German Prisoners of War in the Soviet Union: Life, Law, Memory, 1941-1956

2019-04-19T15:26:42Z (GMT) by Susan Grunewald
This dissertation examines German prisoners of war (POWs) in the USSR from 1941 to 1956. The Soviet government kept roughly 1.5 million German POWs in labor camps after the end of the war, the largest and longest held group of prisoners of the victor nations. My dissertation explores the political, diplomatic, and economic motivations of the Soviet state, investigating the economic role the prisoners served in reconstruction, the diplomatic and legal
tensions raised by repatriation, and material conditions in the camps and labor sites. It seeks to place the GUPVI POW camps into a larger conversation about Soviet forced labor and the infamous GULAG camp system. Using extensive GIS mapping, it assesses the significance of
the POW contribution to Soviet reconstruction. Finally, it examines questions of memory, the differences among POWs repatriated to West and East Germany, and Russia’s own commemorative efforts.