forces), and soon (in January 1942) commander of the 6th army Wehrmacht) often served as a "gentleman" the war period. In fact, he was far from ideal.

After the capture of operational Soviet secret police documents held by the nickname "satrap" and it was not an accident. According Stalingrad Regional State Emergency Commission in the summer and winter of 1942 part of the army compound only in the regional center destroyed transport, engineering, steel, pharmaceutical, and many other factories, 169 local industrial enterprises, blew more than 40 million homes, 55 hospitals 107 schools, secondary and higher education institutions, a huge number of other objects. By the hands of his subordinates and special teams SS and secret police operating in battle formations rear areas of the 6th Army, killed thousands of prisoners of war and civilians. In response to the question: why so bitterly, barbarously destroyed city? - Field Marshal only found: war is war, I'm just following orders of the High Command. Considering the past "achievements" in the circle of generals captured Paulus has repeatedly expressed concerns about the possible involvement of his liability as a war criminal.

He was ruthless not only to the enemy, but also to their own. September 15, 1942 the same Franz Halder wrote: "notable successes in Stalingrad. On the rest of the front - no change. "But after a few days, said: "Advances in street battles gratifying, of course, not without a pretty significant loss ... gradually begins to feel tired advancing German troops" [4, 345]. The Battle of Stalingrad was a turning point in the war on the Eastern Front. It lasted five months and ended with the complete defeat of Nazi troops. By November 19, 1942 was surrounded by the enemy group of about 300 thousand people. Its destruction began on November 23. But before the 6th Army began to experience serious difficulties with weapons, and most importantly - food. By middle of December the situation has become a disaster. In the reports of the general staff of the OKH commander of Army Group "Don" Manstein emphasized: "The position of our troops. 6th Army ... Number of ammunition on the most important species on 12/05/42 as a percentage of the first fire unit (stock contained approximately 3 days of active fighting. - A. Ch): ... 75 mm tank gun 1940 - 39.4, 80 mm mortars - 30.8; heavy infantry guns - 25, 100 mm heavy guns 1919 - 21.6 ... With the reduction ration of bread and 200 g quantities of food available will suffice: the bread to 14.12, 20.12 to dinners, dinners up to 19.12 "[10, 446].

Later (December 19), he stated: "Food in the" pot "will suffice until December 22. Noticeably sharp exhaustion soldiers. For 14 days, they get 200 grams of bread. According to the army command, the bulk of the horse eaten or died from exhaustion ... condition has worsened troops that the current supply will continue at an increasing pace "[10, 450]. In the same period (November 1942 - January 1943) in the skies of Stalingrad were shot more than 700 combat and transport aircraft with food and weapons to the surrounded troops [11, 81].

With the decline temperature to 30 degrees below, according to the colonel Petsolda only on German combat positions were dying every day freezing 700-1000, and this infantry battalion [9, 287]. Was not the best situation of the allies. Eugenio Corti wrote: "Of the 30,000 Italians who served in the 35th Army Corps (Italian 8th Army. - A. Ch), which were surrounded by the Don, about eight thousand got to Chertkov.

January 15 evening, we count the troops . Got about seven thousand ... From the "pot" choose no more than four thousand. , At least three thousand were wounded or severe frostbite. But among the survivors was not healthy: breakdowns, illness ... After a month in the environment, a very good Army Corps turned into a handful of jaded cripples who could barely stand on his feet. It was not even human, and their shadows ... pitiful semblance of former soldiers "[7, 285].

No less tragic was the fate of the wounded and sick. Large German army medical centers stationed in the rear of the army - to the west of the Don. Near Stalingrad and in the steppe were placed only a few field hospitals and medical battalion, which had been long overcrowded. Besides food, there was no bandaging materials, drugs, medicines, surgical instruments. Often played out genuine human tragedy. On the way to Stalingrad could see cars with empty tanks, and in bodies - frozen wounded. Severe frost gradually extinguished barely warm life in the weakened bodies and souls. Of the dead nobody cared. These terrible snow covered graves gradually, putting the dead in snow white shroud.

Member of the Battle of Stalingrad dentist health company 297th Infantry Division George Kurtz recalled: "At the end of January 1943 came the order to take care of the sick and wounded, most of them from the last forces flowed through the ruins of Stalingrad, a so-called" Tymoshenko dugout. " The latter is a stretched for several kilometers with surrounding system of trenches on the sides of the shelter basements up to 8 meters deep, which protects against bombs and artillery attacks. At one time, when the "dugout" was used as the seat of Staff of the Russian troops, brought him to lighting, plumbing and ventilation. Now all this was destroyed and reminded pulling down into the depths of the dark hole at the bottom of which lay exhausted, dirty, lice obsevshie people. For many days they desperately waited for food, water and medical care. Because hardly any of them could get up to the administration of natural needs, we struggled to breath heavy stench. But much larger and unbearable ordeal for were there victims of this brutal war was emotional despair ...

We calculated been in "dugout" people. They turned out more than 1,500 people. On all of them, hungry, thirsty, wounds and diseases, garrison commandant "Center" contributed as much - 75 pounds of barley and 12 gidenburgskih candles for lighting. I remembered the words of the Gospel about the miracle of the multiplication of bread, "but what the set is."

Jan. 29 ... Friday morning came Russian. Having got in unbearable conditions, we are literally waiting for them. For the exhausted, hungry, our patients affected by frostbite almost no food left. Medicines ended, and any treatment we have not discussed. Frostbites was so intense that hundreds of patients needed amputation. What will make Russian with this dirty and smelly mass? All will be shot or try to solve in another way incredibly difficult problem to solve? In accordance with the decree of the Soviet officer, walking all who were in the "dugout Tymoshenko", met in 6:00 pm near the exit to move to the camps. From more than a thousand people this terrible refuge left no more than 100. I did not have available any additional winter clothing, and temperature - from 25 to 30 degrees below zero. In such cold ahead of us waiting, apparently, quite uncomfortable days and nights "[5, 340-341].

"Roughly the 130 years ago looked like beaten army of Napoleon, when she wandered, retreating westward - testified in turn, head of personnel of the 6th Army Colonel Adam. - Crocked in blankets and cape with sackcloth and foot wraps instead of boots on frostbitten feet, barely moving, listlessly wandered eastward marked with sadness the death of Army soldiers. They almost nothing left of the soldier. It was heartsick unarmed crowd. To save her, were needed immediate medical care, food and warm shelter. Every day of delay meant that the fate of many was irrevocably resolved "[13, 216].

In January 1943, after the rejection of two ultimatums to surrender the Red Army took the offensive. In circumstances where the hopelessness of resistance manifested itself completely, and thousands subordinates died from cold and hunger, Paulus radioed Berlin Stalingrad still flies the banner with a swastika, "let our struggle will be for generations yet unborn example of how to stand up to the end . Germany will continue to win! Heil my Fuehrer!" The analytical conclusion (1947) "Fundamental Problems operation of the 6th Army at Stalingrad" (section "State of troops") captivated by Field Marshal wrote: "If at the beginning of the supply the environment consisted of a completely inadequate diet, especially bread, then its distribution to mid-January produced very organized ... With the loss of the last airfields (24.1) it was down to unimaginably small size, no longer equal to the number of people and almost did not apply to many soldiers ... Start with 25.1 supply by air generally proved useless. Its size was too small ... A difficult problem was medical care ... Hospitals were overwhelmed, and other opportunities to organize the wounded and sick were also insufficient. All the cellars were packed with people, and in Stalingrad new patients arrived every hour . Increasingly becoming noticeable lack of medicines and dressing material.

Another heavy burden in both moral and hygienic point was that it seemed impossible to bury the dead as an exhaustion opening its soldiers graves in the frozen ground was unbearable ... "[10, 484].

In conclusion, stressed: "In the conflict between obedience that was required of me in conjunction with the most serious warnings that need every hour of resistance, and the human relation to my soldiers, I thought then that preference should be given obedience" [10, 484].

So victims of fanatical Hitler and the direct executor of his will thousands of lives. Taking into account that Soviet hospitals were also overcrowded and health-care providers of the 6th Army and its allies practically not functioning the fate of frostbitten, sick and wounded soldiers and officers was a foregone conclusion. Between the Don and Volga stories for cameramen captured a terrible picture, while the natural ending adventure and recklessness - along the front lines, especially surrounding the Stalingrad area, everything was covered mountains frozen corpses of Germans, Hungarians, Romanians and Italians ...

From November 9, 1942 to February 2, 1943 the Wehrmacht lost only killed over 800 thousand people, noncombat losses amounted to nearly 200,000. The general losses of Nazi troops during the giant armed conflict, which lasted 200 days and nights, numbered 1.5 million officers and men [14, 81]. Talking about experienced events, the former Hitler general Siegfried Westphal admitted: "The defeat at Stalingrad plunged into horror as the German people and its army. Never before in the history of Germany was not the case so terrible loss of so many of troops "[2, 210].

As for the total number of soldiers of the Third Reich and its allies in the Soviet camps, and the number of those who, for variety of reasons did not return home, there are certain difficulties, primarily: the actual number of those who in the course of the war was behind barbed wire , characteristic of causes of death in the conditions of captivity, the percentage of the latter. Putting a rhetorical question: "How many were there?" Goncharov attempt to analyze data on the number of officers and soldiers of the enemy in Soviet captivity. Citing well-known figures, finally admitted: "Apparently statistical aspects of the history of German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union not only has not yet closed, but probably will never be completely closed."

Agreeing to some extent with this statement, we note: during the war, even the Germans with their thoroughness allowed significant uncertainties in regard to its combat and non-combat losses, including prisoners of war. This fact is explained by different approaches of their accounting staffs sanitary authorities of ground forces, navy, Luftwaffe, SS auxiliaries etc. inherent was, in particular, the highest political and military leadership of the Reich to understate their own casualties, and vice versa exaggerate them from the enemy. In the diary of F. Halder from December 6, 1941 we find: "... In the afternoon - a report from the Fuhrer. He stopped on the analysis of the balance of forces ... The Fuhrer is very attentively acquainted with our materials. He memorized many digital data and keeps them in the head. In particular, he made the following considerations: ... Our losses is 500 000 ... Russian losses of 8-10 million people. Russian loss of at least 10 times higher than our losses "[4, 98]. Speaking at the same time (December 11) in the Reichstag, Hitler called the other numbers - 767,415 soldiers and officers, including 162 thousand killed, wounded 572 thousand and 33.5 thousand missing. In the last case primarily meant those who are in captivity. In March 1943, according to him, the deadweight losses of the Reich (September 1939) have not changed significantly - considered only killed 542 thousand people, while the actual numbers were several times larger [3, 198]. Swedish newspaper "Geteborgskhandelstidninge" therefore wrote: "If Germany really would lose only half a million peoplethen it would be superfluous now produced a thorough combing of the whole country in search of soldiers to the front." Two months before the the infamous end Nazi Fuehrer admitted Germany lost 12.5 million killed and wounded, half of them - killed [3, 199]. Attempts to more accurately establish the irreparable human losses in Germany in the period 1939-1945. undertaken after the war, which, unfortunately, due to various reasons has not been done in the USSR. Given the profile of the former Reich into occupation zones, and in the subsequent appearance on the territory of two different social and political system of states, their common figure of 10 million people, in our view, is significantly underestimated.

Exaggeration of enemy losses in manpower and military equipment was inherent and Soviet leaders. In his report, dedicated to the anniversary of the October Revolution (November 1942), Stalin said about the millions of German prisoners. In fact, in more than ten half-empty camps of the NKVD, there are only a little more than 19,000.

The situation changes drastically in winter 1942 - 1943 gg. after the defeat of the 6th Army Field Marshal Paulus, 4th Panzer Army, Colonel-General Gott, Italian 8th, 3rd and 4th Romanian armies. From November 1942 to March 31, 1943 only troops Don and Stalingrad (South) fronts were captured more than 100,000 soldiers and officers.

Since that time number of prisoners began a steady increase. By the end of February, it had risen to 257,000. Of these, more than half were injured, were frozen or sick. People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Beria had to issue a special order: "1. Take over on March All prisoners in the camps of the NKVD, to collection points near the front and 78,500 people from the Stalingrad area, but only 110,563 people ...5. The People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Uzbek SSR, Kazakh SSR, Udmurtia ASSR NKVD chiefs Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Molotov, Karaganda, Ivanovo, Saratov, Omsk ensure the reception and accommodation of prisoners of war in accordance with claim 7 NKVD Order number 00367 on 24 February. Head of the Office of escort troops of the NKVD Major General ie Kryvenko to guard prisoners in transit and in camps "[5, 108]. Comply with the order failed. By this time, many prisoners died, others were on the verge of death. From the Stalingrad area in the camp was able to deliver a little more than 27,000, and from the front line of the Voronezh and Southwestern Fronts and even less - from 32 thousand prisoners survived only about 7000 [5, 109].

Repeated statements during the war "father of nations" of "millions of" prisoners of the Germans subsequently played a cruel joke. In an effort to downplay the number of irretrievable loss of human life, the command of Wehrmacht soldiers and officers killed was often rank as "missing." In the early postwar years in Germany such totaled nearly 1.5 million people. Later the number had increased. Official documents stated: "2 million Germans are in captivity or are missing."

Settlements West experts from the tracing victims of war convinced: the number of "last 50% died in captivity, 25% perished in the battle, and 25% is still behind barbed wire." While ignoring the fact that this huge mass of only 100 thousand people were in correspondence with the family [3, 201].

May 5, 1950 TASS officially announced: of German POWs in the Soviet Union there are only 13,532 convicted of war crimes (less than 1% of the total released in 1945-1950). [3, 200]. The Bonn, the government continued to demand the return "languishing" in the camps of the NKVD.

" Only over time updated archive data and other facts have allowed most Western historians "missing" counted among the dead in battle.

Succumb to "legal" expertise "," Hague-Geneva question "about the international legal status of prisoners of war in World War II conditions, Sergey Goncharov states:" Results "legal vacuum" (in terms of not signing the agreement of the USSR "On Keeping prisoners" from 27.06.1929 g .) not long in coming. Conditions set first by Germany to the Soviet prisoners of war, and then USSR against of the number of prisoners of war and soldiers of the Wehrmacht Waffen SS, and the armed forces of the Union of Germany can not be called human, even in the first approximation. " In reality, the situation was as follows. Legal status of prisoners of war in enemy just the beginning of war with the USSR by Nazi Germany and its allies is reflected in the "Regulations on prisoners of war", approved by Decree SNK July 1, 1941 [1, 65-68]. The document consists of six sections: the general situation; evacuation of prisoners of war, the conditions of detention of prisoners of war and their legal status; unit labor prisoners, criminal and disciplinary responsibility of prisoners of war; the organization of information and assistance to prisoners of war. Its content is largely felt the impact of international legal acts. It guaranteed captive life and safety, normal food, the wounded and sick - and medical care. Forbidden to insult and abuse. In particular (Section II, item 7), noted: 'Prisoners of war (nutrition, health, medical and other services) is made: a) prior to the receipt of war collection points POW camps - the order of command of the army, and b) in the future - the order of the NKVD of the USSR "[5, 95].

In contrast to the regulatory acts of the Third Reich, including the High Command of the Wehrmacht on the attitude to the Soviets, in the "Regulations ...." generally been respected and taken into account the basic requirements of international humanitarian law on the treatment of those who have fallen behind barbed wire, primarily the Hague Convention "On the Laws and Customs of War on Land" (18 October 1907) and the Geneva Convention "On Keeping prisoners." In particular, in November 1941, the chief of the Abwehr (military intelligence and counterintelligence Wehrmacht) in the notes by policy guidance headquarters OKW concerning Soviet prisoners of war, wrote to its chief Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, that "Russian translation of the law of war (referring to the position of SNK from July 1, 1941 - Charles A.) corresponds to the main provisions of general international law and, moreover, the Geneva conventions on prisoners of war. This law is certainly not observed Russian troops at the front, however, and Russian law and German orders are designed mainly for deep rear. Even if Russian law hardly observed in the Russian hinterland, it still remains the danger that German orders fall into the hands of enemy propaganda and the last will be countered by Russian law. " Admiral Canaris pointed out that the envisaged measures in the German orders and voluntary recommendations for Soviet prisoners of war should "lead to arbitrary lawlessness and murder ... it is evident, for example, of the rules of engagement in cases of disobedience sentry teams and their superiors are not familiar with the language of war" [16, 104-105]. The resolution stated: "We are talking about the destruction of the whole world, so I approve of these activities and cover them. Keitel. " However, "The situation of prisoners of war" was different from international agreements, in particular the Geneva Convention, which contained 97 articles regulating the stay of citizens of the warring parties in captivity, while the "Position ..." - only 31. It clearly did not include important issues such as food standards POWs, their separation of racial and ethnic characteristics, the rights and perform the religious rites, to the authorities with complaints about the detention regime, the appeal of committed against them legal acts, including death sentences. At the same time it must be stressed: "The situation of prisoners of war" can not even compare with criminal its content and direction of legal documents relating to the fate of the Soviet prisoners of war and internees adopted by Nazi Germany and its allies before and during the war. Besides the war and postwar years, the general and special sections "Regulations ..." repeatedly detailed, refined or supplemented by regulations and decisions of GKO SNK (CM) of the USSR, as well as subordinate acts - orders and directives of the NKVD (MVD), UPVI (GUPVI) NKVD (MVD) of the USSR. On major critical issues regime maintenance and protection of prisoners of war (internment), their material, food and health security, and labor use only in 1941 - 1945. Soviet government has adopted about 60 decisions on the basis of which developed departmental regulations. During this period, the NKVD (MVD) of their published about three thousand Most of them were aimed at enhance the protection, improve conditions, health and sanitation of the protected population. Fairness should be recognized that the practice of execution often embedded in documents regulatory standards was far from reality. Not the last role was played here by the cruel treatment of the Nazis and their allies to prisoners Soviet soldiers and officers, the facts of which have become known in the course of the war, heavy burden of moral, psychological, physical and material hardships of the Soviet Union in the war and post-war devastation, the policy regarding the country's leadership role and place of war and internees in solving the problems facing the country, the other objective and subjective factors.

And yet, at the Nuremberg trial of Nazi war criminals (1946) Field Marshal Paulus testified:

- Your name?

- Friedrich Wilhelm Paulus.

- Your last post?

- Commander of the 6th Army Wehrmacht

- Is it true that you read lectures at the Moscow Academy of the General Staff, teaching Soviet generals?

Something like a smile distorted face Paulus:

- Try to remember someone who has won in this war? Is there a reason to Russian generals listened to my lectures, based on bitter experience?

- And what is your post now?

- Most shocking - POW.

- You were brought here from the concentration camp?

- No. I live near Moscow, in the country.

- And what are you busy this cottage?

- I remember drawing. Feed protein. Breed flowers ... [17, 600-620].

Czech journalist from "Rude Pravo" Zdenek Kropachev wrote: "When leaving the field marshal, did not feel that he was tired. All the same confident, he was accompanied by long corridors of Soviet-American convoy. "Here it was intercepted by a German correspondent Heydekker:

- One question: how to live prisoners in Russia?

- Well, - said Paulus briefly.

"Ji-ah" pushed Heydekkera, ordering him to move away, but he persisted:

- Okay? And even your Stalingrad?

- Quiet German mothers - Paulus said coldly. - Write in your newspaper that German prisoners of war in Russia provided much better than Russian children. They would be happy to have a sugar ration, which are my soldiers. "

And it was true. Taking into account the practical life - almost true. In the cold and the war-ravaged country lacked a lot, sometimes the most necessary, and most importantly - the food ...

As an integral part of World War II and its defining integral WWII military history captivity in modern conditions acquired different, largely contradictory system of views and relevant assessments. While gradually begins to be offset and forget the most important: the bloodiest massacre in human history has unleashed the Nazi Third Reich, with the active participation of European "democratic" states, and not without the help of the United States. Enough to recall the words the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (September 1938), which on the basis of the Munich Agreement with Hitler said: "How horrible, fantastic and seems implausible the idea that we have here at home, digging trenches and trying on gas masks only because in a faraway country quarreled among themselves people of whom we know nothing. Seems even more impossible that a quarrel had already settled in principle can be the subject of war. "

Several days later, the future prime minister, Winston Churchill declared: "England was offered a choice between war and dishonor. She chose dishonor and will get war. " Need to emphasize something else: for all the shortcomings and failures of the Soviet highest political, government and military leadership, protecting the homeland, the peoples the USSR on itself bore the brunt of the last war, both saved and defended Europe from slavery and disgrace. Victory Day therefore do not have to celebrate.

No less important following fact: based on national-socialist ideology of wanting to enslave the whole world against Soviet prisoners of war, Nazi Germany was terribly ruthless. Fortunately, the latter in its weight was observed from the other side. Moreover, in respect of their nationals who have returned from the camps of the Reich, it was often more severe than yesterday's enemy. And that, is also a historical fact.


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