For the first time, Berlin has given Moscow copies of documents concerning Soviet prisoners of war

Берлин впервые передал Москве копии документов о советских военнопленных

For the first time, Germany has given Russia 20,000 digital copies of documents stored in the German Federal archives concerning Soviet prisoners of war. The ceremonial transfer was held on Wednesday.

The transfer of documents to Russia was performed as part of the German-Russian intergovernmental project “Soviet and German prisoners of war and internees of the Second World War.” The German ambassador to Moscow Géza Andreas von Geyr and special representative of the Russian president for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy attended the ceremony.

“I am very happy that this transfer today will occur shortly before the special day when we will be recalling the horrors of the most terrible war... I hope that these documents will allow many families to gain clarity regarding the fates of their ancestors,” declared Mr. von Geyr during the ceremony.

The Germany embassy in Moscow explained that as a result of the transfer of about 20,000 digitalized documents, information from the German Federal archive that Russia was missing would finally be available. “They were jointly analyzed by German and Russian scientists. This concerns documents from the former Wehrmacht Information Office / German Office for Soviet prisoners of war who died in German captivity, medical documents (X-rays, temperature sheets), personal documents of prisoners, military service documents and personal IDs,” noted the German embassy.

Thanks to the document transfer, it will be possible to ascertain the fates of Soviet prisoners of war, recover their names and biographies. Germany is planning to transfer other documents at a later date. It is expected that several million personal documents will be studied as part of the project.

On the occasion of the transfer of this information, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his gratitude to the people of Russia. “Despite the painful history of World War II, we feel deep humility and are convinced that reconciliation between people is possible. For this I must also express my heartfelt gratitude to the Russian people,” stated the Minister in his message which was quoted by the German Ambassador to Moscow.

In 2019, the foreign ministers of Germany and Russia reached an agreement regarding the transfer and use of information concerning hundreds of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war and internees who died in German captivity. A corresponding agreement was signed in the Autumn of 2019 in Berlin.