michael mills wrote:
It seems that a small number of Soviet citizens of Ingrian ethnicity (600) were subjected to a selection process, to determine which of them would be resettled in Finland and which would not. Perhaps that 600 had been held for vetting due to some doubt about their background, eg some sort of involvement in the Soviet system.
Most likely correct. 62 000 Ingrians were taken to Finland to work. Mind you, they were not slave laborers.
Then Mills, seemingly quite innocently, tries to equate this with the treatment of Soviet POWs and Jews...
That sounds to me very similar to the German standard procedure of holding captured Soviet military and civilain personnel in transit camps for the purpose of vetting them and weeding out the "fanatical Communists" and other categories of "unwanted persons". For example, there was a camp set up near Minsk that held tens of thousands of male civilians from the Minsk area; they were subject to vetting over a period of some months to weed out the Communist functionaries and activists.
This may be similar in broad terms but as Karel C. Berkhoff says in his article "The "Russian" Prisoners of War in Nazi-Ruled Ukraine as victims of Genocidal Massacre," p.2-3:
- "I submit that the shootings of Red Army commisars and other Soviet POWs, along with the starvation of millions more, constituted a single process. It was a process that started in the middle of 1941 and lasted until at least the end of 1942. I propose to call it a genocidal massacre. It was a massacre because it was "an instance of killing of a considerable number of human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty." Although no full-blown genocide, this massacre was genocidal - "tending toward or producing genocide." The non-Jewish Soviet prisoners of war, identified by their overseers as Russians, were subjected to acts that came close to the parameters of the United Nations' definition of genocide: of being intended to destroy many, if not all the members of a "national, ethnical, racial or religious group," in this case the imaginary community of "Russians." From the Nazi perspective, most Slavs were racially inferior, but they could be useful. That was why POWs identified as Ukranians often were released, especially in 1941. As for the "Russian," however, many soldiers in the Wehrmacht evidently assumed that he had been irreversibly "infected" with Bolshevism, the vicious ideology and political party created by "Jewry." In this Nazified frame of mind, "Russians" were either superfluous or positively dangerous. In short, racism was the motor behind the unmistakable tendency deliberately to destroy most of the "Russian" POWs."
The vetting by the Germans was very often haphazard, based on denounciations and the prejudices of the troops. Although the vetting by Helanen is in its own very questionable, I would like to hear how far mr. Mills would like to take the comparison with the German treatment of the Soviet citizens.
Christopher R. Browning "The Origins of the Final Solution", p. 259:
- "In any military campaign troops can perpetrate atrocities, but Operation Barbarossa was an exceptional war for which the German leadership had deliberatly defined new parameters of conduct. Criminal orders from above and violent impulses from below created a climate of unmitigated violence. This can be seen from the available evidence on the killing of captured Red Army soldiers by frontline troops and the conditions in camps for Soviet POWs and civilians. In late June in the city of Minsk the local military commander established a camp that housed at times up to 100,000 Soviet POWs and 40,000 civilians, predominantly men of military age. The conditions in the camp were terrible; even Germans voiced their disgust. In the following weeks, units of the Security Police and SD in conjunction with the army's Secret Military Police (Geheime Feldpolizei) screened both prisoner groups, taking out estimated 10,000 for execution. Many of the men selected were Jews; however, a significant number of Jews were also among the approximately 20,000 persons released from the Minsk camp in mid-July.
As in preinvasion memoranda and plans, German officials in the field hid ideological bias behind practical rationalizations, mostly by presenting anti-Jewish measures as a part of a wider policy of "pacifying" the occupied area. This is true of the events in Bialystok and of a number of other killings. In late June/early July, units of the Waffen-SS Division "Wiking" were, according to a report by staff officer to fht e295th Infantry Division, randomly shooting large numbers "of Russian soldiers and also civilians whom they regarded as suspicious," among them most likely 600 Jews in Zubrov in Ukraine."
Browning lists other cases as well, but I thought that as a Finn, it might be a good thing to remember that although the Wiking Division was not indicted in Nuremberg, they most likely did commit some atrocities. The Finns were probably not involved directly, although that too is possible, but they must have seen or heard about these incidents.
I know that when the German High Command was considering the military action to be taken against Leningrad, the option of totally cutting off the city, which would subject its civilian population to starvation, was criticised because the large population segments of Finnish and ethnic German origin would suffer along with the Russian Bolsheviks.
And I know that one of the reasons why Ingrians were to be evacuated to Finland was to take them out from the war zone, but also to alleviate the labor shortage. They were however taken to Finland in 1943!
I also know that the German plan for Leningrad after its expected capture was to expel the civilian population, raze the city to the ground, and hand the area over to Finland. Only the docks and other naval facilities were to be preserved for use by the German navy.
Whatever the German dreams were, they were just that, grandiose plans.