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 № 3
Systematic extermination of prisoners
One of the most terrible periods for Soviet prisoners of war was the second half of the year in 1941 and the first half of 1942. The activities of the Einzatzgruppe, that is, the direct destruction of Soviet prisoners of war during the “selections” and “breeding,” I will not consider in this article (this is a topic for a separate and detailed study), I only mention that there were 4 Einsatzgruppes subordinate to the USSR Imperial Security Service (RSHA). Group A - in the Baltic States and near Leningrad - the head of the SS brigadefuhrer Dr. Franz Stalecker, group B - in Belarus and in the Moscow direction - the head of the SS brigadefuhrer Arthur Nebe, group C - in Ukraine, the head of the SS brigadefuhrer Dr. Otto Rush, and "D" - on the Black Sea coast, in the Crimea and the Caucasus, the head of the SS Standartenfuhrer Otto Olendorf. Each einsatzgrupp in its composition numbered from 400 to 900 people. On the conscience of these units - more than 1 million lives of Soviet civilians and prisoners of war. Moreover, the command of the Einsatzgruppe constantly emphasized close cooperation with the Wehrmacht, up to the voluntary participation of Wehrmacht soldiers in punitive actions against the civilian population and “selections” among prisoners of war. All the "actions" of the subordinates of the SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich are described in detail in "Reports on Events in the USSR".
In addition, the practice of killing and destroying heavily wounded Soviet troops in the camps was widespread in the Armed Forces of the Reich.
In Western historiography, the “unpreparedness” of the Wehrmacht for such a number of prisoners is often indicated as the main reason for the high mortality of Soviet prisoners of war. As an example, the number of prisoners in the region of Bryansk and Vyazma, as well as the Kiev boiler (according to German data in these two operations, the Wehrmacht captured 1.3 million prisoners of war). This is a lie. The process of mass death of Soviet troops began earlier. Helmut von Moltke, an employee of the Intelligence and Counterintelligence Directorate at OKW, wrote to his wife back in August 1941: "The news from the East is again terrifying. We obviously suffer very, very big losses. But that would be tolerable if we hadn’t been on our shoulders mountains of corpses. News is constantly heard that only 20% of prisoners and Jews come alive from transport, that famines prevail in prisoner-of-war camps, typhus and other dangerous epidemics are spreading ... " So what kind of "unpreparedness" is it?
A typical description of one of the usual camps for Soviet prisoners of war the situation of Soviet prisoners of war dated July 10, 1941 is given in a memorandum from the Ministerial Advisor Dorsch to the Reichsleiter Rosenberg. A few "wonderful" passages from there:
"Prisoners driven into this cramped space can barely move and are forced to send their natural needs where they stand.
Prisoners of war, whose nutritional problem is hardly solvable, live for 6-8 days without food, in a state of animal apathy caused by hunger, and they have one desire: to get something edible.
In relation to prisoners, the only possible language of weak security, which has been carrying out permanent service for days, is a firearm, which it mercilessly uses. "
I wonder who so "ruthlessly" uses firearms? Really evil from the SS or Sonderkommando? Not at all! The document clearly states that "the camp is guarded by a team of professional soldiers." So, one more lie of the post-war West European historical "thought" is evident - the most ordinary soldiers are engaged in security with the "merciless" use of firearms. Simply put - ordinary linear units of the Wehrmacht are engaged in executions of prisoners of war.
The surviving documents on prisoners of war of the “J” district (the responsibility of GA Center) show that the diet of Soviet prisoners of war already in early July consisted of 20 grams of millet and 100 grams of bread, working prisoners were given up to 50 grams of millet and 200 grams of bread. The caloric content of such "diets" ranged from 300 to 700 kcal., Which is 3-6 times less than the norm! It is not surprising that in the 112th transit camp (dulag) near Molodechno by the beginning of September 1941, the death rate of Soviet prisoners of war on some days reached 1% per day. But, basically, as I wrote in the first part, this figure was 0.3% per day.
After the arrival of prisoners captured in the battle of Bryansk, mortality rose sharply and reached 2% per day by November 1941. In early December 1941, the mortality rate became even higher: in the camps near Vyazma, Smolensk and Gomel, 350 people died every day. According to the documents in the area of responsibility of GA Center, for 3 months the death rate of prisoners was constantly increasing and reached by September an average of 0.3% per day (10% per month), by October the average mortality was already 1% per day (30 % per month), and by November - 1.3% per day (40% per month). In December, these figures decreased slightly and amounted to about 25% per month, in absolute terms, it was 64,165 dead Soviet prisoners of war only in December 1941! In January 1942, the death rate of Soviet prisoners of war fell to 23% per month (44,752 people), in February - 15% (19,117 people), in March - 10.3% (11,582 people), in April it decreased up to 6.2% (8 476 people)
There are no detailed data for the “North” and “South” GAs for the summer months, but according to the documents of the “C” district for prisoners of war (the responsibility of the GA “Sever”), 4,612 prisoners died on November 16-30, 1941 (over the course of the month) 5.6%), in December - 12 802 (12.3%), in January 1942 - 17.5% (16 051), in February - 11.8% (10 197), in March - 9.45% (7 636), in April - 6.3% (4 852).
In the area of responsibility of GA South, mortality among Soviet prisoners of war reached its peak already in October-November 1941, and even at the stages of evacuation amounted to 1% per day. In December, it fell sharply (since most of the prisoners had already been evacuated to the rear) and amounted to 7.1% (11,306), but in January 1942 it more than doubled - 16.8% (24,681), in February - 12 , 2% (15 543), in March - 9.4% (11 820), in April - 5.3% (6 132). For the entire frontline zone, the absolute mortality figures for Soviet prisoners of war are as follows:
December 1941 89693 people or 15.4%;
January 1942 87 451 people or 19.4%;
February 1942 46,579 people or 13.2%;
March 1942 31,703 people or 9.4%;
April 1942 19 537 people or 5.8%
JUST THINK THESE NUMBERS
It is very difficult to estimate the number of prisoners who died in the Ostland and Ukraine Reich commissariats. There are practically no documents until November 1941. Data is available since December 1941. According to them, from the end of November 1941 to January 1, 1942, 68,000 prisoners of war (29.4%) died in the Ostland Reich Commissariat, that is, about 2,190 people per day died.
But the gloomy "record" of 1941 was set by the Reich Commissariat "Ukraine". There, according to the report of the Commander of the Armed Forces in Ukraine, Lieutenant General Kitzinger addressed to the Minister for the Affairs of the Occupied Eastern Territories Rosenberg, about 2,500 Soviet prisoners of war died every day from exhaustion. And in February 1942, in the Reichskommissariat "Ukraine" the death rate of prisoners of war reached a terrible mark of 46.4% per month, which is 134,000 in numbers! That is, about 4,300 Soviet prisoners of war died per day.
The most complete data were preserved on the Governor General (Poland). From June 1941 to April 1942, 292,560 prisoners died in Poland, especially mortality increased at the beginning of October and amounted to 54,000 people by October 20th, and another 45,690 people died from October 21-30, which amounted to 17.3 % of their total number, or 4,600 people per day. In November, mortality was 38.2%, or 83,000 people. In December, absolute numbers became less - 65,000 people, but in percentage terms this was about 46% per month. Subsequently, mortality decreased and amounted to: January 1942 - 10,000 prisoners (13%), February - 21% (13 678), March - 10% (5 470), in the first half of April - 8% (1772). In total, 85.7% (!!!!!) of Soviet prisoners of war died in the general government.
On the territory of the Reich, the situation of Soviet prisoners of war was no better. The surviving documents on the Bergen-Balsen stationary camp show that by early November it contained about 14,000 prisoners in huts (!), And if the mortality rate at the beginning of November 1941 was 80 people per day (0.6%), then by the end of the month, 150 people a day (1.1%). As a result, by the end of the winter of 1941/1942, the camp was completely extinct!
Data on the territory of the Reich is only for December 1941. This month, out of 390,000 prisoners, 72,000 (19.4%) died, which was the lowest indicator (in%) in the OKW area of responsibility, which included the territory of the Reich, the governor general and the Reichskommissariat Ostland and Ukraine.
In total, before February 1, 1942, more than 2 million Soviet prisoners of war died and were destroyed. Of these, approximately 1.4 million - until December 1941, and about 0.6 million - from December 1941 to early February 1942. Mortality reached its peak by the end of October 1941. When the National Socialist leadership of the Reich in November 1941 became preoccupied with the "fate" of the dying Soviet prisoners of war, this was not due to the fact that the death rate of the prisoners reached a size that frightened the German leadership, but for purely economic reasons.
The main reason for the plight of Soviet prisoners of war in Nazi captivity was the theory of racial inferiority of the Slavs, in particular Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians, who were perceived by the Nazis as "a mass of racially inferior, stupid people." From here come the four reasons that led to the mass death of Soviet prisoners of war in German captivity:
2. Evacuation (transportation)
Funds of the Federal Archive of Germany - Military Archive. Freiburg (Bundesarchivs / Militararchiv (BA / MA)
Documents of the propaganda department of the Wehrmacht RW 4 / v. 253; 257; 298.
Particularly important cases under the Barbarossa plan of the L IV department of the Wehrmacht operations headquarters RW 4 / v. 575; 577; 578.
Documents of GA "North" (OKW / Nord) OKW / 32.
Wehrmacht help desk documents RW 6 / v. 220; 222.
Documents of the Department of Prisoners of War Affairs (OKW / AWA / Kgf.) RW 5 / v. 242, RW 6 / v. 12; 270,271,272,273,274; 276,277,278,279; 450,451,452,453. Documents of the Department of Military Economics and Armaments (OKW / WiRuArnt) Wi / IF 5/530; 5.624; 5.1189; 5.1213; 5.1767; 2717; 5.3064; 5.3190; 5.3434; 5.3560; 5.3561; 5.3562.
Documents of the chief of armament of the ground forces and the commander of the reserve army (OKH / ChHRu u. BdE) H1 / 441. Documents of the Vostok Foreign Army Division of the General Staff of the Ground Forces (OKH / GenStdH / Abt. Fremde Heere Ost) P3 / 304; 512; 512; 728; 729.
Documents of the Chief of the Land Forces Archive N / 40/54.
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