Mobilization for the Trudarmee [Work Army] – Regulated and Carefully Planned by the Government
Official government decrees, excerpted from translations by Eisfeld, Alfred and Herdt, Victor in Deportation, Sondersiedlung, Arbeitsarmee [Deportation, Special Settlements, Work Army], Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1996.
Eisfeld, Alfred et al. "Mobilization for the Trudarmee [Work Army] – Regulated and Carefully Planned by the Government." Volk auf dem Weg, December 2012, 9.
Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO.
January 19, 1942 Decision by the State’s Defense Committee of the Soviet Union Regarding Guidelines for Deployment of Resettled Germans Eligible for Military Service Between the Ages of 17 and 50 (Selected Passages):
- All German men between 17 and 50 years of age who are fit for manual work and were resettled in the Novosibirsk and Omsk areas, the Krasnoyarsk and Altai regions, and the Kazakh SSR – circa 120,000 persons – are to be mobilized into work brigades for the entire duration of the war. From this group the following are to be handed over as follows:
- To the NKVD of the USSR (People’s Commissariat for Interior Affairs) –
45,000 persons for harvesting of trees, 35,000 persons for the construction of factories in Bakal and Bogolovsk.
- To the NKPS of the USSR (People’s Commissariat for General Transport and the Railway System) – 40,000 persons for the construction of the following rail lines: Stalinsk--Akaban, Stalinsk–Barnaul, Akmolinsk–Kartaly, Akmolinsk–Pavlodar, Sosva-Alapayevsk, Orsk-Kandagatch, and Magnitogorsk-Sara.
- The NKVD of the USSR and the NKPS of the USSR are responsible for enforcing among the worker columns and work troops of the mobilized Germans the strictest order and discipline in order to ensure high worker productivity and the achievement of production norms.
- The NKVD of the USSR and the NKPS of the USSR are charged to handle at the highest levels of the NKVD of the USSR the worst cases, to administer the maximum punishment to the following: Germans who do not appear at the induction or collection locales, those who are already part of the work brigades but do not maintain proper discipline or refuse to perform their work, or those who do not report despite orders or who desert the work army.
- For those Germans who have been mobilized, the norms for food provisions and other necessities are to be applied exactly in line with those for the GULAG of the NKVD of the USSR.
February 14, 1942 Decision by the State’s Defense Committee of the Soviet Union Regarding Mobilization of Resettled Germans Eligible for Military Service between the Ages of 17 and 50 and with Permanent Residence in the Districts, Regions, Autonomous and Union Republics (Selected Passages):
- All German men between17 and 50 years of age who are capable of manual work and have permanent residence in the districts of Archangelsk, Vologda, Ivanovna, Molotov, Penza, Ryazan, Sverdlovsk, Tambov, Tchita, Tchkalov, Yaroslavl, Kirov, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Kuybyshev and Irkutsk; in the regions of Primorye, Chbarovsk, Altai and Krasnoyarsk; the Bashkir and Mordvinia ASSR; the ASSRs of Mari, of the Tatars, the Udmurian, the Tchuvashian and Buryat-Mongolian ASSR; the Komi ASSR; the Kazakh, Turkmenia, Tajikistan, Kirghiz and Uzbek SSRs shall be mobilized for the work brigades for the entire duration of the war, and shall be assigned to the NKVD of the USSR for deployment in the construction of railroad lines. Implementation of the mobilization is assigned to the NKO (People’s Commissariat for Defense and to the NKVD of the USSR. The mobilization is to be completed by March 25, 1942.
- The NKPS and the administration of the NKO responsible for military transport are charged with securing the actual mobilization of Germans so that, per request from the NKVD of the USSR, transport to their places of work, shall begin no later than March 30.
October 7, 1942 Decision by the State’s Defense Committee of the Soviet Union Regarding
Additional Mobilization of Germans on Behalf of the People’s Economy of the USSR (Selected Passages):
- German men between the ages of 15 and 16 and between 51 and 55 who are capable of manual work, as well as those who have been resettled from the central regions of the USSR and from the Republic of Volga Germans to the Kazakh SSR and easterly areas of the RSFSR, and also those who live in other districts, regions, and republics of the Soviet Union are to be mobilized additionally into work brigades for the entire duration of the war.
- In addition, the mobilization of German women from 16 to 46 years of age is to be undertaken and to last the entire duration of the war. Exempted from this mobilization are German women who are pregnant, and women with children under three years of age.
- In accordance with the December 26, 1941 decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR entitled “Regarding the Responsibility of Workers and Employees of Armament Factories Relating to Voluntary Desertion of the Work Place,” those Germans are subject to criminal punishment for non-appearance at their induction or collection locales for mobilization, as well as for refusing to work, or for desertion from work brigades.
- Those Germans who have been mobilized in accordance with this decision shall be obliged to work in concerns of the “Chelyabisnkugol” and “Karagandaugol” Trusts of the People’s Commissariat for Coal Industries. According to earlier decisions by the People’s Commissariat, mobilized German women are to be deployed in concerns of the Narkomneft (People’s Commissariat for Oil Industries).
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.