Thursday, December 06, 2012

Russian-German Labor Army Mortality at Viatlag

Between February 1942 and 1 July 1944 a total of 8,207 Russian-Germans mobilized into the labor army arrived at the Viatlag corrective labor camp. During this time a total of 1,428 (17.4%) of these men and women died of hunger, cold, and illness in the camp. Another 1,581 (19.26%) were released as being ill with a "hopeless diagnoses." The most common diseases to afflict the forced laborers at Viatlag were inflammation of the lungs, tuberculosis, and alimentary dystrophy. This last term was a euphemism used by Soviet authorities to describe starvation. Looking at the statistical data enumerated above, the number of deaths in the camp plus those released to die from these conditions numbered over 3,000 or 36.6% of the total contingent. Thus probably over a third of the Russian-Germans conscripted into the labor army and sent to work in Viatlag during the years 1942-1944 either died in the camp itself or shortly thereafter due to health problems directly related to their stay in the camp.

Source: V.A. Berdinskikh, "Rossiiskie nemtsy v Viatlage," in A.A. German (ed.), Nachal'nyi period Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny i deportatsiia rossiiskikh nemtsev: vzgliady i otsenki cherez 70 let (Moscow: MSNK-press, 2011), pp. 552-561.

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