"Stalin's War of Extermination", by Joachim Hoffma

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michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 16 Nov 2002 01:41

Roberto wrote:

Mills arithmetic never ceases to amaze me.


Perhaps that is because my calculations are honest, whereas Roberto's are deceptive and dishonest.

Let's look at the figures again.

Roberts states that the number of Soviet divisions was well over 300 (by 1941), the great majority massed on the western frontier of the Soviet Union. That figure accords with those quoted by the late Dr Hoffmann.

According to Roberts, quoting Soviet sources, the number of German divisions facing them was 153, backed up by the lower-quality troops of its allies, which can be largely discounted (the Red Army had no difficulty in sweeping them aside, eg in the encirclement of Stalingrad). Overy, quoted by Roberto, gives a lower figure for the German strength - 146 divisions.

Therefore, the Red Army had essentially achieved the two-to-one ratio demanded by Stalin for a successful offensive.

In actual equipment, the Red Army superiority was even more obvious.

According to Roberts, the Red Army had 7,000 new tanks and 17,000 aircraft delivered to it between 1939 and 1941, ie not including those it already had (which perhaps can be discounted owing to obsolescence).

By contrast, the German Army had 2,000 aircraft and 3,350 tanks, according to Overy, as quoted by Roberto. Furthermore, Hoffmann demonstrates that the German tanks were all inferior to the latest model Soviet tanks, ie the new tanks delivered by 1941, referred to by Roberts.

It is obvious that the Soviet tank force outnumbered the German by two to one, a numerical superiority magnified by its technical superiority, and the Soviet airforce had an almost 9 to one superiority.

It is also obvious that the superiority of the Red Army, as shown above, gave it the capacity to launch a westward attack as early as 1941; it had clearly achieved the two-to-one criterion laid down by Stalin. However, that superiority was negated at the beginning of Barbarossa by the fact that Germany unexpectedly attacked in the north where Soviet forces were weaker, rather than in the south where Stalin expected the attack and has massed his forces. Because of that factor, the German Army was able to achieve an immediate breakthrough, and surround and destroy a great part of the Soviet forces. It took the Soviet Union over a year to regain its initial superiority in strength, and begin to drive back the German forces.

No wonder the Argentinian economy is in such dire straits; its government's accounts must be managed by people with the same inability (or unwillingness) to add up as Roberto!

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Post by michael mills » 16 Nov 2002 01:57

J. North wrote:

The Finnish Red Cross ascribed the high mortality rate to a number of the wounded dying, sickness and a lack of sufficient food to withstand the wintery conditions. The government's reaction was to ask the International Red Cross for assistance, which Mannerheim did after reading the Finnish Red Cross report. He also approved the use of Finnish medical staff to treat the sick and wounded, set up a military task force to oversee the direction of policy regarding prisoners and established that rations for prisoners were set at a standard akin to those issued to the Finnish troops. Goring and Wagner would not have been happy with that.

I find it absurd to suggest that the situation of Soviet pows in Finland was similar to that of Soviet pows in Germany. The Finnish response to the higher mortality rate was relatively quick and effective. It was also governed by humanity. There was a response to the winter crisis which brought the mortality rate crashing down in the spring of 1942. Incidentally, the Finns had not ratified the Geneva convention on prisoners, and the soviets had not signed it. But, it seems that both sides adhered to a reasonable regime for the prisoners given the circumstances. Of 2475 Finnish prisoners captured by the Soviets, 404 died in captivity.


So, the reasons for the mortality of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands were essentially the same as those for the Soviet POWs in German hands. In both cases, lack of sufficient food to withstand the wintry conditions seems to have played a major role. Obviously J. North is not claiming that the Finnish authorities deprived their Soviet POWs of food; the lack of food must have had other causes. Presumably the same causes that caused the lack of food for the POWs in German hands.

So, the mortality rate of the Soviet POWs in Finnish hands came "crashing down" in the spring of 1942, because of the "humanity" of their Finnish captors. Well, it also fell for the POWs held by the Germans, at the same time, and presumably for the same reasons; the logistical problems were overcome, and more food could be supplied.

Despite J. North's posturings, the experience of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands backs up Hoffmann's claims about the reasons for the mortality of the Soviet POWs in German hands, ie it was due primarily to logistical problems rather than a "policy of extermination", whic of course the Finns did not have. The Finns were holding far fewer Soviet POWs than the Germans, so their problems in providing food and shelter were so much less, thereby accounting for the lower death-rate of the Soviet POWs in their hands (about half that of the Soviet POWs in German hands).

Even so, that did not prevent the Soviet Government making outrageous claims about atrocities committed by Finnish forces on captured Soviet soldiers, as Hoffmann shows.

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Post by michael mills » 17 Nov 2002 04:25

J. North claims that the Finns were "humane" in their treatment of Soviet POWs, whereas the Germans were not.

But that is not what the Soviet Government thought; it claimed that the Finns committed atrocities on captured Soviet soldiers.

Here is what was written on the subject by the late Dr Joachim Hoffmann, former expert of the German Military Research Bureau on the Red Army and its preparations for war, in his book "Stalin's War of Extermination".

Page 110:

Political agitators Brykin and Tolkachev referred to a speech by the Premier of the Soviet Government, Molotov, before the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on March 29, 1940, describing many examples of the "unprecedented brutality and bestiality" of the "White Finns". Molotov claimed:

"In their region north of Lake Ladoga, when the Finns surrounded our medical huts, containing 120 severely wounded Soviet soldiers some of them were found burned, some of them with their heads crushed, and the rest stabbed or shot. Apart from the mortal wounds on other parts of the body, a great many of the dead showed traces of gunshot wounds to the head or killing by bludgeoning; a great many of those shot to death also showed traces of facial stab wounds inflicted by Finnish women. A few corpses were found with the heads hacked off; the heads could not be found. Special torments and incredible acts of brutality occurred in the treatment of prisoners who fell into the hands of female White Finnish nurses. The Finnish White Guards, the protecting corps, already long known to Finnish workers as butchers, revealed their animal nature with particular clarity during the wars against the USSR. Among the Finns, ridicule, derision, torture, and barbaric methods of extermination of prisoners were beloved methods of treatment reserved for Soviet combatants. The enemy spared no one: neither the wounded, nor medical personnel, nor women".

If helplessly wounded prisoners had already been massacred by Finnish nursing personnel, the members of Lotta Svaerd, could unwounded prisoners of war expect a better fate, now or in the future?


I wonder what J. North thinks of the above description by Molotov of atrocities inflicted by Finns on captured Soviet soldiers.

It seems to me that there are two possibilities: either

1. What Molotov said was true, in which case J. North's pontification about the "humanity" of the Finns compared with the Germans is just so much intestinal gas; or

2. What Molotov said was a total fabrication, in which case it is evident that the Soviet Government was prepared to tell bare-faced lies about the activities of the Finnish Army, on the basis of which it is reasonable to assume that many of the claims made by the Soviet Government about the activities of the German Army were also bare-faced lies.

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Post by Roberto » 17 Nov 2002 22:25

michael mills wrote:Roberto wrote:

Mills arithmetic never ceases to amaze me.


Perhaps that is because my calculations are honest, whereas Roberto's are deceptive and dishonest.


That would be a rare example of honesty by Mills and dishonesty by myself.

michael mills wrote:Let's look at the figures again.

Roberts states that the number of Soviet divisions was well over 300 (by 1941), the great majority massed on the western frontier of the Soviet Union. That figure accords with those quoted by the late Dr Hoffmann.

According to Roberts, quoting Soviet sources, the number of German divisions facing them was 153, backed up by the lower-quality troops of its allies, which can be largely discounted (the Red Army had no difficulty in sweeping them aside, eg in the encirclement of Stalingrad). Overy, quoted by Roberto, gives a lower figure for the German strength - 146 divisions.

Therefore, the Red Army had essentially achieved the two-to-one ratio demanded by Stalin for a successful offensive.


That's Mills' honesty for whoever is dumb enough to believe in it: counting only the number of divisions without checking if the numerical strength of a German division was not much higher than that of a Soviet division, and assuming without further evidence (in fact against evidence, as we shall see below) that what Roberts called the "great majority" was nearly 100 per cent.

michael mills wrote:In actual equipment, the Red Army superiority was even more obvious.

According to Roberts, the Red Army had 7,000 new tanks and 17,000 aircraft delivered to it between 1939 and 1941, ie not including those it already had (which perhaps can be discounted owing to obsolescence).

By contrast, the German Army had 2,000 aircraft and 3,350 tanks, according to Overy, as quoted by Roberto. Furthermore, Hoffmann demonstrates that the German tanks were all inferior to the latest model Soviet tanks, ie the new tanks delivered by 1941, referred to by Roberts.


Well, I strongly doubt that Hoffmann has demonstrated that any Soviet models other than the T34 and the KV were superior to what the Germans had.

These two models, although Mills is disingenuously using Roberts to make believe that all tanks this author calls "new" were T34s or KVs, were available only in rather modest quantities in 1941, the insufficient training of their crews and the fact that the Soviets sent them into battle individually as infantry support instead of using masses of tanks supported by ground attack planes, like the Germans did, largely neutralizing their technical advantages.

michael mills wrote:It is obvious that the Soviet tank force outnumbered the German by two to one, a numerical superiority magnified by its technical superiority, and the Soviet airforce had an almost 9 to one superiority.


None of which made much of a difference, as most of both tanks and planes were old junk that did not match up to the Germans' equipment, inferior training, organization and tactics widening the qualitative gap.

Mills also conveniently omits a key factor in assessing numerical strength and superiority: manpower.

Harrison E. Salisbury (The 900 Days, New York 1970, page 97) wrote:By June 21, 1941, the Soviets had deployed about 2.9 million troops in the Western defense districts against an estimated 4.2 million Germans. The total strength of the Soviet military establishment had been strongly expanded from the 1939 level - up to 4.2 million in January, 1941, against 2.5 million in January, 1939. The total stood just below 5 million June 1. The air force had been tripled and land forces increased 2.7 times. The army had 124 new rifle divisions.
But the numbers were deceptive. The army had only 30 percent of the automatic weapons provided by the table of organization; only 20 percent of the planes were of new modern types and only 9 percent of the tanks. When General M. Shtemenko took over the 34th Cavalry Division in July, 1941, he found it had no arms whatever. He finally got some 1927 vintage cannons but was unable to obtain enough rifles or ammunition to equip his troops. There were no antitank guns – nothing but Molotov cocktails (gasoline bottles with wicks). He got twelve antitank guns, but not until October 1941.


Emphases are mine.

As I said in my last post, even if the German number given by Salisbury is too high and there were only 3 million German combat troops - Overy, Russia's War, page 72, speaks of

[...]Over three million men, organized in 146 army divisions, with 14 more Romanian divisions to the south and Finnish forces to the north, all supported by more than 2,000 aircraft and 3,350 tanks, [...]


- the ratio would still have been 1:1 - without counting the Romanian and Finnish divisions on the German side.

michael mills wrote:It is also obvious that the superiority of the Red Army, as shown above, gave it the capacity to launch a westward attack as early as 1941; it had clearly achieved the two-to-one criterion laid down by Stalin. However, that superiority was negated at the beginning of Barbarossa by the fact that Germany unexpectedly attacked in the north where Soviet forces were weaker, rather than in the south where Stalin expected the attack and has massed his forces. Because of that factor, the German Army was able to achieve an immediate breakthrough, and surround and destroy a great part of the Soviet forces. It took the Soviet Union over a year to regain its initial superiority in strength, and begin to drive back the German forces.


Mills would like to believe the above so badly that he ignores the orders of battle which show that neither on the whole front nor on any part of it the Soviet army had a manpower strength remotely approaching the superiority of at least two to one that Stalin considered mandatory for a successful offensive.

I took down the following data from an online source featured under

http://www.shortway.to/1941/

Opposing forces as of 22 June 1941

North Direction
Item; Soviet; German
Divisions; 21,50; 21,50
Men; 426.230; 407.440
Guns and Mortars; 9.589; 3.084
Tanks; 1.857; 192
Aircraft; 2.104; 424

North-West Direction
Item; Soviet; German
Divisions; 24,00; 29,00
Men; 375.863; 787.500
Guns and Mortars; 7.467; 8.348
Tanks; 1.514; 679
Aircraft; 1.814; 830

West Direction
Item; Soviet; German
Divisions; 54,00; 51,50
Men; 791.445; 1.455.900
Guns and Mortars; 16.151; 15.161
Tanks; 3.852; 2.156
Aircraft; 2.129; 1.712

South-West Direction
Item; Soviet; German
Divisions; 91,50; 61,50
Men; 1.412.136; 1.508.500
Guns and Mortars; 26.580; 16.008
Tanks; 8.069; 1.144
Aircraft; 4.696; 1.829

Whole German-Soviet Front
Item; Soviet; German
Divisions; 191,00; 163,50
Men; 3.005.674; 4.159.340

Guns and Mortars; 59.787; 42.601
Tanks; 15.292; 4.171
Aircraft; 10.743; 4.795


If the percentages of modern planes and tanks according to Salisbury's above quote are applied to the above numbers, it also becomes clear that in state-of-the-art tanks and combat aircraft, the Soviets hardly had any numerical superiority at all. 20 % of 10,743 aircraft is 2,148 planes, and 9 per cent of 15,292 tanks is 1,376 tanks. This means that, in what concerns state-of-the-art tanks and planes, the Soviets were in fact outnumbered by the Germans, as they were in regard to manpower.

michael mills wrote:No wonder the Argentinian economy is in such dire straits; its government's accounts must be managed by people with the same inability (or unwillingness) to add up as Roberto!


Mills should be careful with those lame attempts to insult me. Readers need only consult my posts to realize that it's the dissident historian and expert from Australia who cannot count.
Last edited by Roberto on 18 Nov 2002 09:59, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Roberto » 17 Nov 2002 22:34

michael mills wrote:J. North wrote:

The Finnish Red Cross ascribed the high mortality rate to a number of the wounded dying, sickness and a lack of sufficient food to withstand the wintery conditions. The government's reaction was to ask the International Red Cross for assistance, which Mannerheim did after reading the Finnish Red Cross report. He also approved the use of Finnish medical staff to treat the sick and wounded, set up a military task force to oversee the direction of policy regarding prisoners and established that rations for prisoners were set at a standard akin to those issued to the Finnish troops. Goring and Wagner would not have been happy with that.

I find it absurd to suggest that the situation of Soviet pows in Finland was similar to that of Soviet pows in Germany. The Finnish response to the higher mortality rate was relatively quick and effective. It was also governed by humanity. There was a response to the winter crisis which brought the mortality rate crashing down in the spring of 1942. Incidentally, the Finns had not ratified the Geneva convention on prisoners, and the soviets had not signed it. But, it seems that both sides adhered to a reasonable regime for the prisoners given the circumstances. Of 2475 Finnish prisoners captured by the Soviets, 404 died in captivity.


So, the reasons for the mortality of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands were essentially the same as those for the Soviet POWs in German hands. In both cases, lack of sufficient food to withstand the wintry conditions seems to have played a major role. Obviously J. North is not claiming that the Finnish authorities deprived their Soviet POWs of food; the lack of food must have had other causes. Presumably the same causes that caused the lack of food for the POWs in German hands.


Poor Mills keeps recanting his articles of faith despite the evidence that, contrary to what may have been the case with the Finns, the Germans did not suffer from lack of sufficient food at all.

Such lack as they claimed, see my previous posts, was due to their own policy of recklessly exploiting the occupied Soviet territories for food resources to allow their armed forces to live off the land and the German civilian population to enjoy food consumption as in peacetime.

This policy, coupled with a decision to wage war without regard to any rules of warfare against the Bolshevik enemy, led first to the Soviet prisoners of war being placed at the bottom of the food distribution chain and then to a selective starvation of the "non-working" prisoners of war. Even where officially established rations would have been sufficient to ensure survival under ideal conditions, the premise that they were to be obtained out of the occupied territories themselves, coupled with the unconditional priority given to the German armed forces and the German home front, meant that it was often possible to hand out only a fraction of these rations, that working prisoners got at best the rations established for non-working prisoners (thus leading to their rapid debilitation), while non-working prisoners got so little that they died like flies, especially after the wet and cold of autumn and winter set in. These policies, not any objective lack of sufficient food, led to 60 % of all prisoners in German hands and in some areas as many as 85 % of them dying until the spring of 1942 - mostly from starvation.

michael mills wrote:So, the mortality rate of the Soviet POWs in Finnish hands came "crashing down" in the spring of 1942, because of the "humanity" of their Finnish captors. Well, it also fell for the POWs held by the Germans, at the same time, and presumably for the same reasons; the logistical problems were overcome, and more food could be supplied.


Mills' presumptions are again based on wishful thinking and out of touch with the facts. The mortality of Soviet prisoners of war dropped temporarily in the spring of 1942 - it didn't stay down for long, according to Streit - because the Germans, having belatedly recognized the need for and value of Soviet prisoners of war as forced labourers, gradually implemented measures that benefited a number of prisoners considerably reduced by the enormous mortality of the first eight months of the war.

michael mills wrote:Despite J. North's posturings, the experience of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands backs up Hoffmann's claims about the reasons for the mortality of the Soviet POWs in German hands, ie it was due primarily to logistical problems rather than a "policy of extermination", whic of course the Finns did not have.


Does Mills have any evidence in support of this contention, or is he merely postulating what he would like to believe?

Evidence to the contrary of those articles of faith aside, perhaps he can explain, then, why the mortality rate of Soviet POWs in German captivity was almost three times as high as in Finnish captivity until the spring of 1942, after which mortality in Finnish captivity dropped to less than 7 % whereas in German captivity a further 1,300,000 out of 2,700,000 prisoners (i.e. the total of prisoners taken throughout the war, ca. 5,700,000, minus ca 2,000,000 who died until the spring of 1942 minus ca. 1,000,000 who were released) died - a mortality rate of more than 48 % that sharply contrasted with the mortality rate of American, British, French and even Polish prisoners of war or of Russian prisoners of war in World War I, which the Germans managed to keep at a level well below the mortality of Soviet POWs in Finnish captivity after the spring of 1942.

michael mills wrote:The Finns were holding far fewer Soviet POWs than the Germans, so their problems in providing food and shelter were so much less, thereby accounting for the lower death-rate of the Soviet POWs in their hands (about half that of the Soviet POWs in German hands).


The Finns also had much fewer resources than the Germans, and they seem to have had genuine logistical problems not related to or aggrieved by ideological premises, as their calls for help to the ICRC suggest.

As to the Germans' logistical problems, they were just a lame pretext insofar as they were related to the premise that Soviet prisoners of war were to be fed only out of the occupied Soviet territories and only after the needs of the German armed forces and the German home front had been satisfied out of those regions. No such problems affected the feeding of almost two million French prisoners the year before, for instance.

michael mills wrote:J. North claims that the Finns were "humane" in their treatment of Soviet POWs, whereas the Germans were not.

But that is not what the Soviet Government thought; it claimed that the Finns committed atrocities on captured Soviet soldiers.

[...]

It seems to me that there are two possibilities: either

1. What Molotov said was true, in which case J. North's pontification about the "humanity" of the Finns compared with the Germans is just so much intestinal gas; or

2. What Molotov said was a total fabrication, in which case it is evident that the Soviet Government was prepared to tell bare-faced lies about the activities of the Finnish Army, on the basis of which it is reasonable to assume that many of the claims made by the Soviet Government about the activities of the German Army were also bare-faced lies.


I see a third possibility, which Mills of course will loathe to consider: that while Finnish troops under their own command more or less behaved according to the rules of warfare, Finnish soldiers integrated into German units were somewhat less compliant with such rules.

But even if the Soviet accusations against the Finns were completely unjustified, Mills' classically "Revisionist" falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus conclusion that "many of the claims made by the Soviet Government about the activities of the German Army were also bare-faced lies", apart from clearly showing what the fellow has on his plate, is ridiculous insofar as such claims are confirmed by post-war investigations of Soviet government commissions corroborated by documentary and eyewitness evidence from the German side.
Last edited by Roberto on 18 Nov 2002 10:13, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by michael mills » 18 Nov 2002 02:51

Roberto wrote:

I see a third possibility, which Mills of course will loathe to consider: that while Finnish troops under their own command more or less behaved according to the rules of warfare, Finnish soldiers integrated into German units were somewhat less compliant with such rules.


Here Roberto is caught committing a particularly outrageous deception, rather more clumsy than those he usually engages in.

He has deceitfully omitted the quotation from Hoffmann's "Stalin's War of Extermination" which gave the date of Molotov's speech in which the claims of Finnish atrocities were made, thereby hoping to fool readers into believing that the claims referred to Finnish participation in the German attack on the Soviet Union after June 1941, in which case Finnish soldiers did fight alongside german units.

If readers refer back to my original post, they will see that the date of Molotov's speech was 29 March 1940, ie at the end of the Winter War of 1939-40, in which German troops did not participate at all. Molotov's atrocity claims clearly refer to Finnish troops fighting on their own, not under German influence.

The arrogant macho from the nest of ex-Nazi exiles hiding out in the remote Andes has shot himself in the foot this time. Did he make a stupid error, or did he deliberately set out to deceive? Whatever his character failings, he is certainly not stupid.

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Post by Roberto » 18 Nov 2002 09:51

michael mills wrote:Roberto wrote:

I see a third possibility, which Mills of course will loathe to consider: that while Finnish troops under their own command more or less behaved according to the rules of warfare, Finnish soldiers integrated into German units were somewhat less compliant with such rules.


Here Roberto is caught committing a particularly outrageous deception, rather more clumsy than those he usually engages in.

He has deceitfully omitted the quotation from Hoffmann's "Stalin's War of Extermination" which gave the date of Molotov's speech in which the claims of Finnish atrocities were made, thereby hoping to fool readers into believing that the claims referred to Finnish participation in the German attack on the Soviet Union after June 1941, in which case Finnish soldiers did fight alongside german units.

If readers refer back to my original post, they will see that the date of Molotov's speech was 29 March 1940, ie at the end of the Winter War of 1939-40, in which German troops did not participate at all. Molotov's atrocity claims clearly refer to Finnish troops fighting on their own, not under German influence.

The arrogant macho from the nest of ex-Nazi exiles hiding out in the remote Andes has shot himself in the foot this time. Did he make a stupid error, or did he deliberately set out to deceive? Whatever his character failings, he is certainly not stupid.


Well, forgive me for not reading Mills' snippet carefully enough, I was in a hurry because the cybercafé was about to close down, and I had the previous mumblings of Richard Miller on another thread on my mind, which did refer to Soviet allegations of Finnish atrocities during the German-Soviet war, IIRC.

If Molotov was referring to the Russo-Finnish winter war of 1939-40, this means that Mills chose an off-topic example that tells us nothing at all about the behavior of Finnish troops in the German-Soviet war, whether fighting under their own or under German command.

It also means that, despite previous demonstrations to the contrary, I remained confident enough in the pertinence of Mills' arguments to assume, without admittedly checking due to the reasons explained above, that he would produce something referring to Finnish behavior in the war that started on 22 June 1941 and thus related to the topic under discussion.

Mills' furious gibbering, on the other hand, suggests that the poor fellow's depleted ego desperately needs to claim however puny a victory after all the beatings he has taken by myself and others who have seen him through (he seems to have nothing to say about the other arguments contained in my last two posts, for instance).

His puerile insults furthermore suggest that the poor fellow hates the guts of me to such an extent that he constantly loses his temper, which so amuses that I sometimes cannot help :lol:

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Post by j.north » 18 Nov 2002 10:24

Dear Mr Mills,

Please don't take that tone with me. I don't think my post deserved to be called posturing just because my material disagrees with your own point of view.

There was no ulterior motive for the Finnish request to the Red Cross; the Finns did not require the Soviet pows for labour. Why then was a request for food made then? For humane reasons. As neither side had entered into the Geneva Convention then it must have been the dictates of humanity that prompted the appea;.

A challenge to you Mr Mills. Find me an authentic German document from someone high up in thew German leadership which demonstrates a convincing desire to treat Soviet pows humanely and one which has no ulterior motive. Moreover, one which had the effect of transforming conditions for the pows. I'll look forward to your reply.

Incidentally, do you think the Finns who died in Soviet hands succumbed to logistical problems? I just wonder how objective a person you are.

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Post by michael mills » 18 Nov 2002 14:13

J. North wrote:

Incidentally, do you think the Finns who died in Soviet hands succumbed to logistical problems? I just wonder how objective a person you are.


I have no idea what caused the mortality of Finnish POWs in Soviet hands, so I have not ventured any opinion on that, as you will no doubt have noticed.

Maybe it was logistical problems. Maybe it was an epidemic. You tell me.

The late Dr Joachim Hoffmann, in his book "Stalin's War of Extermination", presents a lot of evidence to show that the Soviet authorities followed a practice of summarily executing the German prisoners they took. That was the Soviet policy during the first year of the war, when few German prisoners were taken. After the surrender of the remnants of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, the Soviets did start accepting captured Germans as POWs, and putting them in POW camps. Even so, most of the German soldiers captured during the war, as opposed to the large numbers taken prisoner toward the end of the war and after the German capitulation, did not survive Soviet captivity.

However, it may be that the Soviet authorities treated Finnish POWs differently, perhaps regarding them as puppets of the Germans.

By the way, you have ignored Molotov's claims of atrocities by Finns on captured Soviet soldiers. Do you think he was telling the truth or lying?


There was no ulterior motive for the Finnish request to the Red Cross; the Finns did not require the Soviet pows for labour. Why then was a request for food made then? For humane reasons. As neither side had entered into the Geneva Convention then it must have been the dictates of humanity that prompted the appea;.


Why did the Finnish Government ask the Red Cross for food aid to feed the Soviet POWs? The answer is obvious; because Finland would then be relieved of the burden of feeding them itself.

It should be noted that the Germans were not averse to accepting food aid for the populations under their control. For example, until the entry of the United States into the war, American relief organisations provided substantial amounts of food aid to the population of the Generalgouvernement, of which 14% was reserved for the Jewish population. The provision of food aid was in breach of the British blockade, and the British Government tried to have it stopped, since it relieved Germany of the burden of feeding the Polish population and allowed it to give more food to its own people.

The food aid to Poland was only terminated at the end of 1941, when the United States joined the blockade against german-occupied Europe, and banned the provision of any aid. Under those circumstances, it seems to me unlikely that the Allies would have allowed any food into German-occupied Europe, even to feed the starving Soviet POWs.

By the way, was Finland also blockaded? It is possible that the Allies allowed food to be sent to Finland, since that country was not technically under German occupation.

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Post by Roberto » 18 Nov 2002 14:49

michael mills wrote:J. North wrote:

Incidentally, do you think the Finns who died in Soviet hands succumbed to logistical problems? I just wonder how objective a person you are.


I have no idea what caused the mortality of Finnish POWs in Soviet hands, so I have not ventured any opinion on that, as you will no doubt have noticed.


We have noticed that indeed:

michael mills wrote:So, the reasons for the mortality of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands were essentially the same as those for the Soviet POWs in German hands. In both cases, lack of sufficient food to withstand the wintry conditions seems to have played a major role. Obviously J. North is not claiming that the Finnish authorities deprived their Soviet POWs of food; the lack of food must have had other causes. Presumably the same causes that caused the lack of food for the POWs in German hands.


michael mills wrote:No sane historian accuses democratic Finland of having a policy of "exterminating" the peoples of the East, yet one third of the POWs held by them died, no doubt due to the same factors that caused the mass mortality of the POWs held by the Germans. That fact in itself tends to support Hoffmann's thesis that the high mortality rate of Soviet POWs (which was limited to a short period, after which it fell to normal levels) was not due to a "policy of extermination", as claimed by the leftists.


Emphases are mine.

Mr. Mills seems to have a rather short memory.

michael mills wrote:The late Dr Joachim Hoffmann, in his book "Stalin's War of Extermination", presents a lot of evidence to show that the Soviet authorities followed a practice of summarily executing the German prisoners they took. That was the Soviet policy during the first year of the war, when few German prisoners were taken.


I hope the evidence to such a “policy” that Hoffmann presented is better than the evidence to Stalin’s offensive plans he produced.

I also wonder what, if anything, Mills’ guru said to the information contained in the following footnote I translated from Christian Streit's Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945 (1997 edition, footnote 155 to pages 108-109):

Otto Bräutigam wrote in his memoirs that in the late summer of 1941, upon his complaint about the bad treatment of Soviet prisoners of war, the Army High Command had replied that the Red Army treated German prisoners in the same way. When B. thereupon examined the collection of cases put together at the Army High Command, he came to the conclusion "that on the whole there were about 180 cases, of which several had obviously been reported by various entitities and were thus included in the collection several times". (Otto Bräutigam, So hat es sich zugetragen. Ein Leben als Soldat und Diplomat, Würzburg 1968, page 376. The files I examined confirm this impression. An "assessment of the enemy" by the Ic/AO of Army Group Center dated 10.3.1942, which the Wehrmacht High Command / Amt Ausl.Abw./Abw. II [Colonel Lahousen] communicated to the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, attributed the shooting of German prisoners of war to the "quickly spread knowledge of the misery of Russian prisoners of war": Federal Archives R 41/169, page 259.


michael mills wrote:After the surrender of the remnants of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, the Soviets did start accepting captured Germans as POWs, and putting them in POW camps. Even so, most of the German soldiers captured during the war, as opposed to the large numbers taken prisoner toward the end of the war and after the German capitulation, did not survive Soviet captivity.


Logistical problems, Mr. Mills?

And what evidence does Mr. Hoffmann present that most German soldiers captured during the war perished?

michael mills wrote:By the way, you have ignored Molotov's claims of atrocities by Finns on captured Soviet soldiers. Do you think he was telling the truth or lying?


If it’s the Russo-Finnish winter war of 1939-40 that he was referring to, his statements were most probably mere propaganda.

The relevance of such allegations in regard to Finnish behavior towards POWs in the German-Soviet war Mills hasn’t yet explained.

michael mills wrote:Why did the Finnish Government ask the Red Cross for food aid to feed the Soviet POWs? The answer is obvious; because Finland would then be relieved of the burden of feeding them itself.


Whence does Mr. Mills draw this conclusion?

I only hope that, if Jonathan North should produce evidence that the Finnish government had real problems in taking care of Soviet prisoners of war, Mills won't again try to tell us that he avoided venturing any opinion on this issue.

michael mills wrote:It should be noted that the Germans were not averse to accepting food aid for the populations under their control. For example, until the entry of the United States into the war, American relief organisations provided substantial amounts of food aid to the population of the Generalgouvernement, of which 14% was reserved for the Jewish population. The provision of food aid was in breach of the British blockade, and the British Government tried to have it stopped, since it relieved Germany of the burden of feeding the Polish population and allowed it to give more food to its own people.

The food aid to Poland was only terminated at the end of 1941, when the United States joined the blockade against german-occupied Europe, and banned the provision of any aid.


Interesting, but what is the relevance of these contentions supposed to be?

What is the poet trying to tell us?

michael mills wrote:Under those circumstances, it seems to me unlikely that the Allies would have allowed any food into German-occupied Europe, even to feed the starving Soviet POWs.


Whether or not they would have done so hardly matters even for the period after America’s entry into the war (by which time a considerable if not the greater part of the two million Soviet POWs who died until the spring of 1942 had already perished), as the Germans never bothered to ask either them nor any neutral state or organization for help. Long before attacking the Soviet Union, they had decided that this was to be a war without conventions, that the Wehrmacht was to live off the land and the German civilian population fed at peacetime levels at the expense of the Soviet population, and that the Soviet prisoners of far were at the bottom of the food distribution chain and garbage also in every other respect. Later they determined that those of the Soviet POWs who were not able or required to work for the German war effort would be left to starve, and that even those who were working would only be fed to the extent that the resources locally available permitted, after the needs of the Wehrmacht and the home front had been satisfied.

michael mills wrote:By the way, was Finland also blockaded? It is possible that the Allies allowed food to be sent to Finland, since that country was not technically under German occupation.


If so, why would they turn to the ICRC for help?

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Post by j.north » 18 Nov 2002 15:35

Dear Mr Mills

Regarding Molotov and the Soviet Finnish War, there probably were atrocities. I haven't looked into them, but would imagine them to be relatively localised and shouldn't be taken as the policy of any one nation. It may well be that Molotov milked such reports for propaganda reasons, Finnish and Soviet records would have to be checked, but it might also be true that such atrocities occured. Like I said, it doesn't mean that such are Finnish policy.

Would 500,000 tons of food aid have been sufficient by itself to feed the pows? Three years of war, 60,000 pows? It was assistance and it doesn't mean that Finland stopped using its own resources.

I was interested by your point that 'Soviet authorities followed a practice of summarily executing the German prisoners they took. That was the Soviet policy during the first year of the war, when few German prisoners were taken.' They must have been terrible shots. Krivosheev shows that between 22 June and 31 December 1941, 303 Axis officers, 947 NCOs and 9352 men were captured. Between 1 January and 30 June 1942, 1 General, 161 officers, 762 NCOs and 5,759 men were captured. Some 17,000 pows in the first year. Then between 1 July and 31 December 1942, 172,143 pows were taken (Krivosheev, p. 277). When was Stalingrad?

Any luck with finding that German document stressing that the Soviet pows should be treated humanely (and that such a document made a difference)? Perhaps then you can negate the Finnish command's response.

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Post by michael mills » 22 Nov 2002 14:12

Mr North

In your original post you wrote:

The attitude of marshal Mannerheim can also be contrasted to the attitude of the German leaders in this subject. On 1 march 1942 he wrote to the International Committee of the Red Cross asking for food aid for the prisoners and adding that 'we would be very happy to receive a delegation from the Committee, with which we will work in complete cooperation, to oversee the distribution of supplies and to ensure that they are provided exclusively for the benefit of Soviet prisoners of war in Finnish hands'.

As a consequence 500,000 tonnes of food were distributed between the 23 pow camps up until october 1944.


You are now asking me:

Any luck with finding that German document stressing that the Soviet pows should be treated humanely (and that such a document made a difference)? Perhaps then you can negate the Finnish command's response.


Well, where is the Finnish document stressing that the Soviet POWs should be treated humanely? All you came up with was a letter from Mannerheim asking the Red Cross to feed the Soviet POWs in Finnish hands. That is not necessarily of itself "humane"; as I wrote, the Finnish Government obviously wanted to be relieved of the burden of feeding them, even if only partially. Even if 500,000 tonnes of food was not sufficient to cover the entire needs of the POWs, it was 500,000 tonnes that Finland did not need to provide from its own resources.

It also leaves open the question of whether the Allies blockading German-occupied Europe were prepared to allow food aid to get through to Finland, something they were not prepared to allow to Germany itself. (The only exception was Greece, where the British did send shiploads of food to Greek ports; but that was mainly because Greece was easily accessible by sea).

The record shows that, after the starvation winter of 1941-42, the German authorities did succed in feeding all the surviving Soviet POWs, as there was no further mass-starvation after the Spring of 1942. Practically all the Soviet POWs taken from 1942 onward survived their captivity in German hands; one million of them even ended up fighting on the German side, to liberate their country from the Stalinist tyranny.

By the way, I was astounded at your response to the Molotov speech quoted by me. It seems you take the view that if Molotov claimed that Finnish troops (and female nurses!) had committed the most vicious atrocities, then it must have been true! You then indulge in all sorts of contortions, saying it must have been only individuals, not representative of the Finnish national policy, etc etc.

Did it not occur to you that Molotov might have been lying outrageously, simply manufacturing atrocity propaganda? Or is your veneration of Stalin's hitmen so great that you simply must believe them?

I have also done some research, and found the source of Hoffmann's figures for Soviet POWs in Finnish hands. He was quoting his previous book, "Die Geschichte der Wlassow-Armee", which was published with the imprimatur of the German Militaergeschichtliches Forschungsamt, and so cannot simply be dismissed as "Right-wing revisionism".

On page 143 he writes:


Dieser toedliche Erschoepfungszustand, von dem uebereinstimmend berichtet wird, mag erklaeren, warum beispielsweise auch von den 64 188 sowjetischen Soldaten in finnischer Kriegsgefangenschaft nicht weniger als 18 700 - fast ein Drittel - verstorben sind.


[The "Erschoepfungszustand" referred to was the fact that when many of the Soviet soldiers were taken prisoner, they were already on the verge of starvation, having been deprived of food for many days during the fighting; Hoffmann quotes German reports that many of the newly captured prisoners were no longer capable of eating the food given to them.]

The figures quoted by Hoffmann are exactly the same as those quoted by you, with the exception of the 17,000 reportedly captured after the initial phase. He gives a source for his figures:

Vizegeneralsekretaer des finnischen Roten Kreuzes Rosen an Oberst a.D. Roschmann, 7.12.1981, in: Roschmann, Hans, Gutachten zur Behandlung und zu den Verlusten sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener in deutscher Hand von 1941-1945 und zur Bewertung der Beweiskraft des sogenannten "Documents NOKW 2125" (Nachweisung des Verbleibs der sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen nach dem Stande vom 1. 5. 1944), Ingolstadt 1982, Beilage B zu Anlage 2.


I have not seen a copy of the letter from Rosen to Roschmann, but I have no reason to believe that Hoffmann has misused it. It seems that Rosen must have given 64,188 as the total number of Soviet POWs taken by the Finnish Army, omitting the later 17,000, and also given the total of those who died. It seems that those figures were less accurate than those given in the source you have used.

However, Hoffmann's conclusions were perfectly reasonable based on the data he had, which had come from the Vice General-Secretary of the Finnish Red Cross, and which he had no reason to believe were not complete. 18,700 dead taken as a proportion of 64,188 yields 29%, which is almost one-third, as Hoffmann wrote. You and Roberto therefore have no cause to accuse Hoffmann of falsification.

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Post by michael mills » 22 Nov 2002 14:36

J North sneered:

I was interested by your point that 'Soviet authorities followed a practice of summarily executing the German prisoners they took. That was the Soviet policy during the first year of the war, when few German prisoners were taken.' They must have been terrible shots. Krivosheev shows that between 22 June and 31 December 1941, 303 Axis officers, 947 NCOs and 9352 men were captured. Between 1 January and 30 June 1942, 1 General, 161 officers, 762 NCOs and 5,759 men were captured. Some 17,000 pows in the first year. Then between 1 July and 31 December 1942, 172,143 pows were taken (Krivosheev, p. 277). When was Stalingrad?


So, during the first year of the German-Soviet war, the Red Army took some 17,000 Axis prisoners, most of whom were presumably German. A very small part of the total that was eventually taken, most being taken prisoner in the last year of the war or after the German surrender.

But the crucial point, which you ignore is, how many of those 17,000 survived Soviet captivity. Hoffmann claims that 90-95% of the Germans taken prisoner by the Soviets in 1941-42 perished ("Geschichte der Wlassow-Armee", p. 137: "Nicht weniger als 90-95 prozent der in die Kriegsgefangenschaft der Sowjetunion gefallenen Wehrmachtsangehoerigen sind in den Jahren 1941/42 zugrundegegangen, sofern sie nicht ueberhaupt schon bei der Gefangennahme ermordet wurden"). He also claims that a total of 1.11 - 1.185 million German POWs died in Soviet hands, most after the end of the war.

As to the 172, 143 Axis prisoners taken between 1 July and 31 December 1942, the Red Army offensive that surrounded the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad took place in November 1941, I believe, and totally shattered the Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the flanks of the Stalingrad salient. Large numbers of prisoners must have been taken during that offensive, and I presume that most them must have been Humgarians, Italians and Romanians; Krivosheev lumps them all together without specifying nationality.

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Post by michael mills » 22 Nov 2002 14:48

Roberto wrote:

Mr. Mills seems to have a rather short memory.


Roberto, stop it or you'll go blind!

I wrote that I had no idea what caused the mortality of FINNISH POWs in SOVIET hands.

The bits of my posts that you quoted were my thoughts on what caused the mortality of SOVIET POWs in FINNISH hands, the reverse circumstance.

I surmised that the reasons were the same as those that caused the mass mortality of the Soviet POWs in German hands, primarily logistical factors. An entirely reasonable conclusion.

J North had sneeringly asked whether I knew the reasons for the deaths of Finnish POWs in Soviet hands; I replied that I did not.

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Post by Roberto » 22 Nov 2002 15:15

michael mills wrote:The record shows that, after the starvation winter of 1941-42, the German authorities did succed in feeding all the surviving Soviet POWs, as there was no further mass-starvation after the Spring of 1942.


The reason why there was no further mass starvation – at least not on the previous scale – after the spring of 1942 is explained i.a. in Bräutigam’s memorandum of 25 November 1942, from which it also becomes clear that the author considered the mass dying until the spring of 1942 to have been everything other than inevitable:

[…]Of primary importance, the treatment of prisoners of war should be named. It is no longer a secret from friend or foe that hundreds of thousands of them literally have died of hunger or cold in our camps. Allegedly there were not enough food supplies on hand for them. It is especially peculiar that the food supplies are deficient only for prisoners of war from the Soviet Unions, while complaints about the treatment of other prisoners of war, Polish, Serbian, French and English, have not become loud. It is obvious that nothing is so suitable for strengthening the power of resistance of the Red Army as the knowledge that in German captivity a slow miserable death is to be met. To be sure the Main Department for Politics has succeeded here by unceasing efforts in bringing about a material improvement of the fate of the prisoners of war. However this improvement is not to be ascribed to political acumen, but to the sudden realization that our labor market must be supplied with laborers at once. We now experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the occupied Eastern territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany. Now the food question no longer existed.[…]


Source of quote:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/USSR1.htm

Emphases are mine.

michael mills wrote:Practically all the Soviet POWs taken from 1942 onward survived their captivity in German hands; one million of them even ended up fighting on the German side, to liberate their country from the Stalinist tyranny.


The above statement is too imbecile even for Michael Mills, who should at least have read my translation from Streit’s Keine Kameraden. Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945, 2nd edition 1997, pages 244- 249, in my post of Fri Oct 18, 2002 6:07 pm on the thread

Timeline of Soviet POW Mortality (for Viriato)
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 8390ffaa92

before writing such fathomless nonsense.

A partial quote from that post:

The Development of Mortality 1942-1945

Although in the years 1942 to 1945 prisoners of war were constantly being transported from the eastern parts of the Wehrmacht High Command area for labor service on the territory of the Reich, the manpower shortage of the German war industry could not be done away with. It is true that the number of prisoners of war employed on the territory of the Reich increased from 487,535 in October 1942 over 505,795 in July 1943 and 594,729 in February 1944 to about 750,000 on 1 January 1945. When one compares this with the total number of prisoners who fell into German hands and with the total number of prisoners present at the respective times, however, it becomes clear that a great part of the transports only served to replace the losses that had occurred through death or work incapacity. The total number of prisoners had increased from 3,350,000 in December 1941 over 4,716,903 in mid-July 1942, 5,003,697 in January 1943, and 5,637,482 in February 1944 to 5,734,528 on 1 February 1945. The number of prisoners present in the Wehrmacht High Command and Army High Command areas, on the other hand, had grown from 976,458 in March 1942 to 1,675,626 in September 1942, but then dropped over 1,501,145 on 1 January 1943 and 1,054,820 on 1 May 1944 to 930,287 on 1 January 1945. While the total number of prisoners increased by 1,017,625 between July 1942 and February 1945, the number of those remaining in captivity in the same period dropped by 745,000 – despite all efforts to increase the number of workers.
The steady diminution of the number of prisoners was partially due to releases – almost exclusively of “auxiliaries” and volunteers for the “eastern troops”. Until 1 May 1944 818,220 prisoners had been released in the Wehrmacht High Command and Army High Command areas; until the end of the war another 200,000 may have been released in the course of the efforts to strengthen the “eastern troops”, so that in total one may count on about a million released.
What mainly decimated the number of prisoners, however, was the continuing extraordinarily high mortality of the prisoners, which in the winters of 1942/43 and 1943/44 and then from the summer of 1944 onward reached new peaks. Exact data cannot be provided here either. If one deducts from the total number of Soviet prisoners who fell into German hands those who were still in captivity on 1 January 1945 – 930,287 -, the estimated number of releases – 1,000,000 – and the estimated number of prisoners who got back to the Soviet side through escape or during the retreats – 500,000 –, there results a number of about 3,300,000 prisoners who perished in German captivity or were murdered by the Einsatzkommandos, i.e. 57.8 per cent of the total number of prisoners.

The full significance of this number shows when comparing it to the mortality of other prisoners in German custody. Until 31 January 1945 there had died 14,147 of the French, 1,851 of the British and 136 of the American prisoners. In relation to the respective total number these deaths amounted to 1.58 per cent for the French, 1.15 per cent for the British and 0.3 per cent for the Americans. [Footnote: Based on the number of existing prisoners as of 1.11.1944, according to a listing of the Wehrmacht Information Bureau: French 893,672, British 161,386, Americans 45,576. The number of French prisoners was originally much higher, but a great many had been released. Of the Polish prisoners there were 67,055 still registered on 1.11.1944, so that the mortality (with 3,299 deaths) would be 4.92 per cent. It must be taken into account in this respect that also in their case the overwhelming majority had been released, although they had been treated considerably worse than the released French prisoners of war. If in the case of the French also those released were taken into account, the distance towards the mortality of Soviet prisoners of war would be even greater.]
Of the 3,155,000 German prisoners who fell into the hands of the Red Army between 1941 and 1945, there died between 1,110,000 and 1,185,000, i.e. between 35.1 per cent and 37.4 per cent. [Footnote: Kurt W. Böhme, Die deutschen Kriegsgefangenen in sowjetischer Hand, page 151 and errata sheet]
The mortality of Soviet prisoners between 1942 and 1945 can not be described in as much detail as the mass dying between October 1941 and March 1942, but more general statements are possible. In the period between 1 February 1942 and the end of the war, i.e. at a time when the value of Soviet prisoners for the German armament industry had been clearly recognized by many among the German leadership, there died about 1,300,000 Soviet prisoners. This leads to the assumption that the ideologically motivated priorities set for the war in the East in the spring of 1941 remained determining to a much higher degree than could be expected on account of the continuously repeated endorsements of the need to improve the working capacity and thus the survival chances of the prisoners by a better treatment.[...]


Emphases are mine.

As I pointed out in one of my last posts, the number of deaths between 1942 and 1945 amounts to ca. 48 % of the total number of prisoners taken (ca. 5,700,000) minus deaths until the spring of 1942 (ca. 2,000,000) minus releases (ca. 1,000,000): 1,300,000 ./. 2,700,000 = 48 %. If the 500,000 who got back to the Soviet side through escape or during the retreats are further deducted from the total, the mortality rate among those prisoners who remained in captivity rises to 1,300,000 ./. 2,200,000 = 59 % between 1942 and 1945, a percentage almost as high as the one verified during the first eight months of the war, when ca. 2,000,000 out of 3,350,000 POWs = 60 % perished.

michael mills wrote:The figures quoted by Hoffmann are exactly the same as those quoted by you, with the exception of the 17,000 reportedly captured after the initial phase. He gives a source for his figures:

Quote:

Vizegeneralsekretaer des finnischen Roten Kreuzes Rosen an Oberst a.D. Roschmann, 7.12.1981, in: Roschmann, Hans, Gutachten zur Behandlung und zu den Verlusten sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener in deutscher Hand von 1941-1945 und zur Bewertung der Beweiskraft des sogenannten "Documents NOKW 2125" (Nachweisung des Verbleibs der sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen nach dem Stande vom 1. 5. 1944), Ingolstadt 1982, Beilage B zu Anlage 2.



I presume that Hoffmann’s source Roschmann is the same Roschmann who Streit mentions in his response to Hoffmann’s criticism on pages 10 and following of the 1997 edition of Keine Kameraden. Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941 - 1945:

Wie nicht anders zu erwarten, löste die von mir berechnete Zahl der Todesopfer - etwa 3 300 000 - Widerspruch aus. Alfred Streim schätzt dagegen eine Zahl von “mindestens 2 530 000”. Seine Berechnung basiert in erster Linie auf einer Aufstellung von OKW/Kgf. vom 1.Mai 1944; er legt eine Gesamtzahl von etwa 5 200 000 Gefangenen zugrunde. Während Streim seinen Berechnungsmodus offenlegt, nennt Joachim Hoffmann bei einer Gesamtzahl von “genau 5 245 882” eine Opferzahl von “rund 2 Millionen”, ohne diese Zahl näher zu begründen; er führt lediglich “unbekannte Originalakten und sonstige Unterlagen” an, ohne sie nachzuweisen. [Fußnote] Weder Streim noch Hoffmann begründen, weshalb die von mir einer Aufstellung der Abt. Fremde Heere Ost im OKH entnommene Gesamtzahl von 5 754 528 (für Februar 1945) nicht zutreffen sollte. Diese Größenordnung ist aber in den Akten noch einmal belegt. Der Chef des Kriegsgefangenenwesens schätzte die Gesamtzahl der sowjetischen Gefangenen im Dezember 1944 auf 5,6 Millionen.”


[Fußnote, S. 304]

“Die Kriegsführung aus der Sicht der Sowjetunion” (1984), S. 730. - Roschmann, Gutachten, S. 17-25, rechnet die Zahl durch mehrfachen Abzug desselben Faktors auf 1 680 000 herunter. Er argumentiert, die Fronttruppen hätten in der Siegeseuphorie 1941 stark überhöhte Zahlen gemeldet. Deswegen vernachlässigt er eine Zahl von 280 810, die in der Aufstellung vom 1.5.44 als “Abgänge beim Transport, Zählfehler u. dergl.” erklärt ist, von vornherein (Streim, S. 225, rechnet sie mit gutem Grund “zu einem großen Teil zu den Todesfällen”). Sodann zieht R. von den 845 128 für den OKH-Bereich gemeldeten Todesfällen kurzerhand 300 000 als “Meldefehler” ab. Er nimmt nicht zur Kenntnis, daß der Generalquartiermeister des Heeres schon am 25.12.1941 die Kriegsgefangenenstatistik wegen “nunmehr festgestellter Fehlmeldungen [...] um rund 500 000” berichtigt hatte: KTB OKW, Bd. I, S. 1106.


My translation:

As was to be expected, the number of deaths I calculated - about 3 300 000 - led to protests. Alfred Streim estimates a number of “at least 2 530 000”. His calculation is mainly based on a listing by the OKW/Kgf. of 1 Mai 1944; and he considers a total number of about 5 200 000 prisoners. Whereas Streim openly shows his way of calculation, Joachim Hoffmann speaks of a total number of “exactly 5 245 882” and a number of victims of “around 2 million”, without providing a detailed justification of this number; he merely refers to “unknown original files and other documents” without providing evidence to their existence. [emphasis mine] [Footnote] Neither Streim nor Hoffmann explain why the total number that I took from a listing of the Abt. Fremde Heere Ost at the OKH, 5 754 528 (as of February 1945) should not be accurate. For this order of magnitude, however, there is further proof in the files. The Chief of Prisoner of War Matters estimated the total number of Soviet prisoners in December 1944 at 5.6 million.


[Footnote, page 304]

“Die Kriegsführung aus der Sicht der Sowjetunion” (1984), S. 730. - Roschmann, Gutachten, pages 17-25, reduces the number by repeated deduction of the same factor to 1 680 000.[emphasis mine] He argues that the front-line troops had reported strongly exaggerated numbers in the victory euphoria of 1941. Thus he dismisses a number of 280 810 that is explained in the listing of 1.5.44 as “Losses during transport, counting errors and similar” right away (Streim, S. 225, considers it, with good reason, as referring “to a large extent to deaths”). Hereafter R. takes the 845 128 deaths reported for the OKH area and simply deduces 300 000 as a “reporting error”. He does not take into consideration that the General Quarter of the Army had already on 25.12.1941 corrected the statistics of prisoners of war due to “reporting errors detected in the meantime [...] by around 500 000”: KTB OKW, Volume I, page 1106.[emphasis mine]


In the face of this display of intellectual dishonesty by Hoffmann's source, it seems altogether reasonable to consider Jonathan North’s sources more reliable than Mr. Roschmann.

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