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Ahmed Pasic

POW camps in Russia

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Ahmed Pasic

Hi,

Where did Russia have POW camps during WWI? Which locations, for how many people, opened till when etc? Were they deep inside Russia or near front-line, how did they treat prisoners in general etc.

Are there any online resurces about this in English? Any comment is precious for me. Thank you.

Ahmed

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egbert

There were thousands of camps littered all over the country but mainly in Siberia. The PoWs were kept captive until 1921 and were playball during the civil war there. They died like flys mainly from starvation , refusal of medical treatment, lack of medication and exhaustion from slave labor in the siberian woods and the notorious mines. I have posted an online book but in German language in another thread about a week ago.

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Guest

I asked the same question on an Dutch Fourm and this link was the only useful reply.

http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Kriegsgefange...ges_in_Russland

In general the prisoners were threated realy bad. Many of them died of the cold,foodshortage or diceases. They had to work in order to earn some money which they could spend on food or clothing. They could also recive some money from home if they were able to send the word out where they were.

We must keep in mind that the Russian prisonners weren't threated any better by the Germans or Austrian/Hungarian. There are reporteds of POW's returning in late 1922.

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egbert

The link only lists the main camps from where the POWs were sent into hundreds of smaller camps, distributed as far away as 500km from main camps.

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Guest

That is true but there isn't anything else to find on internet. Do you have anything else because if so post it please!!!! I'm searching for info on this subject too.

By the way assuming you know something about this subject too. I've got four cards send to an Austrian POW and the first two cards are send to a Russian camp called Perwaja Rjetschka by Wladiwostok. Then I've got two cards to the same camp but then it's called Japenese POW camp same name same place? I know the Japanese occupied a large part of Siberia until 1922 but these were former Russian armycamps and stocks. Do you have any info on the fact that the Japanese occupied these POW camps? An example of the cards you can see below. The first without the notice of Japanese camp the second with.

The second scan.

post-47035-1258554164.jpg

post-47035-1258554360.jpg

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egbert

@A. de Koster, your name sounds Dutch, so you should be able to read German. Here is an account from a PoW in Russia, ordeal starts at page 9. There are also lots of camp names from Siberia. Hope that helps

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Guest

Egbert. Many thanks for your help. I'm indeed Dutch and can read German. Thats the reason why I've read this piece already. It's really intresting and I've read it in 2 days. But I want to thank you very much for your help and time!!! I really apreciate this, many thanks. For those who are intrested in this subject should really read this piece from a German POW.

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James A Pratt III

As I mentioned in a earlier post there are two good books on central powers POWs in Russia during WW I: POWs and the Great War Captivity on the Eastern Front by Alon Rachmimov and Among the Prisoners of War in Russia and Siberia by Elsa Branstorm. One can say that the treatment in the camps could range from not too bad in some cases to really awful in others.

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Guest Susan7

Can anyone confirm the existence of a POW camp in Oslo in the Ural Mountains in Russia? I have tried searching for such a camp, but can only find info on WWII, Oslo, Norway. Perhaps my spelling is incorrect?

Thanks in advance for any help you might provide.

Susan7

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bob lembke
We must keep in mind that the Russian prisonners weren't threated any better by the Germans or Austrian/Hungarian. There are reporteds of POW's returning in late 1922.

This is not a general observation, and I am hardly expert on this topic, but I have a bit of direct information. When the war started in 1914 my father's school was soon closed, and he went to a noble's farm (Rittergut) in western Prussia to work taking in the harvest, taking the place of men who had been called up. He stayed there until he entered the Army in mid-1915. He corresponded with friends on the farm during the war (I have a bit of this correspondence), and after the war he went back to the farm for a while and worked there as a bookkeeper.

Quite soon after the war started a large number of Russian prisoners appeared to work on the farm. Of course most of them were peasants and familiar with agricultural work. Of course they had to be guarded, so there was an old man from the Landsturm (he seemed to be old to my 18 year old father; he could not have been older than 45, which was considered old in those days.), armed with a single-shot 11 mm rifle, probably that Model 1871. As the rifle was heavy, the Landsturmmann old, and there were many prisoners, one of them was detailed to carry the heavy rifle for the old guard.

When the war was over the Russians were sent home. Some time later, some of them started to turn up. They had walked or rode the rails perhaps 1000 km or more, as Russia was a mess and since they had never been treated as well as they had been in Germany, where, for example, they slept between white sheets, which most of them had never seen before. (I might add that my father had some Russian, picked up on multiple trips into Russia before the war; when I was about 19 my father taught me some so we could talk at work without anyone understanding. So he probably chatted a bit with the Russians. At age 18 he had six languages,) They would pop up, supposedly saying things like: "I am Ivan. Don't you remember me? I worked so hard. Can I rejoin the farm?" (My father did not tell me if they were actually taken in. My father's oral history, much of which I doubted at first, has proved to be extraordinarily accurate, at least the sort of things that I can test against documents, sources, letters, etc.)

I would doubt that the Germans kept any Russian prisoners after the war. Why would they go to that expense? Millions of men were returning from the various fronts and needed work, and goverment revenues were a mess. The goverment was in the control of moderate Socialists and labor leaders, and occasionally certain areas or governments were taken over briefly by Reds with allegance to Russia and the Bolsheviks. There were commissions of Allied officers swarming over Germany, controling certain things, and looking for prohibited arms that they were supposed to turn over to the Allies. (My father was active in hiding some of them.) Holding POWs would have been against agreements, and really would have been counter-productive.

I am not saying that it is impossible, but it seems very unlikely. I know a lot about both Germany, and Russia and Poland in 1919 and 1920. Makes no sense. I would guess that many would have been sent back in 1917 or during 1918. The Russian Army had dissolved. But if you have a source I would be very interested. (I just read about 4000 pages of material from the Reichsarchiv on the fighting on the Eastern Front.) More likely that some men went back for a while, or worked as day labor, as long as they could. Russia was a mess and very dangerous.

Bob Lembke

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John Gilinsky

Consult the online Russian state archival descriptions to find POW holdings. I believe that some if not several fonds and files direclty relate to the POW camp administration during WWI. Also try checking Sweden, Denmark, USA, German and Austrian Red Cross archives, histories, memoirs as these nations sent missions, official visits etc...to Russia.

John

Toronto

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Guest Susan7
Consult the online Russian state archival descriptions to find POW holdings. I believe that some if not several fonds and files direclty relate to the POW camp administration during WWI. Also try checking Sweden, Denmark, USA, German and Austrian Red Cross archives, histories, memoirs as these nations sent missions, official visits etc...to Russia.

John

Toronto

Thanks John. Will forward your suggestion.

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PBI

It has always interested me in as to what happened to the 90 American Officers and Men taken POW by the Bolsheviks in 1919..???..Knowing the Communists they would have denied all knowledge..as per usual.

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John Gilinsky

Try checking out the Michigan infantry unit (National Guard really) I think off the top of my head the 336th. US Infantry that made up for Northern Russia the principal US infantry force. Their nickname I think were the "Polar Bears." I believe that they did loose some men as POWS. I also remember reading a few years back that the majority of Americans captured by the "BOLOS" were released but that I think 3 or so chose to stay behind in the new Soviet Union and at least one or two were still around in WW2.

John

Toronto

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ChuckT

Hpwow would I get to " the online Russian state archival descriptions"?

quote name='John Gilinsky' timestamp='1271958250' post='1397884']

Consult the online Russian state archival descriptions to find POW holdings. I believe that some if not several fonds and files direclty relate to the POW camp administration during WWI. Also try checking Sweden, Denmark, USA, German and Austrian Red Cross archives, histories, memoirs as these nations sent missions, official visits etc...to Russia.

John

Toronto

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bob lembke

John;

Yes, do give us a clue as to what one can find on-line re: Imperial Russian materials (or Bolshi post-1917 material) on WW I matters. I am surprised that someone has bothered with that. Very interesting!

Perhaps deserving a focused thread? Or has that been done?

Bob Lembke

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John Gilinsky

Check out my recently started thread on Official AH online sources in the OTHER thread of the GWF which includes an extremely detailed and complete set of the officially published AH List of their own POWS including of course Russia. Many camps are identified but not all but at least fairly precise geographical descriptions such as Gubernia (i.e. Provinces) and towns are noted thereby facilitating modern day archival research etc....

Danke

John

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Jasta72s
We must keep in mind that the Russian prisonners weren't threated any better by the Germans or Austrian/Hungarian. There are reporteds of POW's returning in late 1922.

Sorry, but this is most-likely not true for Russian POW in German captivity. Their survival rate was significant higher than the survival rate of German POW in Russian hands.

Please note what I have posted already on another thread here (I quote myself):

The other way around the fate of many Russian POW in Germany was not easy too. Most POW were sent back in the first months after EOW but 300,000 had to wait a very, very long time because the Allieds did not allow the re-patriation to Bolshevist Russia and put pressure on other countries to refuse railway transports back to Russia. In 1920 the number of prisoners was even increasing when 50,000 (one Russian source reports 90,000) Soviet soldiers crossed German borders after defeat by the Polish Army and were interned in Germany.

As well it should be noted that a considerable number of these (former) POW decided to stay in Germany after end of their prisonership.

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Guest loupetho

I'm preparing a documentary on my grandfather, Lajos Petho, who escaped from the Irkutsk POW camp in 1915. He then walked home to Budapest arriving in 1918. If anyone has information on escapee POWs from Siberia I would be most interested. Thanks in advance. Lou Petho lou.petho@me.com

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egbert

I'm preparing a documentary on my grandfather, Lajos Petho, who escaped from the Irkutsk POW camp in 1915. He then walked home to Budapest arriving in 1918. If anyone has information on escapee POWs from Siberia I would be most interested. Thanks in advance. Lou Petho lou.petho@me.com

http://www.kilb.at/bertl.strasser/

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egbert

Perhaps interesting:

http://tobias-lib.un...diss_wurzer.pdf

Greetings

Karsten

Danke für den interessanten Link. Da habe ich ja wieder 500 Seiten zu lesen......

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infantry

I'm preparing a documentary on my grandfather, Lajos Petho, who escaped from the Irkutsk POW camp in 1915. He then walked home to Budapest arriving in 1918. If anyone has information on escapee POWs from Siberia I would be most interested. Thanks in advance. Lou Petho lou.petho@me.com

Hi,

There are, as far as I know, around ten Ottoman officer-memoirs about escape from Russian POW camps. However all in Turkish. You might try your chances with Yucel Yanikdag's Ph. D. dissertation Ill-fated Sons of the Nation: Ottoman Prisoners of War in Russia and Egypt, 1914-1922, The Ohio State University, 2002. The main of the dissertation is how the Russian and British treated Ottoman POWs but there good passages about escapes.

Regards

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Karsten

Danke für den interessanten Link. Da habe ich ja wieder 500 Seiten zu lesen......

Egbert, gern geschehen. Die 500 Seiten halten mich (zumindest gerade) davon ab, mit der Lektüre zu beginnen ...

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bob lembke

I climbed in the Swiss Alps for five summers with a Slovene guide, Anton Sazonov. He was probably the best known Jugoslav climber for about 20 years, and was one of the first climbers to climb the Nordwand (North Wall) of the Matterhorn. (Actually the 32nd, but that is still good.)

The Slavic inclined might notice that Sazanov is a Russian name, not Slovene. His father was a Russian soldier, captured by Austro-Hungary, and was kept in Slovenija; many Russian POWs worked building alpine roads to support the fighting about Caparetto / Kobarid; there is a Slavic-style wooden church commemorating a large number of Russian POWs killed in a major avalanche. (The church is on the west side of the road running north and south up to the Versic Pass, on the north side of the Pass. The Russian POWs built that spectacular road. I also climbed in the Julian Alps in Slovenija, but wisely only with women.)

At the end of the war Anton's father, despite the surely hard labor on those Alpine roads, had no intention of going back to Russia, stayed on, married a Slovene woman, had Anton; I knew him when he was 95 years old.

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