Lager 7525/7 Prokopjewsk - Lager 7525/7 Prokopjewsk
In the coal mining of the Siberian industrial city of Prokopyevsk , victims of the Stalinist purges and from 1941 also deportees from the dissolved Volga German Republic were used as forced laborers from the 1930s . After the outbreak of World War II , the Soviet Union accused the Volga Germans of working with Germany and deported them to Siberia. These forced laborers lived in camps and makeshift shelters under catastrophic conditions. The Volga Germans were discriminated against until 1956, when the Soviet authorities imposed registration obligations, exit restrictions and restrictions on freedom of movement.
In Prokopyevsk there were several POW camps until 1950, which were under the administration of the NKVD / MWD.
The NKVD / MWD incarcerated many German civilians in 10 special camps in the Soviet-occupied zone . The arrested were former members of the NSDAP , alleged war criminals, large farmers, young people born in 1928/29 who were suspected of being wolves , members of the Volkssturm , manufacturers, arbitrarily denounced people and former Wehrmacht officers . They were brought in after long interrogations without being convicted by the Soviet courts. During the interrogation, the detainees were almost always tortured, had no means of defense and were at the mercy of the interrogating officers.
In special camp No. 1 Mühlberg / Elbe, around 1000 prisoners who were still fit for work were selected by a medical commission in January 1947 and deported to Siberia to camp 7503/11 Anzhero-Sudschensk . There they had to do forced labor mainly in coal mine 9/15 (Trest Anschero-Ugol).
Liquidation of camp 7503/11 Anzhero-Sudschensk
In autumn 1949 the camp was occupied by only about 100 civil internees from the fur hat transport from special camp No. 1 Mühlberg / Elbe due to the release, transport to other camps and deaths of the camp inmates . When the remaining prisoners were loaded into two passenger cars on the Trans-Siberian Railway, they assumed that they, too, were about to be transported home. The very next day they arrived in Stalinsk in camp 7525/10 and Prokopyevsk in camp 7525/7, while a small part was taken to Kemerovo .
Lager 7525/7 Prokopjewsk
The camp was about 3 km to the north, outside the city, with a view of the snow-capped mountains of the Altai Mountains. It was occupied by former members of the Waffen SS and police units, such as the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler" (LSSAH), 9th SS Panzer Division "Hohenstaufen" , and 10th SS Panzer Division “Frundsberg” , 5th SS Panzer Division “Wiking” and former Vlasov units . In addition, the organs of the MWD had brought prisoners of war of the German Wehrmacht and internees from many camps in Siberia here.
As usual, the camp was fitted with a wire fence and screen. The barracks were grouped around the roll call square. The magazine for buying food was attached to the dining barrack.
While the camp in Anhero-Sudschensk was accommodated in rooms with an occupancy of six to eight people, here the prisoners were again accommodated in mass quarters. In addition, the newcomers were distributed to the free spaces in the various barracks. The communities of fate that had formed through work brigades and living quarters diverged again here.
Forced labor took place on residential and civil engineering sites, on a large construction site of the planned power plant for the "TEZ" combine, and in a mechanical workshop. On the large construction site, the prisoners worked with Soviet skilled workers. The employment was therefore only for subordinate work, so that the earning opportunities remained very low.
The work on the construction sites during the frosty period was remarkable. Construction work was only stopped at a temperature of −40 ° C.
Masonry mortar and ready-mixed concrete were produced in a central mixing plant located on the construction site at a high temperature and moved and tipped on the construction site with truck dump trucks. Since there were only a few high-speed construction elevators and cranes, the masonry mortar had to be transported to the installation site over inclined planes either with buckets or with wooden carriers. The bricks were transported in a similar way. This work was generally done by the prisoners.
At the extremely low temperatures, the masonry mortar froze immediately after it was applied to the existing masonry, so that there was hardly any time to properly lay the bricks.
The heated precast concrete was transported in a similar manner. With a tremendous amount of energy, electricity was supplied through the steel reinforcement during reinforced concrete work and the concrete was heated until it set.
Occupational health and safety did not play a role. There were no working and protective scaffolding, fall protection or bracing. Personal protective equipment such as protective helmets, safety shoes, protective goggles, hearing protection equipment or protective clothing were not available. Because of these deficiencies, there have been many serious fatal accidents.
The actual combine was strictly shielded from the outside, prisoners did not work there. It was not known what the Soviets were producing at this plant.
The guarding of the individual work details was different. While the work detachments, in which the members of the former SS divisions and Vlasov units worked, were closely guarded with guards and shepherd dogs, all other work columns could work without guards.
The guarded work details were transported on open trucks. The prisoners sat on the bare cot floor with their backs to the guard who was sitting on the cab. This was an enormous relief for the unguarded prisoners from the Anhero-Sudschensk camp, because for four years every step they took outside the camp had been monitored. This relative freedom of movement resulted in many contacts with the civilian population, who in many cases were friendly towards the prisoners. During these contacts it turned out very often that many civilians rejected the Soviet system in general.
Many prisoners used the new freedom to individually supplement the camp catering. However, when the political situation had worsened, because the Cold War was at its height, guards with dogs again escorted these workers.
At the beginning of 1950 the SS and Vlasov members were no longer allowed to move out; they were relocated to separate, strictly demarcated barracks. Interrogations by a Soviet military tribunal began. Due to the membership in SS, police and Vlasov organizations, the tribunal consistently imposed long prison sentences.
At the end of March 1950, the rest of the prisoners' work on all construction sites, the payment of wages and the issue of new winter clothing took place. On April 5, these prisoners marched to the Stalinsk freight depot for loading into the usual freight cars.
Russian children and young people begged the prisoners for bread. This shows that in 1950 the food situation in the Soviet Union was completely inadequate, despite the war it had won.
On April 6, 1950, all prisoners of the fur hat transport from the Mühlberg / Elbe camp and other prisoners drove west in unguarded freight wagons. Closed and guarded wagons were attached to the train, in which were previously convicted, former SS and police members who had pardoned the Soviet authorities shortly before the train left. Immediately after arriving in Brest, these people drove on towards home.
The camp in 7525/7 Prokopyevsk retained convicted former SS and police personnel came only 1955/56 free after Chancellor Adenauer in September 1955 in Moscow their release had caused.
All other prisoners were taken to camp 7136/1 Brest (Moscow camp). They were distributed among the transports of returnees arriving and released as prisoners of war, even though they had been internees.
The Soviet organs withheld about 100 prisoners without giving any reasons and took them to camp 7136 Minsk in 1950, later to camp 6114 Makejewka and camp 7134 Kiev-Darnytza.
Sources and literature
- Herbert Hecht: Sibirische Glocken , Gernrode 2006, 1st edition, web link (PDF; 28.5 MB), accessed on March 23, 2013.
- Peter Hilkes: After the collapse of the Soviet Union. Problems of the Germans from Russia in shaping their future in the successor states . Ethnos-Nation 2 (1994) H. 2, pp. 61-73.
- Helmut Leppert: Odyssey of a Youth. Seven years in Stalin's Gulag 1945–1952 . 5th edition 2008, Initiativgruppe Lager Mühlberg e. V.
- Siegfried Rulc: Incomplete Chronicle 1945–1950 , Berlin 1996. 3rd edition.
- Helmut Schramm: That was my youth . 2012, web link (PDF; 12.1 MB), accessed on March 24, 2013.