Tomorrow marks the 76th anniversary of the Supreme Soviet decree to deport the ethnic Germans living in the Volga German ASSR, Saratov Oblast, and Stalingrad Oblast to Siberia and Kazakhstan as special settlers. They were dispersed across the vast and freezing expanses of Soviet Asia by a regime whose core identity was “Anti-Fascism.” This regime considered everybody even remotely associated or connected to anything German as a Fascist deserving of the most brutal punishments imaginable without even the pretense of legal process. I have already written the details of the deportation, special settlement regime, and mobilization into the labor army here and at other places. So I want to continue in the vein of considering why so many people consider this crime so unworthy of note whereas similar crimes committed against other people are publicly commemorated in the US on an almost daily basis.
The idea that only certain people are “worthy victims” by virtue of being of the correct ancestry and others such as Germans in the 1940s deserved no human or civil rights has been widespread for around three quarters of a century now. Part of this is that the idea of universal human rights is a political facade with no real content. Instead it is largely an intellectual cover for supporting certain unrelated real politic or ideological positions and often reflects considerable ethno-racial bias. Another part is that the perpetrators of this particular and many other crimes still retains a very strong international ideological credibility among intellectuals due to its “Anti-Fascist” identity. In particular the rhetorical commitment of the Soviet government to “anti-racism” has shielded it from charges of racial discrimination and repression by Western scholars. The only notable exceptions to this defense of the USSR from the claim that it engaged in racial discrimination has been in the cases where such discrimination was against Jews. But, the much greater repression on an ethno-racial basis of ethnic Germans by the Soviet government has been largely ignored or in some cases militantly denied by US based scholars. Volga German children deported in 1941 to die in Siberia are still not considered “worthy victims” by most US intellectuals because they shared distant ethnic ties with the perpetrators of the Holocaust.