Book launch of ‘Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene im System der Konzentrationslager’ (Soviet Prisoners of War in the Concentration Camp System)
On 9 December 2019, the Mauthausen Memorial hosted the launch of the book ‘Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene im System der Konzentrationslager’ (Mauthausen Studies, Vol. 14), joined by its two authors Reinhard Otto and Rolf Keller. The book is the first overarching study of the fate of Soviet prisoners of war within the system of National Socialist concentration camps and describes the factors behind their transfer to the SS on the basis of surviving Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS source material.
Soviet prisoners of war represent one of the largest victim groups of the National Socialist dictatorship. While the millions who died in the camps of the Wehrmacht have now been researched, to date there has been no comprehensive study of the more than 100,000 Soviet prisoners of war who were handed over to the SS to carry out forced labour or to be executed in the concentration camps. From soldiers singled out for their ‘unacceptable world views’ and women serving in the Red Army to members of resistance organisations, a wide variety of groups of prisoners of war were transferred by the Wehrmacht into the control of the SS. The Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex had a particular significance in this regard.
For the first time, this study examines the fate of Soviet prisoners of war within the system of National Socialist concentration camps and describes the factors behind their transfer to the SS on the basis of surviving Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS source material. It clearly highlights the forms of cooperation between these institutions. A comparative view is offered by looking at prisoners of war from other countries who were handed over by the Wehrmacht to the SS, for example Republican Spaniards.
Reinhard Otto studied history, geography and English in Münster. He has written numerous publications on Soviet prisoners of war and has run several memorial projects that commemorate this group of victims of National Socialism.
Rolf Keller studied history and German at the University of Hannover. He is department head at the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation and the author of numerous publications on Nazi history, in particular on the topic of prisoners of war taken by the Wehrmacht.
The book is available now in all good bookshops and from the Mauthausen Memorial bookshop.