British POWs forced to fight in the Red Army

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by BlueJobLiney, May 30, 2008.

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  1. Here's an interesting article from todays Daily Mail.

  2. An amazing story. If anyone has ever read Berlin by Athony Beevor it mentions the ferocity of the German defenders of towns and cities against the Russians.
  3. The story doesn't really ring true: there are accounts of the Red Army shooting PoWs out of hand - particularly those wandering around not part of a bigger group - and there are many accounts of the Red Army liberating PoWs and giving them various levels of treatment. I don't think any of the very detailed and researched accounts (Beevor, Ericsson, etc) mention British or western allied PoWs being impressed into Red army service - even their own liberated Soviet PoWs were mostly shipped straight to holding centres to be interrogated and "re-educated", before a proportion were sent back to the front line. I don't think the NKVD were enthusiastic about any foreigners being in the Red Army ranks. I wonder if "Michael Malia" was in fact a Polish citizen during WW2? Many Poles were indeed conscripted into the communist Polish Corps that was integral with the Red Army.
  4. Eh?

    Would have thought the Sovs shooting dead an American officer would be a fairly well known cause celebre ... can't recall ever having heard this before.

  5. DO remember seeing some thing though not sure if it was a book or an article advertised about the fate of around 500 British POW's after they fell into Russian hands. More than likey shipped into the Gulag system in Russia were there were a number of westerners being held on trumped up charges.
    You only have to look back a few years when the 80 odd year old Hungarian man who was released from a mental hospital in Russia had been in there since they captured him in WW2 thought he was mad as he spoke "gibberish" I.E Hungarian It was only when some doctor or another was visting the hospital that realized what language he was speaking.
  6. On a scheme in Germany and given a night off we went to the nearest pub.

    a German Chap and his wife gave us a lift back to our complex, he said he had been a prisoner of war with the Russians and he didn't get home until 1956.
    This would be 1963.
  7. I remember reading something about up to 20,000 US POWs who went missing after being liberated by the Soviets, so one executed Colonel would hardly upset the applecart.

    I think that the Allied nations were unable to continue fighting after the defeat of the Nazis due to both political and financial considerations. Otherwise the Soviets would have had a shock in 1945.

    I think that the story sounds unlikely, but that said I have heard of isolated incidents of British POWs fighting alongside Soviet forces after being liberated.
  8. I have never heard of British ex-POW being forced to fight for the Soviets, but at the end of the Second World War over 30,000 British & Commonwealth soldiers "liberated" from German POW camps by the Red Army disappeared into the Gulag.

    Try the following:

    Cawthorne, N. (1993): The Iron Cage, London, Fourth Estate.
  9. I can confirm that there was a lot of joy around 56 at return of quit a few Germans home from Russia. There was a similar tranche about mid-60s
  10. For details of the return of German POWs from both the Western Allies and the Soviets see:

    Biess, F. (2006): Homecommings: Returning POWs and the Legacies of Defeat in Post War Germany, Princeton, Princeton University Press.
  11. It is quite well documented that upon Germany losing the second world war thousands were imprisoned in the Gulag system. Many died during forced labour and of those who survived many chose to join the NVA, East Germany's fledgling army. They did this after re-education. Those who wanted to return home after 're-education' into the western zones had to wait until 1955 (when the Germans signed an agreement with the Soviet leadership).

    The Soviets did execute a mass of 'liberated' POWs but I am only aware of these being of Soviet and Polish nationality and for no other reasons that they were wanted for other crimes i.e. rape, murder and desertion.
  12. :roll:
    What a bull story! Hungarians lived in the USSR before, during and after the war and spoke their own language. Not far from Mariupol where my father is from there was (don't know about now) a Hungarian village.
  13. Yes, but 'desertion' also included surrendering to the Germans.
  14. Very true!
  15. In my naivety I thought that at the time Soviets, British and Americans were fighting not FOR each other but AGAINST a common enemy.