SIDOROV S.G. To the Question of the Fate of Prisoners of War from the Stalingrad Pocket


Sergey G. Sidorov

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor,

Department of History and International Relations,

Volgograd State University, Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The successful counter-offensive of the Soviet troops near Stalingrad marked the beginning of the mass capture of enemy soldiers. Only after the liquidation of the Stalingrad cauldron, more than 90 thousand people were taken prisoner.

Methods and materials. Historical facts are researched on the basis of the principles of historicism and objectivity. The article uses problem-chronological and comparative-historical methods. The article is based on the archival and published documents of the NKVD Secretariat, the Main Directorate for Prisoners of War Central Office and NKVD Internees and the Joint Archival Fund: Institutions for Prisoners of War and Internees of the Volgograd Region.

Analysis. The captured enemy soldiers were exhausted and weakened to the limit, poorly dressed, all with lice, many sick and non-transportable. At the same time, it was impossible to create normal conditions in the destroyed city in a short period to accommodate captured enemy soldiers. A month-long stay in the frontline led to the fact that only 30% of the prisoners of war could be taken to the rear camps. In the special hospitals for prisoners of war created in Stalingrad and the region, the mortality rate until the beginning of June 1943 amounted to 63% of those admitted for treatment. But most of the prisoners sent to the rear could not move the road or died in the first days upon arrival at the camps.

Results. About 80 thousand prisoners of war from the Stalingrad cauldron died already in 1943. The main reason for the high mortality among them was a long stay in harsh winter conditions and stress because of being in the cauldron without regular food. The low readiness of the NKVD camps and special hospitals to receive prisoners of war also had an effect.

Key words: prisoners of war, Battle of Stalingrad, camps for prisoners of war, special hospitals, Directorate for Prisoners of War and Internees of the NKVD of the USSR.

Citation. Sidorov S.G. To the Question of the Fate of Prisoners of War from the Stalingrad Pocket. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2023, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 116-128. (in Russian). DOI:

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To the Question of the Fate of Prisoners of War from the Stalingrad Pocket by Sidorov S.G. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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