With more than 3 million dead, the Soviet prisoners of war belong to the largest groups of victims of German mass crimes in World War II. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the attack on the Soviet Union, the Museum Berlin-Karlshorst commemorates this crime.
From September 2021 to June 2022, the accompanying programme offers in-depth insights into individual aspects in the exhibition “Dimensions of a crime. Soviet prisoners of war in World War II ”. (Information on guided tours through the exhibition can be found here.)
To participate, please register in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, that the events will take place in German language.
Dates and topics:
Thursday, September 16th, 21 - 7 p.m.:
After the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Wehrmacht advanced rapidly on Lithuanian territory. The Red Army only fought a few retreats. Nonetheless, hundreds of thousands of Soviet army personnel fell into German captivity. The Wehrmacht set up improvised camps in many Lithuanian cities, villages and in the open fields. Almost 170,000 prisoners died in these by April 1942.
Christoph Dieckmann has carried out initial research on the Soviet prisoners of war in Lithuania, the number of victims initially even exceeding that of the local Jewish population. The events in Lithuania give us numerous indications of the wider context of the German mass crimes.
Greeting words: Jörg Morré (director of the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst)
Moderation: Babette Quinkert (corator of the exhibition "Dimensions of a crime. Soviet prisoners of war in World War II")
Tuesday, October 12th, 21 - 7 p.m.:
In the course of the war, prisoners of war and foreign forced labourers were increasingly employed in the German war economy. After the attack on the Soviet Union, because of the notorious labor shortage, Soviet prisoners of war were also deployed in the Reich despite ideological concerns. Inadequate food, brutal treatment and harsh working conditions caused a high death rate in the autumn/winter of 1941/42. After the failure of the blitzkrieg strategy in the war against the Soviet Union and the associated drastic increase in the demand for labor, the treatment of prisoners of war was adapted to the practical constraints in the spring of 1942, so that their situation gradually improved, but still did not come close to that of prisoners of war from other countries.
Rolf Keller did research on the Soviet soldiers in the prisoner of war camps and concentration camps in the German Reich and published publications on their work assignment, among other things. His lecture is illustrated by contemporary photographs and documents.
Greeting words: Jörg Morré (director of the Museum Berlin-Karlshorst)
Moderation: Babette Quinkert (curator of the exhibition "Dimensions of a crime. Soviet prisoners of war in World War II")
Tuesday, January 25th, 22 - 7 p.m.:
Thursday, March 17th, 22 - 7 p.m.:
Unfortunately this date will not take place: Thursday, April 7th, 22 - 7 p.m.:
Before the beginning of the Second World War, National Socialist concentration camps served to control and educate potentially subversive persons and thus, from the National Socialists' point of view, to protect the “national community”. Different political attitudes, deviant behavior or social reasons could lead to being taken into so-called protective or preventive detention. The stay of prisoners of war in the concentration camp was not originally intended. Nevertheless, after the German attack on the Soviet Union, more than 100,000 male and an undetermined number of female members of the Red Army ended up in the concentration camps. The Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS worked closely together in their exploitation, punishment and execution. The lecture shows how the Soviet prisoners were deprived of their status as prisoners of war through this cooperation and how international protection provisions under martial law were undermined - for ideological, political and economic reasons.
Daria Kozlova is a research assistant in the history department of the Flossenbürg Memorial. She is also doing her doctorate on the subject of “culture of remembrance of the Second World War in Ukraine after 1991” at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
Thursday, May 12th, 22 - 7 p.m.:
Soviet prisoners of war in German service. Cooperation, collaboration, organisation? (with Thomas Sandkühler, Humboldt University Berlin)
Thursday, June 2nd, 22 - 7 p.m.:
Soviet prisoners of war. Return and Remembrance (with Esther Meier, German Historical Institute Moscow)
On the days of the accompanying programme, the museum's exhibitions are open until 7 p.m.