Prisoners that the allies were talking about soldiers in the German concentration camps

History 29/02/20 prisoners That the allies were talking about soldiers in the German concentration camps

in Addition to the officers and soldiers of the red army in the concentration camps of the Third Reich contained people of different nationalities. The prisoners were much exhausted by the fear of death and many hardships. In such circumstances, the emotions of people usually focus on, become tougher and sharper appear. The allies felt for the Soviet prisoners of war with a variety of feelings: pity, hate, from respect to contempt.

concentration Camps

the number of death camps and the number of victims is still under debate. But no one can deny that the prisoners of these institutions were massively killed as a result of overwork, disease, subtle bullying and just horrific living conditions. Finally, they were shot and burned in gas furnaces.

According to several German scientific periodicals from 1939 to 1945 through the death camps were about 2 million 500 thousand people. Moreover, 15% of them were ethnic Germans who opposed the Nazi ideology. The total number of victims most Western historians estimate about 2 million people.

the scientists believe that during the Second world war, only in Germany the Nazis created more than 1,100 concentration camps. They were about 18 million people, killed nearly 12 million. Among these victims were and 3 million 900 thousand Soviet prisoners of war.

Norwegian writer, Nils Christie wrote a book “Guards in concentration camps”, which was translated into Russian language. The author refers to the memories of the prisoners and their countrymen who served in institutions of the Third Reich, which was located in Scandinavia. There were mainly prisoners of war from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, and the Norwegians – members of the anti-fascist resistance.

Pointing to buschelovenia conditions, Nils Christie, noted that the stay in the concentration camp greatly changed the psyche of the people. Some of the prisoners themselves begin to believe in the rightness of the Nazi ideology. Sometimes they mocked other miserable imitation of the SS.

the Prisoners

concentration camp Inmates were mainly divided into the following categories:

criminals;anti-social elements (vagrants, parasites, drug users);homosexuals;the policy (people do not share the ideology of the Third Reich);racially inferior.

In the camps had the most representatives of the peoples which the Nazis considered biological waste. Prisoners of war from the USSR was included in this category of prisoners. Officers-Communists and Commissars, the Germans, as a rule, immediately shot.

Most difficult of conditions the Nazis created for “racially inferior”. They would all be killed, if not for the need of free labor.

Some inmates enjoyed privileges. It was criminals from the Germans. They were appointed to the office of the camp wardens and clerks. These people depended on the distribution of rations, work orders, statistics of arrivals and deaths. The order among the prisoners and the discipline watched the so-called “KAPO”. They could punish other prisoners for disobedience.

a Large number of prisoners of war and detainees has led to the fact that the guards lacked. Therefore, the Nazis built the camps a clear system of hierarchy.


Dr. Daniel E. Melamid (Melnikov) and writer Lyudmila Borisovna Black did a lot of research of Nazi concentration camps. In the book “the Empire of death: a tool of violence in Nazi Germany. 1933-1945” (Moscow, 1988), the authors expressed the view that Adolf Hitler and his minions were eager to destroy as many Soviet people to free the territory of our country for future colonization by Germans. And the fact that the Soviet Union refused to sign the Geneva Convention prisoners of war of 1929 was only a formal pretext for mass murder.

According to most historians, the citizens of the USSR would still be starved, tortured and killed in Nazi concentration camps, regardless of any international agreements and statements.

D. E. Melamid (Melnikov), and L. B. Black brought in his book memories of a certain French citizen Rosner, who was also a prisoner in the camps. He said that other prisoners of war, the allies felt sorry for the unfortunate Soviet soldiers.

“Their faces was not even yellow and green, they didn’t have the strength to move, they fell on the go row by row. The Germans threw at them, beaten with rifle butts, beaten with whips… all that the French started to cry, and the Germans made us return to the barracks” – as Rosner described the arrival of the column of Russian prisoners of war in one of the camps located on the territory of Germany, in the autumn of 1942.

According to many witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war the situation was most difficult. Suffering heavy losses on the Eastern front, the Nazis have come back for failures on helpless prisoners.


In the book “Guards in concentration camps”, Nils Christie brought memories of a Norwegian named odd Nansen. This man served in one of the institutions of the Third Reich. He said that the psychological state of the prisoners was that they had frankly fun, watching the hanging of other prisoners.
odd Nansen recalled: “the worst is the case probably with Russian and Ukrainians, they are constantly demanding things. It is understandable, because for them it is a matter of life and death. They are starving, and who would not have started to stoop, if he was in this position for the opportunity to survive? When it was about life and death, the Norwegians did exactly the same. Until they started to receive parcels”.

Soviet prisoners of war, of hunger, forced to grovel and beg, often caused other prisoners contempt. Nils Christie points out that even dogs of the same NorwegianTsy treated better than prisoners of the red army.
the fact that concentration camp inmates who were not citizens of Germany and the Soviet Union received food parcels from the international Committee of the red cross. This was written by the historian and journalist Leonid Mlechin in the article “They have to kill one by one” (Novaya Gazeta, may 7, 2018). Soviet prisoners of war any packages not received because of Joseph Stalin and the government of our country refused to cooperate with the Red Cross, prisoners of war claiming to be deserters and traitors.

starving Soviet soldiers are humiliated for a crust of bread before the allies received food parcels, causing some of them the laughter and scorn.


However, many red army soldiers in captivity behaved courageously and was respected by other prisoners. In spite of the difficult conditions of our compatriots have tried to provide all possible resistance to the Nazis, sabotaged the work, organizing shoots, collaborated with the anti-fascists from other countries.

Former Commissioner of the engineering troops of the red army Evgeny G. reshin wrote a documentary novel “General Karbyshev” (Moscow, 1987) about one of the characters, which was personally acquainted.

Dmitry Mikhailovich was already 60 years old when he was captured by the Germans. No matter how the Gestapo tried to break down his resistance and force him to cooperate, nothing could not achieve. General Karbyshev changed several camps and organized an underground resistance cell. They made up “Rules of behavior of Soviet people in fascist captivity” the prisoners were taught by rote and passed their comrades. They had a point: “to hold High the honor of the Soviet soldier”.

the Prisoners were used as labor force, broken machines, set fire to the administrative building, vandalized the property and equipment.

D. M. Karbyshev, like many other Soviet prisoners of war, after the brutal torture was executed on the night of 18 February 1945 in the Mauthausen concentration camp (Austria). General doused with water in the cold, and the body then burned.

However, the Professor of the University of London Nikolaus Wachsmann believes that the role of clandestine organizations, which were created by prisoners, anti-fascists from different countries in the fight against the Nazis is overrated. In his book “History of Nazi concentration camps” (Moscow, 2017, pens. A. L. Utkin) the author claims that the prisoners there was practically no possibilities to resist.

for Example, 150 Soviet prisoners and several collaborated with them representatives of other countries were tortured and executed in the autumn of 1944 in the camp of Dora-Mittelbau (Thuringia), since SS officers suspected them of intending to blow up the tunnel.


Professor Nicholas Wachsman pointed out that the Gestapo was constantly experienced a shortage of personnel. To work as guards and executioners in the concentration camps there weren’t many. Staff German officers to this activity attracted forcibly, but still employees are not enough. Then the leadership of the SS was forced to take on the position of the guards in the concentration camps of the so-called “foreign volunteers”.

Among them were many prisoners of war from the countries of the coalition, agreed to cooperate with the Germans. Some of these collaborators of the Nazis, wishing to curry favor with the Gestapo, showed excessive cruelty to the prisoners. First and foremost, they got the red army.

Many security volunteers knew the Russian language, which was also in the hands of the Nazis. Among them there are those who hated the Communist ideology or just Russian. The inhabitants of the countries of Eastern Europe, for a long time coexist with the Russian Empire over the centuries have accumulated a lot of grievances. And accomplices of the Nazis have come back from the Soviet prisoners of war.

the Polish historian Andrzej Paczkowski in June 2016 at the Sakharov center (Moscow) gave a lecture in which he explained the negative attitude to Ruskim, the perception among most residents of the neighboring country. As it turned out, the Russian Empire always saw the poles power-aggressor, which brutally suppressed any attempt of the conquered peoples to achieve the right to national self-determination. So Soviet POWs often faced with the hatred of the prisoners from other countries, and we are not talking only about the poles, but the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Finns and other nationalities.

so, in different ways, were the allies to the Soviet soldiers, despite the fact that all prisoners of concentration camps were comrades in misfortune.

Origanum Tanatarova

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