Originally Posted by Karjala "It is not a myth but a fact, that all returning POWs were considered at first as possible traitors. They were sent to filtering (prison) camps, where they were interrogated for weeks. After that many were excecuted, even more were sentenced to GULAG, the rest were freed." "m kenny" wrote: And I say you have no facts in order to back that. Leave aside the Soviet soldiers/citizens who actively helped/served with the Nazis and give me the data that shows that 'all' returning POW's were treated as traitors. For instance why did the Soviets (late war) directly put all released POW's into the army if they were thought to be enemy agents? "Ivan's War" by prof. Catherine Merridale, page 182: "On 11 May 1945, Stalin signed the order that provided for the establishment of another web of camps in Central Europe. There were to be forty-five on the First and Second Belorussian Fronts alone, each one designed to hold up to ten thousand men. By June, there were sixty-nine camps for special prisoners on Soviet territory and a further seventy-four in Europe. Their purpose was to intern former Red Army soldiers who had been prisoners of war with the intention of "filtering" them, which meant looking for spies, fingering cowards, and assigning punishment to so-called betrayers of the motherland" page 183: "In all, about 1.8 million prisoners like him would end up in the hands of SMERSh." "Building prisons to hold these "special" veterans was a challenge when resources were stretched. But Soviet secret policemen were always willing to adapt." "For years to come, it would house consignments of expatriates waiting for the attentions of SMERSh, the cells and darkness, and the train ride to the east." (Sachsenhausen, ex-German concentration camp) "In all, about five and a half million Soviet citizens had been sent back to their former homeland by the end of 1946. Of these, something like a fifth were either executed at once or sentenced to twenty-five years of hard labor. Others took their own lives, and even those of their accompanying families, rather than face the mercy of Soviet military police." "Specials" were treated as convicts whilethey awaited "filtration." The onus was always on them to prove their innocence. The process could take months, even years. SMERSh and its successors were still "filtering" displaced persons in the 1950s." "While they waited, the wretched prisoners faced insults and bullying, andthe same treatment would continue when they were assigned to labor camps. By August 1945, just over half a million were already at work. Quotas of former prisoners and "traitors" wereassigned to the coal-mining and power industries, to construction work, timber, steel, fisheries, engineering, chemicals—anywhere labor was needed and money was scarce. The condemned were supposed to be grateful to Stalin for sparing their lives. The conditions of the disgraced men, as one survivor remarked, rivaled the hardships of a Nazi camp."