Russia: Last WW2 German Prisoner Finally Released from Gulag

Yenisey | The Russian prison authorities surprised the international community this morning by announcing that they would finally set free on Friday the last German prisoner of war from the Second World War.

84-year old Reinhard Kunze, was only 14 years old when he was captured by Soviet troops during the Battle of Berlin, in January 1945, and was detained for the last 69 years in various Soviet and Russian forced labor camps.

The Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergueï Lavrov, announced this morning that in an “act of good will”, the Moscow government was ready to “put aside their national pride” and show their “generosity and good will” by letting him go home.

Recruited in the Hitler’s youth (Hitlerjugend ) 12th SS Panzer Division in 1943 when he was 12 years old, Mr. Kunze was accused by Soviet authorities of executing  Yakov Dzhugashvili, the son of Joseph Stalin, at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in April 1943.

The son of the dictator had been captured during the Battle of Stalingrad and was killed after his father refused to exchange him for the German Field Marshall Friedrich Von Paulus, who had been captured by Soviet troops.

The Russian leader had however decreed that no matter when the other German POWs were to be released, the murderer of his son was to remain in forced labor camps until his death, to pay for his act of “exceptional cowardice”.

Until now, the successive Russian governments had maintained the sentence and realized Stalin’s wish, even if it had no real legal legitimacy under modern democratic standards.

The actual government, however, seems to have changed its mind in order to appease the tension with Germany, that has developed over the conflict in Ukraine.

Many experts doubt however that this surprising announce could really have the desired effect, as it also constitutes an admittance that Russian authorities had detained illegally a German Citizen for 70 years, who moreover was only 14 years old at the time of his imprisonment.

This surprising news brings back painful memories to many Germans, has Mr. Kunze is only that last of a never-ending list of horrible stories linked to the end of the Second World War.

Approximately three million German prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union during World War II, most of them during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war.

The POWs were employed as forced labor in the Soviet wartime economy and postwar reconstruction. By 1950 almost all had been released. 

Officially, the last surviving German Prisoners of war returned home from the USSR in 1956, but it is now clear that it was not exactly true.

According to Soviet records, 381,067 German Wehrmacht POW died in NKVD camps over that time period, out of which 356,700 were German nationals and 24,367 from other nations. Many scholars and historians dispute those numbers, however, suggesting that the body count could be close to 1 million.

9 Comments on "Russia: Last WW2 German Prisoner Finally Released from Gulag"

  1. another true about WWII: my grandma was a military doctor of the red army, when de soviet troops seized the POW camps there were discovered that the gloves, and hand bags were made by human skins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and those skins were POW skins!!!!! and my grandma saw all of them by himself and then told us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so SS and POW concentration camps were really killing machines!!!!!!!!

    • huvitav kas Te ise ka seda lolli möla usute mida siia toksite? See jutt inimesenahast kinnastestjakäekottidest in pärit Ilja Erenburgi propagandast, mitte tegelikust elust …

    • huvitav kas Te ise ka seda lolli möla usute mida siia toksite? See jutt inimesenahast kinnastest ja käekottidest on pärit Ilja Erenburgi propagandast, mitte tegelikust elust … enne toksimist võiksite tutvuda ajalooga ja teada saada – KES ikkagi kavandas ja põhjustas II Maailmasõja …

    • your grandma himself, I see…lol

  2. History is written by the the victors!

  3. You see true “German” bravery, is to send a 14 years old kid to die. USSR sends kid on war too, but differencies are that second left to protect the fatherland taking into account that the Russian kids were volunteers, but krauts just to kill people.

  4. Fu.k UE&USiA | July 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Reply

    wy pierdolone w dupe eurocwele ruskim nei dorastacie do piet, pieprzone cipy z was i tyle co zrobiliscie dla ukrainy w ktorej w zbrodniczy sposob wladze przejeli banderwocy ? nic mogliscie jedynie pisac swoje zalosne twitty hehe ktore byly gowno wartymi oznakami waszego “cipiowastego oporu” pokazaliscie taka sama klase jak wasi ojcowie dziadkowie. w 1939 roku i nie zrobilscie nic zalosne euro-anglo zalosne cipy. CHWALA ROSJI!!!

  5. How many Russians died at the hands of Germans in concentration camps? Many stories say they weren’t even taken to the camps because they were full and simply shot in forests along the way…

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