Soviet prisoners in the SS Auschwitz

In the archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum there are 49 prisoner file cards for the Soviet prisoners of war who were brought on 28 July 1944 from Stalag 367. On 28 October 1944 they were transferred to Flossenbürg. It was one of the many transports with Soviet prisoners of war who were moved from Auschwitz to Germany from autumn to winter of 1944. Thus, Auschwitz concentration camp had never received 100 thousand Soviet POWs, not to mention 200 thousand as had been planned by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. According to the investigations the Soviet POWs were reassigned to Birkenau in mid-March of 1942 to work at the so called construction site BIb. Judging by the notes from the Book of daily personnel registers there had been 600 of them at most. Soon they have been transferred to wooden block № 10 according to the new numbering system and some of them — to block № 11. In July 1943 they were allocated to the new sector BIIb, where most of them lived in block № 8 together with other prisoners and the smallest group — in block № 4. After the liquidation of «Russisches Kriegsgefangenen Arbeitslager» in Auschwitz main camp such camp only remained in Birkenau on paper.(Jacek Lachendro. Los Jencow sowieckich w KL Auschwitz. Nowe spojrzenie||Miedzy Wehrmachtem a SS. Jency wojenni w niemieckich obozach koncentracyjnych. Opole.2010. С.63–65)

Nowadays it is considered that about 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war were brought to Auschwitz in total during the war. Only 96 of them remained in the camp during the last roll-call on the 17th of January 1945. Six of them took cover in the hospital block, but were found and shot. One of them — Nikolai Paseka from Glibko village of Kamenets-Podolsk Oblast — survived.

However, it is necessary to remember that this refers to the POWs who had been registered in the camp. The number of POWs held in the camp and recorded as civilian prisoners is an open issue. It is likely that POWs who found themselves in Auschwitz after unsuccessful break-outs from other detention facilities would often claim to be civilians. Among such prisoners is, for instance, one of the leaders of the underground organization of POWs in the camp — officer Alexander Lebedev (prisoner 88349) as well as a number of other Soviet POWs.