The Debate over German POWs in Soviet Hands WW2


In my recent video on the Soviet Prisoners
of War in German hands, we saw the horrors inflicted on Soviet POWs, and the death of
well over 3 million souls through deliberate neglect, or outright murder. With some minor
variants, the sources I used for that video were more or less in agreement. In this video,
there is no agreement. In fact, there’s so little agreement, that even the question
of whether we can agree over the fact that there isn’t an agreement is up for debate. What we can definitely say though is that
the German and Soviet statistics are both awful and are used by various authors to push
their particular narratives. This is why we should probably avoid statistics when it comes
to things like history, or economics. But since we’re already here, and nothing warms
the heart on a lovely summer’s evening more than calculating death statistics, let’s
dust off the old abacus and start making math teachers around the world cry. According to German sources, 3,155,000 German
soldiers became captives in the Soviet Union. Some have said it was higher than that – going
as high as four million – but claims that high seem to have been guesses in the immediate
post-war period, so we can probably dismiss them. In 1947, the ever-trustworthy Molotov
stated that over one million German prisoners had been sent home, and another 900,000 remained
in Soviet custody. This was upsetting, because the Germans in the 1950’s believed (or hoped)
that more Germans had been taken prisoner than that, so they assumed that the remaining
one to two million missing men must have killed in Soviet captivity by the Soviets. Later,
when the Soviet archives opened in the 1980s, Soviet statistics confirmed that roughly 2,389,000
German prisoners had been taken by the Soviets during the course of World War Two. “They revealed that for once Molotov was
telling the truth.” So basically, either 2,389,000 or 3,155,000
German prisoners had been taken, and the higher amounts are actually missing soldiers assumed
to have been taken prisoner rather than killed in action. Even the 3,155,000 figure may be
too high. And it seems that the German civilians in the post-war era really hoped that fewer
Germans had died than had actually died. “…the numbers of those missing after all
repatriations had taken place was around 1.3 million, suggesting that actual losses were
much higher than the official figures.” So the evidence here suggests that German
casualties on the Eastern Front are probably understated. As we’ve seen in previous videos
on the tank numbers and so on, the oh-so efficient German record keeping wasn’t so oh-so efficient
at all. In fact, they often seem to downplay their losses, just like most sides did in
World War Two. As an example of this poor record keeping, we don’t even know how many
German soldiers there were with Rommel in Africa during Operation Crusader – and that
was only roughly 120,000 men. We don’t even know if the Afrika Division was even called
the Afrika Division or not, and that’s the name of a division. If we don’t know that,
what chance have we got in figuring out the actual number of men on the Eastern Front,
let alone how many men were captured during the confusion of combat? The point I’m making here is that both German
and Soviet record keeping standards are poor to say the least. A lot of people will say
that the Soviet statistics are not trustworthy, and gladly swallow whatever numbers the German
Third Reich made up. No, both sides are as bad as each other and are completely untrustworthy.
Because of this, the number of men who made it to the battlefield is incalculable, and
that’s before we even attempt to figure out how many troops or tanks were lost, and
in what manner they were lost. So the bottom line is this: the numbers are bogus to begin
with. And so it’s no wonder there’s debate going on about this. What we can say, however, is that most of
the German prisoners seem to have been taken later in the war, if not in the final months
of the conflict. During Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, just 30,000
German soldiers ended up as prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. This makes sense, considering
they were on the offensive, which was largely a success at the beginning at least. Both
German and Soviet records indicate that a significant portion of German prisoners taken
in 1941 and 1942 were either shot or just simply did not survive. For example, 180 German
soldiers were shot by Soviet troops at Broniki on the 30th of June 1941. “Soviet records indicate that 90 to 95 per
cent of German prisoners taken in 1941-2 did not survive, for various reasons.” But Bellamy also says that – “This does not seem to have been the Soviet
high command’s intention.” “The Germans captured a number of documents
which showed that the Red Army command was trying to stop the killing of prisoners, which,
of course, confirms that it was happening.” To cut a long story short, by 1942, the Soviet
high command had managed to get a grip on their men and stopped them from executing
German prisoners of war. It seems that they did this for economic reasons. German prisoners
could work in the Gulags, and their labour was seen as valuable, at least by 1943. Many
German prisoners ended up constructing a major railway between the Volga and Siberia, and
actually got paid for the work, although their guards seemed to have pocketed a lot of the
money. Conditions in the Gulags were especially poor
at first and the Soviet authorities appeared to be badly organized – which makes sense
since they hadn’t expected the sudden German attack and hadn’t prepared for a sudden
influx of German prisoners of war. The situation improved over time, although they worked between
10 and 12 hours a day, and got 600 grams of bread and some potato soup, and maybe some
meat and vegetables now and then. “They were not conditions designed deliberately
to exterminate the occupants of the camps, for the labour power of prisoners was needed
to rebuild the Soviet economy.” Despite what some Marxists in the comments
of my videos have claimed (that they were nice holiday camps), the Gulags weren’t
lovely places to be. That said, the conditions were certainly not like those that Soviet
prisoners suffered in German camps, as discussed in the other video. There were deaths in the
Gulags – shock, and horror. The numbers I’ve seen for the death of German prisoners in
Soviet custody are 356,000, 360,000, 363,000, 450,600, and 459,000. Again, the numbers are
based on bogus records, which means – yeah there’s discrepancies. And just to be as generous as I possibly can
be to the German sources, Rüdiger Overmans went even higher. His number of 363,000 is
the confirmed number of German deaths in Soviet hands, but he says that another 700,000 “missing”
prisoners could have been killed too. He has said the figure could be as high as 1 million
German prisoner of war deaths in the Soviet Union. Ok, but this is clearly speculation. The fact
that there’s 700,000 “missing” German soldiers in the first place indicates that
the German records aren’t accurate. It even suggests that German casualties during the
battles are understated – which was also the same conclusion Overy comes to, as we mentioned
earlier. It’s also playing to the idea going around in the 1950s that lots more German
soldiers survived the fighting, and were just in Soviet captivity, than they actually did.
The only evidence we seem to have for this 700,000 figure is the unreliable and understated
German casualty records and the hopes of the friends and relatives of missing German soldiers.
So while it’s clear that they were killed by the Red Army, that doesn’t mean they
were killed when they were taken prisoner. It could be that they were killed in combat
and then simply not recorded as such by either side, hence the discrepancy. Therefore, unless
more evidence comes along which definitely proves that they all died in the Gulags or
something, then it would be wrong to conclude that they even became prisoners of war in
the first place. However, we’re not going to rule it out
completely, since there’s a chance it could be true. So what we’re going to do now is
take both the German and Soviet figures for German POWs, and compare them to the number
of prisoners who are supposed to have been killed in Soviet captivity. Again, the numbers are bogus, and so the calculations
we’re about to make are essentially pointless, but we’re going to do them anyway for the
fun of it. And there’s plenty of evidence that they’re bogus as demonstrated by the
ever-so-Keynesian Cambridge History of the Second World War, volume 1. This exquisite
tomb uses the higher number for Germans captured – 3,155,000 – and a low number for the number
of deaths in Soviet hands – 360,000. It then concludes that there was a death rate for
German prisoners of war of 13.9%. This is incorrect, because 13.9% of 3,155,000 is 438,545,
not 360,000. So yeah… Not only have I shown previously that Cambridge’s economics history
contradicts itself, but Cambridge also can’t do basic math. So yes, we’re calculating made up numbers.
However, since they’ve all we’ve got, why not mess around with them? Therefore,
we’re going to put the number of German prisoners of war who fell into Soviet hands
at the top – the German 3.15 million, 3.06 million (which is Overmans’ specific number),
and the Soviet 2.38 million – and we’re going to list the authors’ numbers at the
side. Overmans gets additional numbers because he’s a bit special. So now we’re going to calculate the percentages.
Ignoring the Overmans over-and-above-the-call-of-duty number for a moment, the percentage number
of German prisoners of war who died in Soviet hands is somewhere between 11 and 20 percent,
with a lot of the numbers at roughly 11.5 or 14.5 percent. Oh, I forgot to add an extra column for Cambridge’s
two plus two is five so I’ll just add that in now. I’d love to say that their number
was actually the average between two of the other numbers and thus they were just being
clever, but no… no, they screwed up. But this range is actually broader than what
the authors say. So if I highlight which number the author favours, we can narrow the range
down even further. And we have Overy off to a good start with his 14.90; Cambridge off
to the side having difficulties; Overmans’ first bringing up the rear at 11.86; whilst
Glantz and House reach an 18.86 coming in first! But Fritz has fallen at the final hurdle
and failed to cross the finish line. Fritz doesn’t state which of the 3.15 or the 2.3
million numbers he prefers and so had to be put down and turned into sausages. Therefore we can conclude that… well, nothing.
But I’m going to suggest that the number of German POW deaths is low – probably around
14.5 percent of the total, and more likely to be 360,000 or 450,000 in total. Even if it was the massive 1 million that
Overmans speculates, this pales in comparison to the 3.3 million Soviet POWs who died in
the German camps. Even the highest percentage of 41.85%, which even Overmans himself does
not use, does not compete with a death rate percentage of 58% for Soviet prisoners in
German camps. And the likelihood of it being that is much lower, since 14.5% seems to be
a more reasonable figure. But I’m actually going to suggest that the
14.5% is also too high. Why? Because of Stalingrad. Glantz says that Rokossovsky’s official
figure for the number of Axis soldiers captured at Stalingrad was 91,000, while Paulus’s
was 107,800. He notes that Rokossovsky’s estimate does not include men taken prisoner
prior to the 30th of January, which was around 16,000, making it closer to Paulus’s guess.
The NKVD numbers are similar to Paulus’ figure as well. So roughly 108,000 Axis troops
were captured at Stalingrad. Of these, only around 5,000 made it back to Germany. Doing
some quick math, that’s a survival rate of 4.63%. Which means the death rate for Stalingrad
prisoners was 95.37%. Why? Because they were slowly starved in their
pocket for months prior to capture. We have reports of men in the 6th Army starving to
death inside the pocket, so of course they were near death already as the pocket collapsed.
And according to Beevor, just 5 percent of the senior officers taken prisoner at Stalingrad
and 55 percent of the junior officers perished, compared to over 95 percent of the lower ranks.
Why? Well, he says it’s because of the privileged treatment that the officers received in Soviet
custody. I’d say it was because of the privileged treatment that the officers received in German
hands. The officers got priority of food in the pocket, and weren’t running around fighting
all the time like the lower ranks were. “When prisoners were registered before departure,
many put down ‘agricultural labourer’ as their profession in the hope of being sent
to a farm.” Or because they were hungry. And on the same
pages Beevor does say the prisoners received bread and fish. So again, they weren’t deliberately
starved by the Soviets. More likely they were starved before capture and then died as a
result, which is the conclusion I came to in my “6th Army’s Rations at Stalingrad”
video. So the Stalingrad death ratio is 95.37%, which is a-typical compared to every percentage
we’ve looked at in this video. So Stalingrad is a special case. The death
rate was higher because the German soldiers were starved before they surrendered and probably
died because of that, not through harsh treatment in Soviet hands. Thus, since Stalingrad’s
death ratio is super-high through no fault of the Red Army, then that means that all
our percentages here are wrong. They’re too high. Stalingrad makes the percentages
go higher than they would otherwise be. So we need to recalculate and take out the Stalingrad
numbers to get a more accurate assessment of how the typical German prisoner would fair
had he fallen into Soviet hands. And, here we are – the death percentage for
non-Stalingrad German prisoners who were captured by the Soviets. 11.5% seems to be about right,
although it could be 8.5 or 15.4 as well. Either way, much lower than the 58% of Soviet
prisoners of war in German camps. Even if we went with the super-high Overmans 2 figure
of 39.33%, the Germans were treated better in Soviet custody than Soviet prisoners were
in German custody. And interestingly, the Axis Allied numbers are somewhat similar. “A further 1,097,000 were captured from
the nationalities fighting at Germany’s side… of whom 162,000 died.” That’s a death percentage rate of 14.76%.
Again, much lower than the 58% suffered by Soviet prisoners of war, and lower than the
95% of my brain cells which were lost as I watched part of “Hitler: The Greatest Story
Never Told” recently. Seriously, how anyone can sit through that rubbish without their
brains melting out their ears is beyond me. Want me to review it at some point in the
future? Vote in the poll. So, can we come to any conclusions here? Well,
it’s probably fair to say that the German prisoner of war survival chance was much higher
than that of Soviet prisoners of war in German hands, and that was because the Soviets didn’t
have a deliberate starvation policy, unlike the Germans. Conditions weren’t great for
either side, but Soviet prisoners in German camps definitely had it worse overall. What
we can definitely say is that statistics aren’t reliable, and that all the numbers are made
up so the points don’t matter. That’s right the points don’t matter, just like
your feelings when I say “No, I won’t just stick to tanks”. We sometimes have
to use statistics, but we should avoid them, especially when it comes to things like macroeconomics
or military statistics. If we do use them, we should assume they’re not accurate and
could be subject to change or dismissal. What’s more useful is a convergence of evidence and
a logical interpretation of history. If you have a contradiction in history, it’s most
likely an indication of a distortion of history. And big statistics are always contraditorary.
Thanks for watching, bye for now.

Comments 100

  • Specific Sources used in the video (for the benefit of the students out there) –

    Beevor, A. “Stalingrad.” Penguin Books, 1999.

    Bellamy, C. "Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War." Pan Books, 2009.

    Fritz, S. “Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East.” University Press of Kentucky. 2011.

    Glantz, D. & House, J. “When Titan’s Clashed.” University Press of Kansas, 2015.

    Glantz, D. House, J. “The Stalingrad Trilogy, Volume 3. Endgame at Stalingrad Book Two: December 1942-February 1943.” University Press of Kansas, 2014.

    Hirschfeld, G. “The Policies of Genocide: Jews and Soviet Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany.” Routledge, Kindle 2015 (original 1986).

    Mises, L. "Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis." Liberty Fund, 1981. 1969 edition (roots back to 1922).

    Overmans, R. “Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg.” Oldenbourg, 2004.

    Overy, R. “Russia’s War.” Penguin Group, 1999.

    "The Cambridge History of the Second World War. Volume I: Fighting the War." Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    Cheers!

  • Wow, you actually watched that "Goebbels-would-be-proud" so called documentary? Sorry you had to do that, but thank you for your hard work in providing this video. Personally, I don't think you should stick to tanks, just that you should get already to Irving and destroy his claims like you did Suvorov's. Cheers!

  • The total figures are hard to assess. I wonder how many of the around 800,000 prisoners that are part of the discrepancy between Soviet and German sources were soldiers that were summerly executed from 1943 on. It seems the Soviets started taking more prisoners as the war went on, especially as manpower in the east became increasingly strained but I also wonder how many were still shot immediately after surrendering. There was no love lost between the two sides for sure and the Soviets had plenty of reason to not take prisoners after advancing through their homeland and witnessing what the Germans did to their countrymen. It sounds like the most dangerous time for a German surrendering was in the first few hours of being captured. I'm sure that many were still killed without being reported to their leadership.

  • There is a conflict with this video and the Russian POW video. In the Russian POW video I assume most of the figures originated from German sources. In this video you say essentially that the Germans have no accurate records for their own troops. But apparently they recorded Soviet POWs accurately. It’s a bit of a contradiction.
    I am a big fan of your videos, I especially like reading the comments from deluded Bolsheviks and Nazis. They just refuse to accept the fact that the eastern front was intramural!! It must be strange to have so many viewers who are haters. But OH! The comments from these loonies are fantastic failures!!
    I would like you to talk about France between the wars sometime, how did they manage to stay “upright” with plenty of communists and Fascists running around inside of France.
    Keep up the great work!!

  • I hope you don't waste your (and our) time reviewing " 'Greatest Story Never Told' ". There's nothing to be learned from "documentaries" like this. The film is so absurd in places that it deserves a laugh-track, but it's not the sort of thing that a sane person should be laughing at. It's just biased, agenda-based trash.

  • Bundling together all the Axis PoW statistics masks the horrendous death toll of the Italian PoW during and after Uranus. Numbers are fuzzy as usual, with a death rate estimated by different sources to be between 76% and 86%, but it is worth noting that the NKVD itself reported a death rate for the Italians of 57% (27.683 over  48.957).

  • "Math"? Are you American?

  • Watched the video twice at this point. IMHO, the big picture is being overlooked. Most Soviet POWs that died were taken prisoner pre-1945 (I will go out on a limb here and insist that very few Soviets died in German POW camps post-'45.) But, let's choose a low number for Germans dying in Soviet camps in the same time frame and beyond. Is even 10% an "acceptable" number? How would you feel about 10% of the inmates of your local jail dying on a daily basis?

  • 3:06 – TIK gone derp… 😛

  • Do you think the reasons for these numbers are due to the fact that Germany in general was starving, therby prioritizing their own citizens, while as you point out, the soviets saw the oppertunity for forced labor and had the capability to feed this additional manpower?

  • Thank you for a thought provoking and detailed analysis.
    I read the book "Enemy at the Gates" by William Craig as a lad in the 1970's, which is full of first hand accounts of combatants on both sides in Stalingrad.
    There is a section at the back dealing with one German officer as a POW in Siberia. He was put in a hut with several others and although fed (which supports your opinion), it was insufficient to sustain all of the men. The men of his hut used the simple expedient of not declaring when one of them died (leaving the body in the bunk) it was not advised to the Russians so the rations amounts weren't reduced and therefore went further. I believe he was repatriated in 1953(?).

  • "Bogus" is one of my favourite British english words of the month^^

  • Two points to think..

    1. POWs are not always in the best physical condition to begin with. The Soviet Union was already in famine like conditions. So priority feeding POWs is not sane.

    2. On the other side of the ledger, the Soviets treated Japanese POWs like shit aswell, despite no history of large scale atrocities against the Soviet populace. The Soviets treated everyone badly, even their own.

  • Can you make pows of hungeryen and romenian Slovak croatian bulgerian finish and Spanish Italian prisoners in soviet captured

  • TIK you're the scotch of military history videos

  • Me and my business partner just acquired a German death card of a German Medic. He died on December 12th 1945 in a coal mine. Poor guy was probably worked to death

  • Both POW videos were excellent. I believe statistics usually still provide an indication, but they should never be followed blindly. The key issue with statistics bus how to interpret this and that goes often very wrong, wether in history, economics or something totally different like psychology and psychotherapy.

  • I heard more complaints from German POW veterans about US captivity (killing POWs at the spot of captivity, beating, letting starve or thirst) athan about Russian captivity. Okay the problem is taht only survivors could talk but a video about US treatment of German POWs might be useful. Worst of all was Yugoslawe partisan captivity, whereas British seems to have been the best..

  • There are many accounts of sovietic atrocities against axis prisoner because many of those prisoners survived to tell them; few russian prisoner survived to tell the german atrocities…

  • Stalin was more pragmatic about everything than Hitler why he won the War..Paulus talked many officer's into questioning their Oath to an Idiot..The Soviet Army offered The Most Generous Term of the War to the 6th Army at Stalingrad if they'd Quit before the last push..they didn't and only 5000 survived of 900000 after the War..

  • Disclaimer: I'm a Russian.

    tbh, not all of Soviet POW's deaths can be explained simply by mistreatment of Germans. Significant amount of Soviet POWs changed sides, became hiwi or whatever. Many of them were later killed in action.

    Thus said it brings another point: are hiwis included as a part of Wehrmacht personnel on EF? Because if they are not one should also partially exclude similar support role personnel from Red Army for a fair counting.

    P.S. Soviet against Soviet hostilities during the war is a gray area even today because while Army archives are open, NKVD/KGB archives – are not. But there is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence.

  • Both of my grandfathers were in soviet captivity after the war ended.
    My mothers father spent 10 years in Siberia,and the other 4.
    They both were forced to do slave labor,without payment.Both of them barely
    survived.
    After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, some compensation was payed
    by the Russian Federation, but my grand dad on mothers side was not alive by
    then.
    He died in 1966,because his health was damaged in captivity beyond recovery.

  • I'm just not convinced that a Russian WW2 pow camp was a good place to be.

  • My conclusion: despite what TIK says, there was a difference between National Socialism and Communism.

  • The death rate for German POWs in Soviet captivity was less than the death rate for Soviet civilians in the same time period. You may have some ideological compunction, driving you to attack the Marxists who presented you with this argument, but it's a fact that you were unable to present a counter argument to.

  • About the treatment of german Officers after Stalingrad, I'd say it's both, they clearly were better treated by the soviets, since they had plans for them (the "Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland" /NKFD), but they also had it probably better in the pocket than the lower ranks. I did a paper on the NKFD. Yeah great source, I know ^-^
    Edit: Funny you mentioned the greatest story never told, thought of picking it apart myself recently, starting a video series (which would be a first), though it's such crap, I couldn't watch it all, having to pause every few minutes in utter disbelief of the amount of misrepresentation.

  • ANOTHER EXCELLENT VIDEO!

  • TiK: “do you want me to lose brain cells and sanity reviewing this rubbish?”
    Viewers: “what the heck, that sounds fun.”

  • When Soviet pow are counted do they include Hiwis and or those recruited into osttruppen ? And what about if they were later captured by Soviet forces? Just those two questions throw all the statistics out of whack.

  • If ivan gets scarred because a german stands up with hands above his hand and sprays them with his PPSH… in what list do we count that dead german then?

  • Regarding the sentence "All the numbers are Bogus": I support that statement: i tried to find out where my grandfather was as a soldier and POW in/after WW2. The german archive has data until 1943 (but they tell you right away that lots of their documents didn't survive due to fire), The russians don't have any data about him at all. (But they maked his documents when sending him home…)

  • Very interesting your videos about Soviet prisoners of war in Germany and German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. Interesting would be to compare also the tretment of West Allied prisoners of war in Germany and the treatment of German prisoners of war by the West allies.
    Please include into your consideratiom for this the groundbreaking work of James Bacque: "Other Losses. An investigation into the mass deaths of German prisoners at the hands of the French and Americans after World War II"

  • Review, please!!!

  • Didn't saw any poll, but I want you to review the "movie" about Hitler. As I live in a country that doesn't support patreon, I am sorry to nagg you, having contributed nothing for your great, and mine favorite YouTube channel. Best regards TIK.

  • Eye Opening. Thanks.

  • Gulags are holiday camps? Yes, because the Soviets had a huge tourism industry, and the place tourists like to go is the middle of nowhere in Siberia in the winter.

  • I assume that you're not including the number of civilians sent to the Gulags. There were a lot of them.

  • Some good death statistics here.

  • At 5:12 , the numbers are not bogus, not at all. They are the baseline of reality in this topic. Saying they are bogus is akin to throwing them away, which revisionists will do happily and write a whole new false narrative and use your video as a reference. The fact is, the Wehrmacht does know how many men went MIA on the Eastern Front (3.2 million Vermisste) and how many were ever repatriated after the war (about 1.92 million). We don't have actual stats down to the eaches, but what we have is in the right proportions in a holistic sense of German casualties in WWII. We know what divisions were deployed, when and where, how many men they had and how many they lost according to their unit histories. On the Eastern front that is consistent with what the Volksbund has been finding as it searches for and locates thousands each year in the East. I suggest you look up the Volksbund channel here on YouTube.
    The number of "dead" POWs (2.3 million per NKVD/KGB) has to be qualified, only POWs who reached NKVD inprocess were counted. The number of German POW as reported by Red Army units that took them in is a better match to Wehrmacht estimates. Many were murdered shortly after capture.

  • Well, as the Russian didnt take any prisoners untill 1943, becuase they shoot em instead, those figures could be published as ”Kia” by the Russian. As you stated, 90-95% of germans didnt even become prisoners as they were murded by the red army instead. So one could prosume later german pow ended up in Gulags so they could end up rebuilding russia. Prior to this they got murdered instead. So I dont realy see how then situation would be better for german POWs then Russians? I see many trying to say germans were worse then Russians but realy, both countries were run by dictators who got absolutely no problems with killing of their prisoners. Think there kinda equally bad.

  • Thank you tik.

  • The battlefields in the east (Ukraine, and Russia west of Moscow) are to this day filled with un-recovered remains of Russian and German soldiers. Both Russia and Germany have volunteer recovery teams who are recovering 500 to 1,000 bodies each season (spring and summer). Few remains are individually identifiable — some from ID tags, ID capsules, or personal effects. It is something to see caskets packed full of bones, and then given respectful interments. These recovery groups have been doing this for years, and will continue for years to come.

    You can find Youtube videos of their activities. PS. every once in a while they pull a T-34 or Panzer IV tank out of a swamp.

  • I don't think it's enough to simply say that the 95% POW death rate after Stalingrad is due to the starvation the soldiers suffered prior to being captured. To make this case, you'd have to show statistics that show a 95% death rate for people relieved from starvation in other instances.

    Early in the video you show that Germans taken as POWs during Barbarossa faced an almost 100% death rate, so I think it would be fair to say that similar mistreatments contributed to the deaths of prisoners taken during Blau.
    That being said, I think these two videos you've made on POWs are very powerful and revelatory and some of your most important work so far. It's amazing how much "both sides did it!" garbage is on the internet when it comes to the topic of German and Soviet treatment of POWs. Though German POWs suffered terribly and far too many died, there's simply no comparison to the deliberate extermination of millions of Russian young men.

  • TIK is a good goy. UNSUBSCRIBE

  • TIK, you are a such a Stalinist. The Russian's kept normal German's, such as Eric Hartman, as a slave under torture for over a decade. Sure the Nazis were evil, but the Reds were just as bad.

  • Is it true that germans and japaneses soldiers had to read marxist doutrine?

  • Regarding Stalingrad prisoner deaths, there is also the phenomenon of starving people dying if allowed to eat without restraint when food becomes available. Something to do with potassium.

  • "socialists" say the gulags were holiday camps?? You think the central theme to Sovit Russia under Stalin was SOCIALISM?? Sorry, the operative principle of the Stalinsist regimes was totalitarian autocracy. The total loss of democratic and humanitarian principles, not "socialism" was the central theme to Stalinsim. His efforts to build up the Soviet Union were in the service of his own colossal ego, not the interests of working people. The bolsheviks were the extreme far right of the communist movement, far to the right of the social democrats of Western Europe in every way except rhetoric. There were communists who wanted democratic rights to extend to workers and even soldiers, and the oriiginal "Soviets" were democratic institutions. The Soviet Union merely replaced the power derived from hereditary privilige with power derived from political position, while retaining the oprressive apparatus which made regualt working people effectively powerless servants of the priviliged. Calling the Stalinist regimes "socialist", while trivially accurate, is also misleading. Stalinist regimes pratically destroyed the societies theyw ere immposed on, while stripping their workers of all their wealth and even their labor. Even tho the state did own themeans of production, the state was not a representative of the people. State ownership of the means of production is in direct opposition to socialist goals unless the state is democratically directed by the people. Socialist goals are far better served by private ownership in a capitalist economy regulated by democratic means to ensure working people benefit from the welath they create, while allowing investors to also benefit. Scandinavian countries come the closest to this goal, while the Stalinist regimes never even tried to. Socialist goals can be served by workers owning the means of production- directly, not thru state ownership.

  • That picture he opens up with is very famous. Does anyone know the name of the soviet POW staring down Himmler?

  • did 95% of liberated jews who were also being starved and worked to death die when liberated?
    NOPE
    So yeah, you're line on soviet treatment of Stalingrad prisoners is laughably wrong. QED.

  • My option on German Figures That POW and MIA is same list and such there is about 1 million Difference Width Soviet Numbers, the Soviet Numbers I think about (Puls or minus 20%).

  • Thank you TIK, your video helped prove my point. A running conversation I have with a colleague at work about this issue in WWII

  • My grandmother lived through the Siege of Leningrad(She ate grass and her mother hid away porridge in her mouth to bring home to her) and remembered that post-war German POW's built a traditional Russian bathhouse in the city. They were treated fairly but always asked for food, her mother cooked them a chicken.

  • While watching this presentation I remembered that it's been ages since I've had any orange sherbet or sorbet if you prefer. As such I shall endeavor to purchase a container during my next run to the grocery store.

  • Russians today won't just stop saying 20 million of their people were killed by the Germans, so how many of that 20 million was POW, Civilians, Frag accidentally by their own Soviet Solders from bombardments, aircraft attacks, misfires and so on.

  • So you have the German-Brussel Fourth Reich, Russian Mafia Federation, and the United People’s Kingdom. I am glad I am in the United States.

  • "Soviet and German statistics are both bad" Not arguing about sentence itself, I asking what is the basis of a soviet part? Can You give example, where soviet statistic on german PAWs was proven wrong? How it happens, that soviet PAWs not cause same argument as a german PAWs, while both have same sources?

  • Somewhere in 1941:
    – Bitte, Gnade zeigen!
    – He wants mercy!?
    – You do not deserve mercy!
    – What mercy did you show to our comrades? Readies pistol
    – Wait! He could help us!
    – Help us? He can die for us! shoots … Mudak!

  • I feel like one thing that we can agree on is that they where in gulags so obviously there wasnt very good living conditions but a the same time the russians had no discrimination agianst the germans (asside from the destroying of their land) so they didnt feel the need to treat them half as bad as the germans treated the russians becuase the whole slavs and dirty commies thing. So i feel like the germans defiantly treated the russian POWs worse and the russians didnt go out of their way to make it bad or anything but a the end of the day its still a slave labour camp so its you know slaves.

  • How can you avoid statistics for economics? Whole subject of economics is based on statistical study

  • TIK, i love your videos and i have a question: how to play a proper playlist? i'm watching operation crusader (now at the end of 14), and the next button put this video on play instead of episode 15. do i miss something, this is pretty annoying not to have a real playlist.

  • Please do a review of 'Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told.'

  • Isnt a significant part of the problem with these numbers that the germans are counting MIAs and the russians spent a lot of the war not really bothering to take prisoners?

    Combine this with how many late war battles were effectively soviet artillery obliterating thousands of germans at a time, and the idea that anyone could have an accurate count just falls apart.

  • I would like for you to do a debunking video on Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told. I saw it once on YouTube and it made me sick to my stomach. The fact that this garbage mockumentary has a high audience rating on IMDb is enough to make me lose faith in humanity.

  • I fucking love the quips and sarcastic remarks throughout the video

  • Here in Saint-Peterspurg (former Leningrad) we still have these small yellow 3-4 floor houses that were built by german pows. Still standing and have people living in them)

  • I never heard of this greatest story never told. Looks dumb, watch it for me so I dont have to lol

  • Your channel name is the name of a very destructive and extremely addictive drug in my home country.

  • And of course those ex Russian POW murdered or sent to gulag after 'liberation ' thanks Stalin, the great liberator, with more blood than even Hitler! but he killed his own people! so thats OK then. Stalin betrayed the revolution and was just another czar but far worse
    Maybe you get the government you deserve kinda like UK government today

    And

  • You would be doing allot of good if you reviewed and debunked "the greatest story never told"
    Allot of people have fallen for it hook line and sinker, my ex friend became a full blown third Reich fetishist after he watched that documentary and implored me to watch it but I could not get through more then an hour and a half of it.

    I do remember looking for a review which debunked some of the claims at the time of its release but could not find anything. Maybe my old friend would not of gone off the rails if such a review existed.

  • “There are lies, damned lies and statistics”

  • During my training we were told to be careful when treating starving people because they had very low levels of potassium. When you fed them random food that level could be diluted and end up dropping below survivable level. That is to say chemical levels would drop to fatal levels. Which must have come as a surprise to the Russians feeding German prisoners after Stalingrad.

  • The Russians had similar problems of counting men taken prisoner. Partly because they counted missing as captured or deserted. Families were targeted for abuse because of this. There are still excavations going on trying to recover Soviet Army dead so these soldiers names are recovered. I don't think Soviets carried id tags but carved their names into metal spoons which they carried on their them at all times.

  • I believe the one million dead. Otherwise it would mean the german prisoners during and just after the war were more resistant than the soviet civilians and german civilians deported. The kolima highway going to oymyakon the coldest town on earth was built with gulag workforce. There is a dead buried inside the road I do not remember every xxx meters. Russians are tough people. A stalingrad survivor told he survived because he was a physician but the uneducated german soldier sent to mines in siberia or road construction did not survive. I would rather see comparison statistics with soviet and german civilians and german soldiers. Also germans were badly treated, but other nationalities like romanian and hungarian were better treated.
    Also according to Russian Insider 5.5 millions soviets civilians died of malnutrition in non-occupied ussr during the war, Leningrad not included. Life in ussr was tough. So a death rate of 15 % among prisoners, if you divide this by maybe 6 years the average length of jail time, it makes a ridiculously death rate per year for german prisoners. I do not remember where I saw this picture of nicely treated axis prisoners sitting at a restaurant table. Propaganda is crazy. Even our countries and our politics lie, usa, uk, so in ussr forget about their statistics.

  • TIK makes some very good points and especially on the unreliability of stats on this subject. However, I would add that Soviet leadership directed a campaign of personal revenge against Nazi personnel through Commissars propagandizing their soldiers to list every crime personally witnessed or known and returning the favor in kind. Also, many Soviet WWII veterans in the period between the end of the Cold War and Putin's retrenchment, when interviewed, flat out stated they executed enemy soldiers after "tactical questioning" unless directed otherwise.

  • You do not fight evil with evil! The Soviet Union was evil. Just as Socialism is evil!

  • Everyone did bad things, I'll just take the emergency exist on my way out.

  • Good and unbiased. Glad to see some of the Wehraboo myth-busting again!

  • According to Soviet data (see table https://www.alexanderyakovlev.org/fond/issues-doc/1009320) the mortality rate per year in the Gulag camps (where the vast majority of the German POWs ended up) was as follows: 1941 – 6.1%, 1942 – 24,9%, 1943 – 22,4%, 1944 – 9,2%, 1945 – 5,95%, 1946 – 2,2%, 1947 – 3,59%, 1948 – 2.28%, 1949 – 1.21%, 1950 – 0.95% and then trending lower. We see a spike in 1947 which was a famine year in USSR. Similar data (slightly higher) can be found in the book "The Great Terror" from Robert Conquest. If we assume most of the POWs were captured in 1944/45 and spent an average of 4-5 years in the camps, the cumulative death rates would be slightly over 25% (depending of how long they stayed in the camps). This assuming they were not treated worse than other prisoners and also assuming the Soviet data is not understating the death rate. Both circumstances have the potential of raising the death toll even higher. Overmans 2 number (31-32%) looks like the best estimate.

  • Both sides were cruel with prisioners. When the soviets retreated from Ucrania they asesinated 100.000, mostly prisioners. When the nazis arrived they asesinated 30000 jews…

  • Stalingrad battlestorm coming out next week??

  • @tik Have you done a video preceding H’s rise to power? It’s usually present as a failure of democracy, that German people just happen to vote him. Is that true?

  • It would be interesting, if you did a video about the British Raj Army?

  • Hi , at the Stalingrad they did not take any pows as they unfurtanetaly been smashed by chanes of the tanks. It comes from kgb officer in 80 ties

  • “We have had a good run for our money with this gas chamber story we have been putting about, but don’t we run the risk eventually we are going to be found out and when we are found out the collapse of that lie is going to bring the whole of our psychological warfare down with it? So isn’t it rather time now to let it drift off by itself and concentrate on other lines that we are running.” 
    ~Victor Cavendish-Bentick Head of British Psychological Warfare Public Record Office Document F0371/34551

  • So when you look at the normal statistics, the death rate for Italian POWs in Soviet captivity is extremely high (90%+ I think). Do you know anything about this? Is this also a matter of poor statistics – the assumption that the Soviets took more prisoners than they did?

  • Thank you for making these videos. My great grandfather survived Dachau because he was a doctor who was especially useful to the Germans at the time (they didn't want to treat the jews so they kept him around to keep the small labor force up and running efficiently, supposedly).

    The Nazis were truly evil, and it amazes me that the other sides were so honorable that they tried to keep them alive as POW's. The Germans had no respect for their prisoners, and the allied nations didn't need to respect the German prisoners either, but they did anyways. It just goes to show, the Allies unequivocally had the moral high ground no matter what they did.

    It wasn't just a morale and material war, it was a war of morality. It's very hard to act rationally when blinded by hate, and the Germans were so hateful, they made a tremendous number of blunders along the way.

    I believe that German attitudes towards their enemies and their own people contributed heavily to them losing the war.

  • Hey TIK can you not be a cunt and answer my question rather than deleting it?

  • Well, if someone comes to ur house and kills ur family, u just let the guy go? German soldiers deserved everything they got during war and after war. They are lucky soviets let's some german soldiers return at all.

  • Normally the Germans down play there losses. A classic is the SS panzer Corps at Kursk. In the German official History they said the thousands of Hiwi's attached to the Corps ran off. When in fact they were drafted into the combat units to replace the actual losses… But are not recorded as such.

  • That's about what I was told at school: at the beginning propaganda was so strong that troops just killed anybody they could and later on they tried to capture more POW who were used to repair the economy. But I don't remember any numbers.

  • It is probaly also that the germans counted in other axis countries in their losses, which makes the numbers more bogus

  • My grandfather was a Hungarian (Transylvanian Saxon) conscript in the SS and was captured later in the war and sent to a labor camp. He was never a particularly smart guy, but he was a gentle guy, and I remember his English being so shitty he had to repeat himself constantly, but he spoke German, Hungarian, Romanian, and a good bit of Russian by the time of the war. When he got to the camp, he was able to barter with a Russian civilian worker to get a worker's pass in exchange for linens and underwear, and he walked right out the front fucking gate after less than a month of captivity. He then basically walked/hitchhiked to Austria where he later met my grandmother and had a pair of kids before coming to the states in the 50's.

  • Present for you http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/ETO/Africa/index.html
    Its a good source

  • I love your work tik,I hope one day in future you can cover the pacific campaign,I don't think americans get enough credit as we do facing the imperial japanese samurai with one of the most advanced navies in the world

  • where is the poll?

  • Referring to Mark's still shot insert of two of our modern day "revolutionists/revisionists" notice what most of them & their followers have in common…..youth…..and with it, gullibility with a generous portion of just plain stupidity. With the purposeful dumbing down of American youth, we can expect their population to only increase. It's the plan. Great report Mark. This is my opinion, not Mr. Felton's, of course.

  • I shared your excellent doc. on Direct Democracy Ontario https://www.facebook.com/groups/117704965548189/

  • Soviet soldiers only died because they were already starved before they were captured by the germans ….

  • My grandfather´s brother had been a Wehrmacht-sapper. He´d been a POW in Russia but was released somewhat earlier as he was from Weimar which was in the Soviet Zone of Occupation, the later German Democratic Republic, and heading to continue living there again with his wife and kids. 
    The release of POWs who went to East Germany wasn´t a loss for the Russian economy as they kept contributing to the reparations East Germany had to pay to the USSR.

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