Repatriation by the Soviets, page 2

by Stefan Lemieszewski

Forced Repatriation of Ukrainains to USSR


Back to Repatriation page 1

The Soviet Union and refugees

Once Stalin had taken the decision that all Soviet nationals were to be returned from abroad,57 he became intent on securing their repatriation from areas of both Soviet and Western control. This insistence was motivated by a variety of reasons, the two most important ones being:

(i) the desire to establish control over any possible opponents of the Soviet system; and

(ii) the need for a labour force for postwar reconstruction.

Although this issue was not Stalin's main priority in establishing a new postwar order, it ranked much higher on the Soviet agenda than it did on the Western one. Although originally it was the British who raised the issue of repatriating Soviet nationals and the Soviet Union was uninterested in pursuing it, towards the end of hostilities the dynamic shifted and it was the USSR that kept repatriation on the Grand Alliance agenda. Once the war ended in Europe, Britain and the USA were more interested in other matters, but Soviet officials repeatedly raised repatriation questions at high-level meetings, irrespective of the fact that it further increased tensions with Western Allies.

The Soviet repatriation campaign which started in autumn 1944 was a highly organized programme that employed both legal and illicit tactics. Bilateral repatriation agreements were signed with all countries likely to have Soviet nationals under their control. Such agreements were concluded not only with Britain, the United States and France, but also with Belgium, Switzerland, Norway and the East European countries occupied by the Red Army.58 These agreements gave Soviet leaders a legitimate context for conducting repatriation, and a legal framework within which to advance their demands.

The Soviet repatriation campaign abroad

The Soviet Administration of the Plenipotentiary for Repatriation Affairs (APRA), created to oversee and facilitate the return of Soviet nationals,59 was the official instrument used by Stalin to pursue his repatriation policy. Foreign Missions of APRA operated in twenty-three countries and used both legal and covert methods to repatriate Soviet citizens from Western-controlled areas. Their official task was to receive Soviet nationals from Western officials, assist Western authorities in locating and identifying their charges, and safeguarding the rights of Soviet citizens under Western control. However, they regularly employed illegal methods to comply with their orders, including deception, kidnapping, bribery and threats.60

Their secondary purpose was to collect information on Western countries, and many Soviet repatriation officials were likely to be from State Security organs.

The most common tactic used by Soviet repatriation officials was to claim individuals as Soviet citizens and demand their return without producing adequate evidence. Often British, French and American officers trusted their Soviet counterparts and handed people over without verifying their citizenship. A Canadian officer described an incident that occurred near Flensburg, just south of the Danish border:

"The Russian liaison officers convinced the British officers of the camp that all refugees were Russians; so they were taken in vehicles to the Russian zone. There were 250 Ukrainians who should not have gone. The Poles had informed the camp what was going to happen, therefore the worried ones from the Russian side went for the bush; those who thought they had no worries stayed. The English being convinced that all were Russians, loaded them all into trucks and sent them on."61

At times, in their desire to complete repatriation, Western officials actively collaborated in the Soviet illegal activities. Even before the war ended Western military officials conspired with their Soviet counterparts in illicitly exchanging each others' nationals. 62

Three interwar refugees appealed to the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee after enduring a joint French-Soviet raid on a camp in Metz, France. The camp housed various categories of displaced people. In their letter they gave the following account:

"During the night of September 3-4, between the hours of 1 and 3 AM, we were besieged by French police acting in complicity with a Soviet mission. The sudden awakening and scare thrown upon us resulted in some of the women being sent to the doctor. Thirty of us were seized and taken to the Soviet camp, irrespective whether we were old or young immigrants. After about a twelve hour stay with no food, about four or five of the older immigrants were let go, the rest remained in the camp for evacuation to their native 'country'. The treatment of us was brutal."63

Other Western officials came to the assistance of the refugees who were being kidnapped. A group of thirty Ukrainians abducted by Soviet officers at Bad Kreuznach were being loaded on to a truck and driven away when a Ukrainian-speaking American officer heard their cries for help, stopped the vehicle and after questioning released them.64

Moscow also orchestrated a propaganda campaign to encourage repatriation which was aimed at both non-returnees and Western public opinion. Started in autumn 1944, by spring and summer 1945 it was in full swing. A new 30-page publication, Domoi Na Rodinu! (Home to the Motherland!) was widely circulated, replete with emotional images of the Motherland awaiting her children. They included text such as:

"The mother country remembers its children. Not for a minute did the Soviet people, our government, or the party of Lenin and Stalin forget about the fate of Soviet citizens who temporarily found themselves under the yoke of fascist oppression."65

Films designed to cultivate homesickness were prepared and screened.66 Letters from relatives at home were often fabricated to convince people of safe conditions in the Soviet Union.

The diplomatic corps was engaged to sell the idea of repatriation to Western public opinion, and specifically to dispel fears of ill-treatment of repatriates. The Soviet Ambassador to France, Alexander Bogomolov, offered assurances that:

"the Motherland would not be a mother if she did not love all her family, even the black sheep... Every man will be given a chance to redeem himself at home - if he is of military age, in the army; otherwise in a factory. There will be no judgement here. All are accepted here; all return home; all are considered sons of the Motherland."67

Donald Lowrie of the YMCA War Prisoners Aid Branch was convinced by this reassurance from the charming ambassador, commenting that 'Bogomoloff [sic] is about forty-five, very pleasant, cultured, with a good sense of humour. He seems sincerely impressed by the work we have already done here for Russians.'68

Another tactic employed in the Soviet repatriation programme was an organized campaign of complaints about Western treatment of Soviet nationals and allegations of concealment of Soviet nationals by the West. This was deliberately contrived to speed up the repatriation of Soviet nationals and to silence Western complaints about Soviet non-compliance with the Yalta accords. Even before the end of the war, on 30 April 1945 the Head of the Soviet Repatriation Administration, General Golikov, issued a public statement criticizing British treatment of Soviet nationals under their command. This complaint was left unanswered in an attempt to avert a campaign of public recriminations. When on 6 June he published another attack, the FO considered it impossible to leave it unacknowledged:

"without inviting the Russians to be even more truculent and even more offensive in this matter in the belief that the more they bully, the more cowed we shall be, nor without leaving the British public under the impression that these Russian charges are in some way embarrassing His Majesty's Government."69

By midsummer, these allegations also began to annoy UNRRA officials, with Lehman commenting that, The Russians, as so frequently has been the case, are very difficult. They criticize unfairly and interpose objections on what appear to me to be very trivial matters.'70

This complaints campaign also included specific attacks on Ukrainians, claiming that anti-Soviet Ukrainians were impeding repatriation. This prompted Western authorities to recirculate the orders denying recognition to Ukrainians as a separate nationality, as well as to continue banning Ukrainian refugee organizations. The Central DP Executive sent assurances to the Soviet Repatriation Representative at USFET that:

'Instructions have been issued that... Ukrainians are not to be recognized as a nationality by this HQ.'71

After 'several complaints by the Russians' against the Ukrainian Red Cross, UNRRA's Office of Strategic Services launched another investigation into 'all aspects of the organization'.

A very effective tactic of this propaganda campaign was to portray all refugees refusing repatriation as war criminals. The official newspaper Izvestiia published an article which claimed that,

'The only persons who do not wish to return to their country are traitors... All honest people taken from their homes by the Germans wish to return.'73

In addition to their repatriation duties, the Soviet Missions provided a convenient cover for espionage activities. Repatriation officials had access to Soviet nationals as well as permits to operate in Western zones of occupation, which enabled them to obtain highly valuable intelligence information on the Western Allies. After defecting later, a few Soviet officials admitted that while travelling freely in Western zones they 'collected a mass of useful information about the location and strength of allied troops, etc'.74 While accusing the non-returnees of engaging in anti-Soviet activities and betrayal, NKVD officials posing as repatriation staff were well placed to coerce these people into working for them by threatening reprisals on their families back home.75

The information-gathering aspect of the Soviet Repatriation Missions provided Stalin with detailed information on groups of people whom he was determined to repatriate. One such example was the discovery of the Diviziia Halychyna76 in a British POW camp in Italy by a Soviet repatriation team. Having learned of their location, in Potsdam Molotov requested their return, stating that Soviet repatriation officials had interviewed the 10,000 Ukrainians and they had expressed a desire to return to the Soviet Union.77 [Olga's comment: No doubt a lie]

Nadia, a Ukrainian, writes:

    The Soviets would be taking us back home. Deliberately, when it came to registering who I was and where I was from, I lied. Instead of saying I was from Eastern Ukraine, I said I was from the west. I knew beforehand they didn't take the people home but instead, loaded them onto trains to Siberia. The reason they took them to Siberia was a punishment. The Soviets figured we should have all resisted the Germans when they occupied Ukraine and took us to work in German camps. I certainly wasn't going to let this happen to me...The boss at the marmalade factory made up papers that stated I was from Voliniya, in Western Ukraine. He also wrote the exact time I started working for him and changed my name to Anastasia. When I showed these papers to the Soviets, they said they were also taking people who were born in Voliniya as well, the border between Western and Eastern Ukraine. He also told met that I was lying through my teeth. He could tell by my accent that I was from Eastern Ukraine. He was a snarly bastard and didn't believe a word I said. Anthony suggested we get married and when we did, I'd stay in Germany with him." For more, read:

    "A Life of Hope, Memoirs of Nadia the Survivor" by Peter Anton, ISBN 0-9736966-0-5

General Vlasov Repatriation - The Dark Side of World War II, Part 3 by Jacob G. Hornberger, April 1995

Operation Keelhaul

Title: Operation Keelhaul; the story of forced repatriation from 1944 to the present.
Author: Epstein, Julius, 1901-
Published: Old Greenwich [Conn.]: Devin-Adair Co., [1974, c1973] LC Card no: * 72085336
Subject: World War, 1939-1945 -- Forced repatriation. 255 p.: illus.; 21 cm.

Eisenhower said there were about 15,000 "self-styled Ukrainians," 400 Kalmuks, and 4,000 former members of the German forces, none of whom wanted to be repatriated. Gen. A. N. Davidov, chief of the Soviet repatriation group, said he had uncovered another 22,000 Soviet citizens in the US zone living outside camps.27  USFET itself did not attempt to track down Soviet citizens in the zone but did check the persons whom the Soviet repatriation group claimed and eventually put the total at just under 38,900. 28

The end of the mass repatriation brought USFET face to face with the possibility of having to use force to send the remaining Russians home. Considering what probably awaited them on the other side of the demarkation line, a surprisingly large number – even of those who had served in the German forces – went, if not cheerfully, at least without overt resistance. No doubt, the preferential treatment the Soviet government secured for them at US expense influenced some. Probably the extensive authority the Americans allowed the Soviet repatriation officers to exercise also convinced many more that resistance was useless. USFET had not granted police powers to the Soviet officers, however. The DPs who were left after August were mostly those who had already demonstrated that they were not open to persuasion or ordinary intimidation.

They [Ukrainians] believed their fate in Soviet hands would "be worse than death," and they declared they would resist repatriation "by all means including suicide." 29
The Soviet representatives, Eisenhower informed the JCS, were most disturbed by the situation and claimed "this headquarters is violating Yalta."30 At the time, while enlisting Soviet co-operation in the larger affairs of the occupation still seemed possible, resisting the Soviet demands to have all their people back by any means was as difficult as contemplating the human consequences of forced repatriation. Legally the US command regarded itself as obliged to return the Soviet citizens, and on political grounds it did not see how the eventual use of force could be avoided; but as men and soldiers, Eisenhower and his officers found the business more than they could stomach. Moreover, in the minor disturbances that had already occurred, US troops had sympathized with the demonstrators; and forced repatriation was likely to provoke downright refusals to carry out orders.31

On 9 August, slightly anticipating the problem, USFET had issued a policy for forcible repatriation. All persons who were or could be proven, before boards of US officers, to be Soviet citizens were to be transferred to camps under Soviet administration. In the camps, Soviet officials would be responsible for putting the repatriates aboard trucks and trains. Outside the camps, the US forces would guard the transports. The extent to which the troops would be expected to use force was left unclear as was the time at which the police would be put into action. In the first week of September, before any DPs had been shipped under it, USFET suspended the policy and referred the whole question of forced repatriation to the JCS. Seventh Army had asked how much actual force was Army be used. The USFET policy had stated only that the US troops would prevent riots and guard the transports and that military government would arrest and transfer to Soviet-administered camps persons whom the Soviet representatives could prove were their citizens. USFET asked the JCS to review the question of forced repatriation "in its entirety . . . since injuries and loss of life on both sides are inevitable." 32

The War Department had more direct experience with the consequences of forced repatriation than USFET did but was equally uncertain as to what course to take. In late 1944, the Army had discovered some 5,000 Soviet nationals among German prisoners of war in camps in the United States.33 Moscow had promptly charged that its citizens were being illegally imprisoned and deliberately mistreated in the United States. Many of the prisoners, however, insisted that restoring them to Soviet control was equivalent to a death sentence. Mindful of the probable consequences for the men lout convinced that the United States should not give refuge to persons who might be guilty of treason to an ally, the JCS had ruled in December 1944 that all prisoners of war in the United States who claimed Soviet citizenship should be returned on request of the Soviet authorities "whether they want to go or not." 34 For a time those who did not claim Soviet citizenship were not affected, but after Yalta an effort was made to send back all who were known to be Soviet citizens.

Subject: Elliott Articles Index
Date: Mon, 2 May 2005


The Soviet Repatriation Campaign
Mark Elliott

Published Articles of Dr. Mark R. Elliott, Director, The Global Center

Because of early Wehrmacht successes on the eastern front and German occupation of large portions of the European USSR during World War II, Hitler exercised direct control over some 8.35 million Soviet prisoners of war and forced labourers. Approximately 5.6 million of these survived the war and were scattered all over Europe. The advancing Red Army took custody of 3 million outright, while American and British forces liberated more than 2.5 million Soviet displaced persons. The United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union signed agreements at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 that required the repatriation of all Allied nationals, by force if necessary.The language of the American-Soviet document did not specifically call for the use of coercion, but the precedent had been set, and each side recognized privately that the agreements did not provide Soviet citizens any other option.1  Since the Soviet Union regained control of more than 5 million of its citizens displaced during World War II, more than 2 million of these with the active assistance of the United States and Great Britain, by any normal accounting Moscow was remarkably successful in its efforts at repatriation. However, the USSR came to view the few hundred thousand nonretumers in the West as an embarrassing defeat. [Olga's comment: These were Ukrainians who refused to go under Communist control.] Thus by Moscow's reckoning its repatriation campaign failed because it was not total.

Adamant Soviet demands for the return of all their citizens in Western Europe stemmed from a variety of motives. A vindictiveness seemingly endemic to the system certainly played a large part. In addition, psychological, propagandistic, and strategic considerations contributed to Soviet insistence on total repatriation. Soviet statutes defined treason broadly enough to include not only military collaborators but also POWs and, in numerous instances, forced labourers. A deeply rooted desire for vengeance, a longing "to punish the guilty," which had been inflamed by innumerable Nazi atrocities, meant that repatriation spelled retaliation.2  Those associated with the Germans, rightly or wrongly, faced severe punishment. [Olga's comment: Ukrainians just didn't want to go back.]

Psychologically, too, Moscow felt it deserved to have its own way on the DP question because of the disproportionate cost of the war to the USSR. The Soviet Union faced the postwar era painfully conscious of its huge losses, proud of its herculean success in battle, and in no mood to brook opposition on repatriation from Allies it did not consider its equal in victory. Soviet fatalities in World War II ran to 20 million, [*Olga's comment: Soviets claiming Ukrainian losses of 10 million as Russian losses] compared to 300,000 for the United States and 330,000 for Britain, which Soviet authorities and ordinary citizens both resented.3  The 130,000 American fatalities from three and a half years of war in Europe "did not even equal the average number of civilian casualties Russia suffered each fortnight before 1943."

The Soviet Union inflicted and suffered 90 per cent of the total casualties in the European theatre.4  Besides the human losses, 60 per cent of transportation facilities and 70 per cent of industrial capacity in the invaded portions of the USSR had been destroyed [Olga's comment: USSR and Nazi's had a "scortched earth" burn out policy that destroyed a lot of Ukraine also] . The government wrote off 1,700 cities and towns and 70,000 villages as total losses.5  The passage of time has not erased Soviet consciousness of the heavier price the East paid for Hitler's defeat.6

The repeated postponements launching the second front probably contributed to Soviet bitterness. From the Russian perspective, Lend-Lease shipments simply could not compensate for the delays in the cross-channel invasion of occupied France. Soviet leaders likely would have been suspicious of their Allies' ultimate intentions no matter where or when large-scale Western military action on the Continent commenced. The Kremlin seems to have interpreted Roosevelt's ill-advised promise to Molotov of a second front in Europe in 1942 and its delay until 1944 as evidence that the West was content to see the Wehrmacht bleed the Soviet Union white. Ivan Maiskii, wartime Soviet ambassador to London, saw the postponement of Operation Overlord as a deliberate, "ruthless calculation" to let the USSR bear the brunt of the fighting.7

Paradoxically, American technical and material assistance to the Soviet war effort may have heightened suspicion of American motives. Moscow wondered whether the aid was payment for services rendered, much as England had bankrolled Continental armies in centuries past. It is easy to see why the Kremlin concluded that was the effect. Obviously circumstances beyond the control of either the United States or the Soviet Union played an independent role in determining who would sacrifice what to defeat Hitler. Nevertheless, the contribution of the United States to victory is best calculated in organizational, technological, and economic terms; the Soviet Union's, in casualties. As compensation for its great sufferings and in recognition of its equally great military accomplishments, the USSR seemed to expect its Western Allies to bend over backwards to accommodate it in all outstanding disputes: "Convinced that they had won the war, the Russians showed little inclination to compromise."8  On repatriation the Kremlin was insistent and inflexible.

The Soviet Union also demanded total repatriation because nonreturners posed a threat to the credibility of propaganda that stressed the unqualified wartime devotion of all Soviet citizens. Upholding the international image of the world's first Marxist state necessitated the rapid, forcible return of all displaced nationals before dramatic instances of resistance could damage its reputation abroad. From Moscow, George Kennan cabled Washington that Soviet leaders feared their standing in the world community would suffer "if it becomes generally known that some Soviet citizens are not accepting with enthusiasm offers of repatriation."

Similarly, State Department refugee specialist Robert S. McCollum observed, "Each refugee from the Soviet orbit represents a failure of the Communist system" and thereby "constitutes a challenge to the fundamental concepts of that system."9  Leonid Brezhnev contended that "the Great Patriotic War showed very well that any attempt 'to blast the Soviet Union from within' was bound to be thwarted by the monolithic solidarity of the Party and the people, the Soviet people's loyalty to socialist ideals, and the solid national unity of the USSR's nations, who stood firm in the face of the hard trials."10 

World War II showed no such thing, but it would have been far more difficult for Moscow to have perpetuated this ideological fairy tale had 5.5 million instead of 500,000 of its charges remained abroad. A vote of no confidence of that proportion would have underscored widespread disaffection and grievously compromised the Soviet myth of an unwavering patriotic response to German aggression from all the peoples of the USSR.11

The prospect of a concentration of anti-communist political expatriates in the West also unnerved Soviet authorities. Ambassador Averell Harriman noted "extreme touchiness" whenever the subject of reluctant repatriates came up.12  Soviet authorities were frightened by the spectre of an anti-Stalinist movement in the West co-ordinated by the remnants of Andrei Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army and other collaborator units. Moscow took the impotent Vlasovites much more seriously than did the Germans or the Western Allies. The story told by captured Soviet agents parachuted behind Wehrmacht army lines convinced General Reinhard Gehlen that this was the case. Gehlen subsequently advocated that more effective use be made of the anti-Stalinist inclinations of many Soviet POW.. The racial bigotry of party zealots, however, prevented any higher officials from acting upon such advice. As long as Red Army captives were treated as Untermenschen (subhumans), massive support for an anti-Soviet movement was out of the question.13

The Nazi failure to capitalize upon Soviet disaffection no doubt lessened the Kremlin's concern, but Russia's leaders, fearing that the Western powers might succeed where Germany had failed, could not relax until repatriation was complete. For example, Soviet Deputy Commissar of Foreign Affairs Andrei Vyshinskii told the United Nations General Assembly in early November 1946 that "it is no secret that refugee camps, situated in the western zones of Germany, Austria and certain other countries of Western Europe, are springboards and centers for the formation of military reserves of hirelings, which constitute an organized military force in the hands of this or that foreign power."

Soviet sensitivity on this issue seemed to fulfill the prediction of American military intelligence that "since the majority of displaced persons and refugees are anti- Communist, the U.S.S.R. undoubtedly will view with suspicion Allied action to allow them to remain abroad free of supervision." It may be, as the New York Times contended, that the Kremlin feared postwar political expatriates had "the same potential for causing trouble for Russia as did the White Russians in western Europe after the first World War."14

In the early years of the Cold War, no one in the West attempted to exploit the anti-Soviet attitudes of nonreturners, or even recognized them as potential partners in the struggle against world communism. By the early 1950s, when East-West hostility had gained a great deal of momentum, this notion finally did surface. A 1953 call to arms by Eugene Lyons bemoaned the past neglect of Our Secret Allies, the Peoples of Russia. To the author of this aggressively anti- communist piece, the Vlasov movement was a lost opportunity, and the forced repatriation of disaffected Soviet nationals was a "Betrayal of Natural Allies." 

A Cold War polemic by Boris Shub, a Western journalist, went even further: "the first step should he a solemn proclamation by the President...announcing that the United States will throw its full support behind all groups [Vlasovites included]...who will act to replace the present Politburo leadership with an interim government pledged to the reestablishment of legitimate and representative government in Russia."15

After World War II the American government did not contemplate overthrowing the Soviet regime by force. Nor did it use, or even consider using, disaffected Soviet emigres as the nucleus for an army bent upon eradicating communism in Russia. Nevertheless, given the Kremlin's innate suspicion of the West, it is not surprising that the Soviet Union might have been anxious about this possibility.16

Soviet leaders thus were determined to demand that the United States and Britain repatriate all Allied nationals. Proper handling of the matter necessitated a campaign to gain full Western co-operation and total refugee participation. The Kremlin relied upon three devices:

1) repatriation agreements to pressure the West into returning all DPs by means of accusations of noncompliance;

2) aggressive utilization of Soviet repatriation missions in the West; and

3) direct appeals to persuade the hesitant to return home. In the first instance, Moscow's program for obtaining the West's unreserved assistance in repatriation relied heavily upon the American and British exchange accords signed at Yalta in February 1945 and similar instruments negotiated with France, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, and the East European countries occupied by the Red Army.17  If interpreted as the Kremlin wished, those documents would have settled the question by requiring the return of all Soviet nationals abroad, regardless of their individual wishes. [How fortunate for Olga that this didn't happen.]

Since Soviet authorities could not consider Western concurrence a foregone conclusion, they coupled demands for adherence to repatriation agreements with accusations of Allied mistreatment of Russian refugees. These complaints served not only to bolster Soviet repatriation efforts, but also to counteract Western dissatisfaction with Red Army handling of POWs.  As one Western repatriation official noted. "it was soon apparent that these complaints were intended to serve Soviet purposes by silencing potential counter-claims concerning Soviet non-compliance with the Yalta Agreement pertaining to British and United States prisoners of war."18  

One complaint of this type came from Colonel General Filip Golikov, head of the Soviet Repatriation Commission. Displaced Soviet nationals were being mistreated, he claimed in late April 1945, and the Western powers were deliberately slowing down the pace of repatriation. This public criticism surprised Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) officials in London, who had previously been accustomed to a show of appreciation from resident Soviet officers and DPs. George Kennan, United States charge in Moscow, reacted sharply, dismissing Golikov's accusations as "shameless distortions."19 

By early May disagreements over repatriation led to what historian William Hardy McNeill has called "a public exchange of incivilities." The charges and countercharges dragged on month after month and year after year. As late as 1949 Moscow alleged that the United States and Britain were detaining 247,000 Soviet citizens in Germany [How fortunate for Olga.] and Austria. Acrimony over repatriation led to an increase in mutual suspicion and mistrust, which certainly contributed to the postwar deterioration in East-West relations.20

The Kremlin also depended upon the resourcefulness of its repatriation missions in Europe to secure the return of those hesitant to go back. These bodies, self-consciously although not officially autonomous, served a variety of functions. Covertly, they were intelligence outposts in the West and agents of coercive return. Overtly, they served as legitimate expediters of repatriation and as conduits for positive appeals to reluctant returners. The Soviet government, in October 1944, established the Main Administration for Repatriation of Soviet Citizens, better known as the Soviet Repatriation Commission. Serving as the nominal head of the organization was General Golikov.21  He had a reputation as a "spit-and-polish professional officer," a hardened soldier, and a man on the rise in the military hierarchy.22  Golikov perfectly served Stalin's purpose as a repatriation figurehead, since Golikov was unrelated to the Soviet security organs yet had extensive experience in military intelligence as former chief of the Main Intelligence Administration of the General Staff. As head of the Soviet Repatriation Commission he lacked real authority, the responsibility being concentrated, in reality, in the hands of the secret police: the People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) within the USSR or Soviet-occupied territory, and SMERSH ("Death to Spies") abroad. The Soviet Repatriation Commission, working primarily in the West, received its directions and portions of its personnel from the Main Administration of Counter-intelligence of SMERSH.23

After the war Soviet authorities had little trouble maintaining an extensive intelligence apparatus in the West because of the vast network of Soviet displaced persons' camps all over Europe, literally from Norway to Greece. Besides providing the rationale for the existence of the Soviet repatriation missions and their extracurricular activities, the camps themselves contained Soviet agents recruited and stationed there in a variety of ways. Some had purposefully fallen into Nazi hands with the aim of offering their services to collaborator groups, such as the Committee for the Liberation of the peoples of Russia. A number of these agents simply maintained their cover after the German defeat, and, for purposes of later reckoning, continued keeping tallies on the behaviour of Soviet citizens abroad.24 

SMERSH also secured help from some DPs by means of bribery, blackmail, and threats. A defector, formerly employed by SMERSH in repatriation work, recited typical tactics: "Some agents were bought for money, others paid in service to us for their own ill-calculated drunkenness and moral depravity…[Others] might be promised complete forgiveness for all past sins and an honourable homecoming to their Motherland. They might also be threatened with reprisals and of course threats would be made against their families, if they happened to be in Soviet hands." The task of tracking down relatives and even close friends of potential agents in the West was "vast" and "laborious"--but rewarding from the Kremlin's perspective.25

Soviet repatriation operations served double duty: returning the maximum number of DPs to Russia and providing cover for Moscow’s espionage activities in the West. The inextricable nature of the two assignments is symbolized in the biography of Major Shikin in Solzhenitsyn's First Circle. A Red Army general as much as told Isaiah Berlin in the British embassy in Moscow that the postwar homecoming of Soviet citizens was the responsibility of the secret police. One former SMERSH officer emphasized in his post-defection memoir that Soviet repatriation personnel "travelled freely about the western zone, at one time without even being accompanied by allied representatives, and collected a mass of useful information about the location and strength of allied troops, etc., in addition to doing their basic job of rooting out former Soviet citizens."26 [*Olga's comment: Ukrainians]

None of the handicaps imposed by the Yalta settlement upon American and British DP camp administrators proved as troublesome as the well-nigh impossible task of satisfying and keeping track of the sizeable Soviet Repatriation Mission. By the end of June 1945 its staff numbered 153 in Germany alone, and SHAEF refused a Soviet request to more than double it.27  Difficulties arose at an early stage with these liaison officers over the limits of their authority, a problem that persisted throughout their stay in the West. Incidents involving Soviet repatriation officers occurred in widely scattered locations.

On 31 July 1945 General Sir Andrew Thorne, commander of Allied forces in Norway, asked General Ratov, head of the Red Army's military mission in that country, to reduce drastically his staff of 170 men. SHAEF objected to the dragnet-like activities of Ratov's men: besides, most of the 80,000 Soviet citizens found there had been repatriated. The Soviet general objected, claiming that at least 1,000 of 4,000 "disputed persons" had to be returned to Russia. SHAEF personnel came to detest Ratov, describing him variously as "uncooperative, rude, contentious, antagonistic, not to mention stupid." The State Department's Robert Murphy characterized him similarly as "quarrelsome, uncouth, contrary and stupid." Ratov even engaged in an unprecedented public fight with his own superior by claiming jurisdiction over Soviet DPs not only in Norway but in Britain, the Netherlands, and Denmark as well. General V. M. Dragun in Paris made an apparently legitimate counterclaim that he, not Ratov, was charged with the task of repatriating Soviet nationals in those countries. SHAEF finally declared Ratov persona non grata. Possibly piqued by the unseemly, open-air squabbling, in August 1945 Moscow also replaced General Dragun with Major General Aleksandr N. Davidov, who became the chief Soviet repatriation official in Europe.28

Repatriation did not hold as high a priority in Allied negotiations as the East European settlement, German reparations, zonal boundaries, or access to Berlin, but it could never be ignored either, partly because the problem was continent-wide. Top officials had to attend to the question, not only because Moscow would not let them forget it, but also because of the conspicuous presence of innumerable DPs all across liberated Europe. Members of Soviet repatriation teams in a score of countries continually clashed with SHAEF civil affairs officers and regular army commanders, who in turn passed the problem up the chain of command. Subordinate officers bombarded their superiors with requests for instructions on how to handle displaced Soviet citizens. They wanted to know how to treat nationals of an Allied power and simultaneously how to control the meddling members of the Kremlin's repatriation missions.

The answer that Allied Forces Headquarters-Italy (AFHQ) gave to the second question was to "take such steps as you may consider necessary" to keep Soviet officials out of prohibited zones. This British Foreign Office response went to General Harold Alexander, commander of Anglo-American forces in Italy. By September 1945 he had had his fill of troubles with the Soviet repatriation mission, including two Red Army lieutenants who were arrested twice without identification in the compound of General Anders' Polish Corps, and General Basilov, who had commandeered 300 DPs travelling by rail to a screening centre and demanded their immediate repatriation. Alexander called these actions "gross interference" with his command and determined to tolerate them no longer.29  The Soviet mission in Italy, which at one point numbered 101, lost its right to virtually unrestricted movement in Italy in September 1945 and could no longer "break all travel regulations and get away with it."30

From the very start SHAEI' commanders north of the Alps had their suspicions about the role of Soviet repatriation officials. General Mark Clark, commander of American forces in Austria, took great pains to keep under surveillance Moscow's representatives in his occupation zone. He had circumstantial evidence that certain members of the repatriation mission had engaged in espionage, and he made his objections known to General I. S. Konev, military governor of the Soviet Zone of Austria. Konev offered to recall the offending parties and replace them with new representatives who would be placed on a thirty-day trial. Clark agreed, but before that plan could be implemented he learned that the team leaving the American Zone planned to kidnap an American counter-espionage agent in conjunction with its departure. The general, to obtain proof to verify his long-standing suspicions, set a trap.

On 23 January 1946, when several members of the Russian mission arrived at the intended victim's house, concealed lights were switched on to prevent the kidnappers' escape, and Clark's men quickly arrested the entire group. One Soviet repatriation officer was wearing the complete uniform of an American military policeman. Two others had on civilian coats over Red Army uniforms. All were armed. Enraged by their clandestine activities, Clark informed Konev that the offenders "would be shoved over the line into the Russian Zone" the next day.31  This incident did not end the general's troubles with the Soviet mission, because he had to accede to the War Department's orders. Despite Clark's contention on 25 January "that all members of this mission have been involved in intelligence activities since they have been in our Zone," Washington required him to admit a new Soviet repatriation team. The outspoken general continued his complaints. In mid-March 1946 he advised the War Department that Moscow was trying to extend the life of the mission indefinitely for intelligence reasons. Clark also let it be known that the British and French representatives in Vienna "are as anxious as I to get rid of these missions, feeling that their most important work is espionage." Again in late June 1946 he reiterated his conviction that "the main object behind Soviet insistence in establishing another mission in the United States zone is for intelligence purposes."32

General Walter Bedell Smith, prior to his appointment as ambassador to Moscow in January 1946, had similar troubles with Soviet repatriation officers in Germany. Requiring members of one especially meddlesome Soviet team to eat at a central facility, in order to keep close check on their number, proved ineffective: as General Smith discovered, several Red Army officers often used the same meal ticket. This deception was part of a larger scheme designed to move unauthorized "transient Russians" about the Western zones undetected.33  A new rationing system put a stop to that, but conflicts continued as long as Soviet repatriation teams.

Evidence of illegal seizures of DPs by Soviet officials applied to Germany as well as Austria. At Bad Kreuznach, an American officer of Ukrainian descent saved thirty Ukrainians from unauthorized repatriation. Members of the Soviet mission had loaded the group onto trucks bound for the eastern zone of Germany and might have succeeded in their abduction but for the American officer, who understood the refugees' pleas for help and stopped the transfer. The saga of high-handedness on the part of Moscow's repatriation officials was the same all over Europe.

In Brussels, Soviet representatives, searching for reluctant returners, broke into private homes without warrants. In Greece, Moscow's repatriation mission managed to spirit Bulgarian communists out of the country "unscathed" by the Greek police.34  In France, the Soviet Union had perhaps its most pliant Western government. Moscow's prerogatives clearly included flagrant examples of disregard for the assigned tasks of repatriation. A large, effectively autonomous compound at Camp Beauregard, outside Paris, served as the major processing point for persons returning to Russia.

The provisions of the Yalta repatriation accords and the French one, which permitted Soviet internal administration of refugee centres, greatly facilitated clandestine activities. In effect, Moscow was able to establish extraterritorial islands throughout Europe.35  Yet Camp Beauregard represented but a fraction of Soviet repatriation activities in France. Witnesses even attested to abductions undertaken without interference from the French police. The meddling of the Kremlin's officials on French soil became so commonplace that Parisian wags declared that German occupation had been replaced by Russian. Nevertheless, the Red Army's repeated delays in repatriating hundreds of thousands of French POWs in the East most decidedly helped to insure that General De Gaulle would tolerate the excesses of the Soviet repatriation mission.36

In Norway, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, and elsewhere, Soviet repatriation missions regularly engaged in a variety of intrigues. Still, their selective participation in strictly illegal repatriation--genuine kidnapping--had less effect than two other approaches:

1) Moscow's emphasis upon Western compliance with its interpretation of the Yalta exchange accords; and

2) an extensive effort to woo Soviet citizens back into the fold through an enormous barrage of verbal and printed appeals. After the transfer to the USSR of the majority of clearly identified Soviet nationals, SHAEF officials still permitted the Kremlin's representatives access to DP camps. In particular, "stateless" refugee--those from East European countries [*Olga's comment: Ukrainians] or provinces annexed by the Soviet Union--could be addressed by Moscow's repatriation workers. Far from convincing their captive audiences to return home, Moscow's speech makers more commonly provoked agitation and, on occasion, violence. By every means possible--speeches, personal interviews, films, pamphlets, and newspapers--they told the story of the happy life that awaited the refugees back home. Promises of improved living conditions, the right to return to their old homes and jobs, and pardon for delayed repatriation rarely moved sceptical DPs.37 An ex- Vlasovite held at Fort Dix, New Jersey, reminded Colonel Malkov that the Soviet government considered surrender to the enemy a treasonable offense. The Soviet repatriation officer replied that the law had been changed; those returning were "freely settling" and "nobody had said a word to them." When Malkov added that no one would be held responsible for what the Germans had made him do, the POW was openly sceptical. Another prisoner asked this same officer for something more concrete than oral assurances or Soviet statements to the press, but Malkov had nothing else to offer.38  The United States did repatriate the Wehrmacht's ex-Red Army men held at Fort Dix, but certainly not of their own free will and not because they found the appeals and assurances of the Soviet mission convincing.

More than once the commotion provoked by Soviet visits to DP camps took a sinister turn. At a Leipzig refugee centre, a call for return to the homeland ended abruptly when "an old man with an ax in his hand mounted the speaker's platform and extending to the Soviet officer the ax, said: 'Here is my ax, and here is my head. Chop it off, but 1 won't go back.' An American officer witnessed this scene, and upon learning what the old man had said, promptly ordered the Soviet officials to leave."39 

In July 1945 a disorder in one British camp resulted in a Red Army officer shooting a DP. The foolhardy assailant "was subsequently lynched by an infuriated mob." Because of the repeated physical assaults upon Soviet officials, the United States ruled in May 1946 that the Kremlin's repatriation personnel had to be accompanied by American guards when entering multinational compounds.40  AFHQ informed the Soviet mission in Italy that it would do its best to "assure the bodily safety of...authorized visitors," but that it could not "assume responsibility for any untoward incident." Things got so bad that one Red Army general toured a refugee camp with an escort of two armoured cars.41

In one instance of candour a Soviet representative admitted to a United Nations refugee worker that the chances of persuading the "hard-core" DPs to leave the West were negligible, but to their own superiors repatriation teams from the USSR had to present a picture of energetic, ceaseless activity that, of course, was on the very brink of productivity. One intercepted Russian communication between repatriation officers and their headquarters provides a rare glimpse at the curious combination of obsequiousness and braggadocio seemingly endemic to the Soviet chain of command: "We are about to carry on to incredible measures the pilferage in the so-called 'Ukrainian UNRRA camps.' ...We are able to bring about a mass dissatisfaction, but we did not quite achieve total despondency."42  Whether or not they convinced many wary DPs, Soviet officials had to appear successful to their superiors out of fear for their own safety in Stalin's purge-prone empire.

After the repatriation of the great majority of displaced nationals in the summer of 1945 and the exclusion of civilians from forced repatriation in December of that year, American military officials sought to limit the size and activity of the Soviet repatriation missions in Western zones of occupation. Efforts to curtail and finally terminate them had only begun with Generals Thorne, Alexander, and Clark. Conflict over this Soviet presence in the West provided a protracted test of wills that coincided with other superpower controversies that spelled the onset of the Cold War in the late 1940s. On 5 August 1947 General Lucius Clay ordered a reduction in the Soviet repatriation mission in Germany from thirty-four to four. The number crept back up, however, so that by late March 1948 Moscow had seventeen men at least officially charged with DP work.

On 17 February 1949, during the Soviet blockade of Berlin and the Western airlift of supplies to the beleaguered city, Clay further aggravated Moscow by finally ordering the remaining Soviet repatriation personnel to leave the Western occupation zones: "It is apparent that sufficient time has elapsed...for voluntary repatriation to be completed."43  This incensed the Kremlin, which argued that the United States was not only detaining 247,000 Soviet citizens in violation of the Yalta accord, but was now adding to its misdeeds by forcing the termination of the repatriation mission's work. The Soviet Union considered this a flagrant "unilateral abrogation" of a signed agreement. Washington replied to the Russian charges by stating that the United States was not preventing anyone from repatriating; most remaining DPs simply did not want to return home. Besides, the majority of the nearly 250,000 refugees referred to were not citizens of the USSR but were former inhabitants of Russian-annexed territories.[*Olga's comment: Ukrainians]

Finally, the United States did not consider the closing of the repatriation mission a violation of the Yalta agreement, since the Soviet attaché could easily handle the small number of persons desiring to return to the Soviet Union.44

Unmoved by these explanations, Moscow ordered the Soviet Repatriation Mission in Frankfurt to stay put. When General Clay's deadline of 1 March had passed without compliance, Western occupation officials cut off the group's utilities. On 4 May Moscow finally capitulated and the mission was ordered home. Marshal V. D. Sokolovsky, Soviet military governor in Germany, renewed the charge that the action of the United States was a violation of an international agreement. Moscow also retaliated by ordering a British-American graves registration team to leave the Soviet Zone of Germany.45

Besides the POW and refugee exchange agreements and Soviet missions in the West, Moscow's campaign for total repatriation employed a massive propaganda blitz designed to reassure the reluctant of a cordial homecoming. Soviet spokesmen presented DPs with an elaborate variety of misleading or demonstrably false information about the prospects for repatriates. Normally appeals directed toward Soviet citizens abroad or persons from annexed territories did not risk a negative approach. One 1947 communication that did came from the government of the Soviet Latvian Republic. Nonreturners could hardly find comfort in the veiled censure of, "You...are more than two years serving strange masters in a foreign country, eating strange masters' bread," or "every honest Latvian has to come home."46

Ordinarily Moscow's propagandists avoided pronouncements so chillingly devoid of consolation. Rather they offered an array of positive psychological and material inducements. Playing the chord of the motherland's prolonged suffering proved a popular theme among the Kremlin's phrase makers. In 1945 the Soviet Repatriation Commission's Domoi, na rodinu! [Home to the Motherland!] returned again and again to this theme in the course of thirty pages:

"The mother country remembers its children. Not for a minute did the Soviet people, our government, or the party of Lenin and Stalin forget about the fate of Soviet citizens who temporarily found themselves under the yoke of fascist oppressors....Many times throughout the war Comrade Stalin called to mind you who languished in fascist camps and said that the freeing of Soviet people from the German yoke was an important objective of the Soviet people and the Red Army."47  In a similar vein Robert Murphy learned from a Red Army colonel that "these poor unfortunates who were deported to Germany are looked upon at home as martyrs and will be received with open arms by the entire Russian people."

Feigned compassion figured as the common denominator in many appeals. Val kak eta hyla (That's How It Was), Aleksei Briukhanov's memoir of repatriation work, illustrated this approach in its description of the ex-DP-staffed Committee for Return to the Homeland: "Like a beacon, the Committee pointed out to the displaced the path to their native shores."48 

A closely related approach involved heart-tugging sentimentality. Vstrecha's rodinoi (Encounter with the Homeland), a Soviet film designed specifically for Armenian émigrés, cultivated homesickness as a means of encouraging return to the motherland. This relatively sophisticated soft sell contained no direct appeal for repatriation. Still that message resounded as the narrator proclaimed, "Soviet Armenia is the last harbour for all our wandering ships." In appeals designed to lure émigrés, this inclination toward sentimentality figured prominently. The Soviet government issued a number of edicts concerning the "Restitution of Nationality to Former Subjects" especially for them. By means of these proclamations pre-World War II expatriates could reacquire citizenship. For many refugees of 1917-21 the second German invasion of their homeland in their lifetime reawakened dormant patriotic feelings that in some cases were translated into postwar repatriation.49

Another of Moscow's psychological approaches to DPs consisted of reassurance of forgiveness for past sins, including capture alive by the enemy, delay in returning home, and even collaboration with the Germans. The success or failure of non-coercive attempts to retrieve displaced nationals depended upon this more than anything else. That the Kremlin's promises left the vast majority of hard-core DPs cold was not for want of trying. One Red Army colonel in Germany told Murphy that military personnel taken prisoner by the Germans had no cause for uneasiness:

"We understand perfectly well that under modem conditions of warfare, large bodies of troops may be cut off and forced to surrender. There is no more stigma connected with capture in the eyes of the Soviet Government than there is in the American Army."50 

This charitable sentiment contrasted sharply with Decree Number 270 of 1942, which declared surrendered Red Army soldiers ipso facto traitors. Sources confirming this point are as diverse as the wartime edition of Bolshaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, the Soviet Constitution, the criminal codes of the constituent republics, the Red Army field manual, the leading Soviet scholar on military criminal law, and Stalin himself.51

Moscow also tried to convince its refugees abroad that no stigma attached to delayed repatriation. A 1949 catechism for DPs asked the question, "Are Soviet citizens held to account for not returning home at once after the war was over?" The answer was: "their long sojourn in a foreign land will not be considered their fault," but rather the responsibility of "reactionary elements" in the West.52 

Convincing ex-Red Army soldiers who had served in the Wehrmacht that repatriation entailed no dangers taxed the ingenuity of Soviet propagandists as few assignments could. The standard line ran that no retribution awaited collaborators, "provided they honestly fulfill their duties on their return." That innocent-sounding reservation could not have helped but raise the suspicions of wary refugees.53  A section entitled "How Freed People Are Received in the Homeland" appeared in the same tract that carried Stalin’s alleged, pained remembrance of those torn from the motherland. The pamphlet shouted in boldfaced type.

"All freed Soviet people are received in their homeland not with contempt or distrust but with consideration, warm encouragement, and affectionate sympathy." A Soviet notice in the British army paper, Union Jack, emphasized to DP readers that this applied even to "Soviet citizens, who, under German opposition and terror, had acted contrarily to the interests of the Soviet Union."54

Referring to Soviet nationals who had served in Wehrmacht ranks, Aleksandr Bogomolov, Moscow's ambassador to France, said: "Some of these are heroes, some of them have been less strong-minded. No nation consists exclusively of heroes. But the motherland would not be a mother if she did not love all her family, even the black sheep…. Every man will be given a chance to redeem himself at home--if he is of military age, in the army; otherwise, in a factory. We take into full account the special circumstances under which each man has lived, the mass psychology of camps and pressure by the Germans."55  The American embassy staff in Moscow noted that even the regular Soviet press, prepared for domestic consumption, occasionally reflected this solicitous, forgive-and-forget attitude.

These American officials, who caught glimpses of Soviet repatriation first-hand, knew that the reception afforded returners in all categories was anything but cordial.56

Besides appeals constructed to work on the emotional level, Moscow's campaign to retrieve all of its nationals abroad included a variety of material incentives. In addition to promises of free transportation home, job security, work in one's native region, and even residence in one's former dwelling, Soviet literature offered repatriates agricultural and building loans, educational opportunities, the right to vote, and. for ex-POWs, veterans' benefits. Also, those coming home were told they could count on social services such as pensions for the elderly, workmen's compensation, and convalescent homes for the disabled. The detailed specifications of advantages to be afforded repatriates' physical security and well-being, no matter how remote from the true circumstances of their reception, were intended to allay their apprehension and to convince them that they would be "treated with the maximum of care and attention."57  At first glance that crowded schedule of inducements might appear enticing. To be convinced of Stalin's good will, however, the Soviet diaspora, raised on a diet of Orwellian doublethink, required more than unverifiable pledges of a warm welcome home.

In the Kremlin's campaign for total repatriation, results based on the Soviet missions in the West were modest, but results based on Moscow's litany of promises and direct appeals fell between negligible and nonexistent. Its monumental dimensions notwithstanding, the Soviet campaign for total repatriation failed. The USSR did retrieve 3 million of its nationals from Eastern Europe and 2 million from Western occupation zones, but the remaining DPs, [* Ukrainians] roughly 500,000 persons, could not be moved by any persuasion short of force.58 

The Soviet government distrusted persons captured alive by the enemy and declared them traitors, prepared a hostile reception for all repatriates, and construed a refusal or even reluctance to return borne as most unpatriotic. Refugees with time to ponder sensed these attitudes through the veil of promises and solicitous attention. Although concern for effect more than accuracy determined what went into Soviet appeals to refugees abroad, few returned home as a result of Kremlin propaganda. In the final analysis, the Soviet Union's campaign to regain custody of every one of its displaced citizens failed because refugees with a choice detected the insincerity of Moscow's appeals. Half-hearted promises of a happy homecoming did not successfully disguise the regime's vindictive spirit.

*[Olga's comment: Many of these were Ukrainians - Ukrainians weren't allowed to have their own identity.]

    1.   Mark Elliott, Pawns of Yalta: Soviet Refugees and America's Role in Their Repatriation (Urbana, Ill., 1982).
    2.   Col. T. R. Henn, Acting Assistant Chief of Staff (hereinafter ACS), G5 (Civil Affairs Section of the U.S. Army General Staff) to Deputy Chief of Staff (hereinafter CS), Allied Forces Headquarters = Italy (hereinafter AFHQ), 5 Jan. 1945, National Archives, Suitland Branch (hereinafter NAS), Record Group (hereinafter RG) 331 (Allied Operational and Occupational Headquarters, World War II), AFHQ, Roll 227-B, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff (hereinafter SACS), 400-7, "Russian Matters."
    3.   John L. Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (New York, 1972), 80; Frank Lorimer, The Population of the Soviet Union: History and Prospects (Geneva, 1946), 181; Alexander Werth, Russia at War, 1941-1945 (New York, 1964),707; Gordon Wright, The Ordeal of Total War, 1939-1945 (New York, 1968), 263; Georgii I. Zhukov, The Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov (New York, 1971), 643.
    4.   Ralph B. Levering, American Opinion and the Russian Alliance, 1939-1945 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976), 96, 77.
    5.   Wright, Ordeal, 264.
    6.   John Erickson. '"The Soviet Union at War (1941-1945): An Essay on Sources and Studies," Soviet Studies 14 (January 1963): 268; "History of the United States Military Mission Moscow," (hereinafter USMMM) 30 October 1945, National Archives (hereinafter NA), RG 165, War Department General and Special Staffs, Operations Division (hereinafter WDGSS OPD), 336, Case 233, Part II; N. Lebedev, "The Truth About the Second World War," International Affairs, no. 1 (January 1974): 101-2; V. A. Valkov, SSSR i SShA. Ikh politicheskie i ekonomicheskie otnosheniia (Moscow, 1965), 340; P. A. Zhilin, "O problemakh istorii vtoroi mirovoi voiny," Navaia i noveishaia istoriia, no. 2 (March-April 1973): 12.
    7.   Ivan Maiskii, Memoirs of a Soviet Ambassador. The War: 1939-43 (New York, 1967), 277. See also Gaddis, Origins, 80; Keith M. Heim, "Hope without Power: Truman and the Russians, 1945," Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, 1973, 42; Zhilin, "O problemakh," 12.
    8.   Gaddis, Origins, 80.
    9.   George Kennan to Cordell Hull, 10 Nov. 1944, Foreign Relations of the United Slates: Diplomatic Papers (hereinafter FR), 1944, IV (Washington, 1966), 1264. McCollum was quoted in Anthony J. Bouscaren, International Migrations Since 1945 (New York, 1963), 15-16.
    10.   Leonid I. Brezhnev, The Great Victory of the Soviet People (Moscow, 1965), 29. See also Alexander Borisov, "Recent Anglo-U.S. Bourgeois Historiography of the Soviet Union's Great Patriotic War," in M. Goncharuk, ed., Soviet Studies on the Second World War (Moscow, 1976), 233.
    11.   A. I. Romanov, Nights are Longest There: Smersh from the Inside (Boston, 1972), 170; Pfc. Dmytro Staroschak to Narodna volia [weekly of the Ukrainian Workingmen's Association], Box 192, United Ukrainian American Relief Committee papers (hereinafter UUARC), Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota; Boris Shub, The Choice (New York. 1950), 51.
    12.   W. Averell Harriman to Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., 10 Jan. 1945, FR Yalta (Washington, 1955), 455. See also Alexander Dallin and Ralph Mavrogordato, "The Soviet Reaction to Vlasov, " World Politics 8 (April 1956): 322.
    13.   Reinhard Gehlen, The Service: The Memoirs of Reinhard Gehlen (New York, 1972), 90. See also John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's War with Germany (New York, 1975), 353.
    14.   Andrei Y. Vyshinskii, Speech Delivered by A. Y. Vyshinskii the General Assembly--November 6, 1946 (Washington, 1946), 12; "DP's Problem in Europe," 2 April 1946, NAS RG 165, WDGSS Military Intelligence Service Project File, no. 2996; New York Times, 19 October 1945.
    15.   Eugene Lyons, Our Secret Allies, the Peoples of Russia (New York, 1953), 271; Shub, Choice, 201-2. See also John Scott, "Interview with a Russian DP," Fortune 39 (April 1949): 81.
    16.   Speaking specifically of the Soviet campaign for the repatriation of Armenians abroad, Reuben Darbinian suggested that one of Moscow's goals was the destruction of the émigré Armenian Revolutionary Federation: "The Proposed Second Repatriation by the Government of Soviet Armenia: What Does Moscow Want from Its Armenian Collaborators of the Armenian Diaspora?," Armenian Review 15 (April 1962): 7.
    17.   George Ginsburgs, "Displaced Persons," in J. M. Feldbrugge, ed., Encyclopedia of Soviet Law, vol. 1 (Leiden, 1973), 231-2.
    18.   Malcolm Proudfoot, European Refugees, 1939-1952 (Evanston, Ill., 1956), 213.
    19.   New York Times, 1 May 1945; Lt. Col. Zapozin and Maj. Berizoeski to Eisenhower, 9 April 1945, in Alfred D. Chandler, ed., The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower; the War Years IV (Baltimore, 1970), 2603; Kennan to Stettinius, 30 April 1945, NA RG 334 USMMM-POWs, 25 ApriI-15 June 1945.
    20.   William Hardy McNeill, America, Britain. and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict, 1941-1946 (London, 1953), 580; George Ginsburgs, "Soviet Union and the Problem of Refugees and Displaced Persons, 1917-1956," American Journal of International Law 51 (April 1957): 352.
    21.   Aleksei I. Briukhanov, Vot kak eto bylo: O rabote missii po repatriatsii sovetskikh grazhdan: Vospominaniia sovetskogo ofitsera (Moscow, 1958), 38: F. I. Golikov, V Moskovskoi bitve: Zapiski komandarma (Moscow, 1967), 5; A Nemirov, Dorogi i vstrechi (Munich, 1947), 38; Romanov, Nights, 170; Albert Seaton, The Russo-German War, 1941-45 (London, 1971), 15; Mikhail Semiriaga, Sovetskie liudi v evropeiskom soprotivlenii (Moscow, 1970), 326; Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, vol. 1 (New York, 1973), 240, 624; Nikolai Tolstoy, The Secret Betrayal: 1944-1947 (New York, 1978), 399-400; Zhukov, Memoirs, 216.
    22.   Raymond L. Garthoff, “The Marshals and the Party: Soviet Civil-Military Relations in the Postwar Period,”  in Harry L. Coles, ed., Total War and Cold War: Problems in Civilian Control of the Military (Columbus, Ohio, 1962), 259-61 ; Seweryn Bialer, ed., “Biographical Index,” Stalin and His Generals: Soviet Military Memoirs of World War II (New York, 1969), 630. For additional biographical data, see Edward L. Crowley et al., Prominent Personalities in the USSR: A Biographic Directory Containing 6,015 Biographies of Prominent Personalities in the Soviet Union (Metuchen. N.J., 1968), 184; and Borys Levytsky, The Soviet Political Elite (Munich, 1969), 156. For the allegation that his wartime transfer to repatriation work was a demotion because of cowardice at Stalingrad, see Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers (Boston, 1970), 194-5.
    23.   W. Averell Harriman and Elie Abel, Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, 1941-1946 (New York, 1975), 416; Romanov, Nights, 170, 172; Tolstoy, Secret, 400.
    24.   Romanov, Nights, 124, 127; Juergen Thorwald, The Illusion: Soviet Soldiers in Hitler's Army (New York, 1975), 254; Tolstoy, Secret, 401-2.
    25.   Romanov, Nights, 127.
    26.   Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle (New York. 1968), xiii, 509.  The Red Army general's admission is in Tolstoy, Secret, 427-8; the account of the ex-SMERSH officer is in Romanov, Nights, 171.
    27.   Robert Murphy to Stale Department (hereinafter SD), 22 June 1945, NA RG 59, 800.4016 DP/6-2245; John R. Deane, The Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at Wartime Cooperation with Russia (New York, 1947), 201; Office of the Chief of Military History (hereinafter OCMH), European Command (hereinafter EUCOM), Survey of Soviet Aims, Policies and Tactics (Frankfurt, 1948), 276; OCMH, “The Exchange with the Soviet Forces of Liberated Personnel--World War II,” (Washington: OCMH, n.d.), 10.
    28.   M. Iskrin, “V borbe protiv gitlerovskikh okkupantov Norvegii,” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, no. 6 (November-December 1962): 127; Lithgow Osborne to Secretary of State, 21 Aug. 1945, NA RG 59, 762.61114/8-2145; SHAEF to War Department (hereinafter WD), 22 April 1945, NA RG 218 (U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff), Combined Chiefs of Staff (hereinafter CSS) 383.6 (7-4-44) (2) Sec. 5; Murphy to SD, 28 April 1945, NA RG 59, 740.00114 EW/4-2845, enclosure, 2; EUCOM, “RAMP's: The Recovery and Repatriation of Liberated Prisoners of War," (Carlisle Barracks, Pa., Military History Research Collection, 1947), 66.
    29.   Brig. Gen. H. Floyd, 8th Army, to AFHQ, 7 November 1944; Maj. Gen. F. G. Beaumont-Nesbitt to CS, AFHQ, 9 January 1945; Lt. Gen. R. L. McBreery, 8th Army, to 15th Army Group, 30 March 1945, NAS RG 331, AFHQ, Roll 227-B, SACS 400-7, "Russian Matters"; Gen. Alexander to Troopers, London, 12 September 1945, NAS RG 331, AFHQ, 383.7-14.4, Reel 17-L, G-5, DP Div., “Travel of Russian Repatriation Representatives.”
    30.   Allied Control Commission, Bulgaria (British delegation) to AFHQ, 7 April 1945, NAS RG 331, AFHQ 383.7-14.4. Reel 17-L, G-5, DP Div., "Trave1 of Russian Repatriation Representatives”; Dudley Kirk to Secretary of State, 14 September and 8 October 1945, NA RG 59 (SD), 740.62114/8-2745 and 10-845.
    31.   Mark W. Clark, Calculated Risk (New York, 1950), 476-7.
    32.   Commanding General (Clark), U.S. Army Forces Europe (Vienna), to WD, 25 Jan., 13 Mar., and 29 June 1946, NA RG 218, CCS 383.6 (7-4-44) (2) Sec. 7 and 8. See also U.S. Political Adviser for Austria (Erhardt) to James F. Byrnes, 26 December 1946, FR, 1946, V (Washington, 1969), 197-8.
    33.   Walter Bedell Smith, My Three Years in Moscow (Philadelphia, 1950), 256.
    34.   "Plight of Ukrainian DPs," reprint from the Ukrainian Newspaper, Ameryka (n.d.), Box 192, UUARC; Jefferson Patterson, Chargé d'Affaires, to Secretary of State, 8 March 1946, NA RG 59, 840.4016/3-846; Supreme Allied Command, Mediterranean Theater (Greece) to CIGS, 2 September 1945, NAS RG 331, AFHQ, Roll 228-B. SACS 400-7, "Russian Matters."
    35.   OCMH, EUCOM, Survey, 216.
    36.   "Plight of Ukrainian DPs," Ameryka; cablegram received by UUARC, 8 October 1945, 6; letter by a former Ukrainian member of the prewar Polish Parliament, 16 July 1945, 7-8, Box 192, UUARC; Vasili Kotov, "Stalin Thinks I'm Dead, " Saturday Evening Post 220 (31 Jan. 1948); 57; Lyons, Allies, 268; ToIstoy, Secret, 373, 377. See also First Plenary Conference, 12 September 1945, NA RG 43, Council of Foreign Ministers, Second Meeting, London.
    37.   One refugee mentioned receiving a letter from his father stating that there was nothing to fear in returning home. The Soviet repatriation representative beamed at such a positive response--until the refugee added that his father had been dead for ten years.
    38. Alec Dickson, "Displaced Persons," National Review, 129 (December 1947): 490-1; Jaroslaw Tomasziwskyj, "'Vozrozhdenie': A Russian Periodical Abroad and Its Contributors" (Ph.D. diss., Vanderbilt University, 1974), 18. For the text of a Soviet camp appeal, remarkable in its psychological ineptitude, see minutes of meeting with Soviet Liaison Officer, Mittenwald Camp, 28 August 1947, enclosure to dispatch 409, 14 October 1947, NA RG 59, 800.4016 DP/10-1447.
    39.   Fort Dix Report, 19 July 1945, NA RG 59, 711.62114/7-1945.
    40.   "Plight of Ukrainian DPs," Ameryka, 9, Box 192. UUARC.
    41.   F. S. V. Donnison, Civil Affairs and Military Government, North-West Europe, 1944-45 (London, 1961), 357; Murphy to Byrnes, 16 May 1946, FR, 1946, V, 163-4.
    42.   ACC to Col. P. G. Jakovlev, USSR repatriation delegate in Rome, 13 January 1947, NAS RG 331, AFHQ 383.7-14.4, Reel 17-L, G-5, DP Div., "Travel of Russian Repatriation Representatives"; Louise W. Holbom, The International Refugee Organization: A Specialized Agency of the United Nations. Its History and Work, 1946-1951 (London, 1956), 351.
    43.   Samuel Snipes, UNRRA Team 1062, to Dorothy Thompson, Refugee Defense Committee, 3 June 1947, folder 38, Panchuk Papers, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota; OCMH, EUCOM. Survey, 279. See also Maj. Gen. F. G. Beaumont-Nesbitt to AFHQ, 5 December 1944, NAS RG 331, AFHQ.
    44.   OCMH, EUCOM, Survey, 227; New York Times, 17 Feb. 1949. George Ginsburgs mistakenly states that 1948 saw an end to the Soviet Repatriation Mission in the West.  "Displaced Persons" in Encyclopedia of Soviet Law, I, 232.
    45.   U.S. Department of State, Germany, 1947-1949: The Story in Documents (Washington, 1950), 123, 125-6. See also Ginsburgs, "Refugees," 352; Jan F. Triska and Robert M. Slusser, The Theory, Law, and Policy of Soviet Treaties (Stanford, 1962), 174.
    46.   3-5 March 1949. See also Walter M. Kotschnig, "Problems of the Resettlement Program," Department of State Bulletin, 20 (13 March 1949), 307-8; Office of Military Government, U.S. Zone, to CS of Civil Affairs Division, 22 March 1949, NA RG 165, WDGSS "IRO Feeding of Soviet Mission"; "U.S. Requests Withdrawal," 320-2. According to Holborn, International, 344, the British were not rid of all their Soviet repatriation personnel until 1950.
    47.   Repatriation News, 14 (14 June 1947), 3, folder 9, Panchuk Papers.
    48.   Nikolai F. Brychev, Domoi, na rodinu!, 2nd ed. (Moscow, 1945), 4, 6.
    49.   Lt. Col. Gorbatov. quoted in Murphy to SD, 2 June 1945. NA RG 59, [no decimal number], enclosure to Dispatch 451; Briukhanov, Vot kak eto bylo, 203.
    50.   Vstrecha s rodinoi, Soviet Embassy, Washington, D.C.; Vladimir Gsovski, Soviet Civil Law: Private Rights and Their Background under the Soviet Regime, vol. 2 (Ann Arbor. Mich., 1949), 305-6.
    51.   Lt. Col. Gorbatov, quoted in Murphy to SD, 2 June 1945, NA RG 59, [no decimal number], enclosure to Dispatch 451. See also A. P. Ivushkina, Rodina zovet! Sbornik. Po materialam gazety "Za  vozvrashchenie na rodinu" (Berlin, 1955), 95.
    52.   David Dallin and Boris Nikolaevskii, Forced Labor in Soviet Russia (New Haven, CT, 1947), 282-3; Brig. Gen. R. W. Berry, GSC, Dep. ACS, GI, to Dep. CS, 6 August 1945, NA RG 165, ACS 383.6, Sec. 8, Cases 400...450.
    53.   Otvety na volnuiushchie voprosy sovetskikh grazhdan nakhodiashchikhsia za granitsei na polozhenii peremeshchennykh lits (Moscow, 1949), 4.
    54.   "Repatriation of DPs from Germany and Austria," NAS RG 165, WDGSS, Military Intelligence Service Project File, no. 2897, 1 March 1946. See also Otvety, 25.
    55.   Brychev, Domoi, na rodinu!, 10; Kirk to Stettinius quoting the Union Jack, 2 March 1945, NA RG 59, 800.4016 DP/3-245. See also Ivushkina, Rodina, 34, 52.
    56.   Memorandum by Donald Lowrie, 20 October 1944, NA RG 59, 762.61114/14.344.
    57.   Harriman to Stettinius, 10 January 1945, FR, Yalta, 455; Kennan to SD, 15 November 1944, NA RG 59, 762.61114/15.44; Solzhenitsyn, First Circle, 463.
    58.   Walter Dushnyck and William J. Gibbons. Refugees are People: The Plight of Europe’s Displaced Persons (New York, 1947), 89; Otvety, 5, 20, 30, 39, 40-2; Kirk to Stettinius quoting the Union Jack, 2 March 1945, NA RG 59, 800.4016 DP/3-245.
    59.   Elliott, Pawns of Yalta, 243, 247.

Split Memory

The Fate of Soviet Victims of National Socialism
by Ulrike Goeken-Haidl

From: Stimmen der Zeit, 1/2010, P. 29-46
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

The return of former Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) and forced labourers after World War II to their homeland is a dramatic but largely unknown chapter of postwar history. The Nürnberg historian Ulrike Goeken-Haidl examines the story of over two million Russian soldiers and their relatives.

Dachau, 19 January 1946: 400 American sentries and officers of the 3rd U.S. army had the order to evacuate the two barracks of the former concentration camp. Men had barricaded themselves in it who as Soviet prisoners of war in those days had for the sake of survival defected to the Wehrmacht. By using tear gas the GIs gained access to the camp. They saw nine men who had hung themselves. Others had tried to slash their wrists with razors or to cut through each other's throats with iron hooks. One man died shortly later from the self-inflicted strangulation with a makeshift rope. Twenty one men with heavily bleeding wounds were transferred to a military hospital where one of them died shortly afterwards from the incised wound.

Under Coercion back home

On 19 January 1946, 368 men were loaded then into trains that should go to the demarcation line Hof / Plauen resp. Bebra / Eisenach where the former Soviet citizens had to be extradited routinely to the on-duty representative of the Red Army. Two days ago the U.S. sentries had already tried for the first time to get the men into the trains. Some had voluntarily climbed into the waiting waggons, others had thrown themselves into the cold snow, removed their jackets, and bare-chested in heavy snow fought it tooth and nail to be loaded into the waiting railway wagons. The loading was terminated, and the desperate men had returned to the barracks. About half of them went on hunger strike in order to lend weight to their refusal to be extradited to the Soviet institutions.

The Soviet repatriation officer who was supervising the loading of the men strode up and down the train and meticulously recorded the text of their statements. He protested sharply when the American camp administration decided at the last minute to remove eleven displaced persons (DPs) from the trainload, because they had been mistaken for Soviet citizens and could therefore not be extradited. The mood was tense.


The Soviet repatriation representative seemed unimpressed by the dramatic scenes round the barracks. During this action he carefully inquired names, ranks and duties of the Western Allied functionaries who were present.

The political background of this difficult extradition was the Treaty of Yalta in February 1945. It planned everywhere in Europe the exceptionless extradition of all so-called "soviet displaced persons" from Western Allies' hand at the demarcation line between the territory of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

On the evening of 19 January 1946 about 23 clock the Soviet officer reported to his superior, Major General A. M. Davydov, the head of the Soviet repatriation mission in the American zone. In his letter to the repatriation authorities in Moscow Davydov summarized his unease in view of the publicity of what happened in Dachau:

„In my opinion it was no coincidence but almost typical that on the territory of the camp and during the loading representatives of UNRRA and the Red Cross were present. They watched everything that was going on. There came also photographers and took pictures." {1}

The Soviet participants, both in Germany and in the Kremlin saw a problem solely in the fact that the publicity, which the action had got by the presence of staff of the International Red Cross and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), could be obstructive to other comparable extradition operations.

"A large number of transports that delivered the Soviet displaced persons to Soviet military authorities faced similar problems. In Plattling, Kempten, Lienz (East Tyrol) and in POW camps in the United States of America, as e.g. Fort Dix, New Jersey and Camp Rupert, Idaho, Soviet displaced persons cut their throats and wrists, hanged themselves to Barack beams and bunk beds, leaped on the way to the waiting Soviet representatives off bridges, writhed into human blocks on the ground, and could neither by the use of batons nor of tear gas be induced to betake themselves voluntarily into the hands of the Red Army."

1700 inmates of the extradition camp Plattling had on 6 January 1946 signed a resolution to the U.S. government:

"We are ready to live and work under any conditions and on whatever place of the globe, except in the Soviet Union and its spheres of influence, because we want to be free men. We unanimously and categorically declare that we prefer to die here to being subjected to the cruel and degrading mockery and to dying in Soviet prison walls. {2}


The American and British military personnel that attended to the repatriation were stunned. It was reported to the U.S. War Department that American soldiers had been crying while they were driving with rifle butts the people in front of them into railway wagons. In the war they had seen a lot, but such a disgusting job should not be demanded from them, British and American soldiers alike revolted. And French workmen at Le Bourget airport were always shocked when in the night people who were desperately fighting against it were dragged into Soviet airplanes that had just arrived. France had long since given up checking the Soviet aircraft movements {3}.

After the successful loading of the, in Soviet officialese, so-called "Vlasovzy" (followers of Soviet defector, General Andrei Vlasov) the mood was tense. A considerable number of U.S. soldiers had accompanied the train in order to prevent further suicides. When they had reached the Soviet side of the demarcation line Red Army soldiers began to unload the former POWs. The Soviet soldiers threatened the American escorts that also wanted to get out for some exercise to shoot them if they should try to leave the train. The mistrust between the two former allies of the anti-Hitler coalition had reached the troops level. The U.S. Army called the increasing confrontation at the lowest military level "depressing".

At the turn of the year 1946/47 U.S. Military Governor, General Joseph T. McNarney résuméd:

„In Germany and Austria a mass of people has established itself, which is one of the hardest and most emotional issues in the context of reconstruction in Europe. Within Germany the DP problem is very serious in economic and human terms, because the presence of the foreign group of a million people is the tragic human legacy of Nazi Germany. More than half of them are from Eastern Europe." {4}

About 250,000 of the displaced persons who the Soviet Union had declared to be Soviet citizens stayed in the Western zones {5} and migrated later in the framework of the so-called "resettlement program" of the United Nations above all to the U.S. and Australia.

Censorship - Alleged Subversion

With what was a former Soviet POW faced when he returned home? The 27-year old Pavel Filipowitsch Velikodnov, Russian, partyless, a pioneer in the Army, Sergeant, and lab technician in civilian life, was in 1942 arrested by Army units in the Leningrad region and was deported to the camp for prisoners of war (Stalag IV A) in Hemer, near Iserlohn.


There, he was freed by the Americans and then brought across the demarcation line and handed over to Soviet troops. As a warehouseman, he had worked in the commercial section of the Allied authorities "Komendatura Magdeburg." On July 30, 1946 he was transferred to the "Camp for freed Soviet citizens" in Brandenburg, where he in September 1946 wrote to his relatives in a village in the area Tschkalovska, Stanzija Orsk, in Russia:

"The path I go does not correspond to my wishes. I have no life here, and I will never regain it. I am despised. Threefold barbed wire with electric current surrounds me. I see it from the moment of my liberation up to this day, and when it will come to an end, I do not know. I've grown so terribly tired of my life. Why am I to continue my life? When I ask this question, it seems to me as if I've already gone through everything that a man can experience. I do no longer need anything. I've already stopped to build my life because I no longer need it. Please, do not wait that I return home. The path of return is cut off; it has been shattered by fate." {6}

The original of his letter is stored in the files of the Soviet Military Administration (SMAD), because it was intercepted by the military censorship of the Ministry for State Security (MGB), and its depressed basic tenor attracted the attention of the officials working there. The military prosecutor received this letter with the urgent request to take the "appropriate measures". In parallel, the head of the repatriation authorities of the Soviet military administration in Karlshorst was informed. He in turn activated his operational staff. With a pencil memo across the letter, he ordered: "Check personally the confessions regarding their core and report back!" {7}

Confessions? A categorization that implicates the state-institutionalized attitude of distrust towards all Soviet citizens returning home. The investigations revealed that Velikodnov was already on his way to his home country by freight train. He had, virtually, slipped through the Soviet authorities' fingers on German soil. The repatriation commissioner justified himself in his letter to the head of the military censorship of the Ministry of State Security, "Since I received the Velikodnov letter so late, it was no longer possible to take action." - What action? An arrest for defeatism? Generally asking, is it possible to classify pessimism about the future as "confession"? Or was even suspected a counter-revolutionary mind-set behind Velikodnov's statements? The latter seems likely, because the constant scent of alleged subversion in the private lives of Soviet citizens was typical of Stalinism, as the British historian and specialist in Russian history, Orlando Figes, recently again demonstrated very impressively in his book "The Whisperers" {8}.


Investigation and Filtration
All 5.35 million Soviet citizens who after the war were returning from Germany - now as freed POWs, concentration camp prisoners and slave labourers - to the Soviet Union had already in the Soviet Zone of Germany gone through so-called 'investigation and filtration camps'. In the camps the first steps of the filtration process took place. This included a thorough check on the identity, the accuracy of their information about the whereabouts, status and activity in recent years in Western Europe as well as careful screening of the family and social environment before 1941. The "social class affiliation" was also of importance, and was inquired just like all other information and verified by enquiries with the local authorities {9}.

For every "repatriate", so the Soviet diction for returnees from captivity and forced labour, a so-called filtration file was created during the "filtration process" and sent ahead the returnees, and so the intelligence agencies at the place of destination were already informed in detail about the new arrivals. This task had been entrusted to the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD), since March 1946 the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB), since March 1946 Ministry for State Security (MGB) and to SMERSH (Death to Spies), the Counter-Intelligence Department of Defense. It was their task "to unmask traitors to their fatherland, spies, traitors and other dubious individuals".

For the future of the returnees was crucial whether "compromising material" could be obtained during the interrogation or already existed. This material provided a usable handle against the returnees and was sufficient as justification for a deportation in "special camps" or "screening filtration camps", in labour battalions or in banishment. Only in prominent cases, for example, against General Andrei Andreyevich Vlasov and his supporters lawsuits were started. The majority of the returning Soviet citizens were arrested partly until 1956 without a legal process. The concrete guilt of the individual person was on

Collective Collaboration Suspicion All Slave Labor were labeled collaborators:
The directives and orders of the NKVD and the State Defense Committee from 1941 to 1945 leave no doubt that the five million Soviet citizens who returned home from captivity and forced labour in Germany and other countries occupied by the Nazis were collectively suspected of collaboration with the enemy.


The interrogation was the core of their screening and was traditionally always repeated in the same form - at always changing day and night times - to extort thus their confessions and information about other individuals and groups. In addition, questionnaires were designed to explore the "treacherous" behaviour of others.

This ensured that a close-meshed net of mutual denunciation and mistrust formed among the returnees. The threat that they for a long time would be unable to escape from the (concentration) camp situation forced a large number of returnees to serve as spies. They developed into informers who incriminated each other. Everyone could be both victim and perpetrator. Each individual took part in the production of terror that permanently threatened to strike him. Thus, without any evidence, numerous cases of disloyalty, espionage, sabotage and treason against the Soviet state were suspected, and forced upon the repatriates as a general suspicion. Crimes were invented, fictional confessions extorted and downright absurd accusations fabricated by the use of spies {10}.

Until 1992 the grandchildren's generation is confronted with the captivity of their grandfathers. Every administrative act - as e.g. applying for a passport, giving notice of an intended marriage or registering with the police - required to fill in a questionnaire of the local administration, which also contained the question: " Was a relative of your family during the Great Patriotic War prisoner of war or in the German-occupied territories?" The persons concerned could not avoid the truthful answer. Their data were verifiable by the KGB and still are - up to the present day: The filtration file of Pavel Filipowitsch Velikodnov is at present in the archives of the Federal Security Service (Federalnaja sluzba bezopasnosti, FSB, the successor organization to the KGB) of his place of residence and is, like millions of other personnel files, still kept safe there.

What motives were the basis of the control measures developed in the camps? One explanation is that in Germany and the Western world the POWs and forced labourers had gained a standard of comparison by which they would have been able now to disprove the Soviet propaganda efforts from personal experience. In the eyes of the Soviet government this knowledge meant dynamite for the state structure. The notorious paranoid vigilance of the government regarded the returnees as potential members of the opposition. The appropriate remedy for this danger seemed to be the well-tried means of isolation and intimidation. "The main enemy comes from abroad," formulated Raisa Orlova Kopelew, and this became apparent once again in the treatment of these five million people.


Already during the "Great Patriotic War" Soviet military tribunals passed sentence on more than 994,000 military personnel, 157.000 of them were condemned to death. More than 50 percent of the verdicts were decided 1941/42, i.e. in the time of the greatest military defeats of the Soviet Army. The majority of the convicts had been prisoners of war or for a short time encircled. Since the first days of the war "suspicious persons and dubious elements", i.e. soldiers who had been scattered and returned to their unit, were shot even without an investigation or litigation. During the Battle of Stalingrad alone 13,500 executions of military members of the Soviet army took place, partly summarily, partly subsequent to verdicts of military tribunals. The military commissioners who controlled the execution of death sentences under this category equally subsumed military members who had retreated without orders or maimed themselves, had deserted, or were accused of "anti-Soviet activities". In 1956 Marshal Georgy K. Zhukov, who was head of a rehabilitation commission, gave a summary on the legal background of those repressions of Soviet prisoners of war {11}.

Article 58 of the Criminal Code - Treason and Espionage

Legal basis for these sentences to death by firing squad or to ten years in the camps was the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from 1926. A few days on the other side of the front were sufficient to fabricate an indictment for treason and espionage (Article 58-1b and 58-6). Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who shortly before the end of the war was also sentenced under Article 58 for the prison camp, cynically commented:

„The all-pervasive and tirelessly vigilant organs drew the entire energy for their many years of service from a SINGLE section of the in all one hundred forty-eight, listed in the special part of the Criminal Code of 1926. It is the big, powerful, sumptuous, widespread, versatile section 58; it is sweeping away everything, and was able fully to fathom this our world not so much by its formulations, but rather by its dialectical and most generous interpretation. Who among us has not felt its global embrace? There is certainly no crime under the sun, no intention, no deed and no inactivity, which could not be reached and punished by the stern arm of the section 58." {12}

In the infamous "Order No. 270 of August 1941 the "Stavka", the High Command of the Red Army with Josef Stalin at the head, had ordered to fight up to the last drop of blood: One last cartridge should be kept for the necessary suicide {13}. In addition, a following command decreed that family members of the "traitor" should be treated as hostages and be brought as a "substitute" into banishment or prison camps.


Pursuant to Order no. 270, "surrender oneself" („sdaca v plen") in war captivity was excluded as a possible result of a combat. From the sole fact that a Soviet soldier could become a war prisoner, the Soviet government in its ideological perspective deduced a disloyal attitude of the soldier towards the Soviet Union and the Soviet people.

Under the term "treason" both deliberate desertion or refusal to obey orders and war captivity or the situation of encirclement of a Soviet soldier was subsumed. In the eyes of the party, army and state leaders the border-lines between these categories were fluid. A differentiation was politically inopportune. Prisoners of war were regarded as traitors, regardless of the circumstances under which they were taken prisoner. They were accused of collaboration due to the mere fact of survival.

Of course, there has been collaboration in the occupied areas and also among the prisoners of war: One assumes at least one million deserters. It is understandable and naturally that the figures of the Russian scientists turn out to be much lower. Soviet prisoners of war often went in the service of the Wehrmacht in order to secure the very survival (to avoid e.g. starvation in the camps for prisoners of war or forced labour), or to wait for an opportunity for returning somehow to their own ranks. An indication of this is that a high percentage of defectors came from the camps for prisoners of war.

In its totality, however, the practice of the general accusation - imposed by the state leadership - missed the reality. In the hands of the Germans - in the army, the local employment agencies or simply by the German "masters" in an industrial enterprise or in agriculture - millions of Soviet citizens experienced a treatment which indicated that their physical destruction was politically intended by the Nazi leadership, for ideological reasons. They had the choice between adaptation and death. What from the view of the Soviet government looked like treason, was for most of them the bitter German reality, of which both the Kremlin leaders and their frighteningly incompetent executioners, i.e. the investigation and filtration commissions of the NKVD, SMERSH and NKVD, had neither an idea nor experience.

Transportation to the East

The young military nurse Nanijewa, a convinced Communist, experienced the long-awaited liberation in January 1945 in a labour camp in southern Poland by the Red Army as a bitter disappointment:


"Well, your whores? Mattresses! Have you painted the town red?" {14} After being interrogated by SMERSH her fate was sealed; she was sentenced to six years Gulag and banishment for life to Siberia because of her "treason under Article 58-1 b".

The previously described filtration in specially built camps all over Europe was followed by the transport to the east. About it remarkably detailed statistics still exist: 5.352.963 Soviet citizens had to be repatriated. Of these 5.038.977 people (94%) were repatriated from assembly points (SPP) of the various groups of Soviet occupation forces (where also filtration took place) and transported home from the various fronts. By ship transports from the U.S. and from the UK, 313.986 (6%)) Soviet citizens were by "foreign states" directly conveyed to the border points of Murmansk, Odessa, Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk / Kamchatka, Vyborg, Baku and Jassy and from there back home.

In the early stage of repatriation, i.e. during the months of October to December 1944 1.079.500 Soviet citizens were repatriated. "Foreign countries" - mainly the UK and USA - transported 111.913 people to the ports and frontier stations Murmansk, Odessa, Vyborg, and Baku. 967.587 were found on Soviet territory and transferred by front and hinterland units of the armies of the Red Army. In the heart of Europe at the demarcation line the situation was more complicated: Immediately after the signing of a handover plan between the Western Allies and the Soviet Military Administration in late May 1945 in Halle an der Saale, the "Supreme Headquarters of Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) started the extradition of Soviet displaced persons from their custody and handed them over to the Soviet institutions along the demarcation line. In the first five days after the agreement came into effect more than 100,000 people were already transferred to the Soviet sphere; after 19 days, the one million mark was exceeded {15}. This corresponded to a daily rate of over 52.000 people! On 10, 11 and 12 June the daily rate was virtually increased by twice: Every day more than 101.000 Soviet citizens were handed over to the Soviet forces. On 4 July 1945 1.5 million Soviet citizens had been transferred {16}, and on 2 August 1945 the number was already 1.66 million {17}, and on 31 March 1946 exactly 2.352.686 Soviet citizens {18}.

Already at the beginning of planning in October 1944, besides the use of trains and motor vehicles, the repatriation by walking was taken into consideration and after an respective decree of the Kremlin of 16 June 1945 several tens of thousands of returnees marched off. But the NKVD, whose orders were decisive during the entire repatriation, favoured the transportation by train. From July 1945 until February 1946, according to the proud reports of the persons responsible, 2,828,570 Soviet citizens were repatriated in the borders of the Soviet Union: 65 per cent by trains (spread over 95,904 carriages, i.e. about 20 people in a wagon), and 35 per cent by trucks.


By order of the competent repatriation authorities, the action was planned and implemented by the administration of the hinterland and the Red Army's Central Administration for Military Transport. If one compares these impressive success figures with the individual reports of returnees, it is clear that here, too, virtually nothing has gone according to plan.

In the Reception Transit Camp

During the summer months of 1945 at the border to the Soviet Union a rise in numbers of dangerous proportions occurred. The reception transit camps (Priemnoperesyl'nye punkty, PRP), which were built in the early summer of 1945 on the orders of the Council of People's Commissars in Belarus and Ukraine, were hopelessly overcrowded. New train transports from the West with thousands of returnees increased the pressure. On the one hand the Kremlin towards the Western Allies insisted on an immediate transfer of its citizens, on the other hand it was obviously not prepared adequately for the repatriation of these people. Moreover, Moscow was not able to eliminate the resulting organizational deficits: The provision of means of transport for the transfer of the people, or at least the creation of decent living conditions in the transit camps was an unsolvable task for the Kremlin. To make matters worse, there were the filtration and control intentions of the NKVD with its intelligence service. The fact that the NKVD in the transit camps insisted on a complete filtration procedure with the protracted drawing up of the relevant documents significantly aggravated the blockage situation at the borders.

Meanwhile, local officials and the leaders of the camps in the border areas sent time and again 'fire telegrams' to Moscow and tried repeatedly to bring the situation at the borders to the Kremlin's attention. In mid-August 1945 there were 55,000 returnees in the area of Kovel, Ukraine. In the city alone that now counts about 75,000 inhabitants additional 41,000 people crowded. 152,000 returnees lived in the camps around L'vov, Ukraine: "30,000 of them in solid houses, 70,000 in shed-like buildings and 52,000 in holes in the ground {19}. 60 per cent of them got exclusively unboiled food. This means that the remaining 40 per cent got no food at all.

Mid-September, similar news arrived from Brest: 51,000 people were waiting for their repatriation, 35,000 of them lived directly in the city. 15,000, including many children, camped in continuous rain in the open. Outside Brest, there were twelve train transports each with 1000 to 2000 inmates, who only left the train when they were looking for food.


In Brest, the bread supply had collapsed. Despite repeated requests, no trains were provided for the continuation of the transports. G. M. Malenkov, secretary of the CPSU Central Committee in Moscow, repeatedly promised to organize more trains, but this only happened within a month. Comparable rises in numbers formed time and time again. Still in November 1945 large crowds of returnees were reported, who - because of the onset of winter - were waiting under even more dramatic circumstances for the continuation of the transports.

When the journey finally continued and the trains of the returnees went further east, many hardships were waiting for them also on this section: Anastasia Gulej, survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, was transported back home in a freight train. The train first went to Baranovichi / Belarus and stayed there for two weeks on the rails outside the station in a bog area. It then went on to the outskirts of Poltava, Ukraine, where the train stopped for such a long time that the repatriates swarmed out and entered service with neighbouring farmers, in order not to starve in the wagons. During the train ride back home another former forced labourer suddenly realized what fate was in store for her. She took her repatriation in hand:

"I immediately knew that the place of destination was somewhere else, for we had long since passed Kiev. I waited for the right moment and jumped off the train."

Return in Quotas

What was the place of destination of those returnees? The goal of their repatriation was most closely associated with the outcome of their filtration. On the basis of Soviet archival documents a classification of returnees in different categories can be established.

The so-called special contingent was numerically the largest category. Within this according to the statistics two groups crystallized. First, the 1.2 million "former military personnel who had been in captivity or encirclement by the enemy". These were soldiers who were accused of offences that were not sufficient for an execution. Their affiliation to the Red Army ceased to exist. They were henceforth called "ex-military personnel". After the war, all liberated Soviet POWs were subsumed under this term. The second group consisted of 140,000 civilians to whom was imputed collaboration in the by Hitler occupied territories (police, community leaders, etc.).

Since the recording of this category in January 1942, the Soviet Union maintained for these people 30 special camps, which were later renamed "verification filtration camps".


There the living and working conditions were extremely poor. Stories about the life in these camps are also present in German living rooms: Inmates of the Soviet Special Camp did not seldom forced labour side by side with captured German soldiers. Against this background, it is not surprising that former German prisoners are familiar with the fate of Soviet prisoners of war and the Stalinist logic of classifying "prisoners of war as traitors".

"The former Russian prisoners of war were the poorest devils. Poorer than we former enemies."

With its general suspicion of Soviet POWs the government could rely on the local base. As can be proved, one of the largest special camps was in the city Schachtinsk in the Donetsk Basin. The minutes of a meeting of the Party leaders of the city of 5 March 1945 mirrors the cynical attitude of the present commandant of the Special Camp 048 Chochlov, when the local party secretary told of an execution by shooting simulated by the guards in a factory:

"I want to say something about the work of the special contingent. It is the largest group within the production. Allow me a reproach to the address of the comrades of the camp leadership of the special camp for prisoners of war. What have their security guards done? They have done coarse mischief with the special contingent. In the mine two soldiers of the convoy troops have mustered the special contingent in front of a wall. Then they have said that they will shoot now. Have there been signals and how many for something like this in the past? And what has Chochlov, the camp commander, said about this: 'Make no fuss about it'." {20}

This record is a sample from the year 1945, in which particularly many people had gone through the camp of Schachtinsk. Presumably, similar incidents were discussed also in other regions during the meetings of the local Communist Party.

Another category were those young men who had been as forced labourer in Germany and had meanwhile reached the conscription age. They were integrated into so-called labour battalions, and had under camp conditions to do such work that was least popular among the Soviet population. Also female civilians who had in one way or another aroused suspicion came in these "rabocie batalony", which comprised a total of 608,000 people.

Former prisoners of war of the lower ranks (1,056 million) were mobilized anew by the Red Army in special divisions, which were not seldom deployed in Far East war theaters. The conditions in the units of those re-mobilized persons were comparable to that in the penal battalions, yet they are to be considered separately.


About 100,000 repatriates did dismantling and other work in the Soviet zone in Germany. Approximately 136,000 people were relegated to "remote areas": these were "members of the German army and special German formations, Vlasov supporters and police." After their filtration 58,000 repatriates were directly delivered to the educational and correctional labour camps resp. colonies of GULAG.

In 1946 and 1947 150,000 repatriates who had returned from the American and British occupation zone were additionally arrested as "American" or "British" spies. The new bipolar constellation at the global political level was therefore also reflected in the political conditions within the Soviet society. The Soviet authorities launched a new purge, under the slogan of "Servility to the West" and the "Anti-cosmopolitan Campaign." A former female "Ostarbeiter" e.g., who had been liberated in Munich by the U.S. army and repatriated, was arrested because she had her shoes - found during a house search - unfortunately wrapped up in an American newspaper. {21}

Dismissal to the Hometown

Similar chaotic as the recruitment, deportation and geographical and definitional displacement of the returnees was the dismissal procedure. As the various categories of returnees often worked together in different sectors of industry and lived together in collective accommodations, the result was endless bureaucratic confusion. During the time in the camps a part of the special contingents was transferred into so-called "permanent cadres of the enterprise", but the persons concerned were not informed about it. Most people did not know their real status. What all had in common was that they had not seen their families for years. That's why a recurrent topic of conversation was the speculation about when and how the dismissal was to be expected.

The People's Commissariats to which they were assigned according to the nature of their work, however, had different ideas and requirements concerning the duration of the employment of their contingents. The People's Commissariats for coal and fuel, for example, wanted to keep their labour battalions for further three months, whereas the People's Commissariat of Ferrous Metallurgy needed its work groups still for an entire year. The requested deadline was granted all commissariats.


Thus, there is a lack of comparable figures about the date of dismissal of the individual categories. Also the calculations, which since 2000 were compiled by Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian authorities as part of the compensation payments of the federal government to former Nazi slave labourers, brought no satisfactory results in this matter. The presumption is that about 90 per cent of returnees in late 1947 finally reached their home towns.

According to Soviet statistics about 5,35 million people were repatriated until March 1946. From the mere fact that they had been during the war in Western Europe, 57 per cent or 3,067 million returnees had to suffer various isolations and sanctions - including those mobilized into the Red Army. 43 per cent (2,283 million) returned without those measures to their home, where they – except for summons by the local NKVD and possible damages to the career, remained untouched by the penal organs of the intelligence agencies.

The former prisoner of war, however, remained in the places of banishment or in the GULAGs. After Stalin's death, they hoped for a rehabilitation. In numerous letters and petitions they appealed to the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Supreme Soviet, the Defense Department and other bodies; they reported to them on the discriminations to which they had been exposed on the part of local authorities. The amnesty on the occasion of the "victory over Nazi Germany" on 7 July 1945 included formally also the former prisoners of war with the rank of an ordinary soldier up to sergeant but had no practical consequences.

Veiled Repression and Arbitrariness

Under Stalin's regime the Soviet system was characterized by corruption, incompetence and inhumane living conditions. They shaped the life in the Soviet village of Pinsk / Belarus to Magadan / Eastern Siberia alike, and were the rule both in the civilian life and the daily life in the camps of the GULAG. The life of the returnees was further aggravated by the attitude of contempt and ideological biases demanded by the Soviet state leadership. The classification of the returnees as dangerous was already suggested to the involved military personnel, party officials, the security personnel and the population by the fact that the secret service without delay and comprehensively dealt with them. What automatically resulted in the belief that the returnees were a new kind of "enemies of the people", who do not deserve humane treatment and trust.

The Soviet authorities had coined the term "enemy of the people" during the forced collectivisation and the Great Purges; it was thus introduced and had an "intimate" sound. The subordinate Soviet institutions had already internalized and established the distrust of the returnees from Western Europe dictated from the highest governmental level.


The suspicion of disloyalty was, as it were, passed from top to bottom. The treatment on the spot, the "veiled repression", is only indirectly measurable. But there are a number of testimonies about it.

The secretary of the personell department of the Woroschilovgrad area / Ukraine e.g. said to the Control Commission from Moscow, "They are traitors. Those who have not wanted it have not gone away. They went voluntarily to Germany." - The Regional Committee of the Party in Bryansk (about 380 km southwest of Moscow) regarded the "suspicious attitude of many Soviet citizens who had returned from Germany and were enthusiastic about the 'German order' as alarming, and announced "operative measures". - With regard to the question of who should get a trainee post in a technical college, said Sergei Akakiev, secretary of the Komsomol of Schachtinsk about candidates who had just been released from a special camp:

"Those people have lived in occupied territory and committed some crimes for which we do not punish them now, but we should refrain from opening our schools to such a category of people. After all, we have really enough young people here who have not defiled themselves as those people did; these we should admit to the institutes. When we as employees of the Regional Commissariat of the party are now sitting together in this committee, it makes sense to discuss whom we want in our technical colleges. I am of the opinion that it is not the time to fill the training facilities with such people." {22}

The discriminatory attitude towards the returnees could be articulated so openly, because one could be sure of the backing by state institutions. This came mainly from the local intelligence agencies, which shortly after their return began to summon the repatriates at irregular intervals to "conversations." Not seldom, these summons took on the character of a strict interrogation. The filtration file had already been received by the authorities and was used as starting point for further questions on the alleged disloyalty to the Soviet state. After six months the local re-filtration commission considered whether "there is any possibility of issuing passports to such persons." If this request was judged favourably, the returnees were summoned again, examined by the secret service and, where appropriate, the passport was issued.

How arbitrary and different the treatment of the returnees and its impact was in their hometown is reflected in the statements of a female forced labourer and of a partisan. After months of staying in a filtration camp in Brest, Valentina Gureeva from Gorlovka / Donetsk area arrived home in December 1945. Her parents were still alive, her two brothers had been killed in the war. She at first got a temporary residence permit for six months.


Valentina Gureeva was 20 years old, had a school leaving certificate but no training. "We have virtually completed our youth in Germany." It was not easy for her to contact again the young people of the village. The feeling of stigmatization through the time in Germany accompanied her many years:

They did not receive me well there. I was always afraid to tell that I have been in Germany. When the young people in the village sat together and I arrived, I often heard something like 'And that girl was in Germany,' and the circumstances immediately changed. They grumbled about me. I had been in Germany, and that explained everything. They looked differently at me than at others. The war has hampered many people in private life. This was also the case in professional life and other areas. I say it honestly: workbenches have always fascinated me since I've worked in factories in Germany. I would have become a good engineer." {23}

She became an accountant and worked 36 years in this profession. Also Mikhail Gusev from Nova Praga / Ukraine - he had been arrested as a partisan - returned to his native village after a detention in a filtration camp. There he met his parents. His brother was regarded as missing since the fighting near Brest. After his return, in the local NKVD one had made clear to him that he had virtually to be considered as a traitor because he had broken his military oath, and had lived in Germany. Practical problems, however, he had not felt later, said Gusev. But he had not had "great ambitions".

Especially the families of former prisoners of war were also involved in the repressive practices. For example, the daughter of a POW was not permitted to undertake official trips to western countries. In many cases, the career opportunities of the children were impaired.

Late Recognition and Rehabilitation

On 17 September 1955 on the basis of a governmental decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet an amnesty was granted for Soviet citizens who had served in the German army, police force, the Russian National Liberation Army and the national legions, as e.g. the Cossacks and Turkmen legion. But there was said nothing about the restoration of the legally guaranteed rights of former prisoners of war, who had been sentenced because of their (supposedly) "voluntary captivity" [Gefangengabe], and who had already served their sentence or were still serving it. The hope of the former soldiers was then set on the in 1956 appointed commission, which was led by Defense Minister Marshal Georgy Zhukov.

At the beginning of its work the Commission found clear words. But for political reasons the final report did not contain the promise of rehabilitation and reinstatement of their civil rights, desired by the parties concerned.


They were still not recognized as war veterans. This meant that they were excluded from the privileges granted to the war veterans, such as the right to free medical treatment and medication, free use of public transport, additional food rations, etc. They also had to learn that they are completely ignored in the official remembrance of the "Great Patriotic War", which is up to this day a central point of identification even for the post-Soviet society.

Many Soviet victims of Nazism have been living for 50 years as stigmatized in their homeland. On 24 January 1995 Boris Yeltsin signed a government decree entitled "On the restoration of the lawful rights of Russian citizens - former Soviet POWs and civilians who have been repatriated during the Great Patriotic War and the postwar period." Nevertheless, many had a strong feeling that they had received a "mark of Cain" during the war - stigmatized for life.

{1} A. M. Davydov, Report of 21 January 1946 to Major General Basilov, deputy commissioner of the Council of People's Commissioners for Repatriation Affairs, Moscow, in: AVP RF (Archive of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Moscow) 082, op. 30, p. 128, d.11, p. 43.
{2} Memorandum with 1700 signatures of 6 January 1945, DP camp Plattling, attachment 7 in the report of Davydov to A. A. Smirnov (Head of the Third European Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs MID) of 21 January 1946, About the Course of Repatriation of Soviet citizens, in: AVP RF 082, 1945/46, 30, 128, 11.
{3} See, M. H. During, Memorandum for the Officer in charge, G-2 Section on 13 March 1946 an 970'h CIC Detachment Team 107, CIC Field Office Paris, p. 1 ff., in: NARA (National Archives and Record Administration, College Park/Maryland) RG 319 box 104, NND 941260.
{4} See, Report of the General Board United States Forces, European Theater (Frankfurt Germany 1.1.1947) on Displaced Persons in American Occupied Germany. United Nations Displaced Persons, Expellees, Refugees, prepared by G-5 Division, in: NARA RG 338, Box 107 b.
{5} Basilov, Report of 15 January 1947 to A. A. Smirnov, in: AVP RF 082, 34, 147, 14, pp. 14-34, 34; the Soviet repatriation authorities ascertained these figures by means of "explanatory work", i.e. they evaluated from time to time the camp registries.
{6} See A. Novik, assistant of the military prosecutor of the group of the Soviet military administration in Germany (SVAG), lieutenant colonel of the judiciary on 7 October 1946 to the head of the repatriation administration of SVAG, in: GARF (State Archive of the Russian Federation) 7317, 20, 56, pp. 376-379, 377.
{7} See V. Verschinin, Head of the Department for Repatriation and Search for citizens of United Nations of SMAD in Germany, Potsdam, 12 October 1946, to the Head of the military censorship of MGB, in: GARF 7317, 20, 56, p. 379.
{8} O. Figes, Die Flüsterer (Berlin 2008).
{9} See, Order of the NKVD No. 00706/00268 of 16 June 1945: About the procedure of the examination and filtration of Soviet citizens who returned, resp. were repatriated to their native country in their place of residence, in: GARF 9408, 1s, 2;

see also, Order of the people's commissioners of the NKVD Berija and of the NKGB Merkulov May 1945: About the measures of a profound screening by the NKVD's support of spies, in: GARF 9808, ls, d. 7, pp. 152-155.
{10} See the report of Major General Kuznezov, leader of the NKVD troops for the surveillance of the hinterland of the central group of the Soviet troops, and by Ivanov, leader of department „F" of the NKWD about the results of the check-up and filtration of Soviet citizens from October to December 1945, in: GARF 9408, 1,19, pp. 1-30.
{11} See G. K. Zukov, E. A. Furzeva, K. P. Gorschenin and others in the Central Committee of the CPSU, lecture note of 4 June 1956 about the camps of former prisoners of war, from the archive of the president of Russian Federation (AP RF), in: L. Reschin: Über die unvollendete Schlacht von Marschall Zukov. Über die Rehabiliterung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener 1954-1956 [About the incomplete battle of Marshal Zukov. On the rehabilitation of Soviet prisoners of war], in: Historic Archive („Istoriceskij archiv"), Mai 1995, 108-127, 117.
{12} A. Solschenizyn, Archipel Gulag (Bern 1974) 68 et sequ.
{13} See, Order of the People's Commissariat of Defence of the USSR No. 270 of 16 August 1941 on the liability of military personnel for their volontary captivity [Gefangengabe] and the handing over of weapons into the hands of the enemy (translation), in: Prikazy glavnogo komandovanija (Orders of the High Command) 1941-1945, Komplekt dokumentov iz fonda RGVA (document collection from the stock of the Russian State Military Archive).
{14} Interview by L. Rees, in: the same, Hitlers Krieg im Osten (München 2000) 222.
{15} See M. J. Proudfoot, European Refugees 1939-52. A Study in Forced Population Movement (London 1957) 210 and Table 11, The Transfer of Soviet Nationals From the SHAEF Area and the Western Zones of Germany and Austria to Areas under Soviet Control: 22 May 1945 to 30 September 1945.
{16} See, Report of the General Board United States Forces, European Theater: Displaced Persons, Refugees, and Recovered Allied Military Personnel, G-5 Section, Study Number 35, File: R 383.7/2 TGBSY. The Library of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Abilene, Kansas, p. 56 (23 May 1945 - 10 July 1945).
{17} See also Proudfoot (note 15) 210 and Table 11, 211.
{18} See „Otcet o vypolnenii resenij Pravitel'stva Sojuza SSR po provedeniju repatriazii grazdan SSSR i grazdan inostrannych gosudarstv" (report on the fulfilment of the decisions taken by the Soviet government on the repatriation of citizens of the USSR and other countries) of the repatriation administration in Moscow of March 1946, in: GARF 9526ss, op. iss, d.1118, pp. 223-230.
{19} See Golikov's report (No. 005676) of 24 September 1945 to G. M. Malenkov (secretary of the ZK VKP b) on the results of the tour of inspection of 15 high officers through Belarus and Ukraine from 6 to 29 August 1945, in: RZCHIDNI (today RGASPI — Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, the former party archive of the CPSU) f. 17, 122, 117, pp. 44-55, 48.
{20} Comrade Schibaev, secretary of the town committee of the VKP (b), shorthand text of the meeting of the party committee of the town Schachtinsk on 5 March 1945, in: RZCHIDNI 17, 45, 1470, pp. 3-6; in RZCHIDNI all minutes are stored of meetings of the party throughout the Soviet Union.
{21} About the characterization of the various categories see U. Goeken-Haidl, Der Weg zurück. Die Repatriierung sowjetischer Zwangsarbeiter u. Kriegsgefangener während u. nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Essen 2006) 429-470 and 545-550 (with statistical tableaus and archival proofs).
{22} Shorthand text of the speeches during the meeting of the party committee of the town Schachtinsk of 22 November 1945, in: RZCHIDNI 17, 45, 1470, p. 47 et sequ.
{23} It is about a audio recording (2800 minutes) of 28 interviews with former Soviet concentration camp inmates in Bergen-Belsen. It was produced in 1997 within the framework of a project of the University of Hannover under the supervision of Hans-Heinrich Nolte. In August 2003 Ulrike Goeken-Haidl has translated and put into writing the essential part of those records on behalf of the memorial site Bergen-Belsen; see also: Häftlinge aus der UdSSR in Bergen-Belsen. Dokumentation der Erinnerung, edited by H.-H. Nolte (Frankfurt 2001).

On 5/26/11 Paul wrote:

You are welcome for the donation to your site and thank you for all the great information you’ve assembled.  My father passed May 6th and was in the 2nd WW.  This is part of his eulogy – I used some of your information:

While at work one day a friend of dad’s called and asked if he would like to talk a bit on his radio show called the 2nd Amendment Show. Dad would have Bill on speaker phone so I could listen in on what was being said live on the show.  They were like two people sitting at the table with a cup of coffee talking about the old days. Dad started telling of a time of WWII when the US soldiers were putting DPs (Displaced Persons) on the train headed back to Russia. These DPs were in desperate opposition to this repatriation and many would slit their wrists or commit suicide.  He said one man grabbed his gun barrel, put it to his head and said, “Shoot!  Shoot!” He pulled this one woman out of the train line and told her to go over there to a different line so she wouldn’t have to go back.  He wondered whatever happened to her.  A while later we got a phone call from a woman who was listening to the show and she said, “I think you were talking about my mother.”

Helen Karalia was 6 years old and with her Ukrainian mother standing in line to get on the train to go back to Russia. Her mother died over a year ago but she told her story of this American soldier to all her family.  She is a believer and so is most of her family and they tell me they owe it all to this soldier.  It’s not known for sure but I prefer to believe that my dad was that US soldier. Helen owns the Blue Ribbon Restaurant in Phelps, NY and she and her gracious family showered us with a lot of fellowship, table talk and smoking good food.

Operation Keelhaul

Close to 4.5 million Ukrainian soldiers were killed or disappeared during WW II. Another 8 million Ukrainian civilians also died or disappeared during this period. I understand that this is the highest per capita loss of any country in the world.

Every oblast in Ukraine was ordered to publish a complete list of all Ukrainian soldiers who died or went missing during World War II. Somewhere close to 300 volumes have been published with each volume naming about 15,000 to 20,000 family names. The books are named "KNYHA PAM'IATI UKRAINY" with subtitles naming the oblast. In most cases the family names are listed alphabetically by Oblast, then by Raion, then by village.

The books are either in Ukrainian or in Russian, and some volumes are available from Ukrainian bookstores (I got mine from the Edmonton Bookstore), at an average price of $40 each. I have about 35 volumes. Allan Szuch

Repatriiatsiia. Ost (East), V. 111s. 31sm. Language - Ukrainian. Nimechchyna (Germany), 1945-1946.

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