GWA commemorates the 65th Anniversary
of the genocidal deportations of the Russian-Germans
By Dr. J. Otto Pohl
Alliance/Deutsche Weltallianz, News/Nachrichten, August 28,2006
The 28th August of this year marks the official day of
the 65th anniversary of the deportation of the Russian-Germans.
August 1941, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no.
On Resettling the Germans, Living in the Region of the Volga. This
resolution ordered the resettlement of all the German population,
in the region of the Volga, to other regions. It specified these
as Kazakhstan and Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast and Altai Krai
Siberia. Ukaz no. 21-160 came in the wake of earlier decisions by
Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and
of Peoples Commissariats to deport the Volga German. It is due to
that the decree by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was widely
publicized soon after passing that gives it such symbolic weight.
this public symbolism, the 28th of August has become a day of remembering
for the repression of all Russian-Germans in the USSR during World
The forced removal of Russian-Germans from their traditional homes
NKVD had already begun on 15 August 1941 with the evacuation of
Crimean Germans to the Kuban and North Caucasus. In less than two
these communities, some of which dated back to 1804, permanently
exist. Over 50,000 people had been uprooted with a complete disregard
their human rights. Later in October, the Soviet government again
displaced the Crimean Germans. This time it sent them to Kazakhstan
The Stalin regime then ordered and carried out the deportation
Volga Germans. The Russian-German communities in the Volga German
Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Saratov Oblast and Stalingrad
had a total population of nearly 450,000 prior to their annihilation
1941. Some of the original German settlements on the Volga had existed
without interruption since 1764. During the first three weeks of
1941, the NKVD assisted by the Red Army and regular police forcibly
these men, women and children into train wagons meant for the transport
freight or livestock. Each rail car averaged more than forty deportees.
Many wagons had only a pail to serve as a latrine. The deportees
receive sufficient food or water during transit. They thus had to
upon the food they had hurriedly packed while being rounded up for
deportation. Much of the food they brought with them from the Volga,
however, spoiled in the stifling heat of the enclosed boxcars. These
overcrowded and unhygienic conditions led to numerous outbreaks
contagious diseases. This horrifying journey into exile averaged
two weeks. Some trains, however, took much longer. Echelon 816 took
agonizing 25 days to reach its final destination in Krasnoiarsk
deportation resembled a modern Middle Passage.
After the deportation of the Volga Germans, the Soviet government
proceeded to ethnically cleanse all of the USSR west of the Urals
remaining under its control of ethnic Germans. The NKVD forcibly
up and loaded onto trains bound for Kazakhstan and Siberia another
plus Russian-Germans from Ukraine, the Caucasus, and European Russia.
total over 850,000 Russian-Germans started this journey into punitive
internal exile before the end of 1941. Less than 800,000 of them
in captivity alive. Over 200,000 more perished from malnutrition,
exposure, over work and abuse in Kazakhstan, the Urals and Siberia
the next several years.
The German World Alliance calls upon members worldwide to commemorate,
August 28th, the deportation of the Russian-Germans and to educate
friends and neighbors regarding the fate of this large, peaceful
ethnic group at the hands of the Soviets.