Was the Third Reich Aware of the Deportation of the Volga Germans?
Krieger, Dr. Viktor. "Was the Third Reich Aware of the Deportation of the Volga Germans?" Volk auf dem Weg, November 2011, 20.
Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. Editing by Dr. Nancy A. Herzog.
We now know that the deportation of the Volga Germans [in 1941] proceeded largely in secret and without knowledge of the Soviet public. Only the regional German- and Russian-language newspapers were allowed [some days after its pronouncement – Tr.] to publish the respective decree directly to the Volga Germans. The only other publication it appeared in was the “Gazette of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union,” an organ that was hardly accessible to the average Soviet citizen (vedomosti verchovnogo Sovieta SSSR).
However, only a few days later the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s second-in-command, Solomon Losovski, made known to the diplomatic corps and to the accredited foreign journalists the decision to deport the entire Volga German population. A corresponding announcement by the US agency, the Associated Press, appeared in the New York Times as early as September 8, 1941, and that piece was accompanied by a byline from its Moscow correspondent.
In Germany, this piece of news naturally did not go unheeded. In fact, the Nazi propaganda machine literally soaked it up. Nearly all large-circulation newspapers in the Reich printed reports concerning “Crimes Perpetrated on 400,000 Volga Germans.” By September 13, the Reich’s Ministry for Occupied Eastern Regions was prepared to issue “Guidelines for radio propaganda regarding the deportation of the Volga Germans to Siberia.” The October issue of the periodical of the Association of German Russians, “Deutsche Post aus dem Osten [German News from the East]” published an article by Karl Cramer with the rather martial title “Das Verbrechen der Sowiets an dem Wolgadeutschtum [The Crime by the Soviets against the Volga German People].”
Emigrants living in Germany as well as those directly affected “Soviet citizens of German nationality” who found themselves in the occupied territory at the time became thoroughly informed of the policies of Stalin’s regime. This final betrayal by the Kremlin leadership of its citizens of German origin deeply upset those affected and thoroughly undermined any remaining loyalty they might have maintained toward this state. The disastrous fate of the Volga Germans affected in a very permanent way the behavior of those “Soviet” Germans who would find themselves occupied by the German military, or even in a POW camp.
Banner of the news organ “Deutsche Post aus dem Osten [German News from the East],” with the title of a specific report, in bold: “Das Verbrechen der Soviets an dem Wolgadeutschtum [The Crime by the Soviets against the Volga Germans]."
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translating and to Dr. Nancy A. Herzog for editing the article.