Collaboration with the Axis Powers

The Soviet Union
Nazi Germany terminated the Non-Aggression Pact signed by Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov with its invasion of the Soviet Union at 3:15 am on June 22, 1941. Large areas of the European part of the Soviet Union would be placed under German occupation between 1941 and 1944. Soviet collaborators included numerous Russians and members of other ethnic groups.

The Germans attempted to recruit Soviet citizens (and to a lesser extent other Eastern Europeans) voluntarily for the OST-Arbeiter or Eastern worker program; originally this worked, but the news of the terrible conditions they faced dried up the volunteers and the program became forcible.

Before World War II, Ukraine was divided primarily between the Ukrainian SSR of the Soviet Union and the Second Polish Republic. Smaller regions were administered by Romania and Czechoslovakia. Only the Soviet Union recognised Ukrainian autonomy, and large numbers of Ukrainians, particularly from the East, fought in the Red Army.

The negative impact of Soviet denationalisation policies implemented in the 1930s were still fresh in the memory of Ukrainians. These included the Holodomor of 1933, the Great Terror, the persecution of intellectuals during the Great Purge of 1937-38, the massacre of Ukrainian intellectuals after the annexation of Western Ukraine from Poland in 1939, the introduction and implementation of Collectivisation.

As a result, the population of whole towns, cities and villages, greeted the Germans as liberators which helps explain the unprecedented rapid progress of the German forces in the occupation of Ukraine.

Even before the German invasion, the Nachtigall and Roland battalions were set up and trained as Ukrainian battalions in the Wehrmacht, and were part of the initial invading force.

With the change in regime ethnic, Ukrainians were allowed and encouraged to work in administrative positions. These included and the auxiliary police, post office, and other government structures; taking the place of Poles, Russians and Jews.

Ostlegionen (literally “Eastern Legions”) or Osttruppen (“Eastern Troops”) were conscripts and volunteers from the occupied eastern territories recruited into the German Army of the Third Reich during the Second World War.

The staff of the disbanded 162nd Infantry Division in Poland was charged with the raising and training of the six Eastern Legions. It eventually raised and trained 82 battalions. A total of 98 battalions were raised with 80 serving on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans. 12 were later transferred to France and Italy in 1943

Forced labour

The Nazis planned to make the eastern colonies an agrarian appendage of the German empire. They preserved kolkhozes, believing that agrarian reform could disrupt production, whereas the collective farm system might ease the transfer of peasants from Communist to German serfs. German Minister of Agriculture Herbert Backe remarked that had the Soviets not established collective farms, Germans would have had to invent them. An agrarian reform announced by the Reichsminister Alfred Rosenberg in February 1942, as Alexander Dallin writes: 
… was nullified by procrastination in application and by the impression of deceit that it evoked. … The very plan for making the East into a gigantic colony, and the corresponding methods and attitudes of the German officialdom doomed the agrarian policy to failure. … Both by their plans and their practices the occupying authorities aroused against themselves the largest segment of the Soviet society. 
Because few kolkhozes existed in the frontier provinces, the German failure to eliminate them affected the borderlands less than the old Soviet territories. However, in western Ukraine and Belorussia, the new invaders set higher taxes than had the Soviet regime and they engaged in endless requisitions. Erich Koch, Reichskommissar of Ukraine, believed that “if this people [Ukrainian] works ten hours daily, it will have to work eight hours for us.” In many regions, the Germans doubled the 1941 Soviet quotas of obligatory agricultural deliveries.  
The German administration established a mandatory two-year labour duty in Germany. Initially, it recruited young labourers on a voluntary basis, but as that flow quickly dried up, it resorted to the conscription of whole age groups. This caused universal resentment and draft evasion. In Ukraine and Belorussia, Germans burned down entire villages if men and women failed to report. In total, 2,792,669 Soviet labourers were shipped to Germany; including 2,196,166 from Ukraine – of those, 400,000 were from its western regions. This draft affected all but the Polish farmers more than the Soviet deportations of 1940–1941. By July 1944, 75,000 labourers were conscripted in Lithuania, four times as many as the Soviets had deported in 1941, and 35,000 in Latvia, twice the number of Latvians exiled by the Soviets.
The Germans quickly wasted the amount of the good will they enjoyed initially. Having found themselves in the midst of a fierce fight between two totalitarian states, the people of the borderlands had to choose sides. While most focused on their own survival, a part of the politically active minority collaborated with the Germans, another part attempted to pursue nationalist goals, and some supported the Red partisans who increasingly penetrated the borderlands beginning in 1942. The proportion of those who collaborated with the Germans, the Soviets, and the nationalists varied by region and time and depended on the contrast between Soviet and German regional occupation policies, the strength of local nationalism, the social strain accumulated before World War II, the relative prosperity of the people, and the situation on the fronts. Despite the disappointment with the Germans, many Ukrainian and Lithuanian nationalists and most Latvian, Estonian, and Belorussian nationalists cooperated with Germany throughout the war. Although some did so wholeheartedly, most simply regarded the Nazis as the lesser evil.

Organising Hell in the East

While the German armies had been desperately trying to carve out this new empire in the East, the tentacles of the SS and its various subsidiary organizations had been assiduous in their allotted task of securing the civilian population. In Russia their first move was to deprive the people of their local party officials. Hitler ordered that all political commissars were to be liquidated, and instructions went out to the ‘special units’, who acted independently of the army, that some were to be decapitated and their heads brought back to Berlin for further study. The SS were obviously intrigued with the cranial characteristics of those who were classed as untermenschen, a species of Slavic sub-humanity. But this was only the preliminary stage – a mere curtain-raiser to what was to come. This barbaric treatment of prisoners of war became a byword even among some Germans themselves. The Wehrmacht was sometimes involved, but almost invariably these tasks were left to the not so tender mercies of the special units. A report of the Soviet Chief-of-Staff at Sebastopol in December 1941 gives us some idea of the situation: he states

as a rule troop formations exterminate prisoners without interrogation…the shooting of prisoners at the place of capture or at the front line, which is practised most extensively, acts as a deterrent to soldiers of the enemy wanting to desert to us. (Hohne 1969:432)

The special units usually comprised Security Service (SD) personnel plus contingents of the Armed (Waffen) SS who were normally engaged on straightforward military duties, assisted by local militia. Some idea of the more general involvement of the military SS can be seen from a few random instances. Only two weeks after the opening of the Russian campaign, the ‘Viking’ Division shot 600 Jews in Galicia as a reprisal for ‘Soviet crimes’. On some occasions entire villages were destroyed as a form of reprisal, and this kind of ‘action’ was by no means confined to the East. Lidice in Czechoslovakia was destroyed in 1942 in retaliation for the assassination of the Reich-Protector Heydrich. The ‘Prinz Eugen’ Division liquidated the inhabitants of Kosutica in 1943; and in 1944 came the destruction of Klissura in northern Greece. The year 1944 also witnessed the notorious murder of the inhabitants of Oradour-sur- Glane in France by the ‘Das Reich’ Division, and the killing of Canadian and British prisoners of war by members of the ‘Hitlerjugend’ Panzer Division during the battles in Normandy.

The worst of the atrocities were carried out by the re-formed Einsatzgruppen. There were four such units each comprising about 1,000 men, including support personnel such as wireless operators, drivers etc., and detachments from the Waffen SS and the police. Their instructions were couched – quite deliberately – in extremely vague terms. They were to act on their own responsibility to take ‘executive measures against the civilian population’ (quoted in Krausnick and Broszat 1970:78). The implicit intention of shooting Jews is not stated overtly, and it is not clear to what extent the army itself was always aware of these plans, although the chiefs may well have guessed what was going to happen. According to the evidence of Otto Ohlendorf, the commander of one such Einsatzgruppe, when the groups were being formed in May 1941 in preparation for the invasion of Russia, they were told of the secret decree of ‘putting to death all racially and politically undesirable elements where these might be thought to represent a threat to security’ (Krausnick and Broszat 1970:79). During the Nuremberg trials after the war, it transpired that at the time this was understood to include communist officials, second-class Asiatics, gypsies and Jews. Despite the care taken in disguising their intentions, members of the Nazi hierarchy were sometimes quite explicit in their planning on occupation policy. At one conference held in July 1941, the officials were told ‘we are taking all necessary measures — shootings, deportations and so on…[the area] must be pacified as soon as possible, and the best way to do that is to shoot anyone who so much as looks like giving trouble’ (Krausnick and Broszat 1970:82). It does not take much imagination to realize that almost any measures, no matter how ruthless and bestial, could be justified in the name of security even where the victims – especially women and children – could be shown to pose no real threat to security at all.

There is very little evidence as to what actually took place during one of these ‘actions’. For example there is no documentary material for the events leading up to the destruction of the small town of Tuczyn in eastern Poland, although a vivid picture has been ‘recreated’ by eight of the survivors – who gave their testimonies at different times in different places. There were only fifteen survivors in all out of a population of 3,500, and the stories that were told apparently have an amazing degree of consistency. For economic reasons Tuczyn was not destroyed at the same time as many of the surrounding Jewish settlements, so when the time came – as the inhabitants knew it must – they were ‘prepared’. The head of the Jewish Council organized the people for resistance, but they had no weapons, only petrol, matches and bars. When the Germans came in the summer of 1942, the Jews set light to their own wooden houses, and the old and sick – led by the rabbi – jumped into the fire. Others tried to break out of the trap, and a thousand or so fled into the nearby Ukrainian forest. Only fifteen survived because of the actions of Ukrainian peasants who either killed them or handed them over to the Germans. Those who were saved were helped by the Baptist minority among the Ukrainians (Bauer 1976).

The actual executions were carried out on a massive scale by the members of the Einsatzgruppen, often with the active co-operation of local ‘partisans’ as, for example in Lithuania and the Ukraine. Thanks to the meticulous records kept by some of those involved, we often have complete breakdowns and statistics of their programme of mass murder. By 25 November 1941, Einsatzgruppe A had already executed 229,052 Jews; Einsatzgruppe B had killed 45,467 by 14 November 1941; Einsatzgruppe C 95,000 by the beginning of December of that year; and Einsatzgruppe D 92,000 by 8 April 1942. The speed at which these executions took place was frightening. For instance, in Kiev alone in two days in September 1941, reports showed that 33,771 persons were executed, mainly Jews. In fact, it is probable that by the end of 1942, as many as a million Jews had been killed. And this was just the beginning. The whole grisly process was about to be rationalized with the introduction of the gas chambers. Five extermination camps were set up for this specific purpose, as distinct from the other concentration camps which often functioned as labour industries for some eminent German firms.

The Organization of the Eastern Troops, 5 May 1943

How To Use the Formation Tables Below
The tables below provide the organization of the Eastern Troops in service of the Germany Army on 5 May 1943.  Only units known to the General der Osttruppen, the commanding officer responsible for supervising eastern troops, are presented in the tables.  The tables are not intended to display the organization of regular German Army formations and units, their titles are only provided to show which formation or unit each Osttruppen unit was attached to.  The tables cover all Heeresgruppen and theatres of war.  The Schematische Kriegsgliederung does not indicate to which specific divisional commands each unit is assigned to, unless the division in question is a German Army security division.  Where an eastern unit has been attached directly to a German Army division, it is usually noted as being “bei…”, so an eastern unit attached to the 344. Infanterie-Division would have a note next to it indicating that the unit is “bei 344. Infanterie-Division.”
The tables are laid out so that the organization of higher-echelon formations, i.e. corps and armies, and their respective attachments should be clear.  The tables go from the top-most organization to the bottom-level organization, so if you are reading the page from top to bottom you will begin at the Army Group level, and proceeding down you will see the various assigned Army and Corps.  Use the links within the tables to jump from one formation to another.
Each table has a label at the top, indicating which formation it refers to.  This title is repeated in the left-hand column of the table for reference.  The right-hand column lists all of the Osttruppen units assigned to that particular formation.  Within the right-hand column, each “level” of indentation indicates a level of subordination.  No indentation means that the unit in question is directly attached to the main formation.  Units indented one level are directly subordinate to the parent unit above it.  A parent unit or formation of regiment size or larger with subordinate elements is always displayed in boldface type, and without being indented.
The echelon-level of certain units and command staffs, i.e. REGIMENT, BRIGADE, CORPS, etc., is provided next to the unit’s or staff’s title in brackets with capital letters: e.g. Armenische Legion (REGIMENT).  This is used where the unit’s or staff’s title designation does itself indicate the exact size.
Research footnotes next to unit titles are presented in BLACK type and in brackets [ ].  These are footnotes that were added by the researcher, and are either additions, corrections, or translations of notes found on the original document.
Original footnotes next to unit titles are presented in BLUE type and in parenthesis ( ).  These are notes added directly to the original document, and are not translated or altered from their original form.
Unit assignments are occasionally noted next to a unit in RED type and in brackets [ ].  These indicate the actual higher formation that the unit is assigned to.
The unit titles of all units and formations are presented in their original German form, and appear in BLUE type.  If you need translations of their titles, use the Site Glossary.  In most cases, the unit titles are in their unabbreviated form.  Unit titles are left unabbreviated when the actual title can not be determined.
Source: This information was largely taken from the original document listed below, found on Microfilm Roll T78-413, Frame 1302, a holding of the U.S. National Archives.  Supplemental information was provided by the sources listed at the bottom of this page.
Notes on the Summary Tables:
Below each Formation Table is a Summary Table that presents an overall picture of the total numbers of Osttruppen units, organized by unit type, ethnicity, and size, that were assigned to that formation on 5 May 1943.  The Summary Tables are meant to be used to perform quick examinations of the total units assigned to each formation, and present this information in an easy-to-read format.  In-depth examinations should instead be performed using the Formation Tables, as they provide more specific information.  The Summary Tables use certain abbreviations and categories to organize the information, as noted below:

  • Construction Battalions: includes all Bau- and Träger-Bau-.
  • Construction Companies: Includes all Bau- and Straßenbau-, and Eisenbahn-Bau-.
  • Supply Companies: Includes all Nachschub- and Nachschub-Transport-.
  • Cossack Cavalry: Used to differentiate between Cossack cavalry and other cavalry units.
  • Cossack: Cossack infantry units are listed under the regular “Infantry” categories, Cossack cavalry units are under their own category, “Cossack Cavalry.”
  • Infantry categories: If not specified, units (regardless of size) are assumed to be infantry.  Also includes Gebirgs-, Jäger-, Feld-, and Sicherungs-Infanterie-.
  • Cavalry: Also includes Kavallerie-Sicherungs.

Unit Composition/Size:

  • Unspecified units in 162. Infanterie-Division (turk.) are listed as being “Turkic.”
  • School category units are company-sized units unless otherwise specified.


  • Armen.: Armenian
  • Aserb.: Azerbaijani
  • Estn.: Estonian
  • Finn.: Volga-Finnish
  • Georg.: Georgian
  • Kalmuken: Kalmuck
  • Kauk.: Caucasian
  • Kosaken: Cossack
  • Lett.: Latvian
  • Litau.: Lithuanian
  • Nordkauk.: North Caucasian
  • Nordukr.: North Ukrainian
  • Ost: Composed of mostly Russian and Byelorussian personnel, possibly with some Ukrainians, unless otherwise specified.
  • Ostvölk.: Eastern peoples (general term)
  • Turk.: Turkestani, also used as a general term for the “Asiatic” eastern peoples
  • Ukrain.: Ukrainian
  • Wolgatat.: Volga-Tatar
  • BR = Total Brigade-sized units.
  • R = Total Regiment-sized units.
  • B = Total Battalion-sized units.
  • C = Total Company-sized units.
  • P = Total Platoon-sized or smaller units
Schematische Kriegsgliederung der landeseigenen Verbände
T78-413, Frame 1302 (H 1/153)
General der Osttruppen
Nr 402/43 gKdos.
Stand vom 5.Mai.43
General der Osttruppen
General der Osttruppen Heeresgruppe A Heeresgruppe Süd
Heeresgruppe Mitte
Heeresgruppe Nord
Oberbefehlshaber West
Wehrmacht Befehlshaber Ukraine
Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres
Total Eastern Troops, 5 May 1943

Heeresgruppe A
Heeresgruppe A Direct Attachments Befehlshaber Krim
Befehlshaber der Straße Kertsch
17. Armee (A.O.K. 17)
Heeresgruppe A, Total Eastern Troops
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe A)
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe A) Turkestanisches Feldzeug-Bataillon 8 (3 Kompanien) Turkestanisches Feldzeug-Bataillon 11 (3 Kompanien)
5. Georgische Nachschub-Transport-Kompanie/151
6. Georg.Nachschub-Transport-Kompanie/151
4. Turk.Nachschub-Transport-Kompanie/592
5. Kauk.Nachschub-Transport-Kompanie/546
Kaukasische Freiwilligen-Infanterie-Kompanie [No other designation]
Ukrainisches Bau-Bataillon 64 (4 Kompanien und Nachschub-Kolonne)
2 x Ost-Hiwi-Kompanie [These may be “Hiwi-Wach-Kompanien”, but the designation is not clear]
Ukrainische Nachschub-Kompanie (mot.) 666
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 15
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 27
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 55
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 63
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe A), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Georg. Kauk. Ost Turk. Ukrain. Total
Ordnance Battalions 2 2
Construction Battalions 1 1
Supply Companies 2 1 1 1 5
Hiwi Companies 2 2
Infantry Companies 1 1
Telephone Operation Sections 4 4
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 2 6 3 2 3B; 8C; 4P
Befehlshaber Krim (Heeresgruppe A)
Befehlshaber Krim (Heeresgruppe A) Turkestanisches Infanterie-Regiment Bergmann (17 Kompanien) [Reorganized on 24 July 1943 as:]
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./Bergmann (4 Kompanien)*
Kaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon II./Bergmann (4 Kompanien)*
Kaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon III./Bergmann (4 Kompanien)*
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./73 (5 Kompanien; in Auffrischung)
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 804 (5 Kompanien)
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 806 (5 Kompanien; in Auffrischung)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Batillon I./370 (5 Kompanien; in Auffrischung)
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon II./4 (5 Kompanien)
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./9 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Bau-Bataillon 245 [Number of companies not given]
5. Aserbeidschanische Straßenbau-Kompanie/551
5. Aserbeidschanische Straßenbau-Kompanie/559
5. Aserbeidschanische Straßenbau-Kompanie/563
5. Armenische Bau-Kompanie/51
5. Armenische Bau-Kompanie/144
5. Georgische Wach-Kompanie/43B
Befehlshaber Krim (Heeresgruppe A), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Aserb. Georg. Turk. Total
Infantry Regiments 1 1
Infantry Battalions 3 2 1 6
Construction Battalions 1 1
Construction Companies 2 3 5
Guard Companies 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 6 3 3 1R; 7B; 6C

* Counted as part of the regiment and not as independent battalions.

Befehlshaber der Straße Kertsch (Heeresgruppe A)
Befehlshaber der Straße Kertsch (Heeresgruppe A) 4. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/563 (In Zuführung:)
Georgische Bau-Kompanie 17
Georgische Bau-Kompanie 24
Turkestanisches Träger-Bau-Bataillon 1000
Befehlshaber der Straße Kertsch (Heeresgruppe A), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Georg. Turk. Total
Construction Battalions 1 1
Supply Companies 1 1
Construction Companies 2 2
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 2 1B; 3C
17. Armee (Heeresgruppe A)
17. Armee (A.O.K. 17) (Heeresgruppe A) Kosaken Regiment Platow (Stab und 8 Kompanien) Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron (bei Regiment 4 ) [No other designation; probably refers to Radfahrer-Sicherungs-Regiment 4]
Ukrainisches Bau-Bataillon 131 (4 Kompanien)
Ukrainisches Bau-Bataillon 221 (4 Kompanien)
Ukrainische Bau-Kompanie 97
Ukrainische Bau-Kompanie 101
Ukrainische Nachschub-Kompanie 562
Ost-Bau-Kompanie 4
Ukrainische Kraftfahr-Kompanie (mot.) 562
Ost-Fahr-Kompanie [No other designation]
Ost-Nachschub-Kolonne [No other designation]
1. Ost-Nachschub-Kolonne/125
2. Ost-Nachschub-Kolonne/125
1. Turkestanische Infanterie-Kompanie/452
Turkestanische Nachschub Kolonne 452
17. Armee (Heeresgruppe A), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Kosaken Ost Turk. Ukrain. Total
Cossack Cavalry Regiments 1 1
Construction Battalions 2 2
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 1 1
Construction Companies 1 2 3
Supply Companies 1 1
Supply Columns 3 1 4
Motor Transport Companies 1 1
Motor Pool Companies 1 1
Infantry Companies 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 5 2 6 1R; 2B; 12C
Heeresgruppe A, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Ethnicity Total
Cossack Cavalry Regiments 1 Kosaken 1
Infantry Regiments 1 Turk. 1
Total Regiments 2
Construction Battalions 2 Turk.; 3 Ukrain. 5
Infantry Battalions 1 Turk.; 2 Georg.; 3 Aserb. 6
Ordnance Battalions 2 Turk. 2
Total Battalions 13
Construction Companies 1 Ost; 2 Armen.; 2 Georg.; 2 Ukrain.; 3 Aserb. 10
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 1 Kosaken 1
Guard Companies 1 Georg. 1
Hiwi Companies 2 Ost 2
Infantry Companies 1 Kauk.; 1 Turk. 2
Motor Pool Companies 1 Ukrain. 1
Motor Transport Companies 1 Ost 1
Supply Columns 1 Turk.; 3 Ost 4
Supply Companies 1 Kauk.; 2 Georg.; 2 Turk.; 2 Ukrain. 7
Total Companies 29
Telephone Operation Sections 4 Ost 4
Total Platoons/Sections 4

Heeresgruppe Süd
Heeresgruppe Süd Direct Attachments6. Armee (A.O.K. 6) 1. Panzerarmee (Pz.A.O.K. 1)
4. Panzerarmee (Pz.A.O.K. 4)
Armeeabteilung Kempf
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Süd
Heeresgruppe Süd, Total Eastern Troops
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Süd)
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Süd) Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon II./198 (5 Kompanien) 6. Turkestanische Wach-Kompanie/571
7. Georgische Wach-Kompanie/571
4. Georgische Nachschub-Kompanie/592
5. Georgische Nachschub-Kompanie/592 [From 22 June 1943]
4. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/573
4. Ukrainische Wach-Kompanie/571
5. Ukrainische Wach-Kompanie/571
Ukrainisches Bau-Bataillon 112 [Number of companies not given]
Turkestanisches Bau-Bataillon 156 [Number of companies not given]
Turkestanisches Bau-Bataillon 305 (4 Kompanien und Nachschub-Kolonne)
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Süd), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Georg. Turk. Ukrain. Total
Infantry Battalions 1 1
Construction Battalions 2 1 3
Guard Companies 1 1 2 4
Supply Companies 2 1 3
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 4 4 3 4B; 7C
6. Armee (Heeresgruppe Süd)
6. Armee (A.O.K. 6) (Heeresgruppe Süd) Ukrainisches Infanterie-Bataillon 6 (8 Kompanien) [Renamed Ost-Bataillon 551 1 June 1943] Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 450 (5 Kompanien)
Ukrainisches Bau-Bataillon 109 (4 Kompanien und Nachschub-Kolonne)
Ukrainisches Bau-Bataillon 111 (3 Kompanien)
1. Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron/583
6. Armee (Heeresgruppe Süd), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Kosaken Turk. Ukrain. Total
Infantry Battalions 1 1 2
Construction Battalions 2 2
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 1 3 4B; 1C
1. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Süd)
1. Panzerarmee (Pz.A.O.K. 1) (Heeresgruppe Süd) Kosaken Abteilung 126 (4 Kompanien) Kosaken Abteilung 161 (4 Kompanien)
Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron (bei III. Panzerkorps) [No other designation]
1. Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron/82
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./94 (4 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./295 (4 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./371 (4 Kompanien)
Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 802 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 784 (4 Kompanien)
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./111 (5 Kompanien)
Ukrainische Bau-Kompanie 235
1. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Süd), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Aserb. Kosaken Nordkauk. Turk. Ukrain. Total
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 2 2
Infantry Battalions 1 1 4 6
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 2 2
Construction Companies 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 4 1 4 1 8B; 3C
4. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Süd)
4. Panzerarmee (Pz.A.O.K. 4) (Heeresgruppe Süd) 5. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/606 5. Armenische Nachschub-Kompanie/619
4. Georgische Nachschub-Kompanie/606
6. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/606 [From 22 June 1943]
4. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Süd), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Georg. Turk. Total
Supply Companies 1 1 2 4
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 1 2 4C
Armeeabteilung Kempf (Heeresgruppe Süd)
Armeeabteilung Kempf (Heeresgruppe Süd) Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron (bei 57. Infanterie-Division) [No other designation] Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron (bei 6. Panzer-Division) [No other designation]
4. Georgische Wach-Kompanie/591
5. Armenische Nachschub-Kompanie/591
6. Armenische Nachschub-Kompanie/591 [From 22 June 1943]
Ost-Wach-Bataillon 555 (3 Kompanien)
Ukrainische Infanterie-Kompanie 248
Ost-Kompanie 448
5. Ost-Wach-Kompanie/122B
6. Ost-Wach-Kompanie/122B
Armeeabteilung Kempf (Heeresgruppe Süd), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Georg. Kosaken Ost Ukrain. Total
Guard Battalions 1 1
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 2 2
Guard Companies 1 2 3
Supply Companies 2 2
Infantry Companies 1 1 2
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 1 2 4 1 1B; 9C
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Süd (Heeresgruppe Süd)
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Süd (Heeresgruppe Süd) (Kosaken-)Kavallerie-Regiment von Jungschultz (12 Kompanien) [Renamed Kosaken-Regiment 1 (von Jungschultz) on 15 February 1943, and redesignated 3. Reiter-Regiment Sswodno on 1 June 1943] Kalmuken Kavallerie-Regiment Dr. Doll (19 Kompanien)
Kalmuken-Kavallerie-Regiment 5 Kuban (4 Kompanien)
Kosaken Abteilung I./454 (3 Kompanien)
Kosaken Abteilung II./454 (3 Kompanien)
Kosaken Abteilung III./454 (4 Kompanien)
Kosaken Abteilung IV./454 (4 Kompanien)
Kosaken Kavallerie-Ausbildungs-Abteilung [No other designation]
Kosaken Abteilung 213 (5 Kompanien)
Ost-Reiter-Ausbildungs-Abteilung Kranz (3 Kompanien)
Ost-Reiter-Abteilung 403 (3 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 783 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bau-Bataillon 559 (5 Kompanien)
Ost-Minenräum-Kompanie 554
1. – 3. Ost-Kompanie/556
1. und 2. Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel/66
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 62
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 43
Ost-Fernsprechbetriebsstaffel 51
Ost-Kompanie 213
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Süd (Heeresgruppe Süd), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Kalmuken Kosaken Ost Turk. Total
Cossack Cavalry Regiments 1 1
Cavalry Regiments 2 2
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 5 5
Cossack Cavalry Training Battalion 1 1
Cavalry Training Battalions 1 1
Cavalry Battalions 1 1
Infantry Battalions 1 1
Construction Battalions 1 1
Mine Clearing Companies 1 1
Infantry Companies 4 4
Telephone Operation Sections 5 5
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 7 13 1 3R; 10B; 10C
Heeresgruppe Süd, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Ethnicity Total
Cavalry Regiments 2 Kalmuken 2
Cossack Cavalry Regiments 1 Kosaken 1
Total Regiments 3
Cavalry Battalions 1 Ost 1
Cavalry Training Battalions 1 Ost 1
Construction Battalions 1 Ost; 2 Turk.; 3 Ukrain. 6
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 7 Kosaken 7
Cossack Cavalry Training Battalions 1 Kosaken 1
Guard Battalions 1 Ost 1
Infantry Battalions 1 Georg.; 1 Nordkauk.; 1 Ukrain.; 6 Turk. 9
Total Battalions 26
Construction Companies 1 Ukrain. 1
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 5 Kosaken 5
Guard Companies 1 Turk.; 2 Georg.; 2 Ost; 2 Ukrain. 7
Infantry Companies 1 Ukrain.; 5 Ost 6
Mine Clearing Companies 1 Ost 1
Supply Companies 3 Armen.; 3 Georg.; 3 Turk. 9
Total Companies 29
Telephone Operation Sections 5 Ost 5
Total Platoons/Sections 5

Heeresgruppe Mitte
Heeresgruppe Mitte Direct Attachments2. Armee LII. Armeekorps
VII. Armeekorps
XIII. Armeekorps
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 580
2. Panzerarmee
XX. Armeekorps
XXXXVII. Panzerkorps
XXXXVI. Panzerkorps
XXXXI. Panzerkorps
XXXV. Armeekorps
LIII. Armeekorps
LV. Armeekorps
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 532
4. Armee
LVI. Panzerkorps
XII. Armeekorps
IX. Armeekorps
XXXIX. Panzerkorps
XXVII. Armeekorps
Korück 559
3. Panzerarmee
VI. Armeekorps
II. Luftwaffen Feldkorps
XXXXIII. Armeekorps
201. Sicherungs-Division
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 590
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 582
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Mitte
Heeresgruppe Mitte, Total Eastern Troops
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Mitte)
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Mitte) Ost-Bataillon 82 (2 Kompanien) Ost-Bataillon 308 (3 Kompanien)
1. Ost-Fernsprecher-Kompanie/515
2. Ost-Fernsprecher-Kompanie/515
Turkestanisches Träger-Bau-Bataillon 1001 (3 Kompanien)
Ost-Kompanie 606
4. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/544 [Brjansk)
1. Ost-Kompanie/607
2. Ost-Kompanie/607 (Gomel)
3. Ost-Kompanie/607 (Gomel)
4. Aserbeidschanische Nachschub-Kompanie/548 (Gomel)
5. Turkestanische Wach-Kompanie/B99 (Orscha)
Turkestanische Infanterie-Kompanie 493 (Orscha)
Ost-Kompanie 608 (Orscha)
Ost-Kompanie 611 (Orscha)
Ost-Kompanie 609 (Minsk)
1. Ost-Kompanie/610 (Minsk)
2. Ost-Kompanie/610 (Minsk)
3. Ost-Kompanie/610 (Minsk)
4. Georgische Nachschub-Kompanie/B147 (Bobruisk)
5. Turkestanische Infanterie-(K)Kompanie/51B (Witebsk)
5. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/B107 (Witebsk)
5. Turkestanische Nachschub-Kompanie/B23 (Smolensk)
(In Zuführung:)
Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie 79
Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie 135
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./1 (5 Kompanien)
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Mitte), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Aserb. Georg. Ost Turk. Total
Construction Battalions 1 1
Infantry Battalions 1 2 3
Telephone Companies 2 2
Infantry Companies 10 2 12
Supply Companies 1 1 3 5
Guard Companies 1 1
Construction Companies 2 2
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 2 14 9 4B; 22C
2. Armee (Heeresgruppe Mitte)
2. Armee (Heeresgruppe Mitte) Ost-Reiter-Schwadron 299 Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie 120
Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie 123
Turkestanische Eisenbahn-Bau-Kompanie 217
LII. Armeekorps
1 x Schwadron/Ost-Reiter-Abteilung 57 [No other designation]
VII. Armeekorps
1 x Schwadron/Ost-Reiter-Abteilung 57 [No other designation]
Ost-Bau-Kompanie 168
Ost-Kompanie 407
XIII. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 340
Ost-Kompanie 413
Ost-Kompanie 182
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 580
Ost-Reiter-Abteilung 580 (3 Schwadronen)
Ost-Aufklärungs-Abteilung (mot.) 581 (4 Schwadronen)
Ost-Wach-Bataillon 552 (7 Kompanien)
Ost-Wach-Bataillon 581 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./76 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Feld-Bataillon I./389 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./785 (4 Kompanien)
2. Armee (Heeresgruppe Mitte), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Ost Turk. Total
Cavalry Battalions 1 1
Reconnaissance Battalions 1 1
Guard Battalions 2 2
Infantry Battalions 3 3
Cavalry Squadrons 3 3
Construction Companies 1 2 3
Rail Construction Companies 1 1
Infantry Companies 4 4
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 12 6 7B; 11C
2. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Mitte)
2. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Mitte) Ost-Kompanie 85 4. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/44
4. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/320
4. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/511
Kosaken Artillerie-Batterie 553
XX. Armeekorps
1. Ost-Kompanie/84
2. Ost-Kompanie/84
XXXXVII. Panzerkorps
1. Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron/137
2. Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron/137
Ost-Kompanie 45
Ost-Kompanie 102
XXXXVI. Panzerkorps
Ost-Wach-Bataillon 581 (2 Kompanien)
1. Ost-Kompanie/446
2. Ost-Kompanie/446
Ost-Kompanie 178
XXXXI. Panzerkorps
Ost-Kompanie 383
XXXV. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 34
Ost-Kompanie 156
LIII. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 25
Ost-Bataillon 441 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Kompanie 453
LV. Armeekorps
Ost-Bataillon 134 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Kompanie 110
Ost-Bataillon 339 (4 Kompanien)
1. Ost-Reiter-Schwadron/447
2. Ost-Reiter-Schwadron/447
Ost-Kompanie 455
Ost-Bataillon I./447 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon II./447 (4 Kompanien)
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./125 (5 Kompanien)
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 532
Kosaken Kavallerie-Sicherungs-Abteilung III./57 (4 Schwadronen)
Ost-Bataillon 615 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 616 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 617 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 618 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 620 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Artillerie-Abteilung 621
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon II./9 (5 Kompanien)
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 807 (5 Kompanien)
2. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Mitte), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Aserb. Kosaken Ost Turk. Total
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 1 1
Guard Battalion 1 1
Infantry Battalions 2 1 10 13
Artillery Battalions 1 1
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 2 2
Cavalry Squadrons 2 2
Infantry Companies 15 15
Construction Companies 3 3
Artillery Batteries 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 1 4 29 3 16B; 23C
4. Armee (Heeresgruppe Mitte)
4. Armee (Heeresgruppe Mitte) 4. Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie (mot.)/604 5. Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie (mot.)/604
4. Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie/622
4. Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie/687
4. Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie/690
Ost-Kompanie 612
1. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/136
2. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/137
4. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/57
4. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/544
Ost-Kompanie 626 (mit Oberquartiermeister 4, A.O.K. 4)
Ost-Ersatz-Bataillon 4 (4 Kompanien)
LVI. Panzerkorps
Ost-Banden-Jagd-Kompanie (mit 31. Infanterie-Division)
1. Ost-Kompanie/131
2. Ost-Kompanie/131
Ost-Kompanie 10
1. Ost-Kompanie/267
2. Ost-Kompanie/267
Ost-Bataillon 456 (3 Kompanien)
XII. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 260
Ost-Kompanie 268
Ost-Bataillon 412 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Banden-Jagd-Kompanie [Assigned to 98. Infanterie-Division]
IX. Armeekorps
Ost-Banden-Jagd-Kompanie [Assigned to 252. Infanterie-Division]
XXXIX. Panzerkorps
Ost-Kompanie 195
Ost-Kompanie 439
XXVII. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 152
Ost-Kompanie 253
Ost-Bataillon 229 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 427 (2 Kompanien)
Korück 559
Ost-Bataillon 627 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 642 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 643 (3 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 629 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Artillerie-Batterie 614
Ost-Bataillon 646 (Dorogobusch) (3 Kompanien)
Ost-Kompanie 613 (Dorogobusch) (mit Ortskommandantur 292)
Ost-Wach-Kompanie 640 (Dorogobusch)
4. Armee (Heeresgruppe Mitte), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Ost Turk. Total
Infantry Battalions 9 9
Replacement Battalions 1 1
Supply Companies 5 5
Infantry Companies 14 14
Construction Companies 4 4
Anti-Partisan Companies 3 3
Guard Companies 1 1
Artillery Batteries 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 34 4 10B; 28C
3. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Mitte)
3. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Mitte) Ost-Kompanie 639 Ost-Kompanie 644
Ost-Kompanie 645
Ost-Kompanie 59
2. Wolgatatarische Bau-Kompanie/825 [Became 4./Wolgatatarisches Bau-Bataillon 18 on 13 August 1943]
VI. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 183
Ost-Bataillon 406 (3 Kompanien)
4. Georgische Bau-Kompanie/91
4. Georgische Bau-Kompanie/415
II. Luftwaffen-Feldkorps
1. Ost-Kompanie/263
2. Ost-Kompanie/263
3. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/248
3. Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie/416
XXXXIII. Armeekorps
Ost-Kompanie 205
Ost-Kompanie 331
Kosaken Abteilung 443 (3 Kompanien)
201. Sicherungs-Division
Kosaken Bataillon 622 (5 Kompanien)
Kosaken Bataillon 623 (5 Kompanien)
Kosaken Bataillon 624 (5 Kompanien)
Kosaken Bataillon 625 (5 Kompanien)
Kosaken Kompanie 638
Ost-Bataillon 603 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Reiter-Schwadron 201
1. Wolgatatarische Infanterie-Kompanie/825
5. Ost-Sicherungs-Kompanie/722
Ost-Wach-Bataillon 508 (3 Kompanien)
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 590
Ost-Bataillon 281 (3 Kompanien)
rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 582
Ost-Bataillon 628 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 630 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Artillerie-Batterie 582
Ost-Ersatz-Kompanie 582
3. Panzerarmee (Heeresgruppe Mitte), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Georg. Kosaken Ost Turk. Wolgatat. Total
Infantry Battalions 4 5 9
Guard Battalions 1 1
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 1 1
Infantry Companies 1 10 1 12
Replacement Companies 1 1
Artillery Batteries 1 1
Cavalry Squadrons 1 1
Construction Companies 2 2 1 5
NCO School Unit 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 6 20 2 2 11B; 21C
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Mitte (Heeresgruppe Mitte)
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Mitte (Heeresgruppe Mitte) Ost-Ersatz-Regiment Mitte (9 Kompanien) [Became
Ost-Ausbildungs-Regiment Mitte on 10 July 1943 (handwritten note)] Kosaken Abteilung 600 (5 Kompanien)
Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie 350
Ost-Nachschub-Kompanie 354
Ost-Bataillon 633 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 634 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 635 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 636 (2 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 637 (4 Kompanien)
1. Ost-Kompanie/221
2. Ost-Reiter-Schwadron/221
Ost-Bataillon 602 (4 Kompanien)
1. Ost-Kompanie/203
2. Ost-Reiter-Schwadron/203
Ost-Bataillon 604 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Reiter-Schwadron 286
Ost-Bataillon 601 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 605 (4 Kompanien)
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Mitte (Heeresgruppe Mitte), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Kosaken Ost Total
Replacement Regiments 1 1
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 1 1
Infantry Battalions 9 9
Supply Companies 2 2
Infantry Companies 2 2
Cavalry Squadrons 3 3
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 17 1R; 10B; 7C
Heeresgruppe Mitte, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Ethnicity Total
Replacement Regiments 1 Ost 1
Total Regiments 1
Artillery Battalions 1 Ost 1
Cavalry Battalions 1 Ost 1
Construction Battalions 1 Turk. 1
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 3 Kosaken 3
Guard Battalions 4 Ost 4
Infantry Battalions 1 Aserb.; 1 Georg.; 2 Armen.; 3 Turk.; 35 Ost 42
Reconnaissance Battalions 1 Ost 1
Replacement Battalions 1 Ost 1
Total Battalions 54
Anti-Partisan Companies 3 Ost 3
Artillery Batteries 1 Kosaken; 2 Ost 3
Cavalry Squadrons 9 Ost 9
Construction Companies 1 Ost; 1 Wolgatat.; 2 Georg.; 14 Turk. 17
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 2 Kosaken 2
Guard Companies 2 Ost 2
Infantry Companies 1 Kosaken; 1 Wolgatat.; 2 Turk.; 55 Ost 59
NCO School Unit 1 Ost 1
Replacement Companies 1 Ost 1
Supply Companies 1 Aserb.; 1 Georg.; 3 Turk.; 7 Ost 12
Telephone Companies 2 Ost 2
Total Companies 111

Heeresgruppe Nord
Heeresgruppe Nord Direct Attachments16. Armee 18. Armee
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Nord
Heeresgruppe Nord, Total Eastern Troops
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Nord)
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Nord) (In Zuführung:) Aserbeidschanische Bau-Kompanie 25
Aserbeidschanische Bau-Kompanie 87
Armenische Bau-Kompanie 254
Armenische Bau-Kompanie 257
Georgische Bau-Kompanie 127
Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie 414
Litauische Wach-Kompanie 650
Lettische Wach-Kompanie 651
Lettische Wach-Kompanie 652
Direct Attachments (Heeresgruppe Nord), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Aserb. Georg. Lett. Litau. Turk. Total
Construction Companies 2 2 1 1 6
Guard Companies 2 1 3
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 2 2 1 2 1 1 9C
16. Armee (Heeresgruppe Nord)
16. Armee (A.O.K. 16) (Heeresgruppe Nord) rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 584 Ost-Ersatz-Bataillon 16 (1. und 3. Kompanie in Aufstellung) [Number of companies not given]
Ost-Bataillon 667 (6 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 668 (6 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 669 (3 Kompanien in Vfg.; 3 Kompanien in Aufstellung)
Ost-Bataillon 620 (4 Kompanien)
1. Ost-Artillerie-Batterie/670
2. Ost-Artillerie-Batterie/670
Ost-Nachrichten-Kompanie 671 [Disbanded 23 August 1943]
Ost-Bataillon 653 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 654 (4 Kompanien)
Kosaken Kavallerie-Schwadron 655
Estnische Infanterie-Kompanie 657
16. Armee (Heeresgruppe Nord), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Estn. Kosaken Ost Total
Replacement Battalions 1 1
Infantry Battalions 6 6
Artillery Batteries 2 2
Signals Companies 1 1
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 1 1
Infantry Companies 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 1 10 7B; 5C
18. Armee (Heeresgruppe Nord)
18. Armee (A.O.K. 18) (Heeresgruppe Nord) rückwärtigen Armeegebiet 583 Estnisches Infanterie-Bataillon 658 (4 Kompanien)
Estnisches Infanterie-Bataillon 659 (4 Kompanien)
Estnisches Infanterie-Bataillon 660 (4 Kompanien)
Estnisches Ersatz-Bataillon Narwa (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 661 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 662 (2 Kompanien)
Ost-Ersatz-Bataillon 663 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon (Finn.) 664 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Bataillon 665 (4 Kompanien)
Ost-Pionier-Bataillon 666 (4 Kompanien)
18. Armee (Heeresgruppe Nord), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Estn. Ost Total
Replacement Battalions 1 1 2
Engineer Battalions 1 1
Infantry Battalions 3 4* 7
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 4 6 10B

* One of the Ost-Bataillone is designated as (Finn.).  This probably refers Volga-Finns, and not Finns from Finland.

Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Nord (Heeresgruppe Nord)
Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Nord (Heeresgruppe Nord) Ost-Reiter-Abt. 207 (3 Kompanien)

Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 842 (2 Kompanien)*
Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 843 (2 Kompanien)*

Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./198 (5 Kompanien)
Ost-Pionier-Bataillon 672 (3 Kompanien)
Ost-Reiter-Abteilung 285
1., 2. Nordkaukasische Infanterie-Kompanie/844

Befehlshaber Heeresgebiet Nord (Heeresgruppe Nord), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Nordkauk. Nordukr. Ost Total
Infantry Battalions 1 2 3
Engineer Battalions 1 1
Cavalry Battalions 2 2
Infantry Companies 2 2
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 2 2 3 6B; 2C
Heeresgruppe Nord, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Ethnicity Total
Cavalry Battalions 2 Ost 2
Engineer Battalions 2 Ost 2
Infantry Battalions 1 Armen.; 2 Nordukr.; 3 Estn.; 10 Ost 16
Replacement Battalions 1 Estn.; 1 Ost 2
Total Battalions 22
Artillery Batteries 2 Ost 2
Construction Companies 1 Georg.; 1 Turk.; 2 Armen.; 2 Aserb. 6
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 1 Kosaken 1
Guard Companies 1 Litau.; 2 Lett. 3
Infantry Companies 1 Estn.; 2 Nordkauk. 3
Signals Companies 1 Ost 1
Total Companies 16

Oberbefehlshaber West
Oberbefehlshaber West
LXXXVIII. Armeekorps Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 787 (5 Kompanien)
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon 812 (5 Kompanien)
7. Armee (A.O.K. 7)
LXXXIV. Armeekorps
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon 797 (5 Kompanien)
76. Infanterie-Division
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon 798 (5 Kompanien)
1. Armee (A.O.K. 1)
Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 803 (5 Kompanien)*
Wolgatatarisches Infanterie-Bataillon 826 (5 Kompanien)
Oberbefehlshaber West, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Georg. Nordukr. Turk. Wolgatat. Total
Infantry Battalions 1 2 1 1 1 6
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 1 2 1 1 1 6B

Wehrmacht Befehlshaber Ukraine
Wehrmacht Befehlshaber Ukraine 2 x Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon (Schepatowka) [No other designation] Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon (6 Kompanien) (Mosyr) [No other designation]
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 2 (6 Kompanien)
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 4 (8 Kompanien)
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 6 (8 Kompanien)
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 10 (8 Kompanien)
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 11 (8 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 786 (5 Kompanien)
Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 835 (5 Kompanien)
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 3 (8 Kompanien) (bei 1. Kavallerie-Division)
Kosaken Infanterie-Bataillon 9 (8 Kompanien) (bei 1. Kavallerie-Division)
Legionslager Shitomir
3 x Aserbeidschanische Kompanie [No type or designation given]
Legionslager Berditschew (Verlegung nach Zaslaw)
Armenische Kompanie [No type or designation given]
Legionslager Proskurow
9 x Turkestanische Kompanie [No type or designation given]
Legionslager Zaslaw
Georgische Kompanie [No type or designation given]
2 x Armenische Kompanie [No type or designation given]
Wehrmacht Befehlshaber Ukraine, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Aserb. Georg. Kosaken Nordkauk. Turk. Total
Infantry Battalions 10 1 1 12
Infantry Companies 3 3 1 9 16
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 3 3 1 10 1 10 12B; 16C

Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres
Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres Wehrkreis im Generalgouvernement162. Infanterie-Division (turk.) 1. Kosaken-Division
Wehrkreis im Generalgouvernement (Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres)
Wehrkreis im Generalgouvernement (Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres) Armenische Legion (BRIGADE) Legion-Führer-Schule (Legionowo) (BRIGADE)
Ostvölkisches Genesenden-Bataillon I (Kossow)
Armenisches Stamm-Bataillon
Armenische Unterführer-Kompanie
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon 810 (5 Kompanien)
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon 813 (5 Kompanien)
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon 809 (in Auffrischung)
Armenisches Infanterie-Bataillon 814 [Added by handwritten note dated 31 August 1943]
Aserbeidschanische Legion (REGIMENT)
Aserbeidschanisches Stamm-Bataillon
Aserbeidschanische Unterführer-Kompanie
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 817 (5 Kompanien)
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 805 (in Auffrischung)
Georgische Legion (REGIMENT)
Georgisches Stamm-Bataillon
Georgische Unterführer-Kompanie
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon 799 (5 Kompanien)
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon 822 (5 Kompanien)
Kaukasische Infanterie-Kompanie General Bergmann
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon 795 (in Auffrischung)
Georgisches Infanterie-Bataillon 823 [Added by handwritten note dated 31 August 1943]
Nordkaukasische Legion (REGIMENT)
Nordkaukasisches Stamm-Bataillon
Nordkaukasische Unterführer-Kompanie
Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 836 (5 Kompanien)
Nordkaukasisches Infanterie-Bataillon 800 (in Auffrischung)
Turkestanische Legion (REGIMENT)
Turkestanisches Stamm-Bataillon
Turkestanische Unterführer-Kompanie
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 788 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 789 (5 Kompanien)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 781 (in Auffrischung)
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon 782 (in Auffrischung)
Wolgatatarische Legion (REGIMENT)
Wolgatatarisches Stamm-Bataillon
Wolgatatarische Unterführer-Kompanie
Wolgatatarische Dolmetscher-Vorschule-Kompanie
Wolgatatarisches Infanterie-Bataillon 827 [Number of companies not given]
Wolgatatarisches Infanterie-Bataillon 828 [Added by handwritten note dated 31 August 1943]
Biala Podkaska
Wehrmacht Befehlshaber Ukraine, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Armen. Aserb. Georg. Kauk. Nordkauk. Ostvölk. Turk. Wolgatat. Total
Officers School (Brig.) 1 1
Convalescent Battalions 1 1
Reception Battalions 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
Infantry Battalions 4 2 4 2 4 2 18
NCO Companies 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
Translator Companies 1 1
Infantry Companies 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 7 4 6 1 4 1 6 5 1BR; 25B; 8C
162. Infanterie-Division (turk.) (Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres)
162. Infanterie-Division (turk.) (Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres) Nachrichtenstaffel Divisions-Führer-Schule
Turkestanische Stamm-Kompanie
Georgische Legion (REGIMENT)
Georgische Unterführer-Kompanie
Georgische Bau-Kompanie
Georgisches Ersatz-Bataillon [No other designation]
Aserbeidschanische Legion (REGIMENT)
Aserbeidschanische Unterführer-Kompanie
Aserbeidschanische Bau-Kompanie
Aserbeidschanisches Jäger-Bataillon I./97
Aserbeidschanisches Gebirgs-Bataillon I./4
Aserbeidschanisches Jäger-Bataillon I./101
Aserbeidschanisches Infanterie-Bataillon II./73
Aserbeidschanisches Ersatz-Bataillon [No other designation]
1. Turkestanische Legion (REGIMENT)
Turkestanische Unterführer-Kompanie
Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./305
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./44
Turkestanisches Ersatz-Bataillon [No other designation]
2. Turkestanische Legion (REGIMENT)
Turkestanische Unterführer-Kompanie
Turkestanische Bau-Kompanie
Turkestanisches Jäger-Bataillon I./100
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./384
Turkestanisches Infanterie-Bataillon I./297
Turkestanisches Ersatz-Bataillon [No other designation]
Neuhammer (mit Bau-Kompanie [No other designation])
162. Infanterie-Division (turk.), Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Aserb. Georg. Turk. Total
Replacement Battalions 1 1 2 4
Infantry Battalions 4 5 9
Reception Companies 1 1
Division’s Officers School 1 1
Construction Companies 1 1 3 5
NCO Companies 1 1 2 4
Signals Section 1 1
Repair Platoon 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 7 3 16 13B; 11C; 2P
1. Kosaken-Division (Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres)
1. Kosaken-Division (Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres) (in Aufstellung:) Kosaken Kavallerie-Regiment Don 1
Kosaken Kavallerie-Regiment Kuban 4
Kosaken Kavallerie-Regiment Terek 6
Kosaken Kavallerie-Artillerie-Regiment
1. Kosaken-Division, Total Eastern Troops:
Unit Type Kosaken Total
Cossack Cavalry Regiments 3 3
Artillery Regiments 1 1
Total Units by Ethnicity/Size 4 4

The Summary Table below displays the total number of Osttruppen units serving in the German Army on 5 May 1943.  The regiments, battalions, companies, and platoons/sections listed in the above table include all independent units, as well as the subordinate elements of the 162. Infanterie-Division (turk.) and 1. Kosaken-Division.  These totals are provided in order to allow a more immediate analysis of the type and number of Osttruppen units serving in the German Army on this date.  The specific formation tables should be used for more in-depth examination of the Osttruppen units and their assignments.

Total Eastern Troops, 5 May 1943:
Unit Type Ethnicity Total
Artillery Regiments 1 Kosaken 1
Cavalry Regiments 2 Kalmuken 2
Cossack Cavalry Regiments 5 Kosaken 5
Infantry Regiments 1 Turk. 1
Replacement Regiments 1 Ost 1
Total Regiments 10
Artillery Battalions 1 Ost 1
Cavalry Battalions 4 Ost 4
Cavalry Training Battalions 1 Ost 1
Construction Battalions 1 Ost; 5 Turk.; 6 Ukrain. 12
Convalescent Battalions 1 Ostvölk. 1
Cossack Cavalry Battalions 10 Kosaken 10
Cossack Cavalry Training Battalions 1 Kosaken 1
Engineer Battalions 2 Ost 2
Guard Battalions 5 Ost 5
Infantry Battalions 1 Ukrain.; 3 Estn.; 3 Nordukr.; 3 Wolgatat.; 4 Nordkauk.; 8 Armen.; 10 Aserb.; 10 Georg.; 10 Kosaken; 21 Turk.; 45 Ost 118
Ordnance Battalions 2 Turk. 2
Reception Battalions 1 Armen.; 1 Aserb.; 1 Georg.; 1 Nordkauk.; 1 Turk.; 1 Wolgatat. 6
Reconnaissance Battalions 1 Ost 1
Replacement Battalions 1 Aserb.; 1 Estn.; 1 Georg; 1 Turk.; 2 Ost 6
Total Battalions 170
Anti-Partisan Companies 3 Ost 3
Artillery Batteries 1 Kosaken; 4 Ost 5
Cavalry Squadrons 9 Ost 9
Construction Companies 1 Wolgatat.; 2 Ost; 3 Ukrain.; 4 Armen.; 6 Aserb.; 6 Georg.; 18 Turk. 40
Cossack Cavalry Squadrons 9 Kosaken 9
Division Officers School 1 Turk. 1
Guard Companies 1 Litau.; 1 Turk.; 2 Lett.; 2 Ukrain.; 3 Georg.; 4 Ost 13
Hiwi Companies 2 Ost 2
Infantry Companies 1 Estn.; 1 Georg.; 1 Kosaken; 1 Ukrain.; 1 Wolgatat.; 2 Kauk.; 2 Nordkauk.; 3 Armen.; 3 Aserb.; 12 Turk.; 60 Ost 87
Mine Clearing Companies 1 Ost 1
Motor Pool Companies 1 Ukrain. 1
Motor Transport Companies 1 Ost 1
NCO Companies 1 Armen.; 1 Nordkauk.; 1 Wolgatat.; 2 Aserb.; 2 Georg.; 3 Turk. 10
NCO School Units 1 Ost 1
Reception Companies 1 Ost; 1 Turk. 2
Signals Companies 1 Ost 1
Supply Columns 1 Turk.; 3 Ost 4
Supply Companies 1 Aserb.; 1 Kauk.; 2 Ukrain.; 3 Armen.; 6 Georg.; 7 Ost; 8 Turk. 28
Telephone Companies 2 Ost 2
Translator Companies 1 Wolgatat. 1
Total Companies 221
Repair Platoons 1 Turk, 1
Signals Section 1 Turk. 1
Telephone Operation Sections 9 Ost 9
Total Platoons/Sections 11

Additional Sources:
Munoz, Antonio J. Hitler’s Eastern Legions Volume II: The Osttruppen.  New York: Axis Europa, Inc., 1997.
Tessin, Georg. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS 1939 – 1945: Band 1 – 14. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio Verlag, 1976.

Research: Forrest Opper and Jason von Zerneck

*Corrections by Victor N. Titov

Soviet People’s Experience WWII

Defeating the Nazis became the animating force for everything in Soviet society for the next four years. The need to defend Mother Russia became everyone’s duty in the face of Hitler’s barbarism, and the building of socialism, so long trumpeted on the pages of the Soviet press, faded away. The result was the rapid development of a mosaic of moods among the Soviet peoples. Russian historians have recently argued that the events of June 1941 awoke in the Soviet people the ability to think about variants, to critically evaluate a situation, and not to take the existing order as immutable. The effort to repel the Nazis also meant that, at least at the local level of Soviet life, the democratic centralism of Lenin and Stalin’s party was no longer tenable. The key criterion for becoming a Soviet leader was no longer a person’s party loyalty, but rather his or her contributions to the work of the front. Out in the provinces, the Communist leaders were told to train their subordinates in the following fashion: the party is interested in having people think, and stop instructing the masses and learn from them.
That life in the Soviet Union would now be shaped by the real interests of ordinary people was a big change from the 1930s, when life had been shaped by their imaginary desires, and Stalin’s terror squads had made sure the elites worked to meet them. Meanwhile, Hitler’s armies were well on their way toward Leningrad, Moscow, and central Ukraine by July 1941. Leningrad was soon surrounded and would be under siege for the next three and a half years as 1.5 million Leningrad residents starved to death in the process. The main reason Moscow did not suffer the same fate was Hitler’s decision to concentrate his efforts on capturing Ukraine with its fertile fields, coal mines, ferrous metals resources, and strategic access to the oilfields of the Caucasus. Although the Red Army’s successful counterattacks were another major reason for tl1is diversion to the south, there can be little doubt that Ukraine was also the area that Hitler prized most as the perfect lebensraum for the German people. And such strategic and racial motivations also help explain why Hitler did not take advantage of his being greeted as a liberator by the peoples of western Ukraine, Belorussia, and the Baltic states who had suffered so much from the Nazi—Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.
Although the Nazis treated these peoples as “lesser-beings” (untermenschen) from the start and would not allow them any rights whatsoever, what really convinced the Ukrainians and others of 1·litler’s malevolent intentions toward the Soviet people was the German army’s treatment of its Red Army POWs and the occupied Jewish population. ln places such as Kiev, where 650,000 Soviet troops were surrounded in September 1941 after a spirited defense of the Ukrainian capital and the Dnieper River region, perhaps two-thirds of the Soviet POWs died of hunger in Nazi captivity. lt was amid the euphoria of such victories in fall 1941 that the Hitlerites devised their Final Solution to rid these captured areas of their “great misfortune”—the Jews. ln the end, almost half the Jews who died in the Holocaust (some 2.5 million people) were Soviet citizens. Importantly, some of these people died in ways more ghastly than the gas chambers of Poland—mass machine gunning was the most popular method used—as the Nazis, the Wehrmacht (or German army), and a still unknown number of local collaborators experimented with methods of killing to find the most efficient way to achieve genocide. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the surviving Ukrainian and Belorussian civilian populations could only hope for the return of the Stalinists and an authoritarian rule that they understood and might be able to manipulate to their advantage.
ln the face of such calamities, Stalin’s effort to maintain control over the Russian rear certainly did not show any relaxation of his coercive methods. Red Army men who surrendered, for example, were said to be traitors and were liable to court-martial. Meanwhile, Communist Party members who remained behind on occupied territory were automatically suspect, and if for some reason they crossed back into Soviet-held territory, they were subject to a rigorous check of their backgrounds. Workers who violated the 1940 labor legislation on tardiness, absenteeism, or the prohibition of movement from one job to another could be hauled before a military tribunal and the same eventually became true for those civilians who ignored compulsory labor mobilizations, responsibilities that impacted everyone but the elderly and the mothers of young children.
Stalin’s epic mistakes on the battlefield were soon overshadowed by Hitler’s own bungling, and the Soviets found themselves with a second chance. The Nazi leader’s earlier decision not to take Moscow ensured that fighting for the Russian capital would take place in the winter, only after the Soviets had had enough time to prepare their defenses. Nevertheless, it was mainly the desperate resistance and simple patriotism of rapidly enlisted men and rearguard troops that saved Moscow in winter 1941-1942 from the Wehrmacht’s ”Army Group Center”  But the GKO’s incredibly centralized, command-and-administer system also allowed for the Ural and western Siberian economies to be quickly mobilized to meet the needs of the front. This was particularly important in winter 1941-1942 because the strategic Lend-Lease aid from the Soviet Union’s new American ally would not substantively help the Soviet war effort for another year. Even so, Stalin’s refusal to let his more able generals lead the efforts at the front resulted in yet more devastating defeats in spring 1942, with the Nazis now occupying all of Ukraine and moving toward their strategic goal of taking southern Russia and the Caucasus.
Here again, though, the Soviets were saved from themselves by Hitler’s hubris. The Nazi leader’s greatest strategic mistake came with his decision to try to destroy the besieged city of Stalingrad in fall 1942 in order to deal a public relations blow to the “man of steel.” Hitler could have concentrated his efforts on occupying the Caucasus and Kuban (Russia’s own breadbasket) and exploiting their petroleum and agricultural resources in order to solidify his rule over his new eastern empire. But he went after Stalingrad in an effort to inflict a decisive blow against the Kremlin leader’s omnipotent presence in Soviet society. Stalin recognized the stakes too, and after a year of terrible retreat, he finally decided to listen to his generals and make a stand at this city lying along the Volga River The crucial point here is that the Wehrmacht was spread too thin by this time; Hitler did not have the resources necessary to continue his blitzkrieg. The Wehrmacht’s supply lines, for example, were stretched to the breaking point. Thus, the Soviets were eventually able to surround the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and destroy it after Hitler stubbornly refused to let Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus retreat. This was the beginning of the end for the Germans—the crucial turning point in the war—where the logistics of what they were doing caught up with them. Hitler’s refusal to fully mobilize his own people and l1is murderous treatment of the untermenschen now meant the fighting initiative went over to the Soviet side.
Meanwhile, Hitler’s refusal to demand sacrifice from his own population resulted in anger and embitterment among the occupied Ukrainians and Belorussians as their sons and daughters were shipped to Germany to become slave laborers (Ostarbeitery). As the Soviets loomed on the eastern horizon, the Germans liberalized their agricultural policy by dissolving Stalin’s hated collective farms; however, at the same time, they were also stripping these areas of anything of value. Not only did the Germans seize raw materials, but they also took tools and macl1ines from factories and valuables from the republics’ museums and private apartments as well. One result of all this was a huge expansion in the forest—based anti—Nazi guerilla movement during 1943. True, many of these partisan fighters were motivated by a desire to curry favor with the advancing Red Army; but in the westernmost regions of the Soviet Union’s post—1939 borders, many partisans were there to fight sincerely for their nation’s political independence as Europe’s two totalitarian empires clashed. These “forest brothers,” many of whom were as hostile to Moscow as they were to Berlin, would eventually be crushed by the NKVD after war’s end. However, their bravery and unhappy end deepened the hostility that many subject peoples felt toward Moscow.

Germany puts names of 700,000 captured Soviets online

German authorities put online Monday the names of 700,000 captured Soviet soldiers, most of whom died in horrific Nazi prison camps during the Second World War. 

The lists had previously been kept by German authorities who help people in former Soviet nations to discover how their menfolk died.

“Now people will be able to do the research all by themselves,” said Klaus-Dieter Mueller, chief librarian of the State of Saxony Memorials Foundation in Dresden, which manages several state-run concentration-camp memorials that expose Nazi crimes.

The twin websites, and, contain the full alphabetical list of men in German and in Russian, starting with the vital data of Erich Aawik, an Estonian born in 1919 who died in German captivity on November 24, 1943.
The German library has been digitizing the data since 2000 with help from the Russian, Ukraine and Belarus authorities. Officials said more names would be added as new information came to light.

Nazi Germany breached the Geneva conventions on prisoners of war in its treatment of Red Army captives, using them as slaves and confining them in near starvation and disease. Relatives often still do not know how the men disappeared of where their remains are. Internet:


The Russian émigrés would certainly not be welcomed back. Not only had they done nothing for their homeland, but the simple fact was that ‘Russia had been conquered with German blood for the protection of Europe against Russia’. When shortly after the German invasion of the USSR the Russian Grand Duke Vladimir, then living in exile at St Briac in France, forwarded to Hitler a proposed proclamation calling on all Russians to cooperate with the Wehrmacht in their liberation from Bolshevism, he was immediately and sharply rebuffed. The proclamation, Ribbentrop wrote to Abetz, would hinder rather than assist the German war effort in that it would provide the Bolsheviks with an opportunity to claim that ‘Russia was now threatened by the return of the old Tsarist feudalism’.

There was of course never any question that the war Hitler unleashed in June 1941 was being fought for German ends and that the benefits accruing to other nations, though significant, not least the final exorcism of the red peril, were essentially incidental. During the 1930s Hitler had never portrayed Germany’s mission in Europe as anything other than a defensive bulwark against Bolshevism. Now, with his armies swarming towards Leningrad and Moscow, he was hardly likely to share his prize, particularly with states that had at best reacted with lukewarm support for the original Anti-Comintern Pact. When in mid-July 1941 a Vichy French newspaper suggested that the assault on the USSR was ‘Europe’s war’, and thus ought ‘to be conducted for Europe as a whole’, Hitler was appalled by this latest manifestation of Gallic impudence. In the course of the conference at which this issue was discussed, the Führer clearly outlined his intentions and the tactics he would employ to implement them. ‘In principle we have now to face the task of cutting the giant cake according to our needs,’ he explained, the order of priorities being ‘first, to dominate it; second, to administer it; and third, to exploit it’. In pursuit of these goals Germany would disguise its real aims in the Soviet Union through the simple expedients of avoiding superfluous declarations, emphasizing that the Reich had been forced to a military decision, and posing as a liberating force; it made no sense to ‘make people into enemies prematurely and unnecessarily’. The Germans would thus ‘act as though we wanted to exercise a mandate only’, but it must be clear ‘to us … that we shall never withdraw from these areas’.

These predatory designs soon brought the Germans into conflict with those who genuinely hoped for liberation from Bolshevism. In the Ukraine, for example, the establishment in September 1941 of the civilian administration under Erich Koch, who, according to a postwar account based on the experiences of both Germans and Ukrainians, demonstrated no intention of enlisting the help of the Ukrainians in the fight against Bolshevism, effectively destroyed the friendly relationship that had been established between the Wehrmacht and the indigenous population. As an early victory was expected, it was felt that Ukrainian participation in the struggle would serve only to complicate German aims in the Ukraine, especially in so far as these concerned its economic exploitation, for which the ‘most stringent measures’ were envisaged. Already by October 1941 the information that was reaching London about the nature of the German occupation led the Foreign Office to comment on the ‘grave psychological mistakes’ the Germans had made in handling the conquered population, for ‘their methods can only serve to rally the Russian people round the [Soviet] regime’. The thoroughly inappropriate nature of German policy and propaganda in the occupied territories was similarly highlighted by two collaborating Soviet officers who complained that it was simply not enough to stress the deprivations Bolshevism had inflicted on the Russian people. By late 1942 this repetitive and uninspiring message was becoming increasingly ineffective, not least as Soviet prisoners of war and the inhabitants of the occupied territories generally held that rule by Germany, far from being a liberation, was altogether a ‘bad bargain’. In contrast to the sterile monotony of German propaganda, Stalin, who had reintroduced religious freedom and curtailed the activities of the political commissars, had ‘taken the trumps out of Germany’s hands’.


Those in control of the Reich’s propaganda campaign in the east would not necessarily have disagreed with this diagnosis. Goebbels realized that the organizational chaos of German policy in the occupied territories was having a most detrimental effect on the battle for people’s minds. In April 1943 he commented on the failure to exploit Vlassov’s separatist army more effectively, which he held to be symptomatic of a fundamental flaw in the whole approach to the Russian war. ‘One is shocked at the absolute lack of political instinct in our Central Berlin Administration,’ he noted in this connection. ‘If we were pursuing or had pursued a rather more skilful policy in the East, we would certainly be further on there than we are.’ The Reich propaganda minister was certainly no friend of the Russian people, but he was not above admitting that mistakes had been made in the German conduct of the war; nor was he blind to the fact that a wiser occupation policy might have yielded significant results. Commenting on Vidkun Quisling’s observations on the German campaign in the east, Goebbels clearly agreed that it would be both possible and desirable to mobilize large sections of the Russian population against Stalin if only ‘we knew how to wage war solely against Bolshevism, not against the Russian people. Therein lies the only chance of bringing the war in the East to a satisfactory end.’

Goebbels’s’ colleague, Eberhardt Taubert, placed the responsibility for the hopeless conditions in the east squarely on the shoulders of Alfred Rosenberg, who had been appointed minister for the occupied territories shortly after the launching of Barbarossa. Taubert pointed out that Rosenberg had not only blamed the Jews for Bolshevism, but also the Russian people for tolerating it. Due to impurities of blood, the Russian had, in Rosenberg’s view, a ‘natural affinity to the destructive ideologies of Bolshevism’. It might be, Taubert continued, that Rosenberg had not fully thought out the consequences of his actions, but that did not excuse his whole notion of the Russians as Untermenschen being the product of a false conception. Moreover, Rosenberg had possessed insufficient strength of character to rectify his mistake once the detrimental effects had become apparent. Although Taubert’s diatribe against Rosenberg is understandable, if only for the obstacles the incompetent Reichsleiter placed before the German propagandists in the east, it might yet be a little harsh on a man who in March 1942 was warning against any reference to the occupied territories as German ‘colonial territory’, as this greatly annoyed the local populations and played directly into the hands of the Soviet propagandists.

Book Review: Der Weg zurück: Die Repatriierung sowjetischer Zwangsarbeiter während und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg.

Ulrike Goeken-Haidl. Der Weg zurück: Die Repatriierung sowjetischer Zwangsarbeiter während und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2006. 574 pp. EUR 39.90 (paper), ISBN 978-3-89861-615-7.

Reviewed by Leonid Rein (International Institute for Holocaust Research Yad Vashem)
Published on H-German (July, 2009)
Commissioned by Susan R. Boettcher

The Origins of the Cold War

The front cover of Ulrike Goeken-Haidl’s book is somewhat misleading. It shows happy Soviet citizens returning home after the years of experiencing forced labor, POW, and concentration camps at the hands of the National Socialists. But the story told in this book is anything but happy. It begins with the story of Lieutenant Jakob Dzhugashvili, the son of Josef Stalin from his first marriage, who was captured by Germans in July 1941 and committed suicide in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, knowing that at home in the Soviet Union, he and his comrades in misfortune, Soviet soldiers and officers taken prisoner by the Germans, were classified as “traitors of the Motherland.” This striking example opens a very interesting, quite readable study that makes an important contribution to research on the processes that followed World War II, the origins of Cold War, and especially the problem of repatriation, which is still insufficiently studied.

Using Soviet and American records, Goeken-Haidl shows in eight chapters of her voluminous study the origins of the problem of displaced persons and the entire process of the repatriation of the 2.3 million Soviet citizens who, for various reasons, found themselves outside the borders of the Soviet Union at war’s end. This problem dwarfed that of the 360,000 citizens of western Allied countries in similar situations, including some 50,000 British and American soldiers and officers captured by Wehrmacht and Japan strike forces. This huge displacement and its resolution stretched from the years when hostilities in Europe and the Far East were still in progress, through several decades beyond the end of World War II. The author places the repatriation problem in the broader context of the beginning of the Cold War. Paradoxically, the hardline position of the Soviet Union and its insistence upon repatriation of all its citizens outside its borders for any reason actually hindered the growth of the minority problem in Europe, which had been one of the main causes of the outbreak of the war.

In her study, Goeken-Haidl analyzes the reasons behind the decisions of all sides in the repatriation question. The United States adopted a mixed stance in response to the harsh Soviet position, which insisted on the return of all of its citizens, no matter the reason for their capture–including people with explicit or implicit reasons to avoid repatriation, such as Wehrmacht soldiers who had deserted the Red Army to fight against the Soviet regime or former residents of areas such as the Baltic states, which had been annexed in 1939-40 as a consequence of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. (The Soviet Union also insisted that Soviet repatriation personnel be accredited to work in U.S. or British DP camps.) Although the U.S. military had pursued what the author calls an “appeasement” strategy during the war, making every effort to meet Soviet demands and respond to complaints, no matter how absurd, in order not alienate their Soviet allies, the State Department had advocated a more rigid response to Soviet demands and pretensions right from the start. As Goeken-Haidl shows, the United States and Britain were quite vulnerable, as the Soviets held a number of British and American soldiers who had been held prisoner in German POW camps that were situated in the Soviet theater of war or its later zone of occupation. The USSR did not shrink from using these soldiers as hostages to forward its demands. Thus, although forced repatriation of Soviet or former Soviet citizens and side effects of this process–such as attempted or completed suicides by the affected parties–aroused public protest in both Britain and United States, the practice continued unabated until all of the British and U.S. soldiers in Soviet hands were released. Only afterwards was it revised.

Goeken-Haidl also analyzes the motives that defined the Soviet position on repatriation. According to her, from the very beginning, the Soviets viewed the policies adopted by the western Allies with great suspicion. The decision not to repatriate people from West Byelorussia, Western Ukraine, and the Baltic states, as neither the United States nor Great Britain had ever acknowledged annexation of these territories by the USSR, only enhanced these suspicions. The fact that many Soviet citizens did not rush back to the USSR after the war not only compromised the reputation of the Soviet state, it was also incomprehensible to Soviet authorities. From their point of view, if people did not wish to return to the victorious, “mighty” Soviet Union, their reluctance was attributed to the “intrigues” of the American and British imperialists. Moreover, the Soviet Union wished to conceal as thoroughly as possible the fact that quite a number of its citizens had defected to the enemy, instead of defending their “superior” system. Above all, the tradition of paranoid fear of the West and of its alleged destructive intentions toward the Soviet Union came to expression in the Soviet position.

Obsessive fear of the West was also expressed in the treatment of repatriates transferred to the Soviets. Throughout eastern Germany, the Soviet authorities established a complete system of gathering and filtration camps, at which returnees were to be checked for political reliability. Everyone who came in contact with the “capitalist world” in any way was seen with suspicion. Goeken-Haidl tells stories of humiliation, verbal and physical violence, and economic exploitation, all of which were prevalent in these camps. People who had been released from forced labor or liberated from POW or concentration camps only a short time before were now denigrated as “German lackeys” and “Nazi whores” by the personnel of the repatriation camps, most of whom had been recruited from the NKVD. In the absence of effective control from above, inmates of these camps were at the mercy of camp guards. The camps also possessed wide networks of spies, who came from the ranks of potential repatriates and had been promised advantages such as an acceleration of the repatriation process. Spies were supposed to uncover active Nazi collaborators and anyone critical of Soviet rule. Inhumane treatment of inmates led to a wave of escape attempts (many of them successful) and of suicides. On average, two repatriates escaped from each camp per week. Even for those who survived this process and returned home, reintegration into Soviet society was not easy. Many former forced laborers were dispatched immediately to various construction projects. Those who returned to their home villages and cities suffered from suspicious attitudes on the part of both local authorities and neighbors. Such attitudes lasted many years; in some cases, even to the present.

Goeken-Haidl has written a fascinating book, though the account sometimes sacrifices precision and thoroughness. For instance, she mentions only briefly the loophole created by the U.S. decision not to transfer persons from eastern Poland and the Baltic states, and mentions only one or two of the most spectacular cases of war criminals from among Nazi collaborators who exploited this decision to pose as anti-Soviet fighters and escape justice. I mentioned an example of this pattern in a recent article on the 30th Waffen-Grenadier Division of the SS, or “1st Byelorussian,” many of whose members had been auxiliary policemen before entry into the SS, and had participated actively in the genocide of Byelorussian Jewry and in the so-called anti-partisan warfare, in course of which thousands of innocents were killed. After the bulk of this division’s soldiers found themselves in DP camps in the American zone, they posed as Poles, escaped transfer to the Soviet authorities, and were able to live in the countries against which they had fought during the closing stages of the World War II.[1]. At the same time, while depicting at length the hardline position of Soviets in questions of repatriation, Goeken-Haidl either omits or ignores the fact that during the Cold War, U.S. military intelligence did not hesitate to exploit the anti-Soviet sentiments of DPs and later, of non-repatriated immigrants, for strategic purposes, especially in view of the possibility of the transition from a “cold” war to a hot one. In such efforts, the authorities often ignored the problematic past of such people.[2] At the same time, while criticizing the study of Nikolaj Tolstoj, whose main focus falls upon the forced repatriation of Soviet citizens, Goeken-Haidl can be seen as moving too far in the opposite direction by focusing on unwilling returnees. A stronger treatment of voluntary repatriation might have created a more balanced picture.

Finally, Goeken-Haidl’s study is not free of some technical problems, inaccuracies, and omissions. Thus, for example, the Byelorussian city of Slonim is termed a village (p. 381), though during the Nazi occupation, it was large enough to be a center of German civil area administration (Gebietskommissariat). On the same page, she also mentions the activities of the infamous Latvian Arajs Kommando as a guard unit of Salaspils concentration camp near Riga, but omits mention of the role played by the same group in the extermination of the Latvian Jews. Konrāds Kalējs, a member of this commando, was accused not only of maltreatment of Salaspils’s inmates, but explicitly of participation in the execution of the “Final Solution.” It would have been appropriate, moreover, to include at least an index of names or locations in order to facilitate navigation through such a long book, and lengthy footnotes occasionally disturb the smooth reading of the book.


[1]. Leonid Rein, “Untermenschen in SS Uniforms: 30th Waffen-Grenadier Division of Waffen SS,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies (April 2007): 329-345.

[2] Thus, for example, Stanislav Stankevich, who occupied the post of mayor of Borisov during the Nazi occupation of Byelorussia and was directly involved in the murder of 7,000 Borisov Jews in October 1941, served for many years after the war in the Byelorussian service of Radio Free Europe and was never prosecuted for his wartime activities. The postwar fates of Stankevich and many other Byelorussian collaborators are tracked in John Loftus’s controversial study, The Belarus Secret (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982).