Prisoners of War, Soviet
- The Wehrmacht captured more than 4.4 million Soviet forces, most in the dark days of 1941–1942. More than a million of these died of hunger and disease in 1941–1942. Joseph Stalin’s son Yakov, a junior officer, was captured and later killed while trying to escape from a German camp. Many senior Soviet officers formed resistance cells inside prison camps. Major General I. M. Shepetov, captured at Kharkov in the spring of 1942, was executed in a Nazi concentration camp a year later for organizing Soviet prisoners.The fate of former prisoners of war who returned to their own lines was horrific. The Soviet Union—like Nazi Germany—was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention. Soviet law held that there was no reason for a soldier to be captured by the enemy, and there were strict punishments for the families of those who voluntarily went over to the German side. Those who escaped from German captivity and made their way back to Soviet lines were often treated with suspicion, and some were executed for desertion. Aleksandr Yakovlev, a decorated war hero, noted: “A serviceman taken prisoner was regarded as having committed a premeditated crime. Soviet soldiers and commanding officers who had broken out of encirclements were treated as potential traitors and spies.” The end of the war thus presented a major challenge to the regime: what to do with those who had been imprisoned by the Nazi enemy, and—however, unwilling— had seen the West.More than 1.8 million former prisoners of war and 3.5 million civilians drafted as slave laborers returned to Russian hands in 1945–1947. (Almost 500,000 Soviet citizens remained in the West, including 160,000 former prisoners of war.) All former prisoners and forced laborers were put through “filtration” camps run by Smersh and the NKVD. Of those in the military, 339,000 were sentenced to death or 25 years hard labor in the gulag. Another 145,000 received six-year sentences in special regime camps. Other soldiers were sentenced to internal exile, to work in eastern Siberia or the Far North. Civilians were not completely forgiven: many had their passports stamped with the note that they were forbidden to live in major European cities.A harsh fate awaited those who had joined the Vlasov Army, a force comprising several divisions of Russian soldiers armed by Germany to fight against the Red Army. The group had been organized by General Andrei Vlasov, the hero of the Battle of Moscow, who had been captured in 1942. Vlasov and several of his chief subordinates were hanged in the Lubyanka in 1946. A picture of the executed men hanging from gallows was found in Joseph Stalin’s desk after his death.
Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Robert W. Pringle. 2014.
Look at other dictionaries:
Prisoners of war, foreign — During World War II, the Red Army captured more than 2.5 million Germans and Austrians and held them as prisoners of war. It also took 766,000 soldiers prisoner from the armies of Hitler’s Hungarian, Italian, and Romanian allies. Treatment of… … Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence
Soviet prisoners of war — may refer to Soviet POW in the following contexts:*Soviet prisoners of war (Nazi Germany) *Soviet prisoners of war (Polish Soviet War) *Soviet prisoners of war (Japan, World War II) … Wikipedia
Polish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union (after 1939) — As a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers became prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. Thousands of them were executed; over 20,000 Polish military personnel and civilians perished in the Katyn … Wikipedia
Italian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union — Over 60,000 Italian prisoners of war were taken captive by the Red Army in the Second World War. Almost all were captured during the decisive Soviet Operation Little Saturn offensive in December 1942 which annihilated the Italian Army in Russia ( … Wikipedia
Japanese prisoners of war in the Soviet Union — By the end of World War II there were from 510,000 to 600,000Japanese POWs in the Soviet Union and Mongolia interned to work in labor camps. Of them, about 10% died, mostly during winter of 1945 1946. [… … Wikipedia
Main Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees — The Main Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees (Russian: Главное управление по делам военнопленных и интернированных НКВД/МВД СССР, ГУПВИ, GUPVI) was a department of NKVD (later MVD) in charge of handling of foreign… … Wikipedia
Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union — There were two waves of the Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union during the World War II: POW of the Winter War (1939 1940) and prisoners of the Continuation War. [V. Galitsky (1997) Finnish Prisoners of War in NKVD Camps (1939 1953) ISBN … Wikipedia
World War I prisoners of war in Germany — The situation of World War I prisoners of war in Germany is an aspect of the conflict little covered by historical research. However, the number of soldiers imprisoned reached a little over seven million [Jochen Oltmer estimates a figure between… … Wikipedia
Soviet invasion of Manchuria — (1945) Part of World War II and Soviet Japanese War (1945) Soviet gains in North E … Wikipedia
Soviet war crimes — gives a short overview about serious crimes committed by the Red Army s (1918 1946, later Soviet Army) leadership and an unknown number of single members of the Soviet armed forces from 1919 to 1990 inclusive including those in Eastern Europe in… … Wikipedia