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The Hellish Environment of German Stalag #352 in Belarus

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  • The Hellish Environment of German Stalag #352 in Belarus

    The Hellish Environment of German Stalag #352 in Belarus

    https://www.warhistoryonline.com/ins...talag-352.html

    with photos
    Stalags were camps created by the Wehrmacht armed forces to keep prisoners of war who belonged to the rank and file. These places were created with one purpose in mind – using the work of prisoners and turning their short life into hell.
    In June 1941, during the years of the occupation of Belarus in the Minsk region near the village of Masyukovshchina, the Germans created a camp for Soviet prisoners of war – Stalag No. 352

    Stalag No. 352 in its structure had two sections: the City Camp, located in Minsk, and the Forest Camp near the village of Masyukovshchina. In addition, Stalag No. 352 had more than 90 branches at railway stations and 22 branches in the city of Minsk.
    From the first days of its existence, the camp was crowded. Prisoners of war were delivered by rail. German soldiers using brute physical force drove prisoners of war from the wagons. Those who refused to go or walked too slowly were shot on the spot. There were not enough places to accommodate the prisoners, and so many (80%) were left to sleep “in the open,” even in winter. Later, the Germans organized the construction of additional tents.
    Not life, but survival

    Before entering the camp, all prisoners were deprived of their old clothes. In return, they were given old and worn special camp clothes. Old and worn because this clothing was often removed from the dead bodies of prisoners for reuse.
    An inscription left by a prisoner on the wall of a punishment cell:
    “Comrades, prisoners of war and commanders, fight against the German invaders and murderers. Soon the hour of reckoning will come, and then the fascist bastards will pay for Russian blood.”
    more at link

  • #2
    I can’t imagine the suffering that so many endured during that conflict. Maybe that’s part of why I’m a certified misanthrope now.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is hardly the worst.

      Most Camps were nothing but barbed wire "pens" in the open, were thousands were crowded inside.

      The prisoners were left to starve to reduce the numbers. Germans threw hunks of rotten horse meat over the wire if they were lucky.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kilgor View Post
        This is hardly the worst.

        Most Camps were nothing but barbed wire "pens" in the open, were thousands were crowded inside.

        The prisoners were left to starve to reduce the numbers. Germans threw hunks of rotten horse meat over the wire if they were lucky.
        Yeap
        People are forgetting that (depending of the sources) up to 1/6 to 1/3 of soviet military casualties during WWII were POWs that died in German Stalags (1.6 up to 3.5 million)
        Not counting those shot on the spot for being jews, political commissars, former soldiers turned into partisans or just for the fun to kill untermenschen

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mordoror View Post
          People are forgetting that (depending of the sources) up to 1/6 to 1/3 of soviet military casualties during WWII were POWs that died in German Stalags (1.6 up to 3.5 million)
          People are also forgetting that things weren't any better or maybe even worse on other side. Out of ~91000 German POWs captured in Stalingrad only ~6000 (~6.5%) returned to Germany alive.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...e_Soviet_Union

          The West German government set up a Commission headed by Erich Maschke to investigate the fate of German POW in the war, in its report of 1974 they found that 3,060,000 German military personnel were taken prisoner by the USSR and that 1,094,250 died in captivity ( 549,360 from 1941-April 1945; 542,911 from May 1945 to June 1950 and 1,979 from July 1950 to 1955).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AurimasLT View Post

            People are also forgetting that things weren't any better or maybe even worse on other side. Out of ~91000 German POWs captured in Stalingrad only ~6000 (~6.5%) returned to Germany alive.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...e_Soviet_Union

            How many of those dead were from the ranks of soldiers whom had just been captured following a lengthy 'cauldron' situation? You know - where they were already highly malnourished etc at the point of capture....

            On top of that the Soviets weren't exactly always having the most luck with their own population, not helped by the fact that a certain army (among others) had come crashing through much of the country side (indeed - much of the agricultural producing lands), mortality also appears to decrease in the last time period (1950-55) if you go with those numbers (which differ from Soviet Records and as some of those quoted in your article suggest might be the upper range of estimates)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AurimasLT View Post

              People are also forgetting that things weren't any better or maybe even worse on other side. Out of ~91000 German POWs captured in Stalingrad only ~6000 (~6.5%) returned to Germany alive.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...e_Soviet_Union
              I like your whataboutsim
              Just that you seem to forget that Stalingrad prisoners 's fate was one of the very few examples when almost whole german POW units (remnant of the 6th army) died in prisoners camps in the East.And we are talking about soldiers that were already starved and health depleted even before being captured on the contrary to early soviet prisoners
              It was not a regular thing to see whole nazi units wiped out in POW camps, simply because
              - until the end of the war, germans surrendered fewly toward the soviets than toward the western allies
              - most bulk german units were seized at the end of the war and freed pretty rapidly afterward as a sign of brothership toward the future DRG

              Concerning the soviet prisoners between 41-43 (mainly 41-42) whole units died in lot of instances with prisoners that were healthy before and during their capture on the contrary to the left overs of Von Paulus army

              BTW i like also your selected quoting

              According to Soviet records 381,067 German Wehrmacht POWs died in NKVD camps (356,700 German nationals and 24,367 from other nations)
              For once i 'll take NKVD sources (as any totalitarian gov, soviet archives were very precises) over west german or western borderline revisionnists historians that had only the same interest that you do : try to paint the soviet more badly than the nazis by a whatabout game because of CW situation

              Now you can go and grind your axe somewhere else

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AurimasLT View Post
                People are also forgetting that things weren't any better or maybe even worse on other side. Out of ~91000 German POWs captured in Stalingrad only ~6000 (~6.5%) returned to Germany alive.
                The survial rate of German POWs from Stalingrad was about 5%, the general survival rate for German POWs in Russian captivity was about 68%. The Stalingrad POWs fared significantly worse due to their poor health from exposure, exhaustion and malnutrition at the time of capture.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We have had this argument over and over again.

                  Not that the Soviets were much better in human "rights" but soldiers in the pocket were dying from starvation well before capitulation. By the time of the surrender, they were nothing but walking corpses.

                  It's a miracle ANY survived given their already pathetic state.

                  One of the Generals took up the Stalingrad diet and lost 26 pounds in 2 weeks. In a comfortable environment without the soldiers workload.

                  That's 6kg a week for those countries that haven't landed on the moon.
                  How bad were Sixth Army's rations at Stalingrad? The answer is - very bad. They were existing on half-rations right from the beginning of the siege, and it o...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Corrupt View Post

                    The survial rate of German POWs from Stalingrad was about 5%, the general survival rate for German POWs in Russian captivity was about 68%. The Stalingrad POWs fared significantly worse due to their poor health from exposure, exhaustion and malnutrition at the time of capture.
                    I assume that the aftermath of Stalingrad contributed significantly to German POW numbers in the USSR, so it would be interesting to assess the general survival rate sans Stalingrad.

                    Also, just ridiculous to compare determined extermination to shitty conditions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      AurimasLT

                      The official German estimate is a survival rate of 64.24 % for German nationals in Soviet captivity, whereas the death rate of Soviet troops in German captivity is approx. 65%. Your statement is quite incorrect.

                      Corrupt

                      Without giving a value judgement (to which I don't feel entitled), that argument doesn't sound very convincing. The Western Allies and even a desolate 1944's Wehrmacht were quite able to enhance the survival rates of depleted POWs if only they willed it. Moreover, the Stalingrad survivors were subject to forced labor under aggravated conditions (e.g. forestry in wintry Siberia without protective clothing). Of course this happened deliberately.

                      Originally posted by Mordoror View Post
                      For once i 'll take NKVD sources (as any totalitarian gov, soviet archives were very precises) over west german or western borderline revisionnists historians that had only the same interest that you do : try to paint the soviet more badly than the nazis by a whatabout game because of CW situation

                      Now you can go and grind your axe somewhere else
                      Your objection is unsubstantiated. Aforesaid report was commissioned by the pro-Soviet Brandt administration which intended to normalize West Germany's relationship with the USSR ("change through rapprochement"), so much so that Nixon feared West Germany might wish to declare herself neutral or pro-Soviet. We're talking about the same Brandt here who famously fell to his knees in Warsaw.

                      Besides, one of the report's objectives was to quantify the number of MIA's families potentially eligible for social hardship allowances and if there's one thing all governments have in common, it's their unwillingness to pay stuff. Brandt had no stake in receiving a report painting the object of research worse than it really was.

                      Having said all this – make no mistake folks: the Nazis had no regard for the lives of captured Soviet troops. While the initial lack of an infrastructure for a great many Soviet POWs could've been explicable if it wasn't for the horrors that would follow, it's a well-established fact that from late 1941 onwards Hitler destined most Soviet POVs to die one way or another. Even those exceptions that were made (e.g. for Soviet troops from ethnicities hostile towards Stalin's regime) proceeded not from humanitarian reasons but from callous realpolitik. The Soviets had no such policy in place.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by moosefoot View Post

                        I assume that the aftermath of Stalingrad contributed significantly to German POW numbers in the USSR, so it would be interesting to assess the general survival rate sans Stalingrad.

                        Also, just ridiculous to compare determined extermination to shitty conditions.
                        We'd need to see the numbers properly laid out to explain a lot; but take a look at the final part of the Wiki Article quoted (and this is using former Nazi Maschkes numbers):

                        1950: 29,000 German Prisoners still in soviet camps.... The period of 1950-55 shows by his numbers something like 1,979 Prisoners dieing.... my hunch is that the fact by this point most normal prisoners were released and you're left with those considered guilty of more serious offenses is that these prisoners are not going to be decreasing via release as rapidly as the years prior...
                        My second hunch is that given the 'guilt' of more serious charges - There is probably quite a fewer older people among them, those more likely to have command posts or responsibilities than your average 'landser'...

                        I guess what I'm hinting at is that mortality decreased dramatically as overall the soviet situation improved... Expecting that German Prisoners would be treated especially well when the soviets had issues supplying their own people and rebuilding the country might be a tad wacky in the reality I inhabit.. (One has to note it was not until the 50s that some Soviet Cities recovered infrastructure wise, others appear to have been restoring industries in the 70s!), as the requirement for labor decreased especially as the Soviet Armies demobilized some - I suspect this might also have had a positive aspect on German Mortality...

                        Looking at numbers for other German Allied POWs and historical rates of mortality in soviet captivity might help also....


                        Also did anyone else notice that the person quoted by AurimasLT for those numbers"

                        Erich Maschke (March 2, 1900 – February 11, 1982) was a Nazi and a German historian and history professor. He taught most recently at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg.[1] During the Nazi era he promoted racist and nationalist ideology[2] After the war he led the so-called Maschke Committee which claimed German prisoners-of-war during World War II were mistreated by Allies.[3][4]"

                        Incidentally he was also one of the cohort of prisoners to be released in the 50s.... Probably not helped by his advocacy of 'Living Room' in the East....

                        I admit I am a little curious at times (though in Maschkes case I think I can see why a little easier - 'diplomatic reasons' between FDR-USSR) how either Maschke or Solzhenitsyn gathered their numbers given the pretty closed, secretive nature of the Soviet State in a lot of these matters; Authors later on with access to Soviet archives etc I can understand certainly - but what was the methodology of these authors previously? How much reliability is there?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Also worth noting that the Soviets continued to suffer severe food shortages during and after the war. Feeding POWs what little food you have might be directly starving others.

                          There is also another difference. Soviet POWs who somehow did survive went straight to the NKVD and gulag for "disobedience" to order 270. Many camps simply changed administration from German to Soviet. Conditions improved, not again for Soviet morality, but to exploit every pair of capable hands in rebuilding, for the least cost.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            DasVivo
                            Regarding the question 'How could've Solzhenitsyn known?' – it's widely accepted among anti-Fascist thinkers (and rightfully so) that the German public was more or less aware of the KZ system, and so were the Russians of their government's crimes for the same reason. A reason, I hasten to add, that flies in the face of all modern conspiracy theories: It is virtually impossible to keep governmental activities with tens of thousands of participants and innumerable numbers of potential eyewitnesses a permanent secret. Sorry, Alex Jones.

                            It's just not possible. A totalitarian state may be able to prevent its citizens from speaking the truth; it cannot prevent its citizens from knowing the truth.

                            Regarding Erich Maschke; he was a von Braun-type Nazi – textbook opportunists pushing the right buttons for personal gain. Post-war West Germany and Japan (and, in contrast to popular propaganda, East Germany too) were brimming with men like them on whom the new governments had to rely simply because the war hadn't left enough people alive to rebuild the countries with. In exchange for their seamless integration into the new system, they were left untouched. Scumbags they were, but not avid ideologues. As a matter of fact, some went so far as to carve themselves out another career in Communist East Germany, "transitioning" from the far right to the far left, which only goes to show their mastery of the art of callous opportunism.

                            Anyways, Maschke's c.v. doesn't change the fact that in the person of Willy Brandt he had as an employer an anti-Nazi dissident very sympathetic towards the Soviet Union. Germany's conservative opposition and most of NATO wanted Brandt gone at that time, he wasn't the type of Western leader to give birth to anti-Soviet propaganda.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by muck View Post
                              DasVivo
                              Regarding the question 'How could've Solzhenitsyn known?' – it's widely accepted among anti-Fascist thinkers (and rightfully so) that the German public was more or less aware of the KZ system, and so were the Russians of their government's crimes for the same reason. A reason, I hasten to add, that flies in the face of all modern conspiracy theories: It is virtually impossible to keep governmental activities with tens of thousands of participants and innumerable numbers of potential eyewitnesses a permanent secret. Sorry, Alex Jones.

                              It's just not possible. A totalitarian state may be able to prevent its citizens from speaking the truth; it cannot prevent its citizens from knowing the truth.

                              Regarding Erich Maschke; he was a von Braun-type Nazi – textbook opportunists pushing the right buttons for personal gain. Post-war West Germany and Japan (and, in contrast to popular propaganda, East Germany too) were brimming with men like them on whom the new governments had to rely simply because the war hadn't left enough people alive to rebuild the countries with. In exchange for their seamless integration into the new system, they were left untouched. Scumbags they were, but not avid ideologues. As a matter of fact, some went so far as to carve themselves out another career in Communist East Germany, "transitioning" from the far right to the far left, which only goes to show their mastery of the art of callous opportunism.

                              Anyways, Maschke's c.v. doesn't change the fact that in the person of Willy Brandt he had as an employer an anti-Nazi dissident very sympathetic towards the Soviet Union. Germany's conservative opposition and most of NATO wanted Brandt gone at that time, he wasn't the type of Western leader to give birth to anti-Soviet propaganda.

                              You misunderstand me - I have no doubt that very many knew of what was going on, between rumors, personal witness accounts and even talk from those doing the detaining its not exactly an easy kept secret, I'm talking about the numbers that both figures have been cited as providing, written well before any such archives and records were really made public as far as I am aware....

                              As for Erich Maschke, I probably don't know as much as you do on this to comment authoratively but whilst I have no doubt the post War Governments relied upon many such opportunists and happy travelers of the previous governments - to what I can see of Maschke it was more than simply this; he was openly promoting and advocating - indeed contributing to the Nazi Ideology; Advocating for living room, colonisation of the east... I don't mean this to discount or dispute what Brandt stood for or his motivations - but I did ask it wondering if there was potentially a genuine ideological tint coloring Maschkes studies, he apparently wrote more on casualties of western allied camps that has been discounted but I've neither seen that or its methodology (the first shuddering thought of 'Eisenhowers Death Camps' came to mind)

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