Friday, October 12, 2012

Russian-Germans in the Red Army

I am going to try and make a series of posts on this subject. The justification for the deportations was the lie that somehow Soviet citizens of German heritage were all potential traitors solely by virtue of their ancestry. Many Soviet people still believe this lie today even though the empirical evidence shows that Russian-Germans were no less patriotic than other Soviet citizens. Those that managed to avoid removal from the Red Army continued to fight bravely  against the Nazis. Others participated in partisan movements against the Nazi occupation forces in Ukraine and elsewhere.

The charges of treason against each and every Russian-German are ridiculous when one considers that even after Stalin punished almost the entire population that a number of ethnic Germans continued to fight for the defense of the Soviet Union in the Red Army and in anti-Nazi partisan units. Before their removal from the ranks of the Red Army around 30,000 Russian-Germans were engaged in resisting the Nazi attack on the USSR. Even after the expulsion of most of these men from the military and their internment in labor camps as members of the labor army a number of Russian-Germans continued to fight against the Nazi occupation of the USSR. On 8 September 1941, the Stalin regime issued decree No. 350105s ordering the expulsion of all ethnic Germans from the Soviet Red Army and other military institutions. However, it took until the end of 1942 to verify the nationality of all soldiers in the Red Army so a number of ethnic Germans remained fighting against the Nazis during the fall of 1941 and even later. Some even managed to avoid expulsion completely and continued fighting against the Nazis in the ranks of the Red Army through the end of the war on 9 May 1945. Below is a partial list of some of these men. Note the names are transliterated from Russian so they may not correspond to the original German names. Those without ranks in front of them are enlisted men.

Defense of Moscow - Sgt. S. Wolibrus and D. Enederg.
Defense of Leningrad - Major N. Witte, Capt. I. Spiller, Lt. A. Kobmacher, Junior Lt. D. Schibelgut, Sgt. G. Kelbecher, F. Geto, I. Almaier, G. Speer, Ya. Gitlin.
The Battle of Stalingrad - B. Schtettefeld, N. Hiller, S. Wachsmann, D. Schtossberg, K. Reisbich.
The Battle of Kursk - Sgt. G. Gehlfer, M. Sussmann, K. Gregor, A. Bruch, S. Mer.
The Reconquest of Ukraine and Belorussia - A. Mauhl, M. Hustenmaier, V. Stegehl, G. Bachmann, V. Hermann, A. Bromwert, G. Hauch, A. Schmidt, Ya. Klinger.
The Reconquest of the Baltic States- Sen. Sgt. A. Ludwig, Junior Sgt. A. Salberg, A. Winter, G. Schneider.
The Conquest of Poland - B. Dieter, I. Wagner.
The Conquest of East Prussia - N. Beller and V. Kleintz.
The Conquest of Brandenburg - L. Becker.

Source: I.I. Shul'ga, 2011, "Massovye geroism rossiskikh nemtsev na fronte i v tylu protivnika kak proiavlenie patriotizma i grazhdanskoi identichstnosti", in A.A. German, Grazhdanskaia identichstnost' i vnuternii mir rossiskikh nemtsev v gody Velikoi Otchestvennoi Voiny i v istoricheskoi pamiati potomkov, Moscow: MSNK- Press, pp. 25-26.

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