Stalin Orders Volga Germans Sent to Siberia
Mass Removal of 390,000 due to Presence of Spies and Saboteurs
"Stalin Orders Volga Germans Sent to Siberia." Southern California Chapter Newsletter, Fall 2001.
Moscow, September 8 - (Associated Press). The Soviet government,
declaring the lower Volga had become a haven for Nazi spies and
saboteurs, directed Monday that some 390,000 persons of German
extraction be uprooted from their homes in that area and resettled
in various parts of Siberia.
Those affected by the mass migration order--descendants of German
families whom Catherine the Great invited to settle along the
Volga in part as a barrier to Tartar invasion--will be given land
and state aid to start life anew, the government said.
The migration was decreed, it was explained, as the result of
an investigation by military authorities which disclosed "tens
of thousands of diversionists and spies among the German population
of the Volga."
The government accused the population of "covering up enemies
of the Soviet people" by failing to disclose the presence
of these saboteurs who, it declared were "prepared to cause
explosions in these regions at a signal from Germany."
To avert possible disorders and bloodshed which might force the
government "to adopt measures of reprisal against the entire
German population," it was decided to remove all persons
of German descent from the region, the official announcement said.
The German Volga territory is an autonomous republic of the Soviet
Union, situated about 300 miles north of the Caspian sea and about
500 miles east of the Dnieper river front where the Red army is
engaged in death struggle with the Nazi invaders.
The migration decree provides that the Volga Germans be resettled
some 1,600 to 2,000 miles farther east--in the Omsk and Novosibirsk
regions of western Siberia, the Altai region of the Kazakhstan
republic and "neighboring localities rich in land."
Defense Council Will Supervise Move
The decree--which was signed at the Kremlin August 28 by President
Michael Kalinin--directs that the vast resettlement project be
carried out as soon as possible under supervision of the national
defense council headed by Premier Joseph Stalin.
The Germanic element in the Volga area represents about 65 percent
of its total population, which, according to most recent estimates
is about 600,000. The territory covers approximately 10,300 square
Catherine the Great, whose invitation brought some 8,000 German
families into the region, was herself the daughter of a Prussian
She was wed in 1745 to Prince Peter of Russia, and became express
in 1762 when he was dethroned by a conspiracy and later murdered.