The Extermination of the Volga-German Minority

Short excerpts from Samuel Sinner´s book The Open Wound

Chapter II 
The Age of the Great Massacres, 1917-1921
After the Bolshevik Revolution of October 25, 1917, the ethnic Germans of the former Tsarist empire (Russia and Ukraine) were immediately confronted by an organized campaign of terror. The best documented reports detailing the atrocities committed against these various groups of Germanic heritage cover the Volga, Ukrainian, and North Caucasus regions [...] The eruption of massacres manifested itself in a combination of small and large killing-operations involving, among other cruelties, the mass rape of the elderly, women and children, mass drownings, prolonged torture sessions, mutilations, hacking up of bodies, mass shootings of hundreds, even thousands in a single action, the holocaust of entire villages including the burning of all inhabitants and building structures, and the complete robbery of entire villages in the name of "requisition" and extermination of the "German kulaks, big farmers and counter-revolutionaries." (page 15)
"Better to die fighting than to starve slowly to death," was a common cry of the Russian Germans as they armed themselves with shovels and rakes. [...]
The argument is often made, even by some Russian-German authors, that the Germans, especially in Ukraine, were targeted solely for economic reasons, namely on account of their extensive land holdings. This overlooks the fact, however, that to label an entire ethnic group as "rich" or as "kulaks" is in itself a racial slur. For instance, Nestor Ivanovich Makhno, the Ukrainian anarchist from Gulyai Poyle, who wrecked more havoc in the German villages than any other single individual, was, according to Ingeborg Fleischhauer, from childhood on an "embittered hater of Germans." 
Fleischhauer remarks that as a child, he had worked as a shepherd for wealthy Germans in the Yekaterinoslav region, noting that it was at that time his hatred for and envy of the Germans and their land holdings began. After being an independent anarchist, Makhno joined forces with the Red Army in the first months of 1919. He and his followers were strongly nationalist oriented. Johannes Philipps writes concerning his activities: "No population in Ukraine suffered as much under them as did the Germans......What they couldn't take with them, they destroyed." Those who resisted ".....were harassed, beaten, and not seldom, the male head of the household was shot. Women were raped repeatedly." Johannes Schleuning writes, "Makhno went through the land wreaking vengenance on the Germans." (page 16-17)

Chapter III
Enforced Starvation, 1920-1925
Indeed, in order to stress the terror of the famine of 1932-1933, some authors claim that nature was responsible for the 1921 famine. In the light of available evidence, however, this argument is untenable. Thus, Donald Raleigh correctly criticizes V. V. Kondrashin for naively emphasizing failed harvest and droughts as the main causes of the 1921 famine. Any arguments for an unqualified exclusiveness with regard to the "man-made" famine of 1932-1933, be it in Ukraine or in the Volga-German ASSR, are shown to be untenable in light of the above testimonies stemming from an entire decade earlier. (p. 35)
The requisition of 1917-1921 also gave rise to a crisis threatening the very existence of the Ukrainian-German villages. In Kandel, 450 were starved to death. In GroBliebental, 16 to 20 died every day and were buried in mass graves. In Franzfeld, 45 perished from starvation. Another 151 died in Josephtal. In Landua, over 350 died from starvation.
During this mass starvation, approximately 10,000 Volga-German children were forcibly taken from their parents and transferred to Slavic families in Ukraine. The parents were told that conditions were better in "brotreich" Ukraine. The government was fully aware, however, that conditions were even worse in some areas in Ukraine than in the Volga region. (Page 40)
Chapter. VI
Starvation, Deportation, Execution, 1930-1939
The loss of human life during collectivization again in the late 1930's was not caused solely by starvation. Mass executions and deportations also claimed the lives of thousands of German village inhabitants [...]
The exact number of the Russian Germans (Russia and Ukraine) who fell victim to the Stalinist "purges" still remains unknown. However, in 1991, an NKVD list of 1937-1938 executed citizens of Odessa was published. The list reveals that, whereas the ethnic Germans in the city represented only 8.3 percent of the population, they nevertheless constituted 28 percent of those shot. [...]
With regard to the deportations of the early 1930's, eyewitness reports substantiate Alexandr I. Solzhenitsyn's claim that the intent behind the kulak expulsions was murder. According to a letter from April 18, 1930: And everywhere, when one asks about demanding their children back, the answer is received: "Just as you never got to see Nikolai II again, so those deported will never be returned to you." They proclaim openly: "We have sent the people out there so that they will die in misery." A similiar report reads: "Soon it will be as a Communist told me: "You should die a wretched death! We can't kill you all, but you will all die a wretched death!" Therefore a planned extermination, a cold- blooded murder of many thousands." According to Russian historian Dmitri Volkogonov, around one-fourth of the deported kulaks died in the space of a few months, and an additional one-fourth within only a year. [...]
According to Richard Walth, 350,000 Russian Germans (in Russia and Ukraine) perished in the famine of 1932-1933. Heinz Ingehorst puts the figure at 300,000 for the entire collectivization period. Working independently of Ingehorst, the author of this essay, using the 1937 census and other Soviet materials as a data base with certain additional modifications, arrived at the same figure. The number of all Russian Germans in 1930, on the eve of the catastrophe, can be calculated at 1,390,000 to 1,400,000. Therefore between 1930 and the beginning of 1937, the Russian Germans lost approximately one-fourth of their entire population---one out of every four was exterminated through deliberate starvation, deportation, or shooting. (pp. 64-65)
On the collectivization famine in the Volga-German ASSR, Volga- German professor Adolf Gersch writes, "The.....famine, which had been knowingly prepared by the Soviet leadership and the Communist Party, and which had as a consequence mortality on a massive scale among the Volga-German population, was also a planned mass murder. This statement is corroborated by Khrushchev himself, who admitted the famine of 1933 was an act of "murder"on the part of the government. In 1990, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine confessed that the famine had been deliberately created by the Soviet leadership.

Go here to buy "The Open Wound" by Samuel Sinne. Above Transcript found here

A more extensive presentation document by Samuel Sinner on the russian- german genocide is embedded below the video


In below video historian and researcher James Mayfield (Director of the Institute for Research of Expelled Germans) speaks at an academic conference on ethnic cleansing called "The Forgotten Genocide" in St. Louis, Missouri in February of 2010. Included is an analysis of the history of the Volga German minority in Imperial Russia, their adjustment to the Soviet Union, and then the total expulsion of nearly a million ethnic German civilians to the wastelands of Kazakhstan for forced labour in the gulags. As many as 30% may have died.

Sinner Presentation Aug 2005
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Frank Kitman