What the red army deserted in Europe after the victory over Hitler

History 17/01/20 What the red army deserted in Europe after the victory over Hitler

the Victory over Nazi Germany – the great feat of the Soviet Union. Soldiers and officers of the red army that liberated Europe from Nazism, in early may 1945, was pleased to return home, dreamed of a peaceful life and families. But there was among the soldiers of the red army and those who did not want to be back in the land of the Soviets. These people took advantage of the confusion of the holidays, and deserted, hoping for a better life in the West.

They saw another life

in General, in any war meet the defectors. And when soldiers prefer to stay in the country to which he came with arms in hands, are not uncommon. For example, after the Foreign campaigns of the Russian army (1813-1814 years) thousands of soldiers and officers, defeated Napoleon’s army, did not wish to return to the realities of serfdom.

researcher of the Central archive of the defense Ministry of the Russian Federation Elena Kontova wrote an article “the Work of polyorgano and morale of the personnel of the red Army in the final stages of the great Patriotic war: historical reality and modern ideas”. This work was published in the collection “the Great Patriotic war – known and unknown: historical memory and the present” (WIR RAS, 2015 edition). The author noted that many of the soldiers struck European welfare. The soldiers first saw the bourgeois way of life.

“At the individual soldiers appeared incorrect and harmful, from the point of view of Soviet morality, sentiments, which in one form or another was expressed in conversations with friends. So, voenfeldsher 119 GW. DM Mass, in conversation with the senior Sergeant Lipoveni said: “this is how Romanians live, just enough culture, and I have in the Penza family lives from hand to mouth”. As testified to military censorship, some soldiers in letters to the roDean has expressed a desire to remain after the war in Romania or Hungary, citing the fact that supposedly it is easier to live, there is more culture and better people,” wrote E. N. Concava.

the Red army surprised the infrastructure of Germany, Austria and other European countries, luxury shops, restaurants and hotels. Beautiful paved road, tiled toilets, rich utensils neat cottages, bicycles and gramophones – all this impressed the people, who had never seen such wealth.

Seeing a very different life, some of the soldiers and officers began to wonder whether to return to the land of the Soviets, bombed cities and villages with completely destroyed infrastructure, where many people were starving.

According to E. N. Kozovoy, the workers actively fought against such attitudes among the troops, tried to explain that the Europeans amassed wealth through the exploitation of the working people.

But some soldiers had nothing against capitalism.

there were many Deserters

it is Known that for the liberation of Europe was at war, almost 7 million Soviet soldiers. Moreover, approximately 1 million of them died at the front. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria and Germany – each of these countries has left thousands of graves of soldiers-heroes.

But the deserters, too, were many. According to the archives of the defense Ministry, in all the years of the great Patriotic war, about 1 million 700 thousand soldiers and officers escaped from the military units, not wanting to fight.

In September 1944, Deputy chief of office Department of the NKVD of the USSR on the anti-gang L. Faces prepared for the leadership Certificate numbers of deserters from the red Army for three years of the great Patriotic war. At that time they counted 1 million 210 thousand 224 people.

considering that the Red army approached the border of the Soviet Union in March 1944, it turns out that more than 500 thousand soldiers and officers of the red army deserted in Europe at the end war. Probably many of these people wanted to stay in the West, otherwise difficult to explain such a mass Exodus from the ranks of the conquering army.

for Example, on April 24, 1945, during the battle for Berlin, Soviet military pilot on his plane crossed into the territory controlled by the Wehrmacht. It was the latest defector from the red army officially recorded by the Nazis, he later was not before the office formalities.

the Reasons for the flight of each person was their own: someone could not forgive the Soviet regime repressed relatives; some hated the Communists since the days of forced collectivization; someone back in the USSR expected conclusion for the committed war crimes; some were seeking freedom and material prosperity.

a Festive mess

Escape from the location of the military unit – it is dangerous and difficult, especially because of the mood of the red army kept the political Commissars, the NKVD. But in the holiday mess, when almost all the soldiers became intoxicated from a long-awaited Victory, to desert was much easier.

Many soldiers went home: who to ride, who to fail, who are in special trains, and some on their own. Immediately after the war most of the military counterintelligence was dismissed as the work of the intelligence agencies reformed to meet the changed situation.

the Group of Soviet forces in Germany was formed on 10 June 1945. Soon all military units stationed in the zone of influence of the USSR, was created so-called special departments who were involved in counterintelligence activities. This was described in detail in his book “Death to saboteurs and spies! The truth about SMERSH” (Moscow, 2010) a veteran of the NKVD by Leonid Ivanov.

it happened that in the course of the month, from 9 may to 10 June 1945 – there was a unique situation where many people could easily get lost. The Nazis no longer maintain any accounting of citizens of the new German administrati not yet exist, the Soviet troops were reorganized, and the allies deserters not particularly interested.

the Exact information, how many soldiers remained in Europe after the war, no one else. And yet, according to indirect data, we can estimate the scale of the phenomenon.

tens of thousands

the team of scientists involved in the statistical calculations in the archives of the defense Ministry, headed by the famous military historian Grigoriy Krivosheyev. Under his editorship he published a book “Russia and USSR in wars of XX century. Losses of the armed forces” (Moscow, 2001).

According to data group G. F. Krivosheeva, as of July 1, 1945 in the reports of the NKVD were 212 thousand 400 troops, under the definition of “not found stragglers from the trains, of deserters.”

it is Worth noting that representatives of the military counter-intelligence regularly carried out raids in various regions of the USSR and the countries of Europe, revealing hundreds of fugitives. Real cases of people managed to escape from the “authorities” were quite rare. And if, by 1 July 1945 wanted was more than 200 thousands of deserters, it can be concluded that many of them escaped from military units in the holiday confusion.

Although some of these people were able to defect before the end of the war. And someone may have just killed and left lying in some crater without being found. In any case, at least tens of thousands of people decided to stay in the West after the Victory.

this information is indirectly confirmed by other data. The author of the book “the Executioners and executions in the history of Russia and the USSR” (Moscow, 2013 edition) Vladimir Ignatov, for example, estimated the number of defectors among the red army soldiers who surrendered to the Nazis during the war. They were about 40 thousand or 1.4-1.5% of the total number of Soviet prisoners of war. I mean, that was the intended percentage of the secret ideological opponents of communism in the red army.

If note that in Europe in may 1945 there were about 6 million Soviet soldiers and officers who have already drawn attention to the welfare of Germans, Romanians, Austrians and Hungarians, the desire and the ability to jump could well be 1.5 % of the total number of red – and it is about 90 thousand people. However, it is unlikely that all of them decided to run away.

That was then

most of the deserters were in filtration camps of the NKVD, because the solution to the famous Yalta conference in 1945, the allies gave Soviet citizens who find themselves in their area of influence, the Soviet authorities.

the Geographer and historian Pavel Polian told about voluntary-compulsory repatriation in the article “Soviet citizens in the Reich: how many were there?” This scientific paper was published in the Bulletin “Population and society” as a senior researcher (No. 53 of 2001). According to the scientist, the repatriation was to be around 8 million 700 thousand people. The lion’s share of them were Ostarbeiters and former prisoners of concentration camps.

Only about 700 of the thousands of Soviet citizens who were in Europe after the war, remained in the West. How many of these “defectors” were deserters? Nobody knows. Some might get lost, buying false documents and having Affairs with local women, if you spoke German.

As he wrote in his memoirs, veteran counterintelligence L. G. Ivanov, some soldiers of the group of Soviet forces in Germany, too, sought to escape to the West, marrying German women. In the first years after the war, the boundary between the future East and West Germany not so securely guarded. But the NKVD prevented almost all such attempts.

Origanum Tanatarova

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