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Russian-German POW exchange Hannover 1939-1940

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by Namor, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Namor

    Namor New Member

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    Hello
    Looking at old translated family records, they state my Dad, a Polish soldier, was captured by Russians in Sept. 1939. Then there was a prisoner exchange between Germans and Russians in late 1939 or early 1940 in Hannover Germany and he ended up in Stalags. It must have been a big event but I find no record of it online. Does anyone here have information on this prisoner exchange?

    Thanks Namor
     
  2. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Some Polish prisoners were freed or escaped quickly, while 125,000 were imprisoned in prison camps run by NKVD.[13] Out of those, 42,400 soldiers, mostly soldiers of Ukrainian and Belarusian ethnicity serving in the Polish army who lived in the former Polish territories now annexed by the Soviet Union, were released in October. The 43,000 soldiers born in West Poland, then under German control, were transferred to the Germans; in turn the Soviets received 13,575 Polish prisoners from the Germans.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_prisoners-of-war_in_the_Soviet_Union_after_1939


    "The process of freeing the rank-and-file and non-commissioned officers lasted until December 1939; the majority of those who came from territories under the German occupation were turned over to the Third Reich (42,492). A part of the soldiers that lived on the eastern lands of the Second Republic were released (42,400). In December 1939, there ultimately remained in the Soviet camps a group of nearly 39,000 prisoners."
    Article "Victims 1939-1941: Soviet Repressions in Eastern Poland" by Grzegorz Hryciuk from Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-occupied Poland


    "The first Gestapo–NKVD meeting took place in Brześć nad Bugiem reportedly on 27 September 1939, while some units of the Polish Army were still fighting resulting in mass internment of soldiers and their extrajudicial shootings on both sides of the Curzon Line. At the meeting, the German and Soviet officials reached a mutual agreement about the fate of Polish infantry soldiers captured by the Red Army. Between 24 October and 23 November 1939 a total of 42,492 Polish prisoners of war were transferred from Kozelsk (Kozielsk) and Putyvl (Putywl) camps across the Nazi-Soviet demarcation line and handed over to the Germans. Both Gestapo and NKVD expected the emergence of Polish resistance and discussed ways of dealing with the clandestine activities of the Poles."

    "The next meeting took place some time at the end of November 1939 in Przemyśl, shared by the German and the Soviet occupational forces between September 1939 and June 1941. Apart from talks of fighting Polish resistance, the Soviets and the Germans discussed ways of exchanging Polish POWs. Also, first discussions about the occupation of Poland were started. Some historians claim this meeting took place in Lwów. It is also claimed a meeting was held in December."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestapo%E2%80%93NKVD_conferences


    https://web.archive.org/web/20130324232657/http://www.electronicmuseum.ca/Poland-WW2/soviet_deportations/soviet_deportations_album_1.html


    It's unlikely the Handover happened in Hannover (more likely the exchange happened at the Soviet-German border), although he may have ended up near Hannover due to other circumstances, such as Nazi labour needs, or as one of the nearly 17,000 Polish people interred in the Neuegamme Concentration camp or similar.

    I note that there was a Stalag VIIIB/344 that housed Polish PoWs;

    In 1939 the camp housed Polish prisoners from the German September 1939 offensive. Later more than 100,000 prisoners from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Greece, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and the United States passed through this camp. In 1941 a separate camp, Stalag VIIIF was set up close by to house the Soviet and Polish prisoners.
    http://www.lamsdorf.com/
     
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  3. wm.

    wm. Active Member

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    It wasn't like the cold war "spy for spy" swaps.
    The people were selected in their camps by "committees" - in this case in Hanover I suppose, and then sent to the border and handed over to the other side.

    The exchange was based on the German–Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Demarcation signed by Ribbentrop and Molotov at the end of 1939.
    In the USSR Beria ordered it on 11 October 1939, and it ended on 23 November 1939.
    Almost nothing is known about those Gestapo–NKVD meetings.
     
  4. Namor

    Namor New Member

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. It is interesting to note the Polish POW, Dad, was in Lagier Putiviski held by Soviets then after the exchange he was in Stalag XXA Thorn, Poland. Funny that an old,overview summary letter from his late sister would specify "near Hannover". I guess that what happens when you research decades too late
     

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