The conscription of deported Russian-Germans under the terms of GKO Order 1123ss quickly depleted the number of able-bodied men between the ages 17 and 50 among this population. Despite exhausting this labor pool, the Stalin regime still only managed to mobilize 93,000 out of a planned 120,000 Russian-Germans for the labor army. The Stalin regime thus soon expanded the category of Russian-Germans eligible for conscription into the labor army. Over 50,000 local Russian-German men aged 17 to 50 that had not been subjected to deportation lived in the Russian Far North, Urals, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia. GKO Order 1281ss of 14 February 1942 signed by Josef Stalin ordered that these men be “mobilized into labor colonies for the duration of the war and transferred to the NKVD USSR for use in constructing rail roads.” This induction campaign followed the same procedures as the one conducted under GKO Order 1123ss in January 1942.
This second labor draft took considerably longer than the first one. The decree established a deadline of 25 March 1942 for the Peoples Commissariat of Defense to complete this mobilization. The Soviet authorities, however, only completed this task in late April. The induction netted over 40,000 Russian-Germans out of the more than 50,000 members of the target population. The transfer of these men to labor army work sites took place on unhygienic trains with insufficient potable water and edible food. Outbreaks of gastro-intestinal diseases killed large numbers of these men during transit. The NKVD removed 270 corpses of men to die from this cause from one train on 21 April 1942 and another 49 on 13 May 1942.The survivors initially became attached to nine separate labor army work sites. The NKVD assigned nearly 18,000 of these men to rail construction and most of the remainder to build industrial complexes in the Urals. This second mobilization brought the number of Russian-Germans in the labor army up to over 120,000 men.
N.F. Bugai, “Mobilizovat’ nemtsev v robochie kolonny…I. Stalin”: Sbornik dokumentov (1940-e gody) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998), doc. 18, pp. 39-40, doc. 19, p. 41, doc. 38, pp. 61-62, doc. 40, p. 64, doc. 47, pp. 70-71, doc. 210, pp. 282-283.
A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998), pp. 57-59 and table 5, p. 67.