By Wilfried Heink
The next chapter is titled “Soviet Union” (Sowjetunion), and begins with “Morgenröte der Befreiung“ (The dawn of liberation). It is well worth the effort to go into this before continuing with the plight of German POWs, this time in the Soviet Union (SU), for it lays the foundation for what happened to Germans who fell into the hands of the Red Army, soldiers and civilians alike.
To reiterate yet again, the publishing of the book was brought about because of the lies – concerning the conduct of German soldiers – emanating from the communist countries before the 1975 thirtieth anniversary of the defeat of “Fascism”. When the Organization of Repatriates (Organisation der Heimkehrer [Organization]) asked the German Chancellor to stop this defamation of the former soldiers, to set the record straight based on the material amassed (see Part I), the Polish news agency PAP wrote on April 26, 1975 that this defamation is an invention by revanchist organizations in an effort to rehabilitate the German armed forces (Verbrechen der Sieger, p. 169). The paper continued to say that the Organization is comprised of officers and soldiers who, because of their conduct in the war – ‘to put it mildly’ – had to remain a little longer in the POW camps. But, so the Organization, those soldiers did not need to be rehabilitated, their conduct was, for the most part, beyond approach. And, most of them, kept under horrendous conditions, were released only because the German government promised the reinstitution of diplomatic ties with Moscow (p. 170).