Thursday, August 28, 2014
The 73rd Anniversary of the Deportation of the Volga Germans
Ukaz 21-160 ordering the deportation of the Volga Germans. This decree put an official stamp of approval on the decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the Council of Peoples's Commissars (SNK) to deport all of the ethnic Germans from the Volga German ASSR, Saratov Oblast, and Stalingrad Oblast. The earliest evidence for the origins of this initial decree is a letter dated 25 August 1941 from Beria to the Central Committee of the CPSU referring to a draft of the decree issued by the CPSU and SNK on 26 August 1941. The sudden decision to deport them thus took the Volga Germans by surprise. Despite the claims by the Soviet government that the Volga Germans were harboring "tens of thousands of diversionists and spies", the NKVD had only managed to find two spies among the entire population in the months between the Nazi invasion of the USSR and 10 August 1941. Ukaz 21-160 was published in both German and Russian on 30 August 1941. The deportation of the Volga Germans and the subsequent liquidation of the Volga German ASSR on 7 September 1941 clearly violated the 1936 USSR, 1937 RSFSR, and of course the 1937 Volga German ASSR constitutions. The actual deportation of the Volga Germans took place between 3 September 1941 and 20 September 1941 and was extremely brutal. It was followed up by the subsequent deportation of ethnic German communities throughout western regions of the USSR to Kazakhstan and Siberia. The 28th of August is observed throughout the world by people of Russian German heritage as the day to commemorate the deportations and later repressions inflicted upon them by the Stalin regime during World War II.