As the German prisoners in the USSR cheated their guards

History 17/02/20 As German prisoners in the USSR cheated their guards

as soon as the Red army beat the Wehrmacht, the German prisoners were accumulated. In the USSR they have created more than 200 camps, which worked, according to various estimates, from 3 to 3.8 million prisoners of war and interned soldiers of the Hitler coalition. A key principle their content was simple — “who does not work shall not eat.” In the first two or three years was scarce (in the USSR there was a famine and malnourished themselves Russian), in 1946 in the diet included even the grass.

But the works were many: the Germans built houses, airports and railway stations, roads, worked in the oil industry, in the mining industry, in the mines and the machine, the lumber camps and in metallurgy. They did everything under the supervision and worked, and lived. As it always happens in such situations, many prisoners sought different opportunities to avoid most of the hard work and get as much food, smokes, booze, money, etc.

So, according to published I. Pyhalovym to the memoirs of the SS, in one case, prisoners were transferred to the bricks — took two by the hand and dragged. But one took not four but only two bricks. When the guards asked him why he takes only two, the prisoner replied that all the others are lazy and just don’t want to go twice. Oddly enough, the prisoner was not punished.

According to the memoirs of a German non-commissioned officer Hans Becker, captive after the battle of Kursk (and stayed in the Soviet Union until the liberation in 1950), and ways to avoid hard labor was set. In the book “In war and in captivity…” (Moscow, 2012) Becker describes how he and others caught with him by the Germans. Not all Soviet officers were professional camp guard. Often prisoners were left in the care of drivers, artisans or other workers that the Germans helped them to work. Then it was possible to observe such overseer, to exploreit is his psychological weaknesses and use them for different purposes.

the Becker, the first warden was Russian chauffeur Nikolai. Thanks to the gullibility and kindness, Nicholas (who even allowed the Germans to just call him Kolya) prisoners were stealing part of the cargo, such as foods. In addition, nick was a drunk, and when he realized that the Germans can drive a car, began to drink and allow them to operate the machine. The Germans behaved well, and nick began to trust them. Careless drinking, the warden from time to time the prisoners were left alone, as “it seems, did not believe that we would try to escape.”

it was near the front, and, of course, the prisoners did not fail at the first opportunity to betray the trust of a Russian overseer. Machine that you trust them, they stole and rushed to the front line. At the time, Becker was lucky with his “camarada” Walter they reached the German positions. But less than a year, when the Wehrmacht retreated West, he was again taken prisoner. And this time escape has not turned out — the prisoners sent to the rear, work in the pow camps for the reconstruction of destroyed by the Germans of the Soviet economy.

the Camp is a system organized for the suppression of the prisoners with the help of government officers. Most often the guards lied to the prisoners, deriving from their work for personal benefit: for example, inflated plans for logging to the surplus to do the established norm just to sell; or sell part of the products intended for the prisoners. But as Becker writes in the camps had opportunities to cheat and prisoners. Where the discipline of the guards were not strict enough, the prisoners quietly absented himself from the camp to get something edible or tobacco in the neighbouring villages, and even steal in the fields (for example, dig up potatoes).

But on deception sustainable for a long period of prosperity have not worked. In the end, the prisoners and the guards, in most cases, came a kind of collusion — the prisoners worked on conscience and helped the guards, and naziraal softened the detention regime and turned a blind eye to minor violations of the Germans. It was not until the very end in 1955 when the last German prisoners were sent from the USSR to his home.

Konstantin Dmitriev

© Russian Seven

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