Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of GKO Order 1123ss
Today marks the 70th anniversary of GKO Order 1123ss ordering the first mass conscription of Russian-Germans into the labor army. This decree mobilized deported Russian-German men into labor columns. An excerpt of the actual text can be read here. The Soviet government inducted these forced laborers in the same manner as recruits for the Red Army. These men joined over 20,000 Russian-Germans already previously rounded up for forced labor from Ukraine and the ranks of the Red Army. By April 1942 a total of 67,961 Russian-German men had been conscripted under the terms of GKO Order 1123ss into the labor army to work in labor camps devoted to industrial construction and logging. Most of these camps were located in the Urals. Another 25,000 worked for the Peoples' Commissariat of Transportation building railroads. These men worked under conditions very similar to prisoners in the GULag. On 14 February 1942 the Stalin regime issued GKO Order 1281ss extending the conscription of Russian-Germans to include men who avoided deportation in 1941 because they lived in Kazakhstan, Siberia, the Urals, and Central Asia. The death rates among all these men in the Ural camps were extremely high. Among these camps were Solikamsk, Bogoslov , and Usol'lag. Other camps where Russian-Germans in the labor army worked were Karlag in Kazakhstan and Arkhanglesk in the Russian Far North.