Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mortality Rates Among Soviet Deportees 1941-1945 Part II: Russian-Germans

The Russian-Germans deported during the fall of 1941 also suffered extremely high death rates during the Second World War. On 2 June 1942, the NKVD gave the number of Russian-Germans deported to special settlement restrictions as 807,293 (Zemskov, p. 97). By 1 January 1945, the number of Russian-Germans counted as special settlers had declined to 496,811. Part of the loss can be explained by the reclassification of Russian-German special settlers as members of the labor army. The total number of Russian-Germans serving in the labor army on 1 January 1945 reached 105,268 people (Zemskov, table 21, p. 119). This means that between 1942 and 1945 the number of Russian-German special settlers and labor army conscripts declined from 807,293 people to 602,079, a drop of 205,214 people or over 25%. Again as in the case of deportees from the Baltic States in 1941 there are no large scale releases of Russian-Germans during this time. Given this fact we can assume that the vast majority of the missing deportees perished due to malnutrition, disease and exposure. One additional thing to bear in mind is that not all of the 105,268 men and women in the labor army in 1945 were part of the original 807,293 Russian-Germans deported from west of the Urals. A large number of them were conscripted from the local Russian-German populations already living in Siberia, the Urals, Kazakhstan and Central Asia in 1941. The actual number of deaths among the deported Russian-Germans is thus greater than implied by the figures given above. In less than four years over a quarter of the Russian-Germans deported from western regions of the USSR perished. Again these are extremely high mortality rates under any circumstances.


V.N. Zemskov, Spetsposelentsy v SSSR: 1930-1960 (Moscow: Nauk, 2005).

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