6 May 2020 11:21

Germany to give Russia archive info on thousands of Great Patriotic War era prisoners - newspaper

MOSCOW. May 6 (Interfax) - Russia will receive from Germany on May 6 the first batch of digitized archives containing information on almost half a million Soviet prisoners-of-war, the newspaper Izvestia reported on Wednesday, citing the Russian embassy in Germany and the German Federal Archives.

"A presentation of the joint German-Russian project to search for and digitize archive materials on Soviet and German prisoners-of-war and interned persons of the times of WWII will take place in Moscow on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War," the report said.

"The ceremony in which Germany will hand over the first batch of the digitized documents on Soviet citizens held in the German camps during the Great Patriotic War will be held on May 6," the press service for the Russian embassy in Germany told the paper.

German Ambassador to Russia Géza Andreas von Geyr and Russian presidential envoy on international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi are expected to attend the ceremony, the embassy said. The materials, which are located in the federal archives in Koblenz, contain information on almost 500,000 people, the article said.

According to the report, citing Russian historians, four to six million Soviet citizens were prisoners-of-war in the years of the Great Patriotic War. After the war, it was practically impossible to determine the fate of thousands of people, they were listed as missing.

However, in 2016 the Russian and German Foreign Ministries launched a special project to search for and digitize archive materials Soviet and German POWs and Interned Persons to restore historical justice. Agreements on handing over the archive were reached in fall 2019.

"We have handed over sources for the upcoming ceremony, the digitizing project continues," Tobias Herrmann, an official with the German Federal Archives, told the paper.

Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev earlier said in an interview with the paper the digital format of the documents will make them accessible to all people who are interested. The search databases will make it possible to determine personal information, which means it will help identify thousands of fallen Red Army servicemen.

Besides, events marking the Victory Day will be held in German cities despite the pandemic, the diplomatic mission said. Ambassador Nechayev and Michael Kretschmer, minister president of Saxony, will honor the memory of the Red Army troops who fell in the fight for the liberation of Europe from Nazism in Treptower Park on May 9. Residents of Germany will hold the event Immortal Regiment in virtual format this year, Izvestia reported.