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Transfer of archives of Soviet prisoners of war a step in dialogue with Russia - German Foreign Minister

The transfer by Germany to Russia of the first batch of digitized archival materials about Soviet prisoners of war is an extremely important step in bilateral relations. This is stated in the message of the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the occasion of the transfer of archives, which took place at the TASS press center on Wednesday. The text of the message was read out by the country's ambassador to Moscow, Geza Andreas von Geir.

“Today’s transmission of the first part of the still unexplored data on Soviet prisoners of war and internment during the Second World War is an extremely important step in bilateral relations between Russia and Germany,” said Maas. “Right now, in the year of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, it will serve as an important contribution to the preservation of memory and the cause of reconciliation between our countries, between Germans and Russians. "

According to the German Foreign Minister, copies of more than 20 thousand documents from the German Federal Archives have been handed over to the Russian side. “I welcome the fact that, for the sake of this goal, Russian scientists collaborated hand in hand with colleagues from the People’s Union for the Care of Graves, the German Historical Institute in Moscow and the Federal Archives of Germany <...>. With this important collaboration, we, without a doubt, we will contribute to clarifying, as far as possible, the personal fate of more than 5 million prisoners, of whom more than 3 million died from systematic bullying in German camps, "he said.

Maas stressed that Berlin intends to continue cooperation with Moscow to "comprehend the terrible deeds of the National Socialists." “Despite the difficult legacy of World War II, we, feeling deep humility, were able to make sure that reconciliation between people is possible. For this I want to thank the people of Russia from the bottom of our hearts,” he concluded.


During World War II, more than 5 million Soviet soldiers and officers fell into German captivity. More than three million were victims of inhuman conditions in captivity or were killed. The treatment of the German authorities with Soviet prisoners of war is considered one of the most serious war crimes of the Second World War.

June 22, 2016, on the day of the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov initiated an intergovernmental project called “Search and Digitization of Unknown Data on the Fates of Soviet and German Prisoners of War and internees during World War II. "

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