View Full Version : Romanian POWs in Soviet Union

12-10-2005, 10:08 PM
- I've always enjoyed to talk with WW2 veterans, especially with former POWs. Each WW2 veteran has an unique story of his war experience. I don't know the total number of the Romanian POWs in Russia and I also don't know how many of them returned back home after WW2 ended. Back in Romania years ago I could speak with some WW2 veterans who had been POWs in Russia. This is their story.

--- My mother's uncle was in 1941 a lieutenant in the Romanian cavalry. He told me he had been wounded in the shoulder from a close range by a pistol bullet fired by a Russian soldier. He was POW in Russia, he returned home after WW2 and he died in 1988. He never complained about the Russians, saying he had had a good medical care and his wound did heal very well.

--- I had a friend and his father had been a truck driver during WW2. He had been taken prisonier by the Russians in August 1944 during a battle west of the Romanian town of Jassy [Iasi] at "Podul-Iloaiei". He came back with no problems after 1945.

--- I used to know back in Romania an old guy of German origin. During WW2 he had been POW in Russia and forced to work in a coal mine in Dombas. He lost one lung working hard in that place.

--- Many times I spoke with a former infantry lieutenant who had been POW in Siberia for a few years. This WW2 veteran lived in Craiova. According with him, in that frozen camp from Siberia there were no guards because it was no place to escape from there. The POWs were working cutting wood. Who was able to work received enough food to survive. Who was ill could not work and received less food and that was sure death. During the winter months [from October to April] nobody in that camp burried the dead bodies, it was much too cold to do it. After WW2 he came back all right in Romania.

--- My mother knew a lady who was a taylor. Her father had also been a POW in Russia during WW2. The guy had been very lucky because he could speak Russian very well and he was a carpenter. The Russian trusted him enough to let him to go many times with furniture in town, not far from the POW camp. He even had a child with a Russian widow.

--- All the former Romanian POWs in Russia told me the same thing: "The earlier during the war somebody became a POW in Russia, the harder life that POW had". It looks like after they were released from the Russian camps, the former Romanian POWs were for a short period of time in some "transit-camps" located on Romanian soil. Some of them were not released and were sent directly to a Romanian prison. -

-- NOTE: Some Romanian POWs from Russia were "convinced" to fight against the German troops and this is the way the Russians raised by the end of 1943 the "Tudor Vladimirescu" division. This Romanian division remained even after August 23rd 1944 under Soviet command. This division was armed only with Soviet weapons.

--- If somebody else can give more info about the Romanian POWs from the Soviet Union, I'll be happy to hear about it.
Orita 12/10/05

12-11-2005, 04:48 AM
I know a Romanian soldier who wasn't realesed...
After the dezintegration of the Soviet Union,he left by foot the camp in Siberia and came all the way (without any money or ID) till Chisinev.
There he asked for help the PM Mircea Druc.After a few cheks and when people understood he wasn't laying,he was helped to get back to Romania at his village.It was 1n 1991.Only that he had no more relatives alive.
As far as I know in 1993 or 94,he got a honorific job at a former political prison (I forgot the name but I can get it)who was transformed into a museum.

12-11-2005, 06:01 AM
Good interesting stuff mate. The only thing I dont like is the one huge paragraph. Maybe next time you can split it up a bit so my old eyes dont get lost in the mass of words.

12-11-2005, 09:29 AM
- So that Romanian soldier remained in Russia 46 years after the end of WW2 ... What a miserable fate!!! I wish I would know the exact number of the Romanian POWs in Russia from WW2 and how many of them finally made it back home in Romania after 1945. I think the last German POWs from Russia were sent back home in 1954-55. The Romanian POWs had been released earlier. --- Note: The Russians had POWs camps during WW2 [and after] for each nationality. I was told the Russians did not mix the Germans with Italians or Romanians or Hungarians. Orita 12/11/05

12-11-2005, 02:42 PM
- I have this excellent book named "The Romanian Army of World War 2" written by Mark Axworthy and Horia Serbanescu. All the info [see below] is from this book: [a] The Romanian Army had a total of 686,258 men under arms in the summer of 1941 and a total of 1,224,691 men under arms 3 years later in the summer of 1944; [b] Fighting against the Soviet Union for 3 years [June 1941- August 1944], the Romanian Army had these losses: 71,000 dead, 243,000 wounded and 310,000 missing [men died in the field or POWs]. Perhaps the number of the Romanian POWs in Russia was something between 150,000 - 200,000 men. Orita 12/11/05

12-11-2005, 11:27 PM
You forgot to mention those 130,000 POWs taken by Soviets shortly after 23rd of August 1944 when Romanian Army ceased fire against them.

Apart from the Osprey Publications book mentioned, you should read as well
Mark Axworthy, Cornel Scafes, Cristian Craciunoiu - , THIRD AXIS, FOURTH ALLY: ROMANIAN ARMED FORCES IN THE EUROPEAN WAR, 1941-1945. London: Arms & Armour Press, 1995 (ISBN: 1854092677)

12-11-2005, 11:37 PM
- I knew about Romanian taken prisoniers after August 23rd 1944 but I was not sure about how many had been taken by the Soviet troops. Returning home from the western campaign, some Romanian soldiers were taken by Russians and sent in camps as POWs. Orita 12/12/05

12-12-2005, 01:27 PM
Not long ago,died in Brasov,a great guy;Sixtus Maxim.
He was a Savoia bomber pilot and was shootdown and taken pow at Stalingrad.
He was realeased in 1947 or 48.
Till now nothing interesting...
In early 60's Sixtus Maxim,went to court against the Romanian state (a comunist regim) .
His poit of view was very interesting:From 1942 till 23.August 1944 he was a pow.From 23.8.44-till he was realeased =a political prisoner!!!!!
And belive it or not HE WON!!!
In 1962(?) against a comunist court!
He got himself a status of a political prisoner.

12-12-2005, 10:29 PM
- I mentioned about that Romanian POW from Craiova, a former leutenant who had been in a camp from Siberia. He told me how 7 or 8 years of his army life [from 1941 to 1947-48] had not been taken in consideration at his pension years. The communist regime [the guy retired in 1970s] did NOT want to hear about the years spent by anyone as a POW in Russia. --- Back in Romania I used to know a WW2 veteran with the rank of sergeant from the town of Tirgoviste. He had been member of a tank crew and got wounded to his legs fighting the Germans in 1945 in Czechoslovakia. From the front line he was sent in hospital at Jassy [Iasi] in Romania where he remained for about 90 days. Before to be released from the hospital, he [and other wounded Romanian soldiers] heard the Russians would like to send them in Russia, not to let them go home. Finally the sergeant from Tirgoviste [and 2 or 3 more Romanians from that area too] got their military papers and left the hospital from Jassy [Iasi] walking home to Tirgoviste. All were happy to go home, not to be sent in a frozen POW camp from Russia. This happened in 1945, many months after August 23rd 1944 and the Russians had NO right to send Romanians as POWs in Siberia. If the British and the Americans did not stand against the Russians in 1945, who could do it????? Orita 12/12/05