Does anybody know how many German POWs died ...

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Einsamer_Wolf
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Does anybody know how many German POWs died ...

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 12 Jun 2003 05:41

in Soviet captivity. I would also be interested to know how many German POWs were relinquished by the Western allies to Stalin. I just saw the Pianist. Perhaps my priorities were misplaced, but I was most mortified by the fate of German Officer Wilm Hosenfeld, the man who helped Spielmann, but died in Soviet captivity.

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Post by POW » 12 Jun 2003 09:23

Hosnefeld died 1952 in camp #6124/5 Stalingrad

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 12 Jun 2003 09:43

POW wrote:Hosnefeld died 1952 in camp #6124/5 Stalingrad
An utter travesty of justice. And let it never be forgotten that the Western Allies sat back and allowed it to happen. There can be no question of this. The only question is how many of Germany's rank and file died (needlessly) in Soviet captivity.

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 12 Jun 2003 10:08

depends on the source. usually quoted number is just over a million or about 30%

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Post by POW » 12 Jun 2003 10:25

oleg wrote:depends on the source. usually quoted number is just over a million or about 30%
That counts for prisoner of war only. Not included are the displaced persons.

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Post by Sokol » 12 Jun 2003 11:23

A travesty of justice you say? And what of the 3,000,000 Soviet POW's who died in German hands? No. In this case, I see nothing wrong with an eye for an eye.

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Re: Does anybody know how many German POWs died ...

Post by Roberto » 12 Jun 2003 11:30

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:in Soviet captivity.
Have a look at the following excerpt I translated from Rüdiger Overmans, [/i]Deutsche Militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg[/i].
4.2.5.3 Prisoners of War
Now to the last section of the assessment: captivity, which for many German soldiers was the last stage of their military career. Unlike in the previous sections it will be necessary in the following to explain the methodological aspects first of all. Only after this can we proceed to an interpretation of the contents of the data.
In the explanation of the conception it was pointed out that the variable “type of death” can be understood as a continuum, with a great degree of accuracy of information being linked to the two extremes “died on the German side” and “died in captivity”, whereas the middle category, “missing”, is a consequence of the fact that, whereas death is a certainty, the circumstances are not exactly known. The quantitative dimensions of this margin of insecurity are shown in table 63.

Table 63: Deaths by year and type of death

(i) Died on the German side
1941 and before 428,066
1942 451,066
1943 501,066
1944 911,561
1945 559,726
1946 and after 0
Sum 2,851,485

(ii) Missing
1941 and before 30,495
1942 115,881
1943 288,686
1944 844,695
1945 727,814
1946 0
Sum 2,007,571

(iii) Died in captivity
1941 and before 0
1942 5,033
1943 22,297
1944 45,330
1945 252,188
1946 and after 134,627
Sum 459,475

Sum of (i) +(ii)+(iii) 5,318,531

The first thing that becomes visible is that the part of deaths that clearly occurred on the German side is very high until about 1941, ca. 90 %. This part diminishes in every following year of the war until reaching only about one-third in 1945. On the other hand, the percentage of those who died as prisoners of war increases from marginal parts to about 16 % in the year 1945 – the later years are not taken into consideration given that after 1945 deaths can only have occurred in prisoner of war camps. What important for the present study, however, is mainly the part of the category “Missing” – which rises from less than 10 % to almost 50 %. The cases are not equally distributed over all fronts, however.
Table 64 still shows a rather clear distribution – mainly in the West, but also in the other theaters of war the number of those who died on the German side is very high. Altogether there are only about 180,000 persons regarding whom the exact circumstances of death are not known – a part of whom may thus have died in captivity.

Table 64: Deaths by Theaters of War and Destiny

Other Theaters of War
1941 and before
Died on the German side: 84,000
Missing: 0
1942
Died on the German side: 40,000
Missing: 8,132
1943
Died on the German side: 72,000
Missing: 6,099
1944
Died on the German side: 199,132
Missing: 79,287
1945
Died on the German side: 27,000
Missing: 30,495

Sum Other Theaters of War
Died on the German side: 422,132
Missing: 124,013

West (until 31.12.1944)
1941 and before
Died on the German side: 68,000
Missing: 4,066
1942
Died on the German side: 12,000
Missing: 0
1943
Died on the German side: 11,000
Missing: 0
1944
Died on the German side: 198,132
Missing: 46,759

Sum West (until 31.12.1944)
Died on the German side: 289,132
Missing: 50,825

East (until 31.12.1944)
1941 and before
Died on the German side: 276,066
Missing: 26,429
1942
Died on the German side: 399,066
Missing: 107,749
1943
Died on the German side: 418,066
Missing: 282,587
1944
Died on the German side: 514,297
Missing: 718,649

Sum East (until 31.12.1944)
Died on the German side: 1,607,495
Missing: 1,135,414

Final Battles 1945
Died on the German side: 532,726
Missing: 697,319

Wholly different is the distribution in the categories “Eastern Front” and “Final Battles”. Already in 1944 the part of the not clearly established cases is higher than that of those who are died on the German side. This applies even more to the Final Battles, the examination of the concrete cases having shown that two thirds of the losses of this phase were incurred by the units fighting in the East – especially in what concerns the not clearly established cases.
What do these considerations imply for the results of the present study? They show that the tables about deaths in captivity are to be looked at with reservations insofar as they, one the one hand, show not to the sum of those who died there but only to the sum of documented deaths. On the other hand it becomes clear where there are still greater margins of uncertainty – not in the West or in the other theaters of war, but mainly in the East. What relevance does this realization have for the central question of the examination, about the sum of deaths? None at all at right away, given that the death of those in question cannot be doubted – the sum of losses therefor doesn’t change. What changes, however, is the distribution of the variables with regard to the various theaters of war – not so much in the West, but mainly in the East. The dimension of these inexactitudes is what is to be examined in the interpretation of the contents of the results.
First of all an overview of the number of deaths in captivity:

Table 65: Deaths in captivity (by custodian state)

Total number of prisoners of war
France 940,000
Great Britain 3,640,000
USA 3,100,000
Yugoslavia 190,000
Other States 170,000
USSR 3,060,000
Sum 11,100,000

Deaths in captivity according to present study
France 34,000
Great Britain 21,000
USA 22,000
Yugoslavia 11,000
Other States 8.000
USSR 363,000
Sum 459,000

Deaths in captivity according to Maschke Commission
France 25,000
Great Britain 1,300
USA 5,000
Yugoslavia 80,000
Other States 13.000
USSR 1,090,000
Sum 1,214,300

When comparing the data about deaths related to the various custodian states, hardly a case of coincidence can be observed. The figures do, however, show a similar trend – custodian states with high death rates according to the data of the Maschke Commission also show an above average death rate in the present study. The same goes for states with low death rates. The question how the nevertheless existing differences in the absolute values can be explained will be examined in the following.
First it should be pointed out that – except in case of the Soviet Union – the losses in captivity in all custodian states are but fractions of percentages of the total losses and are thus in an order of magnitude that cannot be evaluated accurately even with the present, relatively large sample. Furthermore the methods of establishing the figures vary. The data of the Maschke Kommission are based on files of the custodian state and numerous testimonials of German prisoners of war. In matters of content they refer, in what concerns to the Western Allies, to those who died in Allied custody in a narrower sense. The compilation techniques of the present study, however, mandate the inclusion in the category “captivity” also of such cases that formally fall under that category but for which the respective custodian state was not responsible in material terms. This applies especially to the differences in the data related to Great Britain, the USA and the “other countries”.

Things are different in the case of France, where the numbers of the Maschke Commission are based on the official French data and there are substantial indications for the assumption that, of the ca. 180,000 missing in the West, a great number died indeed in French custody – or as mercenaries in Indochina. Even more difficult is the situation regarding deaths in Yugoslavian custody – apart from rather contradictory German testimonials on the one hand and the documented cases underlying the present study on the other there is no examination that could contribute to the clarification of the question.
Given this unsatisfactory state of research the question arises how reliable data about the deaths in captivity could be obtained. Not by means of an empiric compilation analogous to the present one, given that the information deficits pointed out are not caused by methodological deficiencies of the study – the study only demonstrates the fact that the information available to the German authorities is insufficient. Only the evaluation of reports presently coming in from the former Soviet Union, the recovery of unburied dead presently under way both in the former USSR and in Eastern Germany as well as the registration of graves in the Soviet Union by the VDK will lead to an improvement of the state of information in the next years or decades.
But independently of what the number of deaths in captivity actually is, the differences – at least in what concerns the Western Allies – are so small that they cannot significantly affect the results of this study so far. This does not apply in regard to Yugoslavia let alone for the Soviet Union – here the difference between 300,000 or a million deaths is so huge that it influences the distribution of the variables. It will thus be attempted in the following to localize the differences more closely.

Table 66: Deaths in Soviet custody by years

Deaths in Soviet captivity according to present study
1941/42 5,000
1943 21,000
1944 41,000
1945 178,000
1946 and after 118,000
Sum 363,000

Missing according to present study*
1941/42 134,000
1943 283,000
1944 719,000
1945 ca. 400,000
1946 and after -
Sum 1,536,000

* The number of missing in 1945 was estimated for the present study on the basis of the established fact that about two thirds of deaths during the Final Battles occurred in the East of Germany.

Deaths in Soviet captivity according to Maschke Commission
1941/42 166,000
1945 154,000
1946 224,000
1945 550,000
1946 and after included in 1945
Sum 1,094,000

Table 66, which differentiates the number of deaths by years, shows first the number of prisoners of war in Soviet custody and the missing on the Eastern Front, followed by the data of the Maschke Commission. According to the present study a total of ca. 363,000 German soldiers died in Soviet captivity – the sum of individually documented deaths. The approach of the Maschke Commission was another: they established, on the basis of various sources, the number of soldiers taken prisoner as well as the percentage of those who died every year. Although it is an estimate, it can be considered as well founded. When comparing the number of the missing established in the present study, ca. 1.5 million, with the difference in deaths considered by the present study on the one hand and the Maschke Commission on the other, it becomes visible that the difference, ca. 700,000 deaths, corresponds to about half of the number of missing. And it seems altogether plausible, although it cannot be proven, that half of those missing were killed in battle and the other half actually died in Soviet custody . Parting from this consideration the question arises how these ca. 700,000 cases are distributed temporarily. For this it is necessary to recall the conduction of military operations. In the first year, i.e. until ca. the middle of 1943, when the German armies were attacking, they were usually in conditions to recover their own dead in the conquered areas. This means that, at the beginning, the overwhelming majority of missing were taken prisoner and died in Soviet custody – out of the Germans taken prisoner at Stalingrad alone ca. 90,000 died rather soon in captivity. The more the initiative went over to the Soviet side and the more often large units were destroyed and taken prisoner, the greater the number of men killed in battle among those missing is likely to have been.
In relation to the above data this plausible if not provable consideration has the consequence that the results of the present study should be modified. Presumably the number of missing in the years 1941/42 must be almost wholly added to the deaths in captivity, whereas in the following years an ever growing part must be added to those killed on the German side. If the numbers of the present study are nevertheless used for the further assessment, this is only because the above considerations, while plausible, are not based on documented individual fates like the remaining results of the present study. As already mentioned, it must be left to a complementary study to evaluate the information arriving from the former Soviet Union at present and in the future, in order to obtain more accurate results in what concerns captivity.[...]

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Post by David Thompson » 12 Jun 2003 15:43

The posts on "Operation Keelhaul" now have a thread of their own, "Operation Keelhaul/ Forced Repatriation," at:

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=24513

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 12 Jun 2003 15:54

Thanks for the information, Roberto. So I guess over a million men died in Soviet captivity. As for Sokol, I can only say you offend me greatly. Of course I do not condone the treatment of Soviet prisoners on behalf of the German government. But that was not the fault of the German rank and file. THerefore, their fate is repugnant to any decent notion of justice.

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 12 Jun 2003 19:30

beg your pardon ,are you trying to imply that German ranck and file treated Soviet POWs gently?

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Post by witness » 12 Jun 2003 21:03

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Of course I do not condone the treatment of Soviet prisoners on behalf of the German government. But that was not the fault of the German rank and file. THerefore, their fate is repugnant to any decent notion of justice.

Einsamer Wolf
8O So whoese fault was it after all ?

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 12 Jun 2003 22:52

witness wrote:
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Of course I do not condone the treatment of Soviet prisoners on behalf of the German government. But that was not the fault of the German rank and file. THerefore, their fate is repugnant to any decent notion of justice.

Einsamer Wolf
8O So whoese fault was it after all ?
It is the fault of whoever made the decision as a policy matter. It is not the fault of the rank and file German Soldier! :x

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 12 Jun 2003 22:55

oleg wrote:beg your pardon ,are you trying to imply that German ranck and file treated Soviet POWs gently?
I do not think most rank and file interacted with Soviet POWs. But among those who did their is probably a wide range of behaviro. Some may have shot them on the spot in reprisal for atrocities committed by the Soviet side. Others may have simply apprehended them and turned them over to their superiors. In all cases such a large fatality rate is totally inexcusable, just as policices embraced by the Reich government were deplorable as applied to Russian POWs.

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Post by Maple 01 » 12 Jun 2003 23:02

It is not the fault of the rank and file German Soldier!
:roll:

http://www.gendercide.org/case_soviet.html

Someone must have done all the donkey work.

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Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 12 Jun 2003 23:16

Maple 01 wrote:
It is not the fault of the rank and file German Soldier!
:roll:
Please Nick--your diatribe against the German Army and the Waffen SS has grown tiresome. So many of these men were good honorable solidiers who fought bravely and admirably for their nation's survivial, and all too often died in the defense of their country. Their only crime was being born in the wrong country at the wrong time. Heed my statement--if you or I were born in that time, we too, in all likelihood, would have answered our nation's call. In this way, a million of these men died for no other reason than for fighting their country. This is an outrage and a travesty--and I denounce the Western Allies for allowing it to happen as I denoucne the Soviets for perpetratng this crime. And I denounce them in much stronger terms than i denounce the Reich for its crimes beacuse the Allies have the audacity to purport that they were the good guys!

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