Living conditions have a significant effect on the physical condition of a person and his performance. In the Geneva Convention on the Maintenance of Prisoners of War of 1929, the article 10 stated: “Prisoners of war are placed in buildings or barracks, representing every possible guarantee of hygiene and health. The premises must be completely protected from moisture, sufficiently heated and lighted. Precautions against fire should be taken. With regard to bedrooms: the total area, the minimum cubic capacity of the bed and their equipment should be the same as in the military units of the power that contains the prisoners. ” Article 9 called on the warring parties to avoid connecting people of different races and nationalities in the same camp.
The Soviet Union did not sign the Geneva Convention. The provision on prisoners of war adopted by the Soviet government in June 1941 of the year on the subject matter did not comply with international law. The article 9 recorded: "Prisoners of war are provided with living quarters, linen, clothes, shoes, food and other basic necessities, as well as money allowances according to the standards established by the Office of the NKVD of the USSR for prisoners of war and internees." Article 10 provided for the placement of prisoners of war of officers and equivalent persons separately from other prisoners of war.
Prior to the start of 1943, the establishment of normal living conditions for enemy soldiers captured was given little attention. The difficult situation at the front, the failures of the Red Army, a small number of prisoners of war seemed to push this task to the background. The main focus was on isolating prisoners of war from the outside world. Their placement in private apartments or in the same houses with workers and employees was strictly prohibited. For this time, it was characteristic that the creation of new camps was carried out in the "fire" order, when enemy soldiers were already at the receiving points. Therefore, in the first camps there were no most elementary living conditions.
Since November 1942, the number of prisoners has grown rapidly. For their upkeep, the NKVD is expanding existing production camps to 64 thousands of places, organizing new camps to 55 thousands of places to use contingent at enterprises of the timber, coal industry, building materials industry and on the construction of Chelyabmetallurgstroy of the NKVD of the USSR. Living conditions in a number of newly created camps were simply unsuitable for the maintenance of people. It is not by chance that the 24 of February 1943 of the USSR was abolished by the NKVD of the USSR as non-responsive camps: Syavsky, Iset-Ayatsky, Methilovsky, Tyumen, Ashinsky, Elabuzhsky, Tedzhensky, on the construction of the Panshino - Kalach railway.
Decisive measures to improve the deployment of enemy troops in rear camps have been taken since spring 1943. This was due to the transition of the strategic initiative into the hands of the Red Army, the beginning of the liberation of the occupied territory of the country, the high mortality rate among prisoners of war and the increased value of prisoners as labor.
16 March 1943, the NKVD of the USSR ordered “to create the necessary living conditions for the detention of prisoners of war in the residential premises of the camps; in the shortest possible time to equip all the living quarters with bunks for lying, as well as with the necessary solid and household equipment (washstands, tables, benches, water barrels and others); to maintain a temperature in the living quarters for prisoners of war not lower than minus 4 degrees Celsius, for which purpose we must provide all the rooms with stoves and the necessary fuel. ” When opening new camps, the delivery of contingent was allowed only with full readiness of the premises, their internal equipment, availability of sanitary and food units, provision of the necessary food supplies.
6 on April 1943 of the year was approved a model contract of the Office for Prisoners of War and Interned Persons (hereinafter referred to as UPVI) of the NKVD of the USSR on the procedure for the labor use of prisoners of war, internees and special contingents. The delivery of labor to the camp was again made dependent on the presence in it of fully equipped premises for the placement of the contingent, as well as staff and the creation of all the necessary conditions for the protection and regime.
The model contract contained three lists of premises and their equipment, which enterprises should have had when organizing a camp. The first list included residential and domestic premises, concentrated in one place in a special residential area, which was supposed to be isolated from the civilian population by enclosing a wooden fence or wire fence.
Living quarters could consist of barracks and dugouts adapted for winter. They were supposed to equip bunk beds. The norm of living space was set at the rate of 2 square. m per person. At the same time, it was allowed to accommodate double insulated tents for housing. The same list included latrines, dryers for clothes and shoes, and sinks.
The list number 2 included administrative, utility and sanitary facilities: camp headquarters, inpatient and outpatient clinic, kitchen and dining room, food warehouse, vegetable storehouse, guardhouse, guard and living quarters for the external and internal security of the camp, camp fencing, guard towers, bathhouse, descamera, laundry, etc. according to relevant regulations.
The list number 3 included information about the equipment of the above premises.
In order to quickly change the conditions in the 20 industrial camps in May 1943, First Deputy Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR, Commissioner of State Security 2 rank S.N. Kruglov ordered to stop the withdrawal of the contingent on all production work under contracts with enterprises (construction, coal mining, logging, development of stone, peat extraction, etc.) for a period of 10 days. It was suggested that this time be used for landscaping camps, fuel storage, gathering wild greens, harvesting hay and straw for stuffing mattresses. If necessary, the period of distraction of prisoners from production work was allowed to extend.
To create a spare housing stock of 9 on April 1943 of the year, People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR, the Commissioner for State Security L.P. Beria issued a strictly secret order, which ordered to bring in the capacity of prisoners of war camps to 1943 in 500 of the year.
The construction was carried out by the construction and operational department of the Main Directorate of the Border Troops of the NKVD of the USSR on standard projects without approved estimates, using labor from among the prisoners of war and special contingent, with payment for the work done at actual cost. At the beginning of 1944, as a part of UPVI, its own construction and operational department is created, which was entrusted with the control over the construction of new, expansion and additional equipment of existing camps. Construction from this point on was carried out by camps in an economic way.
The operation of buildings and structures of the camps was entrusted to UPVI, in connection with which an apartment-operational department was created in the central office of the UPVI, and the position of the head of an apartment-operational unit was introduced in the camps.
It should be noted that in wartime often the conditions for the deployment of enemy soldiers, even in the same camp, were different. So, in the Beketov camp No. 108 in Stalingrad in the fall of 1944, in the first branch of the camp (plant No. 264 - Shipyard), designed for 2500 people, in fact there were 2651 people. They were located in the barracks (with roofing felts and furnace heating, double-deck carriages bunk beds) and two stone two-storey buildings (with boarding roofing, wooden floors, furnace heating).
In the second section (oil depot), designed for 800 people, three frame-type dugouts with bulk roof, furnace heating and with continuous bunks were adapted for dormitories.
In the third compartment (Rechstroy), the contingent huddled in a barge, equipped for housing with bunk beds and stoves. Prisoners of war of the Fourth Division at Stalgres and Plant No. 91 were kept in two one-story wooden buildings with a roofing sheet roof, furnace heating and two-story carriage-type plank beds, as well as in three semi-earthen structures of frame type with bulk roof, furnace heating and two-level plank beds, each of which was designed. 300 people.
At the final stage of the war, the number of captured enemy soldiers continued to grow rapidly. In February, the NKVD ordered 1945 to prepare the camps to receive new parties. Warehouses, stables, and other services were removed from the camp zones. The norm of living space per person when placed on a two-tier plank floor was set minimum - 1,2 square. m
To prepare the housing stock on time, the NKVD of the USSR allowed industrial enterprises to allocate healthy prisoners for these purposes. The camps leadership was offered to receive from the local authorities for permanent or temporary use of empty campuses, groups of buildings that could be used to organize new camps and their branches.
Conditions in the newly opened camps and camps remained unsatisfactory until the end of the war. This was especially characteristic of the territory subjected to the occupation, and the front-line regions, where often the local population had no place to live. As of 1 in January 1945, in Korosten camp No. 110 of 4019, only 606 people had the opportunity to sleep on the bunk, the rest - on the cement or dirt floor in the barracks that had previously served as storage rooms and stables. Because of overcrowding, some of the prisoners slept sitting. At the same time the barracks were not heated, there was no transport for the supply of firewood.
The 3110 people of the Bendery camp No.104 were in the same three-story building. Windows, doors and bunks were not available. We slept on the cement floor. Bathhouse, building materials and transport were absent. In Zaporizhia camp No.100 half of the contingent was in unsuitable housing for premises. All the newly opened branches of the Chelyabinsk camp No. XXUMX were not ready to receive the contingent. In the Volga camp No. 102, the contingent was placed in 265 dugouts, of which only five were covered with timber, the rest - with a tarpaulin. The situation in camps No. 17, 126, 147, 148, 163, 183, 204 and many others was no better.
As a rule, in most cases, the perpetrators of admission to unprepared camps were camp chiefs, who, under pressure from local management, incorrectly informed the UPVI. NKVD of the USSR. And although later on such measures were often taken to influence (removed from work with a demotion, arrested), many prisoners lost their health was impossible.
In the summer of 1945, the NKVD of the USSR had 240 camps for prisoners of war in the structure of the Main Directorate for Prisoners of War and Internment (hereinafter - GUGI) of the NKVD of the USSR. In order to prevent an increase in mortality, 15 Jun L.P. Beria ordered the production of captive enterprises as the latter were ready for their reception and placement. In the absence of the necessary conditions, enemy soldiers were allowed to transfer to other people's commissariats and departments who had the opportunity to accept them and use them at work.
Units not prepared for the placement of people disbanded. Thus, by order of the NKVD of the USSR, 30 camps organized in April-August of 1945 were abolished in various parts of the country in 22 in August.
In the fall of 1945, soldiers of the Japanese army taken prisoner began to arrive in the USSR. On the application of their labor received applications from 629 enterprises 34 Commissariat for 1 382 thousands of people. Analysis of the applications showed that the enterprises to which the prisoners were allocated by the decision of the USSR State Defense Committee were able to accommodate only 224 thousand people, other enterprises had premises for another 112 thousand people. There were nowhere to place more than 150 thousands of other former Japanese soldiers.
The NKVD of the USSR took urgent measures to deploy camps for the Japanese and create in them the proper conditions of life, food, medical care and labor use. "The fast and high-quality equipment of the camps' housing stock," the NKVD directive of November November 12 emphasized, "is of particular importance due to the onset of the winter period." Special commissions led by the chiefs of the NKVD-UNKVD or their deputies were sent to all the camps. The heads of the PKVD-UNKVD were warned about their personal responsibility for the condition of the camps. The improvement of the camps was considered the main work of the ministers of the NKVD of the republics, the heads of the NKVD of the territories and regions, and the heads of the camps' directorates.
As a rule, a month and a half before the arrival of prisoners of war and interned Japanese, the heads of enterprises and construction projects were warned about this and received instructions from their commissariats, local Soviet and party bodies about the need for preparation for housing people and auxiliary fund. However, it was not easy to perform this work in a short time with an acute shortage of building materials and workers.
To be continued ...