Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

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Acolyte
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Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby Acolyte » 16 Aug 2010 15:34

Many GULAG camps were located in the Western regions of the USSR that were captured by the Germans in 1941/42:

http://www.memo.ru/history/nkvd/gulag/maps/ussri.htm

http://www.g-to-g.com/picts/user/repres ... ulag_1.jpg

Did the Germans liberate any of them? Or were all the inmates deported/shot by the NKVD in the first months of the war? Are there any official reports about this?

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby henryk » 16 Aug 2010 18:24

The Germans captured many NKVD prisons. Many prisoners were killed beforehand:
http://www.electronicmuseum.ca/Poland-W ... _main.html
SOVIET ATROCITIES COMMITTED IN OCCUPIED EASTERN POLAND, JUNE-JULY 1941
INTRODUCTION
On June 22, 1941, after almost two years of 'mutual understanding' and smooth cooperation at all possible levels, the Nazi and Soviet 'friends' jumped at each other's throat.

On that same day, a decree by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR implemented martial law in western parts of Russia and in Soviet-occupied territories of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia), Finland, Poland and Romania. Two other, supplementary decrees issued on the same day provided ramifications of the implemented Martial Law - among them the establishment of Military Tribunals with specification of their organization, duties, and powers.
The Decree had mentioned neither the reasons for the implementation of the Martial Law, nor named the Russia's Nazi 'friend' as an aggressor - overwhelmed by panic Stalin still hoped for a peaceable solution to the conflict.

Situation, which occurred in the morning hours of June 22, 1941 added to the NKVD's usual 'burden of responsibilities' a new, special assignment - solving the unexpected problem of many thousands of prisoners remaining in Soviet arrests, prisons, concentration camps, and penal colonies in the areas engulfed in Nazi-Soviet military operations. The intended aim was to ensure that no Soviet prisoner, and particularly a political Soviet prisoner should fall into enemy's hands.
On that day, Lavrentiy Beria (head of the NKVD) and Viktor Bochkov (chief prosecutor of the USSR) issued Order No. 221 sharpening the strictness of regulations in the NKVD prisons, camps, and colonies, also ordering separation of foreigners (Poles and Germans in particular) and anti-Soviet elements from other inmates.
However, Russia's catastrophic situation on all fronts of the Nazi-Soviet conflict and swift advancement of the German armies called - in the opinion of the Soviet leadership - for more radical and drastic measures.
With full understanding of the urgency of the situation, on June 23 Vsevolod Merkulov (head of the NKGB) issued Order No. 2445/M with directions regarding preparation for the evacuation of prisoners and listing those prisoners anticipated to be shot.
Soon after, the telephones rang in the NKVD-NKGB regional headquarters - an uncontrolled slaughter of prisoners and 'death marches' followed immediately.
The Soviet omnipresent and omnipotent apparatus of oppression delivered again.
Title page illustration:
MANGLED CORPSES OF NKGB-NKVD VICTIMS
Photograph, taken by a soldier of the Wehrmacht 57th Infantry Division in the late June of 1941 (exact location and time unknown).

http://www.electronicmuseum.ca/Poland-W ... mmary.html
Edited to show only totals. There are over 50 locations listed
SOVIET ATROCITIES COMMITTED IN OCCUPIED EASTERN POLAND, JUNE-JULY 1941
THE SUMMARY
T O T A L*****
Number of Prisoners according to NKVD documents 36 389
Fate of Prisoners according to NKVD documents 9573 - 9686
Number of Evacuated according to NKVD documents 6690
Fate of Prisoners according to witnesses' reports M 20 000 - 24 000

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby David Thompson » 16 Aug 2010 18:48

For more on murders in Soviet prisons, see:

Soviet clearing murders 1941
viewtopic.php?t=76922

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby Acolyte » 16 Aug 2010 20:57

Thanks, I know about these. But my question is about GULAG camps, not NKVD prisons. Common sense's have it that the propagandists of Goebbels would've given a lot of publicity to any liberated GULAG camp to portray it as another symbol of bolshevik barbarism. Yet I never heard about something like that occurring.

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby uberjude » 17 Aug 2010 02:01

Acolyte, if you go to the interactive color map you posted, and click on the red dots, it gives you the specifics about the camps in that region (I had to use the translate button--kak zhal, moii russkie seytchas otchen ploho; I presume from your avatar and location you can read it)--you will find that the vast majority of the camps in the far west were only active after the war; one was in operation before the war. So it seems that there weren't actually too many GULAG camps operating in the west at the time.

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby Acolyte » 17 Aug 2010 17:26

uberjude wrote:Acolyte, if you go to the interactive color map you posted, and click on the red dots, it gives you the specifics about the camps in that region (I had to use the translate button--kak zhal, moii russkie seytchas otchen ploho; I presume from your avatar and location you can read it)--you will find that the vast majority of the camps in the far west were only active after the war; one was in operation before the war. So it seems that there weren't actually too many GULAG camps operating in the west at the time.


I'm Hungarian but I used the translation button, thanks. Some interesting pieces of info:

- Vyazemlag/Vyazma ITL (corrective labor camp): established in 1936, no. of prisoners: 56200, evacuated in 1941, closed in July 1942 (I guess this was merely an official decision since Vyazma was under German control then)

http://www.memo.ru/history/nkvd/gulag/r3/r3-72.htm

- Himlag/Khimki ITL: established in 1936, closed in July 1941, reopened in Dec 1942, closed in 1944

http://www.memo.ru/history/nkvd/gulag/r3/r3-159.htm

- Bilokorovychi ITL in Ukraine: closed in June 1941

http://www.memo.ru/history/nkvd/gulag/r3/r3-30.htm

- Kexholm ITL: closed in July 1941

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-194.htm

- Luga ITL: closed in July 1941

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-229.htm

- Borovichi ITL: closed in June 1941

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-153.htm

- Stalingrad ITL: closed in June 1942

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-322.htm

- Lower Volga ITL: closed in Nov 1942

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-254.htm

It seems any GULAG camp which was in danger of getting overrun by the Germans was closed and evacuated. Sounds logical. Oh well...

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby uberjude » 17 Aug 2010 22:43

No problem, but just to confirm that I wasn't hallucinating, you did have an avatar of Rasputin before, didn't you?

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby siwiec » 18 Aug 2010 10:21

Acolyte wrote:- Kexholm ITL: closed in July 1941

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-194.htm


According to this story, there are some photos of the abandoned camp taken by Finnish troops in 1941, photos should be in Finnish archives and I assume one shown is one of those photos:

http://www.mk-piter.ru/2003/10/23/028/

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Acolyte
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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby Acolyte » 18 Aug 2010 13:46

uberjude wrote:No problem, but just to confirm that I wasn't hallucinating, you did have an avatar of Rasputin before, didn't you?


Yes.

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby Acolyte » 18 Aug 2010 13:51

siwiec wrote:
Acolyte wrote:- Kexholm ITL: closed in July 1941

http://www.memo.ru/history/NKVD/GULAG/r3/r3-194.htm


According to this story, there are some photos of the abandoned camp taken by Finnish troops in 1941, photos should be in Finnish archives and I assume one shown is one of those photos:

http://www.mk-piter.ru/2003/10/23/028/


Interesting. Was this ITL under the jurisdiction of Lithuanian NKVD?

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby lazybather » 18 Aug 2010 15:42

I'd recommend Anne Applebaum's book "Gulag; a history", very informative.

Most NKVD camps were beyond the Urals, in the far north or east, to exploit resources where there were few or no people.

stuart :)

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby siwiec » 18 Aug 2010 22:33

Acolyte wrote:Interesting. Was this ITL under the jurisdiction of Lithuanian NKVD?


I don't think so. Your question puzzled me a lot until I tried the google translator; for some reason it translates Карело-Финской ССР to Lithuanian SSR, but it should be Karelo-Finnish SSR.

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Re: Did the Wehrmacht liberate any GULAG camps in 1941/42?

Postby Acolyte » 19 Aug 2010 11:27

This is off-topic but a Hungarian historian who has researched the history of the GULAG (Miklos Kun) has also stated that there were GULAG camps in Mongolia and (in 1945/6) Manchuria.


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