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The treatment of the Russian prisoners
of war



SIDE
  3








RUSSIAN PRISONERS OF WAR -
2

The treatment of the Russian prisoners of war,

depended entirely on who ran the camps.
In Lofoten it was the Wehrmacht (the German army) who mostly ran the camps.
But even the conditions could vary, depending on the attitude of both officers and soldiers.

We know of a young girl from Svolvær who was imprisoned for three months just for giving her lunch box to a prisoner of war. Even in Lofoten the treatment of the prisoners could be harsh.

The problem was the nazi-ideology. Compassion for what they called the "untermensh" was considered to be a weakness. This was demonstrated to the fullest by the SS. During the evacuation of northern part of Norway (Finnmark) in the fall of 1944, one of the "Führer befall" (Hitlers order) was that no compassion was to be shown for the population.

This merciless attitude led to man y situations that even had consequences years after the war. This is one story. A working detail was returning to camp after hard labour at a fish factory in Svolvær. One of the prisoners was waking about 70 meters in front of the guard and the rest of the group. He had to pass two persons from Svolvær in deep conversation with each other.

When the Russian approached the two locals, he slowed down, maybe in a slight hope they would give him some thing, anything. For some reason, one of the two carried bread under his arm which he gave to the prisoner who quickly hid it under his ragged jacket. "What are you doing"? says the other one. "Did you give the prisoner bread"? "Are you mad"?. "Take it back immediately" "Say he stole it! Oh my God, here comes the guard. You'll get us both sent to prison. Take it back, I implore you". "No" , answered he who gave away the bread. "He shall keep it, and you will calm down, or else…." the German guard approached with suspicion, and the prisoner was obviously nervous as he somewhat understood the discussion between the two Norwegians. When the guard approached, the Russian prisoner started to pull away, finally joining the other prisoners. The German soldier sent a suspicious look toward the two civilians, but passed with the rest of the work detail behind him.

"You must be out of your mind", said the one who wanted to retrieve the bread from the prisoner. "Don't you know what this could bring upon us"? "We'll talk about this later", said the one who gave away the bread.

But many years passt before the two finally met again. The gentleman who gave away his bread moved to Oslo, and by pure coincidence the two of them met one day in the capital of Norway. After a bit conversation, they began talking about the times of war, and eventually the bread-giver touched upon that episode.

"Do you remember that you wanted to take away the bread I gave to the poor creature"? The other one claimed a sudden lack of memory about the incidet. "But you must remember" said the bread-giver. "I don't want to talk about this" pleaded the other one, obvious wishing for a change of subject. The giver of the bread quietly left the table. They never met again, and for various reasons did not wish to do so.

This illustrates that actions, or no actions at all, led to consequences between people long after the war.


A SHOE BELONGING TO A RUSSIAN PRISONER OF WAR LOCATED AT "BØ I VESTERÅLEN".

A WALL MOUNTED FLAG USED AT THE HOSPITAL BARRACK BY THE RUSSIANS PRISONERS OF WAR.

RUSSIAN HANDYCRAFT MADE BY PRISONERS

EAGLE AND RABBIT.

VHIP USED BY GERMAN GUARDS.
FOUND IN SVOLVÆR.
 


RUSSIANS PRISONERS OF WAR DRESSED UP IN GERMAN UNIFORMS AFTER THE RETREAT OF THE WHERMACHT.
 
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