Nazi Germany and the Soviet prisoners

A map showing camps for the Soviet prisoners of war as of 1941.

Secret directive of the Chief of Security Police (SiPo) and Security Service (SD) signed by Müller to the heads of concentration camps on extermination of Soviet prisoners of war.

Document. SARF, collection 7445, register 2, folder145, pp. 145–146

Directive of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD to the heads of concentration camps on extermination of Soviet prisoners of war

Berlin, 9 November 1941
Confidential Urgent

Commandants of concentration camps complain that from 5 to 10 % of all Soviet prisoners of war qualified for extermination arrive to the camps dead or half-dead. This circumstance creates an impression that camps seek to get rid of POWs in this way.

In particular, it was established that during foot marches, as from the railway station to the camp, a considerable number of POWs drop down on the road due to their extreme exhaustion and die or stay lying half-dead. They have to be later picked up by transportation vehicles.

It is impossible to keep these facts from the German population.

Such delivery of POWs to concentration camps is, as a rule, carried out by the army; however the population interprets it as being carried out by SS troops.

In order to prevent the possibility of such instances in the future I order to immediately put into effect the rule that all Soviet POWs whose death is clearly imminent (for example those with typhoid fever) and who, thus, cannot survive the exhaustion of even a short foot march, shall no longer be delivered for extermination to concentration camps.

I ask you to immediately pass this information to all heads of corresponding operation squads.

To all:

Heads of State Police Precincts

Heads of Divisions of the Security Police and the SD Metz

Heads of Divisions of the Security Police and the SD Strasbourg

For information to:

Reichsführer-SS and Chief of German Police

Chief of the Security Police and the SD

Heads of Departments Nos. I‒VII

Gruppenleiter of Department IV Dr. Weinmann

Commanding officers of the SS and the Security Police, except the Hague

Inspectors of the Security Police and the SD

Heads of Divisions of the Security Police and the SD, except Metz and Strasbourg

Commanders of Security Police and SD

Inspectors of Concentration Camp all Commandants of Concentration Camps

Acting by order –

Müller

SARF, collection 7445, register 2, folder145, pp. 145‒146. Translation from German

Varvara Maksimovich, prisoner of war. 1941. She was imprisoned when the 2nd Shock Army of Volkhov Front was surrounded near Myasnoy Bor village.

From the memoirs of Varvara Maksimovich, a prisoner of war, about her life in the concentration camp near Kaunas

«We were given two little pieces of bread, the size of a match-box, mixed with sawdust, and a thin soup made of rotten potatoes. But even in such conditions we somehow helped each other.»

Quote.

Draft dietary standards for the Soviet prisoners of war in Germany. 27 November 1941. It was developed by the Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture of the Third Reich.

Document. ЦМ ВОВ НВ-16690

Draft
dietary standards for Soviet prisoners of war in Germany doing light work (based on the meeting in the office of Ministerialdirigent Dr. Klaussen on 27 November 1941 at the Reich Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture)

Weekly rate in gramsTotal annual requirement in tons perDaily rate
100,000 persons500,000 personsGramsCaloriesProteins in grams Pure fats in grams
Bread (mixture): Rye bran, sugar beet bagasse, 1550
straw205014800740004071100126,04,3
Meat 1)2501300650035,8345.11,4
Fats130680340018,61410,814,7
Concentrates150780390021,4771,60,5
of which 75% cereals14207100
Preserved milk2330121006050033314111,70,3
Sugar70365182510,041--
Potatoes30001560070000429,03977,3-
Turnip16500850004300002330,07355,6-
Vegetables1125585029250160,0600,33,5
Cabbage27514307150 39,3100,10,5
Total254058,525,2
1) One kilo of horse meat or poor quality meat contains 950 calories, 39 grams of fat, 142 grams of protein.
ENG

From the order of the head of POWs affairs of military district VIII on use of firearms when Soviet prisoners of war are guarded. 7 November 1941.

Document. SARF, collection 7021, register 148, folder 214, p. 41

From the order of the head of POWs affairs of military district VIII on use of firearms when Soviet prisoners of war are guarded

Breslavl, 7 November 1941

...there is an increasing number of incidents when guards on duty simply shoot Soviet prisoners of war at the slightest provocation.

Recent reports on disease-related mortality among the Soviet prisoners of war show a rate so high that no every incident of breach of orders should be regarded as consequences of malicious intent and disobedience but often as a result of weakness and apathy caused by poor health.

Head of the work team is personally responsible for thorough briefing of subordinate soldiers on the issue of using weapons against prisoners of war. In case of a breach of order or disobedience the guard is first to use the butt-end and bayonet, and if this is of avail — then use firearms...

As instructed by

Major

SARF, collection 7021, register 148, folder 214, p. 41
Translation from German

Letter of the Chief of the Order Police referring to the memorandum on branding the Soviet prisoners of war with numbers — issued by the Oberste Heeresleitung or OHL (Supreme Army Command) on 9 February 1942.

Document. Архив ФСБ Н-19096, т. 21<br />ЦМ ВОВ ВХ-07101/47

Berlin, 2 February 1942

Copy from a copy

Chief of Order Police
1-g-1а No. 74/42

Subject: on branding of Soviet prisoners of war.

I am forwarding the below copy of the decree of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces dated January 16, 1942, Az 2f 24.73 POWs Department (1-а) 539/42 — In addition to my instruction as of 5/1-1942.

Supreme Command 1-а-1-а (1) No. 127/41 (g)

By order of, Schpake
True copy [signature]

Copy from a copy

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces Berlin Schöneberg 16/1-1942 Az 2f 24.73 POWs Department (1-а) 539/42.

Subject: on branding of Soviet prisoners of war.

Since in case of attempted flight Soviet prisoners of war drop their identification signs and thus make it impossible to recognize them as POWs, especially Soviet POWs, the following decree is issued.

Every Soviet POW must be branded with silver nitrate on the inner part of the left forearm.

Chief of Supreme Command of the Armed Forces

[signature]

-------------------------------------------

Riga, 8 March 1942

Chief of Order Police
to “Ostland” dep. 1-а 13.08.

Copy for information

Instruction of Chief of Order Police as of 5/1 1942.

Supreme Command 1 g-а/1 No. 124-41 (g) was forwarded with my instruction on 7 January 1942.

Lieutenant colonel Müller, Order Police on behalf by order of Chief of Police.

Order of Wilhelm Keitel, the head of Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, on detachment of Soviet prisoners of war to work in the German coal mining industry. 8 July 1943.

Document. SARF, collection 7445, register 2, folder 142, pp. 79–80

Keitel’s order on detachment of prisoners of war to work in the German coal mining industry

General Headquarters of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, 8 July 1943.

On 7 July, for the purposes of the extended program of cast iron and steel production the Führer ordered to ensure at all costs that the necessary quantity of coal be mined and for this end the lack in labor force be supplemented by prisoners of war.

Führer orders that the following measures aimed at providing the coal mining industry with 300 thousand additional workers be taken instantly:

  1. Of the Soviet prisoners of war currently in our hands (excluding those in Finland and Norway as well as those working for the army) the General Plenipotentiary for the Use of Labor Force together with the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (the POWs department) are to detach for work in the mining industry by 1 September 1943, 200 thousand POWs capable of working in the mines in consecutive parties following one another. If they need replacement it will be provided by the General Plenipotentiary for the Use of Labor Force.
  2. When new Soviet POWs arrive, the needs of coal mining are to be satisfied on a priority basis. All POWs taken in the East after 5 July 1943 are to be transported to the camps of the military department and from there they are to be moved directly or in the order of replacement by workers working for other users of labor force to the General Plenipotentiary for the Use of Labor Force for detachment to the coal mining industry. The Chairman of the Reich Coal association from now and on has the right to recruit through his agencies people in the camps of the military department.
  3. All Soviet mining industry workers without exception, working in any places where POWs are used, are to be assigned in accordance with their profession, on condition of replacement, to the mining industry through the General Plenipotentiary for the Use of Labor Force.
  4. Men of the age from 16 to 55, taken in operations against gangs in the zone of military action, in the zone of military operations, communications zones, Commissariats for Eastern territories, the General Government and in the Balkans are from now and on considered to be prisoners of war. The same applies to the men of this category in the re-occupied territories in the east. They are to be sent to the camps for POWs, and from there — to work in Germany. The Chief of General Staff of the Ground Forces and the SS-Reichsführer will each issue the necessary instructions within the area of their jurisdiction on the record of the POWs’ family members and the treatment of them.

For the purpose of reporting to the Führer the Head of POWs Department reports to me every ten days about the implementation status — first report due on 25 July 1943 on the situation as of 20 July 1943

SARF, collection 7445, register 2, folder 142, pp. 79‒80.
Translation from German

Яндекс.Метрика