The USSR, Geneva Accords, POWs and the Nazi German Class System  (1941-1945)

When the Nazi War Machine invaded the USSR on June 22nd, 1941, it did so already occupying and benefitting from the vast resources of Western and Northern Europe. Although it had been at war with Great Britain since late 1939 (following Hitler’s betrayal of its fascist Polish ally), it was not yet at war with the United States and was fighting with its fascist Italian ally in North Africa against the British Forces active there. Just as Hitler had been popular amongst the European bourgeoisie from his rise to power and throughout the 1930s, he remained a highly popular amongst the population of the US! Hitler has solved unemployment by placing all the unemployed in ‘Concentration Camps’ where they worked for free (with their families receiving a small State Benefit) before being forcibly enrolled in the ever-expanding Nazi German (racially indoctrinated) Armed-Forces. Furthermore, Hitler’s racist ideology attracted thousands of volunteers from Northern Europe and elsewhere with Sweden and Portugal offering important natural resources. Another uniting factor was that all these societies were ‘capitalist’ with Hitler re-writing how capitalism operated in Germany through a rigid State-control that ensured that those Germans deemed ‘racially pure’ would benefit from innovative but limited schemes of wealth re-distribution. These schemes (premised on ‘hire-purchase’ an early form of credit – Thatcher and Reagan would repeat this popularist policy in the 1980’s generating decades of empty-debt).  

Churchill wrote admiring about Hitler in 1936 (and again in 1937) in his book about contemporary politicians and supposedly ‘great figures’ – mainly as an antidote to the Soviet Union’s intervention in its defence of (Socialist) Republican Spain and the (fascist) insurgency (supported by Hitler, Mussolini and the Catholic Church). The British Communist Movement was mobilising the British working-class men and women – a process that Churchill hated – to the banner of ‘Republican’ Spain! Bot Churchill and Hitler vied with one another to manipulate Poland so that its land-mass could be used as a gate-way through which Western (capitalist) forces could be used to ‘drive-through’ into the Russian interior and destroy the Soviet Socialist System. In this process of manipulation, however, Hitler decidedly had the upper-hand as Poland had always preferred right-wing political regimes and had been a staunch ‘fascist’ ally of Nazi Germany from 1930 onwards, hosting a State Visit for Joseph Goebbels in early 1934 (opening the ‘Bereza’ Concentration Camp in late 1934), and Polish troops triumphantly entering Czechoslovakia in 1938 alongside their Nazi German allies! It can only be assumed that Churchill drew the line at Hitler’s invasion of Poland not because he cared about the independence of the Polish people, on the contrary, but because he saw himself as being in competition with Hitler with regards to ‘who’ got to use Polish soil to their best national advantage! As ann interesting footnote to right-wing Polish behaviour, it was primarily ‘Polish’ pilots flying in the British RAF that bombed ‘Dresden’ in early 1945 – a British attack upon a supine Nazi Germany that many consider today to be a ‘War Crime’ and a ‘Crime Against Humanity.’  

General Plan Ost’ – ‘General Plan East’ (which was to be implemented through ‘Operation Barbarossa’ or ‘Red Beard’ named after a medieval German King) – was the brainchild of Adolf Hitler the leading Nazi hierarchy. It was premised upon the racist concept of ‘Lebensraum’ or ‘Living-space’ and was designed to ‘eradicate’ the presence of the Slavic race. This was Hitler’s plan for the people of the Soviet Union. The people and the regime was to be removed from the face of the earth as quickly as possible – with Hitler emphasising ‘brutally’ as the primary vehicle. Nazi German soldiers were indoctrinated to kill ALL Soviet citizens either on sight or through slave-labour whilst waiting for mass executions. This policy was enacted primarily in the West of the Soviet Union which was held completely by the Nazi Germans for around two-years before the Soviet Red Aemy ousted them from these positions (non-surrendered stragglers from the Red Army formed bands of ‘Partisans’ and mobilised the local peasantry on behalf of the Communist Party). The Nazi Germans were allied in the far north by the fascist Finnish who sought to re-conquer land lost in the Winter War (1939-1940). The Finns limited their war aims to just these objectives but their military presence in the Northern USSR diverted otherwise vital Soviet Forces to prevent an outflanking in this area.  The British were also active in this Northern theatre landing and withdrawing troops in and around Norway jockeying for position and dominance against Nazi German Forces. The Soviets were not allied at this time with the British whose military forces were a potential threat and at the time could not be trusted. 

Therefore, the Finns supported the Nazi German Offensive into the USSR but did not directly take part in the military thrust into Western Russia proper. Hitler’s Forces entered Western Russia through East Poland (‘Liberated’ since 1939 by the USSR) and across the borders of his allies – the Romanians, Slovakians and Hungarians. Hitler’s ally of ‘Imperial Japan’ (which was busy applying its own form of ‘genocide’ throughout China and much of Asia) supported this murderous assault upon the Soviet people ‘from afar’ – as Japan had toyed with the idea of invading the USSR from the East but was dissuaded by the successive military defeats its forces had suffered at the hands of the Soviet Red Army in 1938 and 1939 on the Manchurian-Korean and Manchurian-Mongolian respectively). The attack was ‘blessed’ by the Catholic Church with Italian and Spanish troops directly carrying this Papal Blessing into combat! The Bulgarians allowed their territory to be occupied by Nazi German Forces and did ‘support’ the attack but without taking part in it. The modern technology of warfare added a deadly potency to the maiming rape and pillage that enfolded as the Nazi Germans quickly ‘pierced’ through and ‘encircled’ massive Soviet military formations – taking hundreds of thousands prisoner in a short space of time. The order to ‘kill’ ALL Slavs was applied to the Soviet POWs which the Nazi Germans either killed in batches by machine-gun fire, starved or tortured to death, or exported far and wide to be slowly worked to death. This was the clear crime of ‘genocide’ but the Western powers who eventually won WWII were all capitalist and sided with the ideology of their former enemy – Nazi Germany. Even today neo-Nazism has re-emerged throughout Eastern Europe and it is tolerated by the capitalist West because it is an inherently ‘anti-Russian’ ideology. The US will continue to allow Russia to be treated this way until a Rothschild central bank is established in Moscow which is loyal to all US dictates. 

Having recently read PR (‘Pat’) Reid’s ‘The Colditz Story’, I was enthralled by the intrigue and disappointed by the ‘reactionary’ and purely ‘bourgeois’ attitudes of most of the characters – including the author. All the references are usually to obscure Public-Schools in the UK (paid for by rich parents of privileged school-children educated outside of the ‘free’ State Education System). Eton and Harrow are mentioned, but also the less well-known ‘Tiffins’ – which is a school in Kingston – although I know it from its ‘Girls’ section to which a number of Sutton young women sometimes win scholarships). Even as the election of an openly left-wing Labour Party (influenced by the USSR) approached in 1945, there was certainly no dialectical evidence of this snapshot of British society – certainly not in this sample of British Army, Royal Navy and RAF Officers who had escaped from other POW Camps (a population which included Airy Neaves – the mastermind behind Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power in 1979). Of course, I exclude the Soviet Red Army POWs kept close by the Colditz POW Camp – the physical state of which even sickened PR Reid – despite him implying that the USSR treated the Germon POWs just as bad as neither had ‘agreed’ to legally follow the ‘Geneva Concention’ when dealing with one another’s POWS (stating that as the UK and Nazi Germany had ‘signed this document – one another’s POWs were treated far better) – leaving-out the fact that Nazi Germany was committing genocide in the USSR and ended-up murdering around 41 million men, women, and children (between 1941-1945).  

PR Reid’s legal judgement as expressed in Chapter 18 of his 1952 ‘The Colditz Story’ – written and published at the height of the US inspired Cold War and the War of Aggression in Korea (1950-1953) a conflict which saw a small British military contingent participate within and be defeated by the Chinese Volunteers – is seriously flawed. Reid attempts to imply (as if to script) that the Soviet System was ‘brutal’ and ‘genocidal’ and therefore no different to the ‘National Socialism’ as espoused by Adolf Hitler. As Western (English) narratives and references are at best unreliable, and at worse deliberately deceptive, I have sought-out Russian language historical (and ‘legal’) sources to shed-light on this situation. Firstly, it is a legal impossibility for the USSR to have signed any legal undertaking prior to its formation in late 1922 – as it did not ‘legally’ or ‘physically’ exist. The same argument holds true for ‘Revolutionary Russia’ which existed between ‘1917-1922’. This was the time of the so-called ‘Russian Civil War’ – but was in fact a massive bourgeoise (international) effort to crush the Workers’ State as it was illegally invaded by the UK, US and twelve of their allies – and Germany and six of her allies from around April, 1918. The British Army in that year committed an atrocity at Baku through its murdering of Bolshevik Political Commissar POWs, but the greatest contradiction is that whilst British and German troops continued to kill one another in the mud of France and Belgium – troops of the same two ’enemy’ armies were fighting side by side in Revolutionary Russia, seeking to destroy the Socialist State. The Soviet situation is this: 

‘The USSR did not sign the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War. According to the documents, in 1929 the USSR signed the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field – one of the two Geneva Conventions of 1929, but did not sign the Convention on Prisoners of War: On July 27th, 1929, the Geneva Conference worked out a convention on the maintenance of prisoners of war. The government of the USSR did not take part in the drafting of this convention or in its ratification. Instead of joining the Convention on March 19th, 1931, the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR adopted the “Provision on Prisoners of War”, which generally repeated the Convention (that is wrote into Soviet Law), but retained a number of differences. The Soviet government did not consider it necessary to sign the Convention, because it had joined the Hague Conference, containing all the most important provisions as contained within the Geneva Convention.’ 

This is from a Russian Wikipedia page which is still controlled by the United States but cannot avoid a more ‘Russian’ import of data. However, true to script, it goes on to express the US Cold War viewpoint that there was ‘no difference’ between the USSR and the Nazi Germans – thus once again completely omitting the historical context of the conflict and the barbarous activities of the Nazi German regime which would soon be forgotten in the formation of the US-controlled Western German State and the US hiring of leading Nazi Officials in the formation of NATO and NASA, etc. The legal onus should have been upon the behaviour of the defeated Nazi Germans and upon the survival-tactics of the victorious Soviet Union! Nazi German military formations were ideologically trained to ‘destroy’ the Soviet infrastructure and murder as many of the racially inferior ‘Bolsheviks’ as they could physically kill! When they were taken prisoner, part of the deprivation they suffered was entirely of their own causing. What were the ‘differences’ between the Geneva Accords and the Soviet equivalents? Well, it is significant that the Russian Wikipedia page leaves this out. A more reliable Russian-language historical page states: 

‘On March 19th, 1931, the USSR issued its Regulations on prisoners of war, together with the GPU and Komsomol members. In general, it repeated the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War – but there were also important ‘Socialist’ differences.  

Captured Officers will receive no extra-privileges due to their rank.  

Saluting and wearing insignia will not be required.  

Salaries will be issued to ALL POWs equally – what is given to an Officer is given to an enlisted men (or women).   

POWs must NOT be ‘forced’ to work but must ‘consent’ to any labour carried-out. 

No distinction will be between POWs according to race, nationality, religious or political beliefs. 

No distinction is to be made with regard to the conditions of detention between POWs depending upon their rank and position. 

Only when requested by POWs themselves – should POWs be placed together with the prisoners of the same nationality. 

Officers who are POWs may not be placed separately from other prisoners of war.’ 

(In fact, the above regulations were only in effect from June 22nd – July 21st 1941 – before being replaced with a much stricter. comprehensive and compassionate list of measures as within weeks of the outbreak of the Nazi German invasion of the USSR – it became rapidly clear that the sheer-scale of the devastation, destruction and killing meant that the regulations of the Geneva Accords AND the 1931 Soviet rulings were not entirely suitable to handle the ‘new’ conditions emanating from ‘Blitzkrieg’ and the resulting ‘genocide’ – see below for revised regulations. Interestingly, when these regulations were first made public in 1991, key sections were deliberately omitted to give the impression that Nazi German POWs were treated far more harshly than in reality. The physical damage inflicted by the Nazi Germans was so great – and could not have been envisioned in 1931 – that ‘labour’ was made compulsory rather than ‘voluntary’ in 1941. This was the least these Nazi German POWs could do to put right some of the damage their regime had inflicted).  

In fact, Article 82 of the 1929 Geneva Convention states: 

“The provisions of this convention must be respected by the high contracting parties in all circumstances. If, in case of war, one of the belligerent parties turns out to be not a party to the convention, nevertheless, the provisions of such remain binding on all belligerents who have signed the convention.” 

As Germany had signed this 1929 convention on the treatment of prisoners of war – the Reich had to comply with it, regardless of whether the USSR had signed it or not. 

What is seen in PR Reid’s discourse is the post-1945 US derived Cold War narrative which is entirely fictious and anti-intellectual in nature. Furthermore, it is obvious that Nazi Germany was not ‘Socialist’ – at least not in the ‘Marxist-Leninist’ sense – as it fully retained the bourgeois class system familiar throughout all of liberal, bourgeois Europe! In this sense, ‘National Socialist’ Germany had its numerically superior working-class (which carried-out all the manual work), its ‘bourgeois’ or intellectual class that was trained to (oppress) and coordinate the workers – and the aristocracy which lorded it over the other two classes! This mirrored entirely the British class system and explains why British military Officers were placed in far better accommodation and conditions than their working-class British compatriots! There was nothing ‘Socialist’ about the class privilege the Nazi Germans afforded the captured British – as both societies were staunchly ‘capitalist’. The Nazi Germans concocted and used the legal fiction of the Soviets ‘not signing’ the Geneva Convention at the Nuremberg Trials to justify their barbarous treatment of Soviet POWs (aided by the equally fictitious US Cold War stories of abuse meted-out by the Soviet Authorities to returning Soviet POWs) – a ruse that found willing ears amongst the Nuremberg Judges other than the Soviet representative). The US, British and French ‘victors’ at Nuremberg were all ‘capitalist’ – as was the vanquished Nazi Germany – only the Soviet Union stood alone as a ‘Socialist’ victor who had carried-out most of the fighting (the racism of the capitalist countries ensured that China was omitted entirely despite losing around 60 million people between 1931-1945 – with Britain’s ruling Labour Party even ‘deporting’ thousands of Chinese people from the UK in 1946 following a racist backlash in the country). It seems almost obvious that POW legislation written from a ‘Socialist’ perspective would not have been accepted by the bourgeois world and its ‘Geneva Accords’ – but this is nothing but a typical manifestation of the hypocrisy of the Bourgeois System when so many other atrocities, mass murder, starvation, injustice and general oppression is routinely carried-out in the name of the ‘capital’ it supports and defends.  

The truth is that the Soviets did not have to sign any pretensions Geneva Accords as the Socialist System the USSR represented (under Comrade Joseph Stalin) was morally far more superior than anything the moribund bourgeois world could muster! This is why there was never any ‘Noble Peace Prizes’ for the Soviet formulators of their progressive moral guidance for the treatment of POWs! PR Reid was legally ‘incorrect’ to assume that that Nazi Germans and Soviet Union had no ‘exclusive’ or ‘special’ agreement together regarding the ‘treatment of one another’s POWs’ – as the onus was entirely upon the Nazi Germans to follow the 1929 Geneva Accords entirely to the letter regardless of the behaviour (alleged or otherwise) of the enemy! As to the ‘treatment of Nazi German POWs captured in theatre – the problem here is one of logistics. The Nazi Germans were killing the local Soviet populations in their millions whilst ‘destroying’ the Soviet State infrastructure (as a means of destroying the ‘Communist’ State). What did these criminals expect – five-star hotels with maid service? Don’t forget that Churchill had wanted to use a ‘united’ Western European force to attack and invade the Soviet Union immediately as the Germans capitulated (using a re-armed Nazi German Army in the vanguard) – but was thwarted by the US (under Roosevelt) who did not think it prudent. This stance of Churchill existed before the Nuremberg Trials and very much set the tone for them. Indeed, Churchill’s Anti-Soviet stance would find acceptance under Truman and would be a main plank in the US Cold War strategy. This is capital defending itself from a working-class uprising. The German POWs deserved everything they got and each should have thought about this possible outcome whilst willingly committing atrocities in Hitler’s name against the Soviet population! 

Russian Language Sources:Женевские_конвенции 

USSR – Revised POW Regulations 

Resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR No. 1798-800s on the approval of the Regulations on prisoners of war 

Moscow. July 1, 1941 

About the approval of the regulations on prisoners of war 1) 

The Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR decides: 

1. To approve the attached Regulations on Prisoners of War. 

2. To recognize as invalid the current Regulations on prisoners of war, approved by the decree of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR of March 19, 1931, No. 46 

Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR 
I. Stalin 2) 

Head of Affairs of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR 
Y. Chadayev 3) 


Appendix to the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR No. 1798-800S dated July 1, 1941 

Prisoner of War Regulation 4) 

I. General Provisions 

1 Prisoners of war are: 
a) persons belonging to the armed forces of states in a state of war with the USSR, captured during hostilities, as well as citizens of these states interned on the territory of the USSR; 
b) persons who are members of armed detachments that do not belong to the armed forces of the enemy, if they openly carry weapons; 
c) civilians accompanying, with appropriate permission, the enemy’s army and navy, such as correspondents, suppliers and other persons captured during hostilities. 
2 It is prohibited to 
a) insult and cruelly treat prisoners of war; 
b) apply to prisoners of war measures of coercion and threats [in] order to obtain from them information about the situation of their country in military and other relations. 
c) to take away the uniforms, underwear, shoes and other personal items, as well as personal documents and insignia, which are with the prisoners of war. 
Valuables and money may be taken from prisoners of war for storage under official receipts from authorized persons. 
3. Instructions and rules issued by the NKVD of the USSR 5) in the development of these Regulations. are posted in places where they can be read by all prisoners of war These instructions and rules, as well as orders and orders relating to prisoners of war, are announced to them in Russian and in languages familiar to them. 

II. Evacuation of prisoners of war 

4. Prisoners of war, after being taken prisoner, shall be immediately sent to prisoner-of-war camps. 
B. When captured, on behalf of the command of a unit or formation, registration of prisoners of war is carried out. 
When registering, each prisoner of war is obliged to give his real name and surname. patronymic, age, place of origin and matrix number 6)
This information is transmitted simultaneously with the prisoners of war to the points of their further movement. 
6. Wounded or sick prisoners of war in need of medical care or hospitalization must be immediately sent by the unit commanders to the nearest hospitals 
7. The maintenance of prisoners of war (food, sanitary, medical and other services) is carried out: 
a) until the arrival of the prisoners of war at the reception centers of the prisoner of war camps – by order of the army command: 
b) in the future – by the order of the NKVD organs of the USSR. 

III. Conditions of detention of prisoners of war and their legal status 

8. Reception points for prisoner of war camps are deployed in the rear of the army at the direction of the army command, and the camps are organized outside the war zone by order of the NKVD of the USSR in agreement with the People’s Commissariat of Défense. 
9. Prisoners of war are provided with accommodation, linen clothing, footwear, food and other necessities as well as cash allowances for the norms established by the Office of the NKVD of the USSR on matters of war and interned 7) 
List of items and supply products POW issue regulations specifying them posted on prominent place in barracks, hospitals and other premises where prisoners of war are housed. 
The receipt of food and other assistance by prisoners of war from outside should not cause a decrease in the types of allowances they receive at the expense of the state. 
10 Prisoners of war officers and other persons equated to them are accommodated separately from other prisoners of war and are provided with living quarters, clothing, linen, footwear, food and other necessities, as well as monetary allowances according to established norms. 
11. Prisoners of war are permitted to wear their uniforms and insignia. The carrying and storage of weapons by prisoners of war is prohibited. 
12 Prisoners of war in medical and sanitary terms are served on the same basis as the servicemen of the Red Army. 
For the hygiene and medical care of prisoners of war, in addition to the staffing of the camps may attract individuals medsostava hostile army from among the prisoners of war 
13 Prisoners of war shall be entitled 
a) at the earliest opportunity inform the home of his being in captivity, 61 to acquire at his own expense products, clothes, underwear, footwear and other items of personal use and basic necessities, 
c) receive duty-free, license-free and without paying excise taxes from home and from neutral countries parcels with food, clothing and other essential items, 
d) receive money transfers from home and from neutral countries 
14 To maintain internal order and communication with prisoners of war, the administration appoints from among the prisoners of war authorized or senior rooms, groups, barracks, etc. (depending on the conditions of accommodation of the prisoners of war), through which the prisoners of war are communicated with the administration of the camps on all matters 
15 Mail correspondence {closed and open letters, money transfers and letters with declared value), sent and received by prisoners of war, is sent free of charge in the manner determined by the Office of the NKVD of the USSR for prisoners of war and internees 8) 
16. Money in foreign currency sent to prisoners of war is exchanged for Soviet currency at existing course. 
Prisoners of war are allowed to have money on hand within the limits of the norms established by the Office of the NKVD of the USSR for cases of prisoners of war and internees. Surplus money in excess of the norms is handed over by the administration of the camps to the state labor savings banks. The issuance of money in excess of the established norms is carried out with the permission of the administration of the camps. 
17. Prisoners of war may make wills. The procedure for certifying the fact of the death of prisoners of war and the place of their burial must be properly formalized. 
18. Money and documents of deceased prisoners of war are transferred to the Central Information Bureau (under the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) to be sent to the heirs. 
Food parcels arriving in the name of deceased prisoners of war are transferred through authorized or elders for distribution among prisoners of war 
19. Prisoners of war are obliged to obey the administration and comply with both all the rules specified in this Regulation and the internal regulations issued by the USSR NKVD Administration for prisoners of war and internees. 

IV. Labour arrangement of prisoners of war 

20. Prisoners of war, private and non-commissioned officers, may be involved in work both in the camp and outside the camp in industry and agriculture of the USSR on the basis of special rules developed by the Office of the NKVD of the USSR for prisoners of war and internees. 
Officers and prisoners of war equated to them may to be involved in work only with their consent. 
21. Prisoners of war involved in work shall be subject to the regulations on labour protection and working hours applied in a given locality to citizens of the USSR working in the same branch of labor. 
22. Prisoners of war involved in work in various sectors of the national economy. receive a salary in the amount established by the Directorate of the NKVD of the USSR for cases of prisoners of war and internees. 
A deduction is made from the salaries of prisoners of war to reimburse the costs of their maintenance (payment for living space, utilities, food, if a general boiler ration is organized). 
23. The provision of living space and utilities to prisoners of war is carried out at the expense of enterprises and organizations in which prisoners of war are employed 
. received by them at the expense of the state 
. 25. The use of prisoners of war labour is prohibited: 
a) at work in areas of hostilities and 
b) to serve the personal needs of the administration of institutions, as well as to serve the personal needs of other prisoners of war (orderly). 

V. Criminal and disciplinary liability of prisoners of war 

26. Cases of crimes committed by prisoners of war are considered by military tribunals 9) according to the laws of the USSR and the Union republics. 
Failure by a prisoner of war to execute an order of persons to whom he is subordinate, resistance to these persons or insult by their actions in the performance of their official duties is equivalent to a corresponding military 
crime.27 For misdemeanours that do not entail criminal liability in court, prisoners of war are subject to disciplinary sanctions 
Types of these penalties, the procedure for imposition them and appeals, as well as the procedure for serving disciplinary sanctions, is determined by the rules issued by the Office of the NKVD of the USSR on cases of prisoners of war and internees in relation to the disciplinary charter of the Red Army. 
28. Prisoners of war who are under investigation or sentenced by a court to any measure of 
punishment, as well as subjected to disciplinary punishment, cannot be additionally subjected for the same offenses to any restrictions in excess of those related to their state under investigation or trial, as well as with the serving of disciplinary sanctions or punishments imposed on them by a court verdict 
29. The competent court shall notify the executive committee of the Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies no later than 20 days from the date of sentencing of each conviction. 
The verdict condemning a prisoner of war to capital punishment, immediately upon its issuance, is communicated to the executive committee of the Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and can be carried out no earlier than a month after the specified message 10)

Vi. On the organization of information and assistance to prisoners of war 

30. The exchange of lists of prisoners of war and communication in cases of prisoners of war with foreign and international Red Cross organizations or information bureaus shall be carried out by the Executive Committee of the Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 
For this purpose, under the Executive Committee of the Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a Central Information Bureau for Prisoners of War is established, operating on the basis of special provision 11), approved by the said Committee by agreement with the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the USSR and the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. 
31. Representatives of foreign and international Red Cross and other organizations are admitted to the territory of the USSR to provide assistance to prisoners of war with the special permission of the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. 

GA RF. F 9401. op. 1, d. 619, l 297-299. 
Typ. copy TSKHIDK F Sh op. 37 z, d. 1, l. 34-37. 
Type of copies 


1. Decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR No. 1798-800s of July 1, 1941, together with the Regulations on prisoners of war, was announced by order of the NKVD of the USSR No. 0342 of July 21, 1941. 

2. Stalin (Dzhugashvili) Joseph Vissarionovich (1879-1953) – one of the leading figures of the Communist Party and the Soviet state, the international communist and workers’ movement, Generalissimo of the Soviet Union (1945). Since 1922 – General Secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), since May 1941 – simultaneously chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (since 1946 – the Council of Ministers) of the USSR. During the Great Patriotic War – Chairman of the State Defense Committee, Headquarters of the Supreme Command, People’s Commissar of Defense. 

3. Chadayev Yakov Ermolaevich (1904-1982) – statesman, Doctor of Economics (1962). Member of the CPSU since 1929. Graduated from the All-Union Planning Academy in 1937. In 1938-1939 – Chairman of the State Planning Committee of the RSFSR, in 1939-1940 – Deputy. Chairman of the Commission for Soviet Control of the USSR. Since 1940 he has been the Head of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR. Since 1950 in various government jobs. Retired since 1975. 

4. The provision on prisoners of war without the text of the resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR No. 1798-800ss was first published in the Military Historical Journal (1991. No. 10. P. 50-52). Unfortunately, when it was published, the document was distorted. In the second paragraph of clause 29: “The verdict condemning a prisoner of war to capital punishment, immediately upon its issuance, is communicated to the Executive Committee of the Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and can be carried out no earlier than a month after the specified message”, the highlighted words are omitted. Unfortunately, this error has become typical for other publications of the document: V. B. Konasov. The fate of German prisoners of war in the USSR. Vologda, 1996.S. 60-64; Kuznetsov SI. Japanese in Siberian captivity (1945-1956). Irkutsk, 1997.S. 235-241. 

5. The People’s Commissariat (since 1946 – the Ministry) of Internal Affairs (NKVD-MVD) of the USSR is the central body of state administration. Created by decree of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR dated July 10, 1934 “On the formation of the All-Union People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs”, which included the Main Directorates of State Security, Workers ‘and Peasants’ Militia, Border and Internal Security, fire protection, forced labour camps and labour settlements, a number of other services. Under the NKVD, a special meeting was organized, which was granted the right to administer deportation, exile, imprisonment in forced labor camps for up to 5 years, and deportation outside the USSR. At the head of the NKVD-Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR in the 30-50s. were G.G. Yagoda (1934-1936, convicted and shot), N.I. Yezhov (1936-1938, convicted and executed), L.P.Beria (1938-1945, 1953, convicted and executed), S.N. Kruglov (1946-1956), N.P. Dudorov (1956-1960). 

In the sphere of competence of the NKVD-Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, not only traditional law enforcement, repressive and some special defence functions were concentrated. In 1938, the NKVD took over the Central Archives Administration. Gradually, it turns into one of the main centres of management of the Soviet mobilization economy. It is enough to list some of the directorates that were part of the NKVD of the USSR in those years to be convinced of this: Dalstroy – Main Directorate of Construction of the Far North, Gushosdor – Main Directorate of Highways, Glavpromstroy – Main Directorate of Industrial Construction Camps, Glavspetsvetmet – Main Special Directorate of Camps for mining of non-ferrous metals, GULLP – Main Directorate of Timber Industry Camps, GULZhDS – Main Directorate of Railway Construction Camps, Glavgidrostroy – Main Directorate of Camps for Hydraulic Engineering Construction, GULGMP – Main Directorate of Camps for Mining and Metallurgical Enterprises, and many others. The NKVD was able to carry out such significant economic tasks by the prisoners of the GULAG camps at its disposal, to which during the war and after it were added prisoners of war and internees of the GUPVI. The right to promptly distribute compulsory labour among the objects of heavy, mining and other industries, construction and transport allowed the NKVD to influence the economic strategy and security of the state (nuclear program).  

6. Matricular number – directory number, list number. 

7. Internees are persons subjected to a special regime of restriction of freedom (compulsory detention) established by one belligerent in relation to civilians of the other party or by a neutral state in relation to the military personnel of the belligerents who have found themselves on its territory. Internees must be released by the Power in whose power they are located as soon as the reasons for their internment have disappeared. At the end of hostilities or occupation, they should be assisted in returning to their former place of residence or in repatriation. The return of internees from the Soviet Union to their homeland dragged on for many years after the war. This was primarily due to the main goal, which was pursued by the leadership of the USSR at the end of the war during the internment of foreign citizens – the restoration of the national economy of the country. – See com. to doc. No. 2.22. 
8. Initially, the Office of the NKVD of the USSR for prisoners of war and internees was called differently. In the order of the NKVD of the USSR No. 0308 of September 19, 1939, it is called the Office of Prisoners of War. On the same day L.P. Beria approved the staff of the NKVD Directorate for Prisoners of War and Internees. In the Regulations on the UPV, which came into force at the same time, it appears as the Office for Prisoners of War Affairs under the NKVD of the USSR. In July 1940, when Polish citizens interned in Lithuania entered the NKVD prisoner-of-war camps, Polish citizens interned in Lithuania entered the NKVD prisoner-of-war camps by the UPV. The UPV became known as the Office of Prisoners of War and Internees (UPVI). This name survived almost until the end of the war. January 11, 1945due to a sharp increase in the number of prisoners of war and the number of camps, the UPVI was renamed into the Main Directorate of the NKVD of the USSR for Prisoners of War and Internees (GUPVI NKVD of the USSR). After the repatriation of the bulk of the prisoners of war to their homeland on June 20, 1951, the GUPVI of the NKVD of the USSR was again reorganized into the UPVI of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR. On March 14, 1953, the Department for Prisoners of War and Internees was disbanded in connection with the reorganization of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, and its functions were transferred to the Prison Administration of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs.  

9. Military tribunals – courts that administered justice in the Armed Forces of the USSR and were part of the unified judicial system of the USSR. They consider cases of military crimes, attributed by law to their competence. During the war years, their competence was expanded. They considered cases of crimes not only in the army and at the front, but also in the rear. The principle of electiveness of judges of military tribunals was replaced by their appointment. tribunals of the troops of the NKVD of the USSR, the judicial administration of which was carried out by the People’s Commissariat of Justice of the USSR through the Office of the tribunals of the troops of the NKVD. Military tribunals in the troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs were abolished in September 1953. 

10. The 1941 Prisoner of War Regulations significantly differed from the 1931 Regulations. This difference is primarily due to the tightening of the regime for keeping prisoners of war. So, if in 1931 the supply of prisoners of war was envisaged according to the norms for the supply of servicemen of the rear units of the Red Army, then in 1941 already according to the norms established by the UPVI NKVD of the USSR. Prisoners of war were deprived of the right to elect their own bodies to represent the interests of prisoners of war and other purposes. Prisoners of war, private and non-commissioned officers, were now compulsorily involved in labour without their consent to this. From the 1941 regulation, the clause that the deduction of a prisoner of war from the earnings to reimburse the costs of his maintenance cannot exceed 50% of the earnings has disappeared. If in the Regulations of 1931 it was written that the sentence, condemning a prisoner of war to the highest measure of social protection (execution), is carried out no earlier than three months from the date of sending a message about the sentence passed to the Executive Committee of the SOKK and the Communist Party of the USSR, then in 1941 this period was already reduced to one month. 

11. The regulation on the Central Information Bureau, agreed with the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the USSR and the UPVI of the NKVD of the USSR, was approved by the leadership of the Executive Committee of the COOK and the CP on July 24, 1941. For the text of the regulation, see: V. B. Konasov. The fate of German prisoners of war in the USSR. Vologda, 1996.S. 69-70. 

Published according to the book: Prisoners of war in the USSR. 1939-1956: Documents and materials / Scientific research. Institute of Economic Problems. history of the twentieth century, etc .; Ed. MM. Zagorulko. – M .: Logos, 2000. 

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