Friday, August 26, 2011

70 Years Since the Deportation of the Volga Germans

The anniversary of the deportation of the Volga Germans and subsequently the other ethnic German communities of the western USSR is traditionally observed on the 28th of August. That is the date that the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz 21-160. This decree was published in the Volga German ASSR newspapers Bolshevik and Nachrichten. But, the actual decision to deport the entire ethnic German population of the Volga German ASSR, Saratov Oblast, and Stalingrad Oblast came two day earlier on 26 August 1941. This decree does not accuse the Volga Germans of any crimes. Instead it merely orders their mass deportation to Siberia and Kazakhstan. The first clause of the decree is reproduced below. The translation into English from Russian is my own.

26 August 1941 Moscow, Kremlin

Council of Peoples Commissariats of the Union of SSRs and the C[entral] C[ommittee] of the A[ll Russian]
C[ommunist] P[arty] (B[olshevik]) resolves:

1. Resettle all Germans from the Republic of Volga Germans and oblasts of Saratov and Stalingrad to the following krais and oblasts:

Krasnoiarsk Krai - 70,000
Altai Krai - 91,000
Omsk Oblast - 80,000
Novosibirsk Oblast - 92,000
K[azkah] SSR - 100,000
Of these
Semipalitinsk Oblast - 10,000
Akmola Oblast - 20,000
North Kazakhstan Oblast - 20,000
Kustanai Oblast - 16,000
Pavlodar Oblast - 18,000
East Kazakhstan Oblast - 16,000

Resettlement is to be applied to all without exception to Germans residing in cities, and also in rural areas.
Source: A.A. German, T.S. Illarionova, I.R. Pleve, eds., Istoriia nemtsev Rossii: Khrestomatiia (Moscow: "MSNC-Press", 2005), doc. 8.3.1., p. 254.

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