Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Polish POWs in September 1939

“Vas du das krieg est uber" (for you the war is over). A large proportion of the Polish army was captured after the fall of Poland in September 1939: around 400,000 men by the German forces and over 200,000 by Soviet troops. Some were held for the duration of the war, but the majority of the POWs were released a few months after the end of the campaign (Some even join the Wehrmacht after changing their citizenship status from "Pole" to Volksdeutsche"). Until February 1940, the German authorities gave the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) lists of the Polish prisoners of war they held, but after that date they stopped. In 1943, they again began to send these lists, but now only officers were mentioned. What had happened was that most of the Polish soldiers who became prisoners of war were turned i nto " civilian workers " by the German authorities. They were thus -- in defiance of the 1929 Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war -- deprived of their prisoner-of-war status and of the protection this should have afforded them. Prisoners of war who refused to become " civilian workers " were mostly sent to concentration camps. In this way, the ICRC lost track of a large number of them.

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1 comment:

  1. Two last pics look suspicious to me, the POWs wear some strange mix of different uniforms, one wears even the railroad cap, for me it is taken from some German propaganda on the same way, the biplane Avia B-534 was pretending to be P.11 in "Feldzug in Polen". The previous pics seem to be authentic however.