The Soviet POWs
Description of the document
Camps sheets of Soviet POWs stored in archives of the National Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau refer to the POWs arrested after the German aggression on the Soviet Union in June 1941, and kept in POW camp, from where they were deported to Auschwitz. The POWs were located in a separate part of the camp, within the area of Auschwitz I, in the so called work camp of the Russian prisoners of war (Russisches Kriegsgefangenen Arbeitslager). The Soviet POWs were registered in a writer's office, located on the ground floor of the block No 24. There were around 30 prisoners of KL Auschwitz working at recording the POWs, knowing Russian and German languages. There were among others: Józef Kret (no 20020), Ludwik Rajewski (no 4217), attorney Władysław Branicki (no 4001), Zygmunt Stepanek (no 16032), Józef Rucki (No not found), Józef Klink (No 20093), Władysław Koliński (No 3135), Józef Kowalski (No not found).
Two kinds of documents were prepared during registration of the POWs, i.e. Record sheets of the POWs and military forms. Record sheets of the Soviet POWs were prepared on yellow pieces of paper, on the printed-out forms, with dimensions of 14 x 10 cm. The first part of these documents embraced: the camp number ascribed in Auschwitz ("Gef. Nr.” - Gefangen Numer) and a POW number ascribed in the POW camp ("Kenn. Nr.” – Erkennungsmarke Nummer). The second part of the sheet comprised of personal details of the POW, i.e. his last name ("Name"), first name ("Vorname"), date of birth ("geb. am." – geboren am ), place of birth („geb. in” – geboren in), profession („Beruf”), military rank of the POW („Dienstgrad”), religion („Religion”), country („Staat”), marital status („Stand”), place of residence („Wohnort”), last name of his wife („Name der Ehefrau”), his parent's last name („Name der Eltern”), address („Anschrift der Angehörigen”). Third part of the file included: the date of arriving at the camp (Eingeliefert"), a field "released" ("Entlassen"), which was not filled in, and a field "deceased" ("Verstorben"), where a date of death was recorded. The hour of death and the "+" symbol was put in the last field with a red coloured pencil. In not numerous cases there was also the reason of death put in at the bottom of the sheet. The files are filled by hand, usually with ink. The retained files of Soviet POWs comprises of 7646 sheets.
Time of preparation
The files of Soviet POW refer to the prisoners transported from POW camps to Auschwitz between 7.10.1941 to 8.02.1942.
There was a database with 7646 personal records created in 1990s on the basis of the Files of Soviet POWs. The developed database of was incorporated into the Central Register of Prisoners, kept by the Digital Repository of National Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. In recent years, as a part of complete digitalization of archives of the National Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, the files of Soviet POW were scanned.
Description of the document
The Book of Deceased Soviet POWs, kept in the archives of the Museum, refers to the Soviet soldiers, incarcerated in the POW camp (Russisches Kriegsgefangenen Arbeitslager), located within the territory of the main camp KL Auschwitz. They were arrested after German aggression on the Soviet Union in June 1941, and kept in POW camps, from where they started being deported to Auschwitz from October 1941. Living conditions in the Soviet POWs camp in Auschwitz, and behaviour of camp authorities caused that about 9000 out of 10000 POWs brought in October 1941, died within five months. Their last names may be found in the Book of Deceased Soviet POWs.
This document was prepared by a prisoner - Kazimierz Hałgas (No 5670) - who was a male nurse and a writer in the hospital for Soviet POWs.
The Book of Deceased Soviet POWs is in a form of a notebook with wide ruling, with dimensions of 22 x 16 cm. It is bound in black hard cover. The external cover bears a sticker with an inscription "R. Kr. Gef. Lager Auschwitz.", and below "Totenbuch Krankenbau". There is a cross mark drawn with a red pencil next to the "Totenbuch" inscription. The notebook includes 470 pages, two of which are left blank.
The writer prepared 7 columns on each page manually: ordinal number ("Lf. Nr. – Laufende Nummer), POW number („R. Nr.” – Rusische Nummer), block number („Block”), time of death („Todes Stunde”), last and first name („Name, Vorname”), date and place of birth („Geburts.” – Geburtsdatum, Geburtsört), reason of death („Todesursache”). The writer put regular intervals of death counting up to 5-10 minutes in the columns "time of death" on purpose. Apart from that, he recorded the time of death only during the working hours. Besides, he provided a name of an alleged disease in the column "reason of death", in Latin or German. In many cases, instead of the disease, he put an annotation "transferred" ("überstellt") without providing destination, which in practice meant death.
Almost all of the POWs recorded in the Book did not die naturally in the hospital, but as a result of terrible conditions in the POW camp or a brutal murder.
Time of preparation
The retained Book of Deceased Soviet POW was kept between 7.10.1941 and 28.02.1942. On the basis of records in this document, it was found out that at least 8320 POW were murdered at that time.
A database was prepared in 90s on the basis of the Book of Deceased Soviet POWs, and it includes 8333 personal records. This document has been scanned in recent years as a result of complete digitalization of the Archive.
The developed database was incorporated into the Central Register of Prisoners, kept by the Digital Repository of National Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau.