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German POWs returning from Russia


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#1 Simmo

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:58 AM

I watched a movie last night concerning the German football team's World Cup exploits in Switzerland 1954 and one character's father turned up back from the Russian front. I was surprised (if not shocked) POWs were held that long after the cessation of hostilities. Was this accurate?
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#2 Owen

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:09 AM

Yes, even more didn't come back at all.

As late as 1953, however, at least 20,000 German POWs remained in Russia. After Stalin’s death, those men were finally sent home.

German POWs and the Art of Survival ยป HistoryNet


The last Germans (those who were sentenced for war crimes, sometimes without sufficient reason) were repatriated in 1956.


Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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#3 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:36 PM

Simmo,

It is pretty grim reading. A sad part of WW2 history.

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#4 A-58

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:02 PM

I've read that the men of the 6th Army that surrendered at Stalingrad were all branded war criminals. About 40,000 died on the way to the POW camps, and another 50,000 or so died in captivity. Only about 5-6,000 were returned after the war, sometime around 1954. It's been quite some time that I've read this, so please don't pin me down on this one.

Also I've read that a large number of Japanese troops taken in Manchuria and Sakhalin in 1945 were not released until the mid-50s as well.
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#5 Elven6

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 05:26 PM

Sounds about right, the same applied to civilians taken to camps by the Red Army, they started to return to Germany around this time if at all.

I don't remember the specifics but long after the war had ended they had found soldiers on the Eastern Front who didn't even know the war had ended! One case was over 200k men IIRC! This was common on other fronts as well, not sure if any Germans were found but Japanese cases keep popping up, the last Japanese soldier found was in 2005.
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#6 Harry Ree

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 11:02 PM

The repatriation of German POWs came about when Bulganin as Soviet Prime Minister invited Conrad Adenauer,Chancellor of the Federal Rebublic of Germany (in reality West Germany) to Moscow in September 1955 in the pursuit of establishing diplomatic relations.Stalin had died in March 1953 and the appraisal of the Soviets towards West Germany had eased.Adenauer, for his part was anxious to visit the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union were just as anxious to receive him for they did not know much of him as a politician having failed to isolate him by opening discussions with the West Germany SPD political group.Adenhauer had prevented this by appealing to the Allied High Commissioners to prevent such contact which was agreed to by the Commissioners.

10 years after the end of the Second World War,German POWs were still being held in Russia.Up to the end of 1949,2 million German POWs had been released but a further 10.000 were adjudged to be war criminals and were held. These were considered to be an embarrassment for the new Soviet leadership and Adenauer saw the opportunity to negotiate their release.Unknown to Adenauer,the Soviet Central Committee of the Communist Party had already decided in July 1955, to release the POWs as a sign of goodwill during Adenauer's visit.

By the autumn of 1956,the bulk of this residue of German POWs had been released to West Germany.Some of these were lucky for if they had been available to the judicial process in the West,immediately,post war they would have had to answer for their past crimes.

Thus war criminals such as Mohnke,Hitler's last Chancellory commander who was implicated in the 1940 Wormhout massacre was one of these released and escaped justice to die in his own bed in 2001.There were other notable thugs such as a leading member of the Gestapo whose district was responsible for the murder of one of the Stalag Luft 3 group escapees.He was able to use his Soviet imprisonment to escape justice in the west.
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#7 ozjohn39

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:45 AM

Many 1000s of German POWs died in the 'Gulags' of Siberia.

Virtually NIL of the German SS manged to get back home, as most were sent to Wrangell Island off the north coast of Siberia not far from the Bering Strait.

Even many American POWs from the Korean War suffered the same fate in the Gulags.



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#8 Macca

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:57 AM

It is rumored that a possible 30,000 Allied POW's who were in German Stalags overrun by the Red Army also disappeared to the Gulags. The truth of this is still to be established.
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#9 Za Rodinu

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:55 AM

Considering the amount of Red Army POWs that did not return and the devastation suffered, I'm not surprised they were somewhat late in releasing these.

According to the estimate by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), some 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody out of 5.7 million. This figure represents a total of 57% (nearing the European Jewish death rate of over 60%) and may be contrasted with "only" 8,300 out of 231,000 British and American prisoners, or 3.6%. Some estimates range as high as 5 million dead, including these killed immediately after surrendering (an indeterminate, although certainly very large number). Only 5% of the Soviet prisoners who died were of Jewish ethnicity.


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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#10 Gerard

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:29 AM

A lot of sympathy may have been engendered post-war for these POW's especially in the light of the West's deteriorating relationship with Soviet Russia but it is hard to feel empathy knowing what was done in their name to Soviet POW's during the Great Patriotic War. Soviet prisoners were treated even worse. The East was a war of annihalation and it was the Third Reich which unleashed this upon Soviet Russia. They were lucky to get back alive and to be honest, for me, it is hard to be sympathetic to their plight.
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#11 James S

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:51 PM

So many people died between 39-45 it seems to compound the waste that many more would die after the last shots had been fired.
When you look at the thousands of youngsters and old men in uniform being marched out of Berlin for the east it is hard not to feel for them.
Men like Monke I have less sympathy for .......

The Russians treated their own equally badly from German concentration camps to the Gulags or internal exile all in all it was a cruel end game , Hitler's legacy to Germany.
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#12 Gerard

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 02:42 PM

Agreed about Mohnke, James. There's someone who definitely escaped proper justice.
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- General Heinz Guderian

 

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#13 James S

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 03:06 PM

That may well be the case Gerard , I somehow can't square the representation of him in "Der Untergang" with what I have read about him.

There is little wonder why so many SS and Wehrmacht wanted to surrender in the West than in the East.
Donitz may be regarded as a man who largely fought a hard but fair war at sea , I cannot in all conscience respect his loyalty to that bast*rd Hitler by sending seamen to fight and die as a forlorn hope in Berlin for an unworthy cause which was long lost.
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#14 Elven6

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 04:30 PM

A lot of sympathy may have been engendered post-war for these POW's especially in the light of the West's deteriorating relationship with Soviet Russia but it is hard to feel empathy knowing what was done in their name to Soviet POW's during the Great Patriotic War. Soviet prisoners were treated even worse. The East was a war of annihalation and it was the Third Reich which unleashed this upon Soviet Russia. They were lucky to get back alive and to be honest, for me, it is hard to be sympathetic to their plight.


I wouldn't generalize all of them, of course there is no denying those that committed acts of terror against Russians were definietly present. The Russians were never treated well by anyone including their own! The fact that they represented Communism "hence" Atheism probably didn't make them look any better in the eyes of a largely religious Germany.

Like I always say, generalizations will only destory facts. B)
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#15 Za Rodinu

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 04:59 PM

The Nazis = religious Germany?
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#16 Elven6

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 05:33 PM

The Nazis = religious Germany?



I didn't say that,
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#17 Za Rodinu

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:16 PM

The fact that they represented Communism "hence" Atheism probably didn't make them look any better in the eyes of a largely religious Germany.


Then what did you say?
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#18 Elven6

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:32 PM

Then what did you say?


I said exactly what you quoted, most of the German population followed a religion. Is that hard to believe? By saying

The Nazis = religious Germany?


Are you implying all Germans were Nazi's?
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#19 Harry Ree

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:51 PM

It mattered little to Nazis what religion the Russians embraced.That said, being since the Russian revolution, Soviet Russia had marginised the Russian Orthedox Church.

Hitler has been described a "pious Catholic".His regime did its best to marginalise both the German Protestant Church and the German Catholic Church simply because the Nazi regime did not require religion to have any advantage or influence over its ideology.

Yet, there is no doubt that members of the killing machine, either in the Greater German Reich or on the various battlefields carried out their murderous deeds during the week and then attended church on Sundays or an open church at the front.

During the various post war trials, time and time again,evidence was presented that these "warriors" broke off their devined duty to attend church as god fearing christians.
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#20 Elven6

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:58 PM

It mattered little to Nazis what religion the Russians embraced.That said, being since the Russian revolution, Soviet Russia had marginised the Russian Orthedox Church.

Hitler has been described a "pious Catholic".His regime did its best to marginalise both the German Protestant Church and the German Catholic Church simply because the Nazi regime did not require religion to have any advantage or influence over its ideology.

Yet, there is no doubt that members of the killing machine, either in the Greater German Reich or on the various battlefields carried out their murderous deeds during the week and then attended church on Sundays or an open church at the front.

During the various post war trials, time and time again,evidence was presented that these "warriors" broke off their devined duty to attend church as god fearing christians.


It is my understanding that the party had plans to eventually do away with religion but during the war used it as a propaganda tool against the Russians, similarly some religious leaders may have had similar intentions.
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#21 Za Rodinu

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:29 PM

If that is your understanding, what influence do you believe the "religious German majority" have to have their say on how were Godless Communits POW camps managed?
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#22 Elven6

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:44 PM

If that is your understanding, what influence do you believe the "religious German majority" have to have their say on how were Godless Communits POW camps managed?


I didn't say that, I was simply saying with it came to Germans sympathizing with Russians it may have played a role.
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#23 Za Rodinu

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 09:56 PM

So now Germans are sympahising with the Russians? Boy, there must be something with my being a non-native English reader, for my reading comprehension surely does not come up to par with this merry-go-round.

More tea, Vicar?
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#24 Elven6

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:06 PM

So now Germans are sympahising with the Russians? Boy, there must be something with my being a non-native English reader, for my reading comprehension surely does not come up to par with this merry-go-round.

More tea, Vicar?


It is you who is driving a merry go round, instead of directly asking your questions you play a game of riddles confusing everyone in the process, not just now but for almost all your threads. On top of that, the way you treat me almost always trying to attack me is ridiculous and uncalled for.

I'm not even going to bother with you this time, feel free to talk to me when you learn how to act in a public forum.
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#25 Za Rodinu

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:47 AM

Your statements have inconsistencies to say the least and when I try to expose them to you so you can fill them up you get annoyed at me. You should get annoyed at yourself instead.

Edited by Za Rodinu, 05 August 2009 - 05:42 AM.

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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#26 Owen

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 07:29 AM

Chillout blokes, thread's gone off topic .
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