Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs
The Nazi crimes against Soviet Prisoners of War relate to the deliberately genocidal
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 policies taken towards the captured soldiers of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. These efforts resulted in some 3.3 to 3.5 million deaths, about 60% of all Soviet POWs.


During Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, the Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a...

 of the Soviet Union (USSR), and the subsequent German–Soviet War, millions of Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 were taken. Some of them were arbitrarily executed in the field by the German forces, died under inhuman conditions in German prisoner of war camps and during ruthless death march
Death march
A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees. Those marching must walk over long distances for an extremely long period of time and are not supplied with food or water...

es from the front line
Front line
A front line is the farthest-most forward position of an armed force's personnel and equipment - generally in respect of maritime or land forces. Forward Line of Own Troops , or Forward Edge of Battle Area are technical terms used by all branches of the armed services...

s, or were shipped to Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

 for extermination
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...


Some 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody, out of 5.7 million. This figure represents a total of 57% of all Soviet POWs and may be contrasted with only 8,300 out of 231,000 British and US prisoners, or 3.6%. Some estimates range as high as 5 million dead, including those killed immediately after surrendering (an indeterminate, although certainly very large number). Only 5% of the Soviet prisoners who died were of Jewish ethnicity. Among those who died was Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's son, Yakov Dzhugashvili
Yakov Dzhugashvili
Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili was one of Joseph Stalin's four children . Yakov was the son of Stalin's first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze...


The most deaths took place between June 1941 and January 1942, when the Germans killed an estimated 2.8 million Soviet POWs primarily through starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

, exposure
Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as . Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation...

, and summary execution
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

, in what has been called, along with the Rwandan Genocide
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

, an instance of "the most concentrated mass killing in human history (...) eclipsing the most exterminatory months of the Jewish Holocaust
Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard was the code name given to the Nazi plan to murder Polish Jews in the General Government, and marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, the use of extermination camps...

". By September 1941, the mortality rate among Soviet POWs was in the order of 1% per day. According to the USHMM, by the winter of 1941, "starvation and disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

 resulted in mass death of unimaginable proportions". This deliberate starvation, leading many desperate prisoners to resort to acts of cannibalism
Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

, was Nazi policy
Goering's Green Folder
In the Nuremberg Trials there was a document referred to as the "Green Folder" ofReichsmarschall Hermann Göring. This was the master policy directive for the economicexploitation of the conquered Soviet Union...

 in spite of food being available, in accordance to the Hunger Plan
Hunger Plan
The Hunger Plan was an economic management scheme that was put in place to ensure that Germans were given priority over food supplies, at the expense of everyone else. This plan was featured as part of the planning phase of the Wehrmacht invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941...

 developed by the Reich
Reich is a German word cognate with the English rich, but also used to designate an empire, realm, or nation. The qualitative connotation from the German is " sovereign state." It is the word traditionally used for a variety of sovereign entities, including Germany in many periods of its history...

 Minister of Food Herbert Backe
Herbert Backe
Herbert Backe was a German Nazi politician and Obergruppenführer in the SS.Backe was born in Batumi, Georgia, the son of a trader. He studied at the Tbilisi Gymnasium from 1905 and was interned on the outbreak of World War I as an enemy alien...


Between 374,000 and 1 million German prisoners of war (out of estimated 2.4 to 3.3 million) died in Soviet labor camps
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...


Commissar Order

The Commissar Order
Commissar Order
The Commissar Order was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. Its official name was Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars...

German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Kommissarbefehl) was a written order given by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. It demanded that any Soviet political commissar identified among captured troops be shot immediately; those prisoners who could be identified as "thoroughly bolshevized
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 or as active representatives of the Bolshevist ideology" were also to be executed.

Prisoner-of-war camps

The prisoners were stripped of their supplies and clothing by ill-equipped German troops when the cold weather set in. This resulted in fatal consequences for the prisoners. The camps established specially for the Soviets were called Russenlager. In others, the Soviets were kept separated from the prisoners of other countries. The Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

Regular Army
The Regular Army of the United States was and is the successor to the Continental Army as the country's permanent, professional military establishment. Even in modern times the professional core of the United States Army continues to be called the Regular Army...

 kept by Germany were usually treated in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention
Geneva Convention (1929)
The Geneva Convention was signed at Geneva, July 27, 1929. Its official name is the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva July 27, 1929. It entered into force 19 June 1931. It is this version of the Geneva Conventions which covered the treatment of prisoners of war...

 (signed by Germany but not by the Soviet Union; however, it should be noted that since Germany signed the convention, it was required to treat all captured soldiers in accordance to it, whether they were from co-signatory states or not).

In the case of the Soviet POWs, most of the camps were simply open areas fenced off with barbed wire
Barbed wire
Barbed wire, also known as barb wire , is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand. It is used to construct inexpensive fences and is used atop walls surrounding secured property...

 and watchtower
A watchtower is a type of fortification used in many parts of the world. It differs from a regular tower in that its primary use is military, and from a turret in that it is usually a freestanding structure. Its main purpose is to provide a high, safe place from which a sentinel or guard may...

s with no housing. These meager conditions forced the crowded prisoners to live in holes they had dug for themselves, which were exposed to the elements. Beating
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

s and other abuse
Prisoner abuse
Prisoner abuse is the mistreatment of persons while they are under arrest or incarcerated.Abuse falling into this category includes:* Physical abuse: Needless beating, hitting, or other corporal punishment....

 by the guards were common, and prisoners were malnourished, often consuming only a few hundred calories per day. Medical treatment was nonexistent and a Red Cross offer to help in 1941 was rejected by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Some of these conditions were actually worse than those experienced by prisoners in the German concentration camps.

In the summer and fall/autumn of 1941 during the German invasion, vast numbers of Soviet prisoners were captured in about 11 different encirclements
Encirclements in 1941
The majority of the fighting and dying in World War II centered on the Eastern Front and the clash of the Nazi and Soviet armies. The Nazi invasion in June of 1941 Operation Barbarossa can be viewed as a series of double envelopments, capturing huge numbers of men and machines. Also called...

 (so-called cauldrons). Due to the rapid advance and an expected quick victory, the Germans did not want to ship these prisoners back to Germany. Under the administration of the Wehrmacht the prisoners were processed, guarded, force marched, or transported in open rail cars. Much like the Bataan Death March
Bataan Death March
The Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer, by the Imperial Japanese Army, of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of prisoners.The march was characterized by...

, the treatment of prisoners was brutal, without much in the way of supporting logistics.

Selected POW camps

  • Oflag IV-C
    Oflag IV-C
    Oflag IV-C, often referred to as Colditz Castle because of its location, was one of the most famous German Army prisoner-of-war camps for officers in World War II; Oflag is a shortening of Offizierslager, meaning "officers camp"...

    : Allied officers at Colditz Castle
    Colditz Castle
    Colditz Castle is a Renaissance castle in the town of Colditz near Leipzig, Dresden, and Chemnitz in the state of Saxony in Germany. Used as a workhouse for the indigent and a mental institution for over 100 years, it gained international fame as a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II for...

     were barred from sharing Red Cross packages with starving Soviet prisoners.
  • Oflag XIII-A
    Oflag XIII-A
    Oflag XIII-A, Oflag XIII-B and Oflag XIII-D Nürnberg Langwasser were all German Army prisoner-of-war camps in World War II for officers. They were all located on the old Nazi party parade grounds in Nürnberg, northern Bavaria...

    : In July 1941 a new compound, Oflag XIII-D, was set up for higher ranking Soviet officer
    Officer (armed forces)
    An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

    s captured during Operation Barbarossa. It was closed in April 1942; the surviving officers (many had died during the winter due to an epidemic
    In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

    ) were transferred to other camps.
  • Stalag 324: Once a week, sick inmates were to be shot.
  • Stalag 350/Z: According to the 1944 Soviet report, 43,000 captured Red Army personnel were either killed or died from diseases and starvation.
  • Stalag 359B: An epidemic of dysentery
    Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

     led to the murder of some 6,000 Red Army prisoners between September 21-28, 1941 (3,261 of them on the first day), conducted by the notorious Police Battalion 306.
  • Stalag I-B
    Stalag I-B
    Stalag I-B Hohenstein was a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp located west of Hohenstein, East Prussia . The camp was partially located on the grounds of the Tannenberg Memorial and initially included a set of wooden structures intended to house World War I veterans during Nazi...

    : About 50,000 prisoners died in the camp, the vast majority of them Soviets.
  • Stalag II-B
    Stalag II-B
    Stalag II-B was a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp situated west of the village of Hammerstein, Pomerania on the north side of the railway line.-Camp history:...

    : The construction of the second camp, Lager-Ost, started in June 1941 to accommodate the large numbers of Soviet prisoners taken in Operation Barbarossa. In November 1941 a typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

     epidemic broke out in the Lager-Ost; it lasted until March 1942 and an estimated 45,000 prisoners died and were buried in mass grave
    Mass grave
    A mass grave is a grave containing multiple number of human corpses, which may or may not be identified prior to burial. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave, although the United Nations defines a mass grave as a burial site which...

    s. The camp administration did not start any preventive measures until some German soldiers became infected.
  • Stalag III-A
    Stalag III-A
    Stalag III-A was a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp at Luckenwalde, Brandenburg, south of Berlin.-Camp history:Planning for the camp commenced before the invasion of Poland...

  • Stalag III-C: In July 1941 Soviet prisoners captured during Operation Barbarossa arrived. They were held in separated facilities and suffered severe conditions and disease. The majority of the prisoners (up to 12,000) were killed, starved to death or died due to disease.
  • Stalag IV-A
    Stalag IV-A
    Stalag IV-A Elsterhorst was a World War II German Army Prisoner-of-war camp located near Hoyerswerda in Saxony, 44 km north-east of Dresden.- Timeline :...

    : In June-September 1941 Soviet prisoners from Operation Barbarossa were placed in another camp. Conditions were appalling, and starvation, epidemics and ill-treatment took a heavy toll of lives; the dead Soviet prisoners were buried in mass graves.
  • Stalag IV-B
    Stalag IV-B
    Stalag IV-B was one of the largest prisoner of war camps in Germany during World War II. Stalag is an abbreviation of the German noun "Stammlager". The main camp was located 8km NE of the town Mühlberg in Brandenburg, just east of the Elbe river and about 30 miles north of Dresden...

    : In July about 11,000 Soviet soldiers, and some officers, arrived. By April 1942 only 3,279 remained; the rest had died from malnutrition
    Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

     and a typhus epidemic caused by the deplorable sanitary conditions. Their bodies were buried in mass graves. After April 1942 more Soviet prisoners arrived and died just as rapidly. At the end of 1942 10,000 reasonably healthy Soviet prisoners were transferred to Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

     to work in the coal mines; the rest, suffering from tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

    , continued to die at the rate 10-20 per day.
  • Stalag IV-H: Of the 10,677 inmates in the camp before the typhoid fever epidemic in December 1941, only 3,729 were still alive when it ended in April 1942. In 1942 at least 1,000 were "weeded-out" by the Gestapo
    The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

     and shot at Buchenwald.
  • Stalag V-A
    Stalag V-A
    Stalag V-A was a German prisoner of war camp located on the southern outskirts of Ludwigsburg, Germany, during World War II.-Operation:The prison camp had been constructed on the site of a former German military installation, which had once billeted German cavalry troops and their horses...

    : During 1941-1942 many Soviet POWs arrived, but they were kept in separate enclosures and received much harsher treatment than the other prisoners. Thousands of them died of malnutrition and disease.
  • Stalag VI-C
    Stalag VI-C
    Stalag VI-C - Oberlangen was a World War II German POW camp located 6 km west of the village Oberlangen in Emsland in north-western Germany. It was originally built with five others in the same marshland area as a prison camp for Germans...

    : Over 2,000 Soviet prisoners from Operation Barbarossa arrived in the summer of 1941. Conditions were appalling, starvation, epidemics and ill-treatment took a heavy toll of lives. The dead were buried in mass graves.
  • Stalag VI-K
    Stalag VI-K
    Stalag VI-K was a former German prisoner of war camp at Stuckenbrock or Senne south of Bielefeld in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, also known as Stalag VI-K Senne....

    : Between 40,000 and 60,000 prisoners died, mostly buried in three mass graves. A Soviet war cemetery is still in existence, containing about 200 named graves.
  • Stalag VII-A
    Stalag VII-A
    During World War II, Stalag VII-A was Germany's largest prisoner-of-war camp, located just north of the town of Moosburg in southern Bavaria. The camp covered an area of 35 ha. . It served also as a transit camp through which prisoners, including officers, were processed on their way to other camps...

    : During the 5,5 years about 1,000 prisoners died at the camp, over 800 of them Soviets (mostly officers). At the end of the war there were still 27 Soviet general
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

    s in the camp who had survived the mistreatment that they, like all Soviet prisoners, had been subjected to. The new prisoners were inspected upon arrival by local Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

     Gestapo agents; some 484 were found to be "undesirable" and immediately sent to concentration camps and murdered.
  • Stalag VIII-C
    Stalag VIII-C
    Stalag VIII-C was a World War II German POW camp adjacent to the famous Stalag Luft III near Sagan, Germany, . It was built at the beginning of World War II and occupied 48 ha .- Timeline :...

    : In late 1941 nearly 50,000 prisoners were crowded into a space designed for only one third that number. Conditions were appalling, starvation, epidemics and ill-treatment took a heavy toll of lives. By early 1942 the survivors had been transferred to other camps.
  • Stalag VIII-E
    Stalag VIII-E
    Stalag VIII-E was a Second World War German POW camp located 12 km south of the famous Stalag Luft III near Sagan, Germany, . It was built on the large German Army training grounds next to the village of Neuhammer, today called Świętoszów, that are still in use today by the Polish Armed Forces-...

    : The first Soviets arrived in July 1941; by June 1942 more than 100,000 prisoners were crowded into this camp. As a result of starvation and disease, mainly typhoid fever and tuberculosis, close to half of them died before the end of the war.
  • Stalag VIII-F
    Stalag VIII-F
    Stalag VIII-F was a German prisoner of war camp set up to handle exclusively Soviet Red Army prisoners. It was located at the northern end of the huge Germany Army training area at Lamsdorf Silesia and just north of Stalag VIII-B. It was built in June 1941 and existed until the advancing Soviet...

    : Physical and sanitary conditions were terrible and of the estimated 300,000 Soviet prisoners who passed through this camp, about one third (some 100,000) died of starvation, mistreatment and disease.
  • Stalag X-B
    Stalag X-B
    Stalag X-B was a World War II German Prisoner-of-war camp located near Sandbostel in north-western Germany. Sandbostel lies 9 km south of Bremervörde, 43 km northeast of Bremen. Placed on swampy ground,with a damp, cold climate, it is one of the most notorious prisoner-of-war camps. Between...

  • Stalag XI-B
    Stalag XI-B
    Stalag XI-B was a German Army POW camp near Fallingbostel in Lower Saxony, north-western Germany.-Timeline:* Originally a work camp at the west end of the huge German Army training grounds Bergen, it was transformed into a POW camp at the end of 1939, to serve as a base for prisoners working in...

    : In July 1941, over 10,000 Soviet army officers were imprisoned here. Thousands of them died in the winter of 1941/2 as the result of a typhoid fever epidemic.
  • Stalag XI-C
    Stalag XI-C
    Stalg XI-C Bergen-Belsen, initially called Stalag 311, was a German Army prisoner-of-war camp located near the town of Bergen in Lower Saxony.-Timeline:...

    : In July 1941, about 20,000 Soviet prisoners captured during Operation Barbarossa arrived; they were housed in the open while huts were being built. Some 14,000 POWs died during the winter of 1941–42. In late 1943 the POW camp was closed and the entire facility became Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
    Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
    Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...



In the "weeding-out programs" (Aussonderungsaktionen) in 1941-1942, the Gestapo further identified Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 and state officials, commissar
Commissar is the English transliteration of an official title used in Russia from the time of Peter the Great.The title was used during the Provisional Government for regional heads of administration, but it is mostly associated with a number of Cheka and military functions in Bolshevik and Soviet...

s, academic scholars, Jews and other "undesirable" or "dangerous" individuals who survived the Commissar Order
Commissar Order
The Commissar Order was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. Its official name was Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars...

 selections, and transferred them to concentration camps, where they were immediately summarily executed
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

. At Stalag VII "Moosburg", Major Karl Meinel objected to these executions, but the SS (including Karl von Eberstein
Karl von Eberstein
Freiherr Freidrich Karl von Eberstein was a member of the German nobility, early member of the Nazi party, the SA, the SS, Reichstag delegate, an HSSPF and SS-Oberabschnitt Führer, head of the Munich Police in World War II, introduced Reinhard Heydrich to Heinrich Himmler, and was a witness at the...

) intervened with military leadership, Meinel was demoted, and the killing continued. Otto, Reinhard (1998). Wehrmacht, Gestapo und sowjetische Kriegsgefangene im deutschen Reichsgebiet 1941/42. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag

In all, between June 1941 and May 1944 about 10% of all Soviet POWs were turned over to the SS-Totenkopfverbände
SS-Totenkopfverbände , meaning "Death's-Head Units", was the SS organization responsible for administering the Nazi concentration camps for the Third Reich....

 concentration camp organization or the Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories...

 death squads and murdered.

Concentration and extermination camps

Between 140,000 and 500,000 Soviet prisoners of war died or were executed in Nazi concentration camps, most of them by shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

 or gassing
Gas chamber
A gas chamber is an apparatus for killing humans or animals with gas, consisting of a sealed chamber into which a poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. The most commonly used poisonous agent is hydrogen cyanide; carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide have also been used...

. Some were also experimented on
Nazi human experimentation
Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners by the Nazi German regime in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Prisoners were coerced into participating: they did not willingly volunteer and there...

; in one such case, a Dr. Heinrich Berning from Hamburg University starved prisoners to death while performing "famine experiments"; in another, prisoners were shot using dum-dum bullets.
  • Auschwitz concentration camp
    Auschwitz concentration camp
    Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

    : From about 15,000 Soviet POWs who were brought to Auschwitz I for work, only 92 remained alive at the last roll call
    Roll call
    Roll call is the calling of the names of people from a list to determine the presence or absence of the listed people . The term applies to the calling itself, to the time moment of this procedure, and to a military signal that announces it Roll call is the calling of the names of people from a...

    . About 3,000 more were killed by being shot or gassed immediately after arriving. The Soviets were treated worse than any other Auschwitz prisoners. Out of the first 10,000 brought to work in 1941, 9,000 died in the first five months. A group of about 600 Soviet prisoners were gassed in the first Zyklon-B experiments on September 3, 1941; in December 1941, a further 900 Soviet POWs were murdered by means of gas. In March 1941, Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

     ordered the construction of a large camp for 100,000 Soviet POWs at Birkenau, in close proximity to the main camp. Most of the Soviet prisoners were dead by the time Birkenau was reclassified as the Auschwitz II concentration camp in March 1942.
  • Buchenwald concentration camp
    Buchenwald concentration camp
    Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles and Slovenes,...

    : 8,483 Soviet POWs were selected in 1941-1942 by a task force of three Dresden
    Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

     Gestapo officers and sent to the camp for immediate liquidation by a gunshot to the back of the neck, the infamous Genickschuss using a purpose-built facility
    Genickschussanlage is the official name of a facility used for surprise executions in Nazi Germany. The victim was placed, under a pretext, in a position where a shot could be fired into the back of his/her neck from the neighbouring room. For that purpose, the facilities were partly disguised as...

  • Chełmno extermination camp: The victims murdered at the Chełmno killing center included several hundred Poles
    thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

     and Soviet POWs.
  • Dachau concentration camp: Some 500 Soviet POWs were executed by a firing squad in Dachau.
  • Flossenbürg concentration camp
    Flossenbürg concentration camp
    Konzentrationslager Flossenbürg was a Nazi concentration camp built in May 1938 by the Schutzstaffel Economic-Administrative Main Office at Flossenbürg, in the Oberpfalz region of Bavaria, Germany, near the border with Czechoslovakia. Until its liberation in April 1945, more than 96,000 prisoners...

    : More than 1,000 Soviet POWs were executed in Flossenbürg by the end of 1941; executions continued sporadically up to 1944. The POWs at one of the sub-camps staged a failed uprising and mass escape attempt on May 1, 1944. The SS also established a special camp for 2,000 Soviet POWs within Flossenbürg itself.
  • Gross-Rosen concentration camp
    Gross-Rosen concentration camp
    KL Gross-Rosen was a German concentration camp, located in Gross-Rosen, Lower Silesia . It was located directly on the rail line between Jauer and Striegau .-The camp:...

    : 65,000 Soviet POWs were killed by feeding them only a thin soup of grass, water, and salt for six months. In October 1941 the SS transferred about 3,000 Soviet POWs to Gross-Rosen for execution by shooting.
  • Hinzert concentration camp
    Hinzert concentration camp
    Hinzert was a Nazi concentration camp located in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, 30 km from the Luxembourg border....

    : A group of 70 POWs were told that they would undergo a medical examination, but instead were injected with potassium cyanide
    Potassium cyanide
    Potassium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula KCN. This colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, is highly soluble in water. Most KCN is used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating. Smaller applications include jewelry for chemical gilding and...

    , a deadly poison.
  • Majdanek
    Majdanek was a German Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Lublin, Poland, established during the German Nazi occupation of Poland. The camp operated from October 1, 1941 until July 22, 1944, when it was captured nearly intact by the advancing Soviet Red Army...

    : The first transport directed toward Majdanek consisted of 5,000 Soviet POWs arriving in the latter half of 1941, they soon died of starvation and exposure. Executions were also conducted there by the shooting of prisoners in trenches.

  • Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp
    Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp
    Mauthausen Concentration Camp grew to become a large group of Nazi concentration camps that was built around the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen in Upper Austria, roughly east of the city of Linz.Initially a single camp at Mauthausen, it expanded over time and by the summer of 1940, the...

    : Following the outbreak of the Soviet–German War the camps started to receive a large number of Soviet POWs; most of them were kept in huts separated from the rest of the camp. The Soviet POWs were a major part of the first groups to be gassed in the newly-built gas chamber in early 1942; at least 2,843 of them were murdered in the camp. According to the USHMM, "so many POWs were shot that the local population complained that their water supply had been contaminated. The rivers and streams near the camp ran red with blood."
  • Neuengamme concentration camp: According to the testimony of Wilhelm Bahr, an ex-medical orderly, during the trial against Bruno Tesch
    Bruno Tesch (Chemist)
    Bruno Emil Tesch was a German chemist and entrepreneur. He was the co-inventor of the insecticide Zyklon B with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt...

    , 200 Soviet POWs were gassed by prussic acid in 1942.
  • Sachsenhausen concentration camp
    Sachsenhausen concentration camp
    Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD...

    : Soviet POWs were victims of the largest part of the executions that took place. Thousands of them were murdered immediately after arriving at the camp, including 9,090 executed between August 31 and October 2, 1941. Stalin's son died in this camp.
  • Sobibór extermination camp
    Sobibór extermination camp
    Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp located on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór, Lublin Voivodeship of occupied Poland as part of Operation Reinhard; the official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor...

    : Soviet prisoners of Jewish ethnicity were among hundreds of thousands people gassed at Sobibór. A group of former Soviet officers led the successful mass breakout from Sobibor, after which the Germans closed and dismantled the camp.

Forced labour camps

In January 1942, Hitler authorized better treatment of Soviet POWs because the war had bogged down, and German leaders decided to use prisoners for forced labour (see forced labor in Germany during World War II
Forced labor in Germany during World War II
The use of forced labour in Nazi Germany and throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II took place on an unprecedented scale. It was a vital part of the German economic exploitation of conquered territories. It also contributed to the mass extermination of populations in German-occupied...

). Their number increased from barely 150,000 in 1942, to the peak of 631,000 in the summer of 1944.

Many were dispatched to the coal mines (between July 1 and November 10, 1943, 27,638 Soviet POWs died in the Ruhr Area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 alone), while others were sent to Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...

, Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz AG was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motor vehicles, and internal combustion engines; founded in 1926. An Agreement of Mutual Interest - which was valid until year 2000 - was signed on 1 May 1924 between Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, which had...

 or countless other companies, where they provided labour while being slowly worked to death
Extermination through labour
Extermination through labor is a principle that guided the operation of the Nazi concentration camp system, defined as the willful or accepted killing of forced laborers or prisoners through excessive heavy labor, malnutrition and inadequate care....

. The largest "employers" of 1944 were mining (160,000), agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 (138,000) and the metal industry (131,000). No less than 200,000 prisoners died during forced labor.

Organisation Todt

The Organisation Todt
Organisation Todt
The Todt Organisation, was a Third Reich civil and military engineering group in Germany named after its founder, Fritz Todt, an engineer and senior Nazi figure...

  was a Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

 and military engineer
Military engineer
In military science, engineering refers to the practice of designing, building, maintaining and dismantling military works, including offensive, defensive and logistical structures, to shape the physical operating environment in war...

ing group in Germany eponymously named for its founder, Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.- Life :Todt was born in Pforzheim to a father who owned a small factory...

, an engineer and senior Nazi
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 figure. The organisation was responsible for a huge range of engineering projects both in pre-World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and in Germany itself and occupied territories from France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 to Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 during the war, and became notorious for using forced labour. Most of the so-called "volunteer" Soviet POW workers were consumed by the Organisation Todt. The history of the organization falls fairly neatly into three phases:
  • A pre-war period from 1933–1938 during which the predecessor of Organisation Todt, the office of General Inspector of German Roadways (Generalinspektor für das deutsche Straßenwesen), was primarily responsibility for the construction of the German Autobahn network. The organisation was able to draw on "conscripted" - i.e., compulsory - labour, from within Germany, through the Reich Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst
    The Reichsarbeitsdienst was an institution established by Nazi Germany as an agency to reduce unemployment, similar to the relief programs in other countries. During the Second World War it was an auxiliary formation which provided support for the Wehrmacht.The RAD was formed during July 1934 as...

    , RAD).
  • The period from 1938, when the Organisation Todt proper was founded until 1942, when the huge increase in the demand for labour created by the various military and paramilitary projects was met by a series of expansions of the laws on compulsory service, which ultimately obligated all Germans to arbitrarily determined (i.e. effectively unlimited) compulsory labour for the state: Zwangsarbeit. From 1938-40, over 1.75 million Germans were conscripted into labour service. From 1940-42, Organisation Todt began its reliance on Gastarbeitnehmer (guest workers), Militärinternierte (military internees
    Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

    ), Zivilarbeiter (civilian workers
    Zivilarbeiter refers primarily to Polish prisoners from the General Government , used during WWII as forced laborers in Germany. Poles were conscripted on the basis of the Polish decrees ....

    ), Ostarbeiter (Eastern workers) and Hilfswillige ("volunteer") POW workers.
  • The period from 1942 until the end of the war, with approximately 1.4 million labourers in the service of the Organisation Todt. Overall, 1% were Germans rejected from military service and 1.5% were concentration camp prisoners; the rest were prisoners of war and compulsory labourers from occupied countries. All were effectively treated as slaves and existed in the complete and arbitrary service of a ruthless totalitarian state. Many did not survive the work or the war.

Soviet reprisals against former POWs

One often finds statements that Soviet POWs who survived German captivity were accused by the Soviet authorities of collaboration with the Nazis
Collaboration during World War II
Within nations occupied by the Axis Powers, some citizens, driven by nationalism, ethnic hatred, anti-communism, anti-Semitism or opportunism, knowingly engaged in collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II...

 or branded as traitors under Order No. 270, which prohibited any soldier from surrendering
Surrender (military)
Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and eventually become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A white flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.When the...

. During and after World War II freed POWs went to special "filtration" camps. Of these, by 1944, more than 90 per cent were cleared, and about 8 per cent were arrested or condemned to serve in penal battalions. In 1944, they were sent directly to reserve military formations to be cleared by the NKVD. Further, in 1945, about 100 filtration camps were set for repatriated Ostarbeiter, POWs, and other displaced persons
Displaced persons camp
A displaced persons camp or DP camp is a temporary facility for displaced persons coerced into forced migration. The term is mainly used for camps established after World War II in West Germany and in Austria, as well as in the United Kingdom, primarily for refugees from Eastern Europe and for the...

, which processed more than 4,000,000 people. By 1946, 80 per cent civilians and 20 per cent of POWs were freed, 5 per cent of civilians, and 43 per cent of POWs were re-drafted, 10 per cent of civilians and 22 per cent of POWs were sent to labor battalions, and 2 per cent of civilians and 15 per cent of the POWs (226,127 out of 1,539,475 total) transferred to the NKVD, i.e. the Gulag.

Russian historian G.F. Krivosheev gives slightly different numbers based on documents provided by the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

: 233,400 were found guilty of collaborating with the enemy and sent to Gulag camps out of 1,836,562 Soviet soldiers that returned from captivity. Latter data do not include millions of civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

s who have been repatriated (often involuntarily) to the Soviet Union, and a significant number of whom were also sent to the Gulag or executed (e.g. Betrayal of the Cossacks
Betrayal of the Cossacks
The Repatriation of Cossacks after WW2, also known as the Betrayal of the Cossacks, the Tragedy of Drau or the Massacre of Cossacks at Lienz refers to the forced repatriation to the USSR of the Cossacks and ethnic Russians who were allies of Nazi Germany during the Second World War.The...


The Black Book of Communism provides different numbers: 19.1% of ex-POWs were sent to penal battalions of the Red Army, 14.5% were sent to forced labour "reconstruction battalions" (usually for two years), and 360,000 people (about 8%) were sentenced to ten to twenty years in the Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

. The survivors were released during the general amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 for all POWs and accused collaborators in 1955 on the wave of De-Stalinization
De-Stalinization refers to the process of eliminating the cult of personality, Stalinist political system and the Gulag labour-camp system created by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Stalin was succeeded by a collective leadership after his death in March 1953...

 following Stalin's death in 1953.

According to Rolf-Dieter Müller and Gerd R. Ueberschär, "Soviet historians engaged for the most part in a disinformation
Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth...

 campaign about the extent of the prisoner-of-war problem." They claim that almost all returning POWs were convicted of collaboration and treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 hence sentenced to the various forms of forced labour. However, other scholars concede de-classified Soviet archive data to be a reliable source.
Thousands of Soviet POWs indeed survived through collaboration, many of them joining German forces including the SS.


  • "The war between Germany and Russia is not a war between two states or two armies, but between two ideologies–namely, National Socialism and Bolshevism. The Red Army must be looked upon not as a soldier in the sense of the word applying to our western opponents, but as an ideological enemy. He must be regarded as the archenemy of National Socialism and must be treated accordingly." – General Hermann Reinecke
    Hermann Reinecke
    Hermann Reinecke was a General der Infanterie of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II.He was a former Lieutenant General and the head of the General Office of the Armed Forces at OKW ...

  • "This struggle has nothing to do with soldierly chivalry or the regulations of the Geneva Conventions
    Geneva Conventions
    The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

    ." – Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel
    Wilhelm Keitel
    Wilhelm Bodewin Gustav Keitel was a German field marshal . As head of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and de facto war minister, he was one of Germany's most senior military leaders during World War II...

  • "Women in uniform are to be shot." – Field Marshal Günther von Kluge
    Günther von Kluge
    Günther Adolf Ferdinand “Hans” von Kluge was a German military leader. He was born in Posen into a Prussian military family. Kluge rose to the rank of Field Marshal in the Wehrmacht. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

  • "In the majority of cases, the camp commanders have forbidden the civilian population from putting food at the disposal of prisoners, they would rather let them starve to death." – Reich
    Reich is a German word cognate with the English rich, but also used to designate an empire, realm, or nation. The qualitative connotation from the German is " sovereign state." It is the word traditionally used for a variety of sovereign entities, including Germany in many periods of its history...

     Minister of the Eastern Territories Alfred Rosenberg
    Alfred Rosenberg
    ' was an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart; he later held several important posts in the Nazi government...

  • "These cursed Untermensch
    Untermensch is a term that became infamous when the Nazi racial ideology used it to describe "inferior people", especially "the masses from the East," that is Jews, Gypsies, Poles along with other Slavic people like the Russians, Serbs, Belarussians and Ukrainians...

    have been observed eating grass, flowers and raw potatoes. Once they can't find anything edible in the camp they turn to cannibalism." – Colonel Falkenberg, commandant of Stalag 318 (VIII-F)
  • "The barbaric, Asia
    Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

    tic fighting methods are originated by the political commissar
    Political commissar
    The political commissar is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military...

    s. Action must therefore be taken against them immediately, without further consideration, and with all severity. Therefore, when they are picked up in battle or resistance, they are, as a matter of principle, to be finished immediately with a weapon." – Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars, June 6, 1941
  • "Ruthless enforcement at the least sign of resistance and disobedience! Weapons are to be used mercilessly in breaking resistance. Escaping POWs must be fired upon immediately without warning, with intent to kill. Nor is softness called for against the industrious and obedient POW. He interprets it as weakness and draws his own conclusions." – Instructions for Guarding Soviet Prisoners of War, September 1941
  • "The decision, therefore, lies here in the East; here must the Russian enemy, this people numbering two hundred million Russians, be destroyed on the battle field and person by person, and made to bleed to death." - Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Himmler
    Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

  • "We must break away from the principle of soldierly comradeship. The communist has been and will be no comrade. We are dealing with a struggle of annihilation." – Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

See also

  • Babi Yar
    Babi Yar
    Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of a series of massacres carried out by the Nazis during their campaign against the Soviet Union. The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place on September 29–30, 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in a...

     - Soviet POWs among victims (70,000-120,000 people executed between 1941 and 1943).
  • Ponary massacre
    Ponary massacre
    The Ponary massacre was the mass-murder of 100,000 people, mostly Polish Jews, by German SD and SS and Lithuanian Nazi collaborators Sonderkommando collaborators...

     - Execution of some 7,500 Soviet POWs in 1941 (among about 100,000 murdered there between 1941 and 1944).
  • World War II casualties of the Soviet Union
    World War II casualties of the Soviet Union
    World War II casualties of the Soviet Union from all related causes are commonly estimated in excess of 20,000,000, both civilians and military, although the statistics vary to a great extent. Most of the casualties occurred from 22 June 1941, after Nazi Germany invaded the USSR.-Military losses:In...

  • German High Command orders for the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war
  • German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
    German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
    Approximately two million German prisoners of war were held in the Soviet Union during World War II and in the years that followed. Most of them were captured during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war. In the first months of the Soviet-German war, only about 26,000...

  • Commissar Order
    Commissar Order
    The Commissar Order was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa. Its official name was Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars...


  • The Policies of Genocide: Jews and Soviet Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany by Gerhard Hirschfeld, Wolfgang J. Mommsen Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die Sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen, 1941-1945 by Christian Streit

External links

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