Forced Repatriation of Russians at Magdeburg

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Peter Halsall, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Peter Halsall

    Peter Halsall Member

    My uncle, Joseph Halsall (deceased), served with the 6th Cameronians SR. He recalled, when alive, a traumatic experience in being involved in the enforced repatriation of 'Russians' (often Ukrainian, Georgian and so forth) after hostilities ended. The war diaries for the battalion seem to indicate that Magdeburg was the likely location - see below. I am struggling to find any detail, first person accounts etc of the event and so any suggestions of where to look would be welcome. I am familiar with the overall picture, the Yalta agreement, the fate of the Cossacks, the widespread issue of Displaced Persons in Germany at this point, etc. It is information specific to this exchange that I am hoping to find.

    Any help appreciated,


    EdSav likes this.
  2. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Were these the Russians who joined the Axis to fight against the Allies?
    I've read about it somewhere, can't remember where.
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  4. Peter Halsall

    Peter Halsall Member

    Thank you both for your help,

    Yes they included Russians who had sided with the Germans, although many of these had very little choice the alternative being dispatched to a camp. Some were slave labourers taken back to Germany to work as the Germans occupied their countries, few if any wanted to return to the Soviets. The 'An Englishman at War' extract was very interesting, details there I hadn't come across before.

    In the meantime I turned up a piece on the axishistoryforum, link below, that sheds some light on the events. The number of prisoners involved is staggering, so much so that you might think more had been written about this period. No doubt much suppression of information about these sorry events has taken place. I still feel short of something like a first hand account of these days, perhaps something will turn up?

    The full article is quite long, these are a few key excerpts.

    'SHAEF would set up reception-delivery points on its side of the demarcation line at Wismar, Wustmark, Ludwigslust, Stendal, Magdeburg, Leipzig, and Plauen; and the Russians would set up points at corresponding locations on their side. As the plan worked out, the Soviet repatriates did not have to walk very much. SHAEF agreed to transport them to its delivery points by rail, truck, and air and to carry them across the line to the Soviet reception points by truck.

    By the 26th, 60,000 eastbound DPs had passed through the SHAEF delivery points, and by the 28th, all of the 28,662 liberated US troops reported in Soviet hands had been returned.58 In June the rate of repatriation of Soviet DPs reached 250,000 a week, and on 9 June, SHAEF G-5 reported that the repatriation of all DPs had passed the halfway mark. As of 1 July, 1,390,000 Soviet citizens had gone east, and the Soviet forces had delivered 300,000 western European DPs and prisoners of war. The western Europeans still in camps under 12th Army Group control were then down to 6,583. The number of Soviet citizens left in western Germany was below 700,000 and being reduced fast, leaving 871,000 Poles, the largest national DP group. The Soviet authorities had not included them in the east-west exchange, and the Warsaw government had so far not made any arrangements to have them returned'.

    Forced Repatriation,Operation KeelHaul and Bleiburg Tragedy - Page 2 - Axis History Forum


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