Saturday, January 30, 2016

Abstract of "The Persecution of Ethnic Germans in the USSR during World War II"

I have an article, "The Persecution of Ethnic Germans in the USSR during World War II" coming out in the April 2016 issue (vol. 75, no. 2) of The Russian Review. Here is the abstract below.

The ethnic Germans were the single largest and one of the oldest diaspora groups in the USSR connected to a foreign state. During the Second World War the Soviet government forcibly resettled the German communities living in territory it controlled west of the Urals to Kazakhstan and Siberia. It placed these internal deportees under special settlement restrictions which greatly limited their freedom of movement and choice of residency. The NKVD counted, registered, and instituted a system of surveillance over the special settlers to prevent them from moving from their assigned places of resettlement. This in turn greatly constrained their options regarding education and employment. Initially almost all of the deportees including urban populations from Engles and other cities found themselves settled on kolkhozes and sovkhozes and assigned to unfamiliar agricultural work. The failure to integrate these men and women into productive agricultural work on the kolkhozes led to widespread unemployment, lack of work days, and subsequently severe food shortages. The Soviet solution to integrating them into the economy was to again move them and assign them to extractive enterprises. This took two forms. The first was a second deportation of tens of thousands of ethnic Germans to Siberia northward to work in the fishing industry. These men, women, and children remained special settlers. The second form was the mobilization of ethnic German men and later women into the labor army to work building factories, felling trees, and laying rail lines in NKVD camps, and mining coal, extracting oil, and manufacturing munitions for civilian commissariats under UNKVD supervision. The restrictions on the men and women in the labor army which ultimately comprised over a quarter of all ethnic Germans in the USSR were even more onerous than the special settlement regime and closely resembled the situation of convicted Gulag prisoners. The Stalin regime's policy towards its ethnic German citizens during World War II involved ethnic cleansing, the imposition of apartheid like residency restrictions, and their mass conscription into forced labor detachments.


derRach said...

Congratulations on your new paper "The Persecution of Ethnic Germans in the USSR during World War II"!

I look forward to studying it upon its publication. Will you provide a link for its download on your blog?

German Genealogist since 1979! Karl-Michael Sala! said...

Although these might well be "random thoughts," your citing a few sources would help support your blog post.

Genealogy Trainer said...

Thank you for posting this. I liked it, and it seems true to me, as far as I can tell. If this is intended for scholarly consumption, or to make a point in Academia, then sources will, as Karl-Michael stated, help.

When I trained in the Defense Language Institute (DLI) for the USAF in the early 80s, the DLI instructors stated that the Soviets had a hierarchy, based on how "Russian" an ethnic group of people were in the USSR, out of the many, many ethnic groups that formed Russia. If they were ethnically Russian, they were considered on the top. Of course, "top" levels also had to be cooperative with the Communist leadership. Then White, or Belorussians, other Slavic groups, etc. Near the bottom, or lower part of the middle were the Jews and Germans.

Not a very quotable source, but that was what I heard. If you follow Soviet/Russian policies closely, they do seem to follow this kind of formula pretty closely.