War Crimes of the Red army

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by David Thompson » 15 Aug 2011 17:40

There is another problem, which hasn't been discussed here -- rapes, murders, thefts and robberies committed by roving bands of liberated (or escaped) slave laborers from the Soviet Union, freed POWs, lawless gangs of criminals, etc., and whether the victims of the crimes could distinguish these predatory marauders from Red Army troops.

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by Kunikov » 15 Aug 2011 20:28

David Thompson wrote:There is another problem, which hasn't been discussed here -- rapes, murders, thefts and robberies committed by roving bands of liberated (or escaped) slave laborers from the Soviet Union, freed POWs, lawless gangs of criminals, etc., and whether the victims of the crimes could distinguish these predatory marauders from Red Army troops.

Yes, that's something else that no one has really addressed. There were deserters in the Soviet rear who might have participated in some of these crimes. One also needs to keep in mind that the Red Army in 1945 now contained more than a few former criminals who took up the offer of going to the front rather than rotting in prison or a GULag camp.
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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 15 Aug 2011 22:20

During the invasion of Poland in September and October of 1939 the Red Army murdered ca. 2500 Polish prisoners - soldiers (POWs) and policemen - as well as few hundreds civilians (according to Andrzej Friszke's figures from 2003). By comparison Germans murdered over 3000 Polish soldiers (POWs) in September 1939. Wehrmacht & Einsatzgruppen and SS murdered also over 16000 civilians (Poles & Jews). This doesn't include victims of Selbstschutz. These figures are given by Szymon Datner, Andrzej Szefer, Jochen Böhler (last chapters), W. Röhr & others.
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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by David Thompson » 15 Aug 2011 22:26

For German estimates of the number of slave laborerers and POWs (2.5 million indiscriminately classed as "Russians" and 900,000 + Poles) as of January 1945 see http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 23#p125023. No doubt the Soviet forces had the responsibility for maintaining order, but the western allies had problems with these people too.

The thread title is a little broad for coherent discussion so I may break it up in the next few days and leave announcements for further discussion.

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by thom » 18 Aug 2011 07:25

So it seems likely that not merely a minority, but quite probably a small minority, committed the major crimes of murder and systematic rape
Th claim is not that 2 million rapes happened but that 2 million women were raped, many of them repeatedly raped or gang-raped. This can of course easily turn a minority into a majority of the 34 million Soviet soldiers.
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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by thom » 18 Aug 2011 07:29

For German estimates of the number of slave laborerers and POWs (2.5 million indiscriminately classed as "Russians" and 900,000 + Poles) as of January 1945
To give some figures about Soviet citizens: 1.26 million civilians and 585,000 POWs were repatriated from Soviet occupied territory, and 1.39 million civilians and 960,000 POWs from the territory occupied by the Western allies.

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by thom » 18 Aug 2011 07:34

By comparison Germans murdered over 3000 Polish soldiers (POWs) in September 1939. Wehrmacht & Einsatzgruppen and SS murdered also over 16000 civilians (Poles & Jews).
Not to forget the 5000 and perhaps even 13000 Germans murdered by the Poles in September 1939, and the 147 out of 535 POWs (27.5%) who never returned. But this thread is not about German or Polish crimes.

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by AVV » 18 Aug 2011 07:46

Hello!
Kunikov wrote:One also needs to keep in mind that the Red Army in 1945 now contained more than a few former criminals who took up the offer of going to the front rather than rotting in prison or a GULag camp.
Well, people who belonged to "higher ranks" of criminal world (so called blatnye (блатные) or urki (урки)) considered serving in the army (i.e. helping the Soviet authorities) as contradicting laws of their world and treated those of them who joined the Armed Forces as traitors. Of course, there were some exceptions, but I think that the share of real criminals (I don't mean petty thieves or minor offenders) in Red Army was vanishingly low.

Best regards, Aleks

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 18 Aug 2011 12:09

Not to forget the 5000 and perhaps even 13000 Germans murdered by the Poles in September 1939
And perhaps 500 or perhaps 0 or perhaps 200 or perhaps 31 or perhaps 53.

We already discussed this in other threads. So maybe stay in those threads with this discussion?
and the 147 out of 535 POWs (27.5%) who never returned.
The number of German POWs in Polish captivity throughout entire campaign was much bigger than 535.

Where did you get your numbers - both 535 and 147 ???

As I wrote, the number of German POWs captured by Poles was much bigger.

From 30. Inf.Div. (gen. Kurt von Briesen) alone, Poles captured and held in captivity until 18 September 1939 at least 2077 POWs. From 17. Inf.Div. number of POWs held until 18 September was 205. From 21. Inf.Div. Poles held around 140 POWs until 18 September. Just from these 3 divisions the sum is 2422 POWs.

They were all held in POW camp in Ilow at the Bzura (and liberated on 18 September 1939).

These numbers don't include any POWs from these divisions, who had been recaptured or escaped before 18 September (but it would be hard to establish if there were any such POWS and what was their number).

The total number of German POWs held in that camp in Ilow until 18 IX was 2700 - 3000.

A large number of POWs was also held for a longer time in Warsaw.

In other places also many German POWs temporarily "scrolled through" Polish captivity.

There are cases of Poles reporting capturing dozens or even hundreds of POWs in many combats.

Usually such POWs were being recaptured just days after having been captured, though.

============================

Soviet war crimes:
but that 2 million women were raped, many of them repeatedly raped
Many of them could be raped repeatedly by the same soldier (which actually decreases the number of soldiers involved in raping). Plus there could be soldiers who raped many women on their own (which does the same).

This was actually the case, as Marta Hiller describes in her diary.
This can of course easily turn a minority into a majority of the 34 million Soviet soldiers.
Not so easily. You would need every women to be raped 9 times or by 9 soldiers (on average). :roll:

Plus - as I wrote above - other factors (such as women being repeatedly raped by same soldier or one soldier raping many women during his "career") can easily turn a minority into an even smaller minority.

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by thom » 18 Aug 2011 18:36

Yes, both is possible, and the discussion is mere speculation without meaningful data.

The POW numbers can be found in the records of the Wehrmacht Information Office (Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle, WASt). Where did you get your numbers from?

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 18 Aug 2011 23:02

The POW numbers can be found in the records of the Wehrmacht Information Office (Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle, WASt).
Can you say something more specific? In which records exactly they can be found? To what exactly this number refers? Maybe quote what is the context of these numbers - what do these records say exactly about the nature of these figures? Maybe there is something about the method using which they calculated these numbers?

I suppose that this figure refers to number of POWs liberated by Germans after the capitulation of Warsaw.

In such case these would only be POWs taken in and around Warsaw and held in the capital.

Maybe you wrongly interpreted this as number of POWs who "slipped through" Polish captivity in total.

You should know that in most cases German POWs did not spend much time in Polish captivity. I doubt it was even possible to count all Germans who spent a few days or even just several hours in Polish captivity.

Warsaw was one of exceptions from this rule - many of POWs held in Warsaw certainly spent quite a long time in Polish captivity, because first POWs from Luftwaffe were captured in Warsaw yet on 1 - 3 September, and first POWs from ground forces yet on 8 - 10 September, while Warsaw capitulated not before 28 September.
Where did you get your numbers from?
I derived numbers from individual divisions - 30. and 17. - from German casualty reports.

Number of MIA as reported on 18.09.1939 minus number of MIA without a trace as reported after the end of the campaign, minus number of soldiers reported MIA on 18.09.39 but in the end confirmed to be KIA.

The sum is number of MIA found between 18 September and the end of the campaign. These are POWs.

These POWs from 30. & 17. divisions were captured mostly on 9 - 12 September and held in captivity until 18.

Of course there could be some further losses in KIA and MIA suffered by these divisions between 18 September and the end of the campaign, which would mean that real numbers of POWs were even bigger than numbers provided by me. On the other hand, some of the later found MIA might not have been POWs. This balances disparities.

As for info about the group of 140 POWs from 21. Inf.Div. - this is based on Polish reports, but confirmed by German accounts (I've got an account of German Oblt. from 21. Inf.Div. who was among that group of POWs*).

*This Oblt. was Udo von Rithen (Udo von Ritgen according to other sources).

As for the total number of POWs held in Ilow camp at the Bzura - this is from Polish sources.

German sources, however, confirm liberating the Ilow POW camp on 18 September 1939.

The only inconsistency is that Polish sources say that Poles on their own released all POWs from the camp on 18 September (before Wehrmacht came), while German sources claim that Wehrmacht liberated the camp.

======================================

BTW - some further examples (this time from 1. Leichte-Division - basing on German sources):

Entire I. battalion of KSR.5(mot.) surrendered to the Poles near Piaski Krolewskie (in Kampinos Forest) on 18.09.1939. POWs were liberated 4 days later. This alone accounts for several hundreds POWs. Also 7. company of KSR.4(mot.) was captured on 18.09.1939. Liberated 3 days later. 7./KSR.4 had hidden their weapons before being captured so Poles didn't get them and weapons could be recovered later. This also accounts for ca. 100 - 200 POWs.

Just these two units - I./KSR.5 and 7./KSR.4 - must have accounted for nearly one thousand POWs (of course it depends on how big % of initial strength they had when they were captured - but since we know the total number of Blutige Verluste suffered by 1. Lei.Div., we can assume that they couldn't be too decimated when captured).

As you can see they stayed in Polish captivity for just 4 and 3 days respectively. Not much, but still.

There are more cases when entire units (company or maybe even battalion size - like in these cases) surrendered. Also many examples when Poles captured not entire units, but larger groups of POWs (like dozens or hundreds) from one or from various units. And finally - certainly most numerous - cases of capturing individuals or small groups of POWs - if we put all of these latter cases together, they also must have accounted for a quite significant number.

"Your" number of allegedly just 535 POWs is thus clearly completely unrealistic.

Unless it refers to POWs liberated after the surrender of Warsaw - as I suppose and suggested above.

========================================
There are more cases when entire units (company or maybe even battalion size - like in these cases) surrendered.
Another example:

On 04.09.1939 in village Kregiel near Serock Polish 35. Inf.Rgt. captured a German "medical company" - this is what Polish primary sources say. Jochen Bohler ("Auftakt zum Vernichtungskrieg...") quotes German primary sources and writes (in Polish edition) that it was "1. Medical Company of 32. Infanterie-Division".

Maybe it's a misspelling or error in Polish translation, because 32. Inf.Div. had 32. (not 1.) Medical Company:

http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... iten32.htm

And only part of 32. Medical Company, was 1. Platoon of that company:

1./Sanitäts-Kompanie 32

According to KStN, medical company should number 286 men, while platoon of such company - 130 men:

http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn13101okt37.htm

Authorized officer strength of a medical company was 8 and of one platoon of such company - 3.

According to Polish sources after capturing this company, 35. Inf.Rgt. escorted in total over 200 German POWs (this included POWs from this company - among them 5 officers - and POWs captured on the previous day).

They don't specify how many of "over 200" were POWs captured on the previous day - 03.09.1939 - and how many were from this company (apart from 5 officers). But it seems that most of POWs were from this company.

Thus most probably Poles didn't capture entire company, but they did capture more than one platoon.

These POWs didn't spent much time in captivity. Poles released them just hours after capturing them:

According to Jan Maliszewski, "Wspomnienia dowódcy 35. pułku piechoty" ("Memoirs of commander of 35. Inf.Rgt.") all POWs were released on 04.09.1939 in the afternoon as they could not be escorted further:

http://www.dws.org.pl/viewtopic.php?f=94&t=125706

Maliszewski later complains in his memoirs, that released POWs apparently informed Germans about position of 35. Inf.Rgt. and that's why his regiment was encircled in the Stronno forest, where it suffered heavy losses.

Anyway - as you can see just this one episode alone accounts for another "over 200" German POWs.

And there are more of similar examples - as I already wrote before.

===========================================
thom wrote: and the 147 (...) POWs (...) who never returned [from Polish captivity - Domen].
I wonder how cases such as the case of Oblt.* Paul Emil Lein - commander of 2./Panzer-Regiment 31. from 5. Panzer-Division - were classified? He was one of those "one day POWs" (temporary POWs) mentioned above.

*Other sources say Hptm. - probably he was posthumously promoted to Hptm.

He was in Polish captivity just for one day. His case is quite complicated.

Oblt. Paul Emil Lein was WIA and then captured by Poles in Jedlnia near Bojszowy (which is near Pszczyna / German name Pless) on 03.09.1939. One day layter - on 04.09.1939 - he was recaptured near Rajsko (near Oswiecim / German name Auschwitz) and then transported by German medical service to Knappschaftslazarett in Rybnik.

Then he died of his wounds (suffered on 03.09.1939) in that Knappschaftslazarett on 06.09.1939.

Would such man still be counted as "died in Polish captivity"?

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by thom » 19 Aug 2011 20:57

The role and functioning of WASt as the central German organization for the registration of casualties and POWs has been described in detail in "Deutsche militärische Verluste" by Overmans. Other information can be found on the internet, for example at http://dd-wast.javabase.de/frame_e.htm.

The WASt figures I quoted refer to the number of German POWs in Poland (and not Warsaw or another city) and can be found in a table that gives the status at the end of 1940. The table contains the figures of the total number of prisoners (535) and those returned (388), as well as the dead (29) and missing (118) in captivity. No further explanation is given.

It can be assumed that WASt has processed all casualty lists from the Polish campaign by the end of 1940 so that the figures give a complete picture. To explain the differences between MIA figures you quoted and WASt numbers it would be important to know the origin of "your" figures. They may, for example, be based on numerical reporting channels (IIa, IVb), compared to the name-based WASt system. There is a good discussion on the reliability of both reporting systems in above mentioned book.

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 19 Aug 2011 22:41

Events described by both German & Polish sources prove that 535 just can't be the total number of POWs.

For example the mentioned cases of capturing entire units (like I./KSR.5, 7./KSR.4 or San.Kp.32).

BTW - is there a list of names, surnames, etc. (personal data) of these 535 soldiers?
It can be assumed that WASt has processed all casualty lists from the Polish campaign by the end of 1940 so that the figures give a complete picture.
What do you mean "all casualty lists from the Polish campaign"?

There were various types of what you call "lists". There is a difference between for example daily reports or "10-day"* reports written up to date; and summary, statistical reports compiled after the end of the campaign.

*I wrote "10-day" in brackets because as I noticed in 1939 they weren't always from exactly 10 days.

Processing summary reports compiled after the end of the campaign would tell them nothing about POWs - because by that time all POWs taken by Poles (except those which had not returned) had been already recaptured.

The only reliable way to establish a fully complete list of POWs who "slipped through" Polish captivity would be "interviewing" - or something like this - all German soldiers who participated in the Polish campaign.

Provided of course that all of the interviewed soldiers would tell the truth about their cases.

===================================

Regarding Polish campaign there is also another issue. Some of German POWs (for example those taken in late September from 28. Inf.Div. and 27. Inf.Div., in south-eastern Poland) had been liberated from Polish captivity not by Wehrmacht - but by the RKKA. Later the Red Army transferred these POWs back to their German allies.

I mentioned examples from 28. Inf.Div. & 27. Inf.Div. - in late September a relatively large number of POWs from these units had been taken by Operational Group of gen. Anders and Group of col. Zieleniewski. Both these Polish groups then surrendered to the Red Army - and German POWs escorted by these groups were liberated by the Red Army. Later RKKA handed them over to the Germans, but I don't know when exactly they did it.

This info can be found also in German sources: "Wir zogen gegen Polen" & "Geschichte der Hirschberger Jäger".

Does WASt mention anything about those POWs transferred back to the Germans by the Soviets?

That number of POWs was large. For example Group of col. Zieleniewski (an improvised group of divisional strength) reported capturing ca. 300 German POWs during combats near Dzwola on 29 - 30 September 1939. German units involved in combats vs Group of Zieleniewski near Dzwola-Janow-Polichna (operation codenamed by Germans as "Unternehmen Dallmer-Zerbe") were elements of 27. and 68. divisions and some Korpstruppen (VII. AK).

These are POWs about liberation of whom by the Red Army "Wir zogen gegen Polen" says.

Group of Zieleniewski surrendered to the Red Army on 1 October 1939 near Momoty.

It is clear that German POWs captured by soliers of col. Zieleniewski on 29 - 30 September, were liberated by the Red Army on 1 - 2 October (capitulation was signed on 1, but Poles started to lay down arms on 2 October).

================================

If we already discuss about the Red Army liberating Germans - apart from cases of the Red Army liberating German POWs from Polish captivity, there were also cases of the Red Army liberating interned Volksdeutsche.

Many of the interned Volksdeutsche were transported to eastern Poland and that's why they were liberated by the Red Army. As I wrote in another thread, this might have complicated the issue of finding missing persons.
To explain the differences between MIA figures you quoted and WASt numbers it would be important to know the origin of "your" figures.
They come from a report about losses of 8. Army in period 1 - 18 September, compiled by Ia of 8. Army.

Please note that these numbers of MIA fit well with numbers of POWs in Ilow camp given by Polish sources.

There are also Polish reports about POWs written up to date during the campaign. They also confirm higher numbers of POWs. For example logs of general Kutrzeba from the Bzura counterattack (9 - 12 September).

So Polish data on POWs at the Bzura find confirmation in numbers of MIA from German reports & inversely.
They may, for example, be based on numerical reporting channels (IIa, IVb), compared to the name-based WASt system.
This report from which I quoted my figures comes from Ia reporting channel. Not IIa and not IVb.

Ia would be chef of staff. In September of 1939 Ia of 8. Army was this man:
Stellenbesetzung Fall Weiß wrote:Ia Schilling (Walter), Obstlt. i. G. >Gen. St. d. H., 4. Abt.<

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by thom » 20 Aug 2011 18:43

Events described by both German & Polish sources prove that 535 just can't be the total number of POWs.
The German loss reporting system was complicated, redundant, and slow. While numerical summaries of the casualties had to be issued, for example, by the IIa and IVb officers on a daily, 10-day and monthly basis, name lists were to be sent to higher commands and WASt, according to the directive H.Dv. 75, "immediately or after the end of a battle". This left of course room for (mis)interpretation so that some units provided name-based casualty lists only after the end of an entire campaign. It is obvious that these lists were then already corrected. For example, soldiers who were initially numerically reported by the IIa or IVb as missing but later found dead or who were liberated from captivity were not listed as missing/captured in a name-based list which was issued weeks or months after the numerical list. Therefore, it is correct to assume that the number of German POWs in Polish hands was higher than the 535 reported by WASt.
BTW - is there a list of names, surnames, etc. (personal data) of these 535 soldiers?
Not that I know. You would have to search the WASt files.
The only reliable way to establish a fully complete list of POWs who "slipped through" Polish captivity would be "interviewing" - or something like this - all German soldiers who participated in the Polish campaign.
You may also check the daily loss reports.
Does WASt mention anything about those POWs transferred back to the Germans by the Soviets?
No.

Well I guess we will soon be reminded that our discussion here is off-topic...

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Re: War Crimes of the Red army

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 20 Aug 2011 19:14

You may also check the daily loss reports.
Yes, but clearly not all of the missing in these reports were POWs.

Many of them were in fact killed, only reported as missing for various reasons (body not found, etc.).

Most of them were later found / identified as KIA, others remained listed as MIA (without a trace) for months or even years after the end of the campaign (for example German figures from late 1944 still list 320 soldiers of Heer alone as MIA from the Polish campaign - of course this number was much bigger in 1940 or 1941).

The difference between the number of MIA in daily reports / 10-day reports and the number of MIA n post-campaign reports tell us how many of the missing were found before after the end of the campaign.

Yes I think it was a bit off-topic so let's better finish it or continue in another thread.

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