German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

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Malignity
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German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

Post by Malignity » 08 Feb 2022 20:39

Hi all,

so im coming across alot of people defending the soviet union for its use of gulags, using the official soviet statistics which states that about 86% of german POWs returned home alive. Now i know that this number is highly inflated by the high number of POWs towards the end of the war, so i would like to know, how many german early and mid war POWs died in the gulags or soviet captivity overall? Prime example are the soldiers that were captured in stalingrad, of which only about 5000 or so returned.

Does anyone have any statistics or numbers regarding this? Im sick of seeing people not only defend but openly agree with the soviet use of gulags, blaming the "already malnourished german soldiers" for dying instead of the terrible conditions they faced in soviet camps.

Thanks in advance!

Art
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Re: German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

Post by Art » 09 Feb 2022 11:56

The word GULAG doesn't have a plural form. There was only one GULAG. Then GULAG NKVD had little to do with POWs captivity.
Of about 2.5 million POWs from the German Wehrmacht (many of whom were not ethnic Germans or German citizens) about 400,000 died in captivity. That makes about 15% indeed.
Some published stats can be found here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20161110013 ... _dead.html
https://web.archive.org/web/20161113070 ... _nkvd.html

Before the start of 1944 reporting was haphazard and it seems that no reliable breakdown by nationality existed.

Lenz
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Re: German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

Post by Lenz » 09 Feb 2022 16:33

Perhaps this german documentary from 2018 fits into this theme:
Deutsche Soldaten in Weißrussland: Eine Suche mit dem Volksbund


The Internet is overflowing with comparable documentaries and personal interviews. Much of it is very hard to take, but please judge for yourselves.

L.

Frollo
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Re: German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

Post by Frollo » 10 Feb 2022 09:55

It is true that malnourishment at the time of capture was only part of the problem for Stalingrad prisoners (and more broadly Axis POWs taken during the winter of 1942-1943, like the Italians captured during Little Saturn, who suffered a similar death rate), as the Soviet POW camp system was very ill-organized at that time resulting in mass starvation and deadly outbreaks of disease (typhus, dysentery...) which account for most of the deaths, along with the marches towards the camps.

But it is also tiring to see people citing Stalingrad and only Stalingrad over and over and over again to "prove" that capture by the Soviets was a death sentence, and repeating over and over and over bull... I mean, inaccuracies such as this whole idea that prisoners of war were sent to gulags, in Siberia of course to top that.

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stg 44
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Re: German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

Post by stg 44 » 14 Feb 2022 18:27

Frollo wrote:
10 Feb 2022 09:55
It is true that malnourishment at the time of capture was only part of the problem for Stalingrad prisoners (and more broadly Axis POWs taken during the winter of 1942-1943, like the Italians captured during Little Saturn, who suffered a similar death rate), as the Soviet POW camp system was very ill-organized at that time resulting in mass starvation and deadly outbreaks of disease (typhus, dysentery...) which account for most of the deaths, along with the marches towards the camps.

But it is also tiring to see people citing Stalingrad and only Stalingrad over and over and over again to "prove" that capture by the Soviets was a death sentence, and repeating over and over and over bull... I mean, inaccuracies such as this whole idea that prisoners of war were sent to gulags, in Siberia of course to top that.
More accurately it should be stated that after Stalingrad conditions for PoWs became much better. IIRC the death rate of German PoWs from Summer 1941-Spring 1943 was something like 95%, but thereafter it dramatically improved thanks to increased Lend-Lease, policy changes, and recovered territories yielding more resources to actually fed and treat everyone in the USSR including PoWs.

The bigger issue in terms of deaths was Axis soldiers not surviving to make it to PoW camps. Of the >1 million still MIA Germans (and probably a large number of other Axis troops) most probably died on the Eastern Front sometime between the point of capture at the front and after interrogation. The Wehrmacht warcrimes bureau has a lot of records on the murder of German PoWs shortly after capture throughout the war both from testimony from Soviet PoWs and signals intercepts as well as captured orders. 1945 probably saw a lot of revenge killings at the very end. So PoW camp numbers only tell a fraction of the story of what happened regarding the death of PoWs and there is the question of how reliable Soviet PoW death stats are as well.

The Eastern Front was exceptionally brutal and it is hardly like the Soviets were the only ones to kill PoWs on a huge scale, so only talking about what happened to Axis PoWs is only half the story.

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Totenkomf
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Re: German deaths in soviet captivity during and after the war

Post by Totenkomf » 14 Feb 2022 18:34

[/quote]
1945 probably saw a lot of revenge killings at the very end.
[/quote]

Why did the Soviets revenge kill German Soldiers?, like did those soldiers killed do anything wrong?...

I mean Soviets loved to play the victims and tell about their own suffering, as they still occupied and attacked other countries like the Baltic States, Finland and half of Poland..
"Befehl ist Befehl"

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