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Thread: Worse Than Auschwitz™: Soviet POW Camp N° 188 in Tambov

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    Exclamation Worse Than Auschwitz™: Soviet POW Camp N° 188 in Tambov

    [Thread inspired from the recent threads on both the Auschwitz™ cash machine and Alsace-Moselle. This is also in a more general light a precious testimony on Soviet POW camps and how they strikingly compare to the testimonies of NS concentration camps. Something we never hear about in the official controlled media to this day. It is also mentioned that the French government didn’t want this to be publicized, so let’s get this out as well. This is a detail of the history of WWII, but a little known one. I haven’t seen a single History Channel documentary about it. This to show that it is not the actual facts that matter – no matter how horrendous or not – but rather how they can be propagandized and used.]

    “The Tambov Soviet POW camp N° 188 (which included 15 different nationalities), was where most of the 18,000 of POWs of Alsace-Moselle (self-called the “Malgré-nous”) were detained, of which 8 to 10,000 died. In camp N° 188, located 430 km south of Moscow, the detention conditions were horrifying. The prisoners survived there in incredible promiscuity, with appalling hygiene conditions, sheltered in barracks dug in the ground to better resist the terrible Russian winter where temperatures go under -40 °C. The overcrowded barracks were initially conceived to shelter 120 prisoners but end up packing 350 of them each… A bit of clear soup and around 600 grams of black read, almost inedible, constitute the daily ration, estimated at 1340 calories. As a comparison, the inmates at Auschwitz received 2000 calories per day. It is estimated that in 1944, every other inmate (one out of two) died in Tambov before four months of internment.” The last “Malgré-nous“ were officially liberated in 1955.

    - Extract from “Malgré-Nous”, by Eugène Riedweg (1995) (University of Strasbourg)

    Looks familiar...? Barrack No 22 in Tambov.

    The Thuet Report on Soviet POW Camps

    (extracts from a thread by a member on the Axishistory Forum, edited for language and summarized)


    1) In 1940 the provinces of Alsace and Moselle were annexed by the Reich and their inhabitants, considered as Reichsdeutschen, were forcibly mobilized in the German Wehrmacht (2,000 of them went into the Waffen-SS). In total, 140,000 men who called themselves ''Malgre-nous''(in French: ''despite us'').

    Both Stalin and De Gaulle were aware that most “Malgre-nous” did not want to fight with the Germans. At the beginning of 1945, 1,500 ''Malgre-nous'', POWs of the Russians, and uniformed as Soviet soldiers, were gathered at the Tambov POW camp, receiving the visit of Gaullist general Petit who took them back to France, via Odessa, to enlist them in the Gaullist French troops. In exchange, De Gaulle gave 1500 Vlassovians captured in France, back to Stalin's tenderness...

    But when the war came to a ''happy'' end, De Gaulle didn't need more soldiers, so the thousands of others Alsatians and Mosellans in
    Russia were forgotten. Russians treated them like German POWs. After the war, the association of former POWs in Russia, directed by Mr. Jean Thuet, started to write a report about Tambov and other POW camps in the East (written by Jean Thuet and Dr. Albert Busch, former POWs in the USSR, with testimonies of former POWs and the collaboration of the service of research of missing prisoners of the Red Cross.)

    This is the Thuet Report. It was presented in
    August 17th 1980 to Mr. Plantier, French state secretary for war fighters and victims of war... The French government forbade this report on the spot! Why? This report explained how the French kapos mistreated and causeded the death of many of their comrades. Many of these Alsatians kapos had, after the war, a long career as Communist congressmen, cities mayors, etc…

    It would demonstrate that Communism had a concentration camps system similar to National Socialism… So logically, the Communist party would have to be outlawed, just like the Nazi party... impossible, especially given the strength of the Communist Party in
    France up to the 80’s!

    Besides, the Gaullist propaganda always presented Tambov (a death camp) like a nice meeting point for ''Malgre-nous'' about to joint the French army, thanks to the nice Russians. There is even 2 or 3 lines about this in the De Gaulle memories... You could find them if you bother to read them.

    2) When I started to write my book, back in 1994, “Forgotten Crimes of the Allies”, a former ''Malgre-nous'' got me a copy of the Thuet Report, asking me not to give his name and that it was ''dynamite''...

    Then I started a correspondence with Mr. Thuet, who at first ,was very cooperative, thinking that I was going to write an article about Tambov for a foreign magazine, talking a lot about Alsatians kapos and Soviet war crimes... When he understood that I was looking for information for a book about Allied war crimes, to be published in France, he went scared and backed on the spot! I wrote him a letter asking him about the report he wrote. Not knowing that I had this report already in my hands, he answered that this report WAS A MYTH, NEVER WRITED, AND DIDN'T EXISTED!!! Then he ended all contact with me.

    I understand they are old and I know too much the pressure of the French government (from IRS investigations, up to processes) who forbade my book as well.

    3) Here are some scans of some parts of this 45 pages document, compounded with testimonies, diagrams, statistics, maps and paintings from former POWs (since they didn't had cameras to take pictures, obviously).

    4) But the report revealed a lot of unknown facts too, like the ''starvation-marches'' for POWs in Yugoslavia, like the ''camps of the silence'' which existed in the USSR for members of units considered ''criminals'' by the Soviets: Sipo-SD, Feldgendarmerie, GFP… Most of them never came back.

    5) From this reports and other sources, I can deny the following claims:
    - that the good Soviet doctors were doing their best for the poor POWs.
    - that only 1 million or so Axis soldiers were POWs in the USSR

    About the niceties of Soviets medics, in most camps: NO medicine! In some, only charcoal (for dysentery). In some, just a cup of tea. Lots of autopsies were performed, just to train the young Red Army medics. To be in a camp ''hospital'' (when there was one) was considered by POWs as a step before the mass grave (sounds familiar...?).

    Quote from page 30:

    “The TASS agency was informed by
    May 4th 1945 that the USSR had 3,180,000 German prisoners. Since the capitulation happened by May 8th, we may to admit that the final number was higher. Nobody will ever know the accurate number. Even so, during a speech of Molotov at the conference of Foreign affairs Ministers in Moscow, March 14th 1947, he declared that the USSR had already liberated 1,003,974 POWs between May 1945 and March 5th 1947. According to him, only 890,532 POWs remained in Russia, as if the Red Army had captured only 1,894,506 German POWs... There is a difference of 1,285,494 men between his declaration and the communication of the High Military Command. The question is: who decided the death of these men?''

    Looks familiar? Scan: Barrack 22: the morgue at Tambov. (Painting done by a friend of mine, still alive, former POW in Tambov, who had the daily duty to bring the corpses to Barrack 22. I don't see much difference with the pictures of Auschwitz....)

    Most Soviet POWs camps were similar to NS concentration camps

    Quote from the Thuet Report (page 3):

    Tambov, for instance, was a camp managed by the NKVD and received special instructions by the direct advisers of Stalin, most of the others POWs camps depended of a special section from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow. This section collaborated with the central administration of the Gulag in Moscow, which managed the camps of “work and re-education”, and also with the central administration for Work in the Ministry of Labor and with the services concerned by the 4th Five-year Plan. The common instructions directed to the ministries of Internal Affairs of the SocialistRepublics had for goal to exploit the work capacity of the prisoners to the most.”

    In clear, in most Soviet POWs camps (where mortality rates were was awful) the goal was to put the POWs at work to rebuild the
    USSR… For instance at the Kushmarun camp, the POWs had to rebuild a railway; at the Nikolaiev camp they worked in Kolkhozes; at Karaganda, they worked in mines… etc.

    Tambov: The Names of the Executioners

    In 1945 the commander of
    Tambov was NKVD officer Youcitchev. His 2nd in command was Rumanian communist Antonov. They were helped by the foreign political commissaries and the foreign ''antifascist delegates'' who were in charges of the Kapos (for KAmerad-POlizei!).

    The chief of the ''French policemen'' was Louis Stark. The most dangerous was Marcel Ernst, an Alsatian ex-NCO from the Heer. All belong to the ''Antifascist Club'' which melt all the ''clubs'' of all nationalities of the POWs....

    At the ''French club'' we note political commissary Fernand Wagner, François Spielmann (propaganda delegate), the ''chiefs'' Egler, Paille, Fortmann, Blondin, Iltis, Lindemann, Tony Koch, Paul Knecht, Henri Martin and others.

    Willy Lohstetter was chief of the reading club (''Pravda'' and German communist journal ''Freies Deutschland'' of the Von Seydlitz Committe.) Only the members of the antifascist club had access to the reading, of course....

    A dozen of members of the club were send to the ''
    AntifascistPoliticalSchool '' of Moscow. They came back as political commissaries. Among them : Leon Zever, Louis Gras, Rene Schaal, Georges Sum and Marcel Meyer.

    They all had the power to punish their comrades or to report and send them to a punishment camp like Workuta. The kapos wore French uniforms (made specially by a Russian tailor!) with French ranks ! From 1947 up, they earned a pay of 100 rubles a month. Other particularly feared ''antifa'' was Jean Wollenweber, responsable of the death of many Alsatians ''Malgre-nous''. After the war, he became an important dignitary of the CDS (French left-center political party) in the city of Mulhouse.

    Other particularly dangerous kapos were the ones (first-day Communists) who had deserted the Wehrmacht to fight within partisans groups in
    Yugoslavia or Russia. Even so, they found themselves as POWs in Tambov... but they enjoyed double-rations of food and they were authorized to wear Soviet uniforms. According to Mr. Jean Thuet in a letter he sent to me (March 13th 1993): “They volunteered to be our armed guardians (they had truncheons). They lived separated from us, in a special barrack. Had they had ammunition, they would not hesitate to shot at their fellow prisoners.'' (Note: Those names do not appear in the Thuet Report but were communicated to me by Jean Thuet in this letter)

    Among those kapos: Joseph Camus, Alfred Anselm, Charles Christmann, Georges Nuss , Jean Wencker.... After the war, some were sued ,but the ''planques'' - I mean their friends who got the ''good jobs'' in Tambov, as cooks, hairdressers, etc... stood to testify they were ''good guys'' !

    After the war, the ex-kapos tried to reduce their deeds saying that the losses weren't that high, like good Communists revisionists. For instance, some said that the transport from
    Tambov to the ''hospital'' of Kirsanow were made in Tarpolin trucks, which is FALSE. Most of them enjoyed a long political career within French left-wing parties, like François Spielmann, chief of the Communist party in Mutzig city (and second to the local mayor)... Fernand Wagner, adjutant of the mayor of Colmar city... (and influent member of the French Socialist party).

    The formers POWs who dared to talk were accused to be ''crooks'' and some were even sued by these criminals, like ex-POW Charles Schaeffer who was jailed by the French government for ''apology of Nazism'' (he had only denounced some kapos as murderers!!!)

    Even Alsatian pilot ace Pierre Clostermann, greatest Ace of the French Gaullist air force who shot down more than 33 German planes during the war, had his home searched by the French police with a warrant to look for documents!!! (his brother, Bruno Clostermann, was a Luftwaffe pilot! This is why Pierre Clostermann was interested in researching the tragedy of the Tambov Alsatians-Mosellan POWs and tried to denounce the crimes of the Communist Kapos).

    As an end to these anecdotes, we note that in 1969 the ex-kapos and members of the ''Antifascist Club'', separated themselves from the association of
    Tambov former POWs - where they were never really popular... an understatement!) and formed their own dissident Communist association, just to preach the Gospel according to Saint Stalin.

    Source: dacd1c9803091e6f5f020c

    Soviet POW camps in 1944

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    Eala Freia Fresena
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    My father has been a POW in Minsk, russia. He volunteered as he was 17.

    As he and his group was caught while getting behind russian frontline, russian soldiers killed every 2nd of that group by shooting them in the head. He said, the brain of his Zugfuehrer, Ferdi Auch, splashed into his face.

    In Minsk they had to get treestems out of the river without any protection of safety measures. He said he lost his best friend who got between the stems, disappeared and was nowhere seen again. that was in wintertime.

    The soil was frozen, if they had to bury their dead comrades to break the soil below the frostline was simply too much for their weakened body. Often they just scatched some dirt aside and piled it on top. In springtime the stench of the then decomposing bodies was unbearable.

    To load the dead bodies on a truck, they broke off the limbs from the frozen bodies to get more of them on the truck to avoid another trip.

    As my father arrived home he weighted only 70 (german) pounds. He was 6foot 3. They didn't really feed him.

    He was part of the 267. Infanterie Division. He only knew about 17 who survived.

    He had PTSD attacks almost to his last days.

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