Rus Articles Journal

Stalingrad prisoners of war Germans. Why they died?

They say that there are three types of lie: lie, big lie and statistics. When want to emphasize brutality of the attitude towards prisoners of war during World War II, very often speak about sad destiny of Stalingrad prisoners of war of Germans.

without mentioning the general figures (in German to captivity about 60% of the Soviet prisoners of war died, and in Soviet to captivity about 15% of the German prisoners of war died), emphasis is placed on mortality of the German prisoners of war in Stalingrad.

And their destiny is indeed terrible. When at the Kalatch pincers of the coming troops of RKKA were closed, in a copper there were about 250 000 German soldiers and their allies. It was on November 23, 1942. On February 2, 1943 in captivity about 90 thousand Germans gave up. From them only about 6 thousand prisoners of war survived and could come back home. What has happened?

Our persons serving in rear had no experience of the organization of life support of such big groups of prisoners of war yet. By November 19, 1942 in ours to captivity there were less than 20 000 soldiers and the opponent`s officers. And in their Stalingrad copper over 200 000 people were surrounded.

Problems with supply at Germans began long before they were surrounded. In September the diet of soldiers 6 - y armies made slightly more than a half of potrebny number of calories (1800 calories against necessary 3000-4000). In October and November the situation only worsened as local population was is robbed without remainder in September.

At the end of November the situation was even more aggravated, norms of delivery were reduced to 350 g of bread and 120 g of meat a day. Since December 1 norms of delivery of bread were reduced to 300 g, and since December 8 - to 200 g. Further norms of delivery decreased still. If at the very beginning of an environment “air Goering Bridge“ gave at least a half of provisions necessary to Germans and ammunition, then soon when destruction cargo Yunkersov - 52 was adjusted, cargo delivery was sharply reduced. And when our coming parts occupied airfields (on both sides), to deliver provisions and ammunition became possible only on parachutes from bombers in special containers. Wind often delivered the German parcels in an arrangement of parts of RKKA. In memoirs of our participants of that fight these containers were given appreciation, the provisions were tasty, here only ammunition in them took a lot of place too.

Since the end of November on the end of December in the surrounded group only officially there were 56 cases of death because of “a lack of food“.

At the beginning of January the diet on 6 - y armies on average decreased to 50-100 g a day. In the last days of existence of a copper sick and wounded which made from 30 000 to 40 000 people did not receive any food at all.

Except hunger, the surrounded soldiers were killed also by cold. In December - January temperature in that region made from - 15 to - 25 degrees. These are, of course, not terrible Siberian frosts, but in the absence of normal winter clothes and normal food... And from frostbites to gangrene - one step.

From the very beginning of approach when for the first time since the beginning of war the mass of prisoners of war of soldiers of the opponent appeared, tried to attend to People`s Commissariat for Internal Affairs to safety of prisoners of war. Even if to assume that it was made not of “humanity“ at all: a large number of the dead in captivity is a trump for the enemy in information war.

Already 30. 12. 1942 Beria received the report about shortcomings of reception of prisoners of war (then there were many Italian and Hungarian prisoners of war from the armies which got under our approach). 02. 01. 1943 the order of the people`s commissar of defense No. 1 was devoted to problems of prisoners of war and establishing their transportation, contents and food in captivity. However, claim that problems with reception and the organization of prisoners remained all 1943 - y year.

When at the end of January - the beginning of February Paulyus`s group finally capitulated, in captivity there were 91 545 Germans (from them about 2500 officers and generals). About 10% from them were in a hopeless state and died. Practically all of them were exhausted. About 70% were sick with dystrophy. About 60% had frostbites 2 - y and 3 - y degrees with complications in the form of sepsis and gangrene.

All this occurred in the destroyed city. That prisoners of war survived, it was necessary to bring them in already created by this time camp for prisoners of war. The next was approximately at 5 o`clock the pedestrian course from the city of (Beketovka). The survived prisoners of war speak about this march as about march of death. In the winter, in a frost, without normal clothes not all frost-bitten dystrophic persons passed it a route.

In camps mortality remained still very high. In March the special commission examined one of camps for prisoners of war and estimated a condition of prisoners of war so: 29% of healthy, 71% percent of patients and weakened. At the same time as healthy considered those who independently could move.

By May 10, 1943 from inhabitants of beketovsky camps 35099 were hospitalized, 28098 people are sent to others of camp, and 27078 more people died. And after war from “residents of Stalingrad“ only about 6000 people returned to Germany.

If to consider that captured officers (they were about 2500 people) were supported in much more comfortable officer camps, it is necessary to recognize that very little who drove out of ordinary Stalingrad prisoners of war and came back home.

At the same time it is necessary to know what from 1941 to 1949 in the USSR for various reasons died or more than 580 thousand prisoners of war died that makes only 15 percent from total number taken prisoner (certainly - at the same time also terrible mortality among Stalingrad prisoners is considered).

For comparison: the Soviet prisoners of war in camps 57 percent died...

So why - if speak about destiny of the German prisoners of war, then so often remember Stalingrad Germans? Probably, from - for the fact that, doing everything possible for preservation of lives of the German prisoners of war, the Soviet doctors nevertheless did not manage to rescue frost-bitten dystrophic persons.