NKVD prisoner massacres

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Victims of Soviet NKVD in Lvov (Lviv), June 1941

The NKVD prisoner massacres were a series of mass executions committed by the Soviet NKVD secret police against prisoners in Eastern Europe during World War II.

The victims were mainly from Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic states, Bessarabia and other parts of the Soviet Union. The Red Army was withdrawing ahead of the German invasion in 1941 (see Operation Barbarossa). The death toll came to 100,000 or more.[1] There were nearly 9,000 in the Ukrainian SSR,[2] to 20,000–30,000 in occupied eastern Poland,[3] now western Ukraine, to all Tartar prisoners in Crimea among other places.[4] Not all prisoner victims (150,000 of them in total)[3] were murdered; some were transported into the interior, others were abandoned in prisons or managed to escape because the retreating Soviet executioners could not attend to all of them.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Robert Gellately. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Knopf, 2007 ISBN 1-4000-4005-1 p. 391
  2. Berkhoff, Karel Cornelis (2004). Harvest of Despair. Harvard University Press via Google Books. p. 14. ISBN 0674020782. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Piotrowski, Tadeusz (1998). Poland's Holocaust (Google Books preview). Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0371-3. McFarland, 2007 reprint, (Google Books search inside). ISBN 0786429135.
  4. Richard Rhodes (2002). Masters of death: the SS-Einsatzgruppen and the invention of the Holocaust. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40900-9. Barbarossa surprised the NKVD, whose jails and prisons in the annexed territories (despite earlier deportations) were crowded with political prisoners. Rather than releasing their prisoners as they hurriedly retreated during the first week of the war, the Soviet secret police killed most of them execution style. In the first week of Barbarossa NKVD prisoner executions totaled some ten thousand in western Ukraine and more than nine thousand in Vinnytsia, eastward toward Kiev. Comparable numbers of prisoners were executed in eastern Poland, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The Soviet areas had already sustained losses numbering in the hundreds of thousands from the Stalinist purges of 1937-38. “It was not only the numbers of the executed,” historian Yuri Boshyk writes of the evacuation murders, “but also the manner in which they died that shocked the populace. When the families of the arrested rushed to the prisons after the Soviet evacuation, they were aghast to find bodies so badly mutilated that many could not be identified. It was evident that many of the prisoners had also been tortured before death; others were killed en masse.”
  5. Nagorski, Andrew. The Greatest Battle. Google Books. p. 84. Retrieved 2013-12-30.