Friday, January 10, 2014

72 Years Since GKO Order 1123ss

Today is the 72nd anniversary of GKO Order 1123ss ordering the mobilization of Russian-German men deported to Kazakhstan, Krasnoiarsk Krai, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, and Omsk Oblast into labor columns. This was the first large scale conscription of ethnic Germans in the USSR for forced labor in the labor army. A full 67,961 men conscripted under this order ended up in labor camps. The Soviet government sent most of the Russian-Germans conscripted under this order to labor camps in the Urals where they worked in industrial construction and felling trees.   As a result of this  mass influx of forced laborers, ethnic Germans became a sizable percentage of the people confined in camps in the Urals, over 40% in many cases. Among the camps with large Russian-German labor army cohorts were Solikamskstroi and Bogoslovlag. The Soviet government did not even spare ethnic Germans who were loyal communists from mobilization for forced labor. These camps also had very high mortality rates. Deaths from disease, malnutrition, exposure, and accidents were quite common. The labor army constituted a modern form of state slavery and an instrument of ethnic repression against the ethnic Germans in the USSR during the 1940s.

See also my post to commemorate the 70th anniversary of GKO Order 1123ss.

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