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The total number of Soviet prisoners of war in the foreign press is determined within 5.2-5.75 million people. A commission of the Ministry of Defense chaired by M. A. Gareev announced about 4 million. Only 1,836,562 people returned from captivity

Part № 2

The genocide of Soviet prisoners of war - the killing of more than 3 million Soviet prisoners of war by German Nazis during the Great Patriotic War, part of the genocide of the Soviet people. This massacre was driven by Nazi ideologies to “reduce the unwanted population” and the war to annihilate. From 15 to 20% of the prisoners - “politically dangerous” commissars, “Bolshevik intellectuals”, “fanatical communists” and Jews were shot by the Wehrmacht in the frontline according to the “order of the commissars” and during subsequent “sortings” by the SS Einsatzkommands in the camps. However, most of the prisoners died subsequently in prisoner-of-war camps as a result of Wehrmacht criminal orders that deliberately condemned people to death from hunger, cold and related illnesses for several weeks or months. In addition to the leadership of Germany and the SS, the responsibility for this mass extermination of people lies directly with the Wehrmacht, which was in charge of the camps. In total, the Wehrmacht and the SS killed at least 58% of the captured Soviet citizens.
The idea of ​​a war of annihilation against the USSR was based on anti-communism, Nazi ideas about the inferiority of East European peoples and the need to capture the “living space” that the German nation allegedly lacked. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that "you cannot Germanize peoples, only land can be Germanized." It logically followed from this that the land from the inferior peoples living on it should be "cleaned up". March 30, 1941, specifying before the German generals his plans for a future war, the Führer announced that he was going to wage a war of annihilation in which the German soldier would not be bound by any rules and conventions with respect to the enemy.

We must abandon the concept of soldier's partnership. The communist has never been and never will be a comrade. It's about the struggle to destroy ...
The war in the East pursued four goals.

1. The destruction of the "Jewish-Bolshevik" ruling elite of the Soviet Union, including all East European Jews, as the "biological root" of "Jewish Bolshevism";
2. The enslavement of Slavic peoples and their partial destruction
3. The creation through German immigrants of a Germanized colonial empire in the best part of the territory of the Soviet Union
4. The creation in continental Europe of a self-sufficient "great space" under German rule as a reliable base for further struggle against the remaining opponents - the Anglo-Saxon sea powers.
A hunger plan was put forward as a practical method of “cleaning up territories”. After the blitzkrieg, it was planned to export all produced food from the agricultural regions of the occupied territory, solving the problems of Germany and at the same time reducing the “excess” population of Soviet industrial centers by tens of millions of people.

The Nazi leadership and the Wehrmacht general were convinced of the success of the Barbarossa plan, but did not develop a definite concept regarding the fate of 2-3 million Soviet prisoners who were planned to capture as a result of the complete defeat of the Red Army in the first 4 weeks of the war. Documents in the German archives related to the planning of the maintenance of prisoners are few and inconsistent. Since it was planned to take 3 million prisoners in the summer, the subsequent references to the fact that there were too many prisoners and too little food were not wealthy.

An order issued by the Prisoners of War Affairs Department on Prisoners of War Affairs under the Barbarossa Plan issued on June 16, 1941, drawn up in a racist spirit, warned German soldiers not against Jews and commissars, but against the "treachery" of "Asian prisoners of war"

Initially, the Nazis intended to use Soviet prisoners to work in Germany, but at the final stage of planning, the idea of ​​mass use of Soviet prisoners in Germany was rejected because of fear of their "ideological impact" on the German population. Hitler made the decision on the large-scale use of labor of Soviet prisoners in Germany on 10/31/1941, and before its implementation, most of the prisoners captured in 1941 had already died.
After the successful outbreak of hostilities and before the collapse of the blitzkrieg, the planned destruction policy was tightened. In March 1941, it was planned to exterminate only the "Jewish-Bolshevik intelligentsia" and divide the USSR into subordinate national states "without intelligentsia." In July, a plan arose to turn Soviet territory to the Urals into a colony with the local population in the status of slaves. For the complete destruction of the population of large cities, it was supposed to use aviation and blockade. Any potential adversary was subject to destruction, or, as Hitler put it at one of the decisive meetings, “anyone who looks askance”
This predetermined the fate of the most “undesirable” part of the Soviet population.

Racial ideology

On June 22, 1941, the Red Army was not ready for a modern maneuver war with the powerful and already gained combat experience German army. Until November, the Red Army could not withstand the blows of the Wehrmacht tank groups. After the breakthrough of Soviet defense, German tank divisions, without encountering resistance, traveled 50 kilometers a day and quickly closed huge "cauldrons". Those who were surrounded by the army and division without ammunition, food and outside help could neither organize a breakthrough nor defend themselves. Millions of Red Army soldiers were captured, many who did not have time to pick up mobilized weapons and a significant number of civilians - after capturing many settlements, for example Minsk, the Germans organized raids and sent all men of military age to prison camps. The orders of the Wehrmacht testify to the presence of a large number of civilians among the prisoners. Before the SS sorting, the Wehrmacht personnel in prisoner-of-war camps were to “roughly divide” the prisoners into 5 categories:

1. Civilians;
2. Soldiers (also those dressed in civilian clothes);
3. Politically undesirable elements from the 1st and 2nd categories;
4. Persons from the 1st and 2nd categories who seem trustworthy and therefore can be used in the occupied territories;
5. Ethnic groups among civilians and soldiers.
The number of such "prisoners of war" exceeds 10% of their total number.

In 1941, millions of Red Army soldiers died in heavy fighting, restraining the onslaught of the German armies. By November, the offensive impulse and reserves of the Germans were depleted and the blitzkrieg plan was frustrated. But more than half of the losses of all four fronts during this period were prisoners. Most of them died a painful death before they reached the spring of 1942.

The scope and methods of the extermination of Soviet prisoners in 1941 are described with German thoroughness in a memorandum, which Field Chief Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, head of the Wehrmacht’s High Command, received in March 1942.

-The fate of Soviet prisoners of war in Germany ... is a tragedy of the greatest scale. Of the 3.6 million prisoners of war, only a few hundred thousand have remained fully operational today. A significant part of them died from hunger and bad weather. Thousands died of typhus. It goes without saying that providing such a mass of prisoners of war comes up against certain difficulties. However, deaths and [...] losses on such a scale could have been avoided. For example, according to reports, in the Soviet Union itself, the local population was completely in agreement with giving prisoners of war food. Some sensible camp commandants successfully followed this path. However, in the vast majority of cases, the camp commandants forbade the civilian population to supply prisoners of war with food, preferring to condemn them to starvation. Even on the way to the camp, civilians were forbidden to give food to prisoners of war. In many cases, when prisoners of war during the transition could no longer go along with everyone because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot in front of frightened civilians, and the corpses were left lying. Many camps did not care about housing for prisoners of war at all. Both in the rain and in the snow they lay in the open. They were not even given the means to dig dugouts or burrows. Apparently, the planned disinsection of prisoners of war in the camps and the camps themselves was not carried out. Statements were heard, such as: "The more these prisoners die, the better for us." [...] Finally, mention should also be made of the executions of prisoners of war, which were carried out partly for ideological reasons and are not accessible to any political understanding.

The number of prisoners who died as a result of Nazi human experiments is relatively small, but this category must be mentioned to characterize the ideological attitudes of the Nazis towards Soviet prisoners.

Since 1941, in Dachau, German doctors used prisoners of war for medical experiments in the interests of the Navy and Air Force. They were subjected to freezing, hypothermia and checking the effect of high altitudes on the human body

In Auschwitz, 900 Soviet prisoners of war were exposed to the Cyclone B gas, after which they began to use gas to exterminate European Jews.

New drugs were tested on prisoners of war, the possible life expectancy of a person without water and food was determined, surgical experiments were carried out on bones, nerves and muscle tissues, an ointment for the treatment of phosphorus burns was tested, the effect of phenol injections poisoned by acotin bullets, mustard gas and phosgene was studied.

The executions of the prisoners were carried out in accordance with the general “order of commissars”, which was executed by most parts of the Wehrmacht until 1942 and parts of the SS until the end of the war. In addition, parts of the SS had their own orders, the execution of which the Wehrmacht was supposed to assist them. Executions of prisoners were carried out in several stages. The commissars identified by the stripes were shot by the Wehrmacht in the frontline. Parts of the SS admitted to the frontline also shot Jews, and sometimes all Communists. The wounded and weakened prisoners were shot during the exhausting, prolonged escort to the camps. These executions during the multi-day marches were systematic and carried out not only on the initiative of the convoy, but also by orders of the Wehrmacht command. The High Command of the Wehrmacht authorized the executions of "useless" prisoners unable to move independently after Hitler's decision on the need to use prisoners in German industry. In November 1941, General Jodl gave the following instructions:

-Taking into account our current intentions regarding Russian prisoners of war, we should strive to restore working capacity to as many of them as possible. The rest should use counter-propaganda, namely, to say that in this case we are talking about prisoners who allegedly refused to go further, not because they could not go, but because they did not want to.

After the special forces arrived at the camps with the help of prisoners from among the prisoners, they continued to sort them out, which ended with the shooting or sending of the “unwanted” part of the prisoners to the extermination camps. The rate of final “dropout” was about 15%. These sortings were carried out in accordance with Special Order No. 8 adopted on July 17 with “directives regarding the cleaning of prisoner-of-war camps in which Russians were held.” According to the order, which developed and tightened the “order of commissars”, the “Einsatzkommandas of the Security Police and SD” were to select and eliminate not only the surviving commissars, but also many other groups of prisoners of war. Subject to “exclusion” were recognized:

 - all significant state and party leaders, especially professional revolutionaries;
 - figures of the Comintern;
 - all authoritative figures of the CPSU (b) and its subsidiaries in the Central Committee, regional and regional committees;
 - all people's commissars and their representatives;
 - all former political commissars of the Red Army;
 - senior staff of central and local authorities;
 - the leadership of economic life;
 - Soviet-Russian intelligentsia; 
 - all Jews; 
 - all persons with respect to whom it is established that they are instigators or fanatical communists .
In practice, weakened and sick [39] prisoners of war were also shot and not listed.

You can learn about the "norms" of destruction and the composition of the shooting lists thanks to the lawsuit between the Gestapo of Munich and the head of the prisoner of war service in the VII Corps. In mid-September, 5,238 “unverified” Soviet prisoners of war were brought to the stationary camp VII A Moosburg. By November, the Einsatzgruppe of the Munich Gestapo had checked out 3,788 prisoners and compiled a list for "special treatment." It included 3 "functionaries and officers", 25 Jews, 69 "intellectuals", 146 "fanatical communists", 85 "instigators, provocateurs and thieves", 35 fugitives and 47 "terminally ill." But Lieutenant General Zaur protested to the prisoner of war department in the OKW against too general "selection." In response, the Gestapo of Munich stated that it selected “only” 13% of the number verified, while the Gestapo bureaus in Nuremberg-Fürth and Regensburg on average “selected” 15-17%, without leaving even German-speaking Jews in the camp, whom the leadership wanted to keep as translators. The camp leadership was charged that, under the guise of humanity, it wants to put the sick Russians back on its feet. In fact, the conflict was caused by pragmatic considerations of the camp authorities due to the acute shortage of labor and the fact that as "intellectuals" the Gestapo soldiers destroyed highly qualified workers. But in the end, the Gestapo won. Selected prisoners were sent to Dachau, and “humanist” officers from the Wehrmacht were fired.

For a man of average weight and age, the amount of basal metabolism necessary for survival at rest at a comfortable temperature is 1700 kcal / day. . Caloric intake less than this value leads to inevitable death within a few weeks or months. The natural energy consumption of an average man who is not engaged in physical labor is 2800 kcal / day. [The decision to increase the diets and restore the working ability of the emaciated from 11/26/1941 was due to Hitler's order of 10/31/1941 on the large-scale use of labor of Soviet prisoners in Germany. However, in November, the state of Soviet prisoners of war was already so grave that it created "problems" even for executioners who forbade the delivery of depleted prisoners to extermination camps.

Concentration camp commandants complain that between 5 and 10% of Soviet prisoners sentenced to death arrive in the camps dead or half dead. It should be especially noted that during pedestrian crossings, for example, from the station to the camp, not a small number of prisoners of war either die on the way from exhaustion, or fall half dead and must be picked up by the following cars. It is impossible to keep it secret from the German population. 
The increase in rations was insignificant and could not put dying people on their feet. Therefore, mortality in the Wehrmacht camps remained catastrophically high until the spring of 1942.

The extermination of more than 2 million Soviet prisoners by starvation was not the result of insurmountable food difficulties. The situation with transport did not allow delivering all the loot to the territory of the Reich, and there were sufficient food supplies in the occupied territory. Nevertheless, on September 16, 1941, Goering declared [that the products should not be “eaten up by the people wandering nearby” or given to prisoners of war. They were to “be collected at designated, protected sites as an imperial reserve”. The fact that the extermination of prisoners was a deliberate policy, although subsequently recognized as erroneous, follows from a speech by the Ministerial Director Mansfeld to the Imperial Economic Chamber in February 1942.

The current difficulties with the use of labor would not have arisen if a decision had been made in a timely manner on the widespread use of labor of Russian prisoners of war. At our disposal were 3.9 million Russians, of which only 1.1 million remained. Only from November 1941 to January 1942 500,000 Russians died. The number of Russian prisoners of war currently employed in their work (400,000) can hardly be increased. If typhoid diseases are eliminated, then, perhaps, it will be possible to involve an additional 100,000-150,000 Russians in the economy.

Mortality was especially high among prisoners taken near Vyazma and Bryansk. In these cauldrons, the Red Army fought to the very last opportunity, and were captured already severely exhausted. In November, after the onset of cold weather, in the absence of treatment and adequate nutrition, mortality reached 2% per day. Until the spring of 1942, almost all of these soldiers were killed in German camps, who broke the blitzkrieg and the full-scale assault on Moscow.

Accurate data on mortality in the Reich are available only for December 1941; of the 390,000 prisoners this month, 72,000 (18.5%) died. So mortality here was significantly lower than in the rest of the OKW responsibility zone, but higher than the corresponding indicator in the frontline zone.

Mortality was especially high in the camps in Poland. By April 15, out of 361,612 prisoners who had been taken to the Governor-General in the fall of 1941, only 44,235 remained alive, 7,559 prisoners escaped, 292,560 died in the camps, and 17,256 were declared as being “transferred to the SD ", That is, they were shot. Even if those who escaped were considered survivors, at least 85.7% of Soviet prisoners died in camps on the territory of Poland. Prisoners in this area did not receive higher rations for work in German industry, and help from the local population was even less likely than in Germany.

The massacre of about 2 million Soviet prisoners of war in the fall of 1941 and the winter of 1941-1942 Christian Straight politically calls "mass mortality." Since 1942, the extermination of Soviet prisoners of war in German camps has declined. This is due to a decrease in the number of captured prisoners and the difficult situation in which German industry and the army found themselves after the failure of the blitzkrieg. Significant losses and mobilization of men in the army led to an acute shortage of labor. It was decided to fill this deficit at the expense of prisoners of war and ostarbeiters. But the size of the army was still insufficient to conduct a victorious war. The shortage of soldiers was partially compensated by attracting troops from the allies - Italy, Romania, Hungary, Croatia and volunteers from occupied and neutral countries. In the changed circumstances, the Nazi leadership, contrary to its previous dogma, decided to attract Soviet citizens and Soviet prisoners of war, including Russians, to serve in the German army as a Khiva.

Since a person dying from dystrophy is useless for production, the nutritional standards have changed for those who remained in captivity and could work. However, the policy of "productive nutrition" concerned only working prisoners of war and forced people to work for wear and tear. Those who could no longer work and were useless for the Reich, the Nazis killed by hunger throughout the war - "mortality due to the same principles in the field of nutrition remained extremely high and increased again by the end of the war." In 1944, the nutritional standards of Soviet and non-Soviet prisoners of war became the same. But this happened as a result of a fall in food standards for the entire Reich population. As a result, for non-working prisoners, the nutritional norm became again less than the main metabolic rate, which led to an increase in mortality.

One example is the stationary camp VI A Hemer, which played a decisive role in the use of labor of Soviet prisoners in the mining industry. In this camp, where relatively few prisoners died during the mass mortality of 1941-1942, a large mortality began only in 1943. So, until March 1943, about 3,000 dead were registered. But then, before the end of the war, another 20,000 prisoners died here. After their release in April 1945, 816 prisoners were so depleted that they died in the following weeks from irreversible degeneration.