MARTYNENKO V.L. Evacuation of the German Population from Transnistria in March–July 1944


Vladimir L. Martynenko

Candidate of Sciences (History), Doctoral Student,

М.S. Hrushevsky Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,

Trekhsvyatitelskaya St., 4, 02000 Kiev, Ukraine

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Abstract. Introduction. During autumn 1943 – spring 1944 the systematic phased evacuation of the German population was carried out from the occupied Soviet regions. Its final phase was the operation of relocating more than 130 000 ethnic Germans from the Transnistria Governorate controlled by Romanian authorities to the territory of Warthegau.

Materials and methods. The presented research is based on the historicism and objectivity principles. In the course of the work, the author uses special methods such as historical-systematic, chronological, historicaldescriptive, and historical-genetic. The Source base of the research consists of documents of archival funds of Germany, memoirs and partly materials from the German press.

Analysis. The decision of the SS leadership to execute the evacuation of ethnic Germans from Transnistria was due to the further advance of Soviet troops in the southern direction. However, even at the planning stage, the German side was faced with serious problems that could disrupt the entire operation. Due to the fact that control over many transport communications was lost, evacuation routes could only run through the territory of Romania, Bulgaria, occupied Serbia and Hungary. Therefore, the German leadership had to initiate urgent negotiations with the authorities of some of these states. Especially difficult was the negotiation process with the Romanian side which did not want to provide any assistance in the evacuation of the Germans from Transnistria. The High Command of the Wehrmacht was also in no hurry to provide assistance (for example, in transport support).

Results. Despite the above-mentioned problems, the SS leadership was still able to carry out this resettlement action for several months. Most Germans decided to leave their homes not under the administrative pressure from the occupying authorities, but voluntarily, guided exclusively by the instinct of their survival.

Key words: ethnic Germans, evacuation, Germany, Transnistria, Romania, Ethnic German Liaison Office, Sonderkommando “R”, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.

Citation. Martynenko V.L. Evacuation of the German Population from Transnistria in March–July 1944. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 70-83. (in Russian). DOI:

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Evacuation of the German Population from Transnistria in March–July 1944 by Martynenko V.L. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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