View Full Version : ....I better have two Russians at work than five Italians..

08-13-2010, 03:47 AM
The interesting document, claimed to be the Gestapo report i found in net.
Source:Bundesarchiv Koblenz. Reichssicherheitshauptamt. R 52/182. Meldungen aus dem Reich Nr. 376. 15.4.43. S. 8-17.

From the analytical report, delivered to the local SS and SD departments (excepts)

THE HEAD OF THE GESTAPO AND SD. IIIrd Directorate. Berlin. 17 Aug. 1942. SV II, Prinz-Albertstrasse, 8.
Secret! Personal. Report immediately!

II. The impression of the population about Russia.

The first ostarbeiter (eastern workers, the Soviet deportees to Germany to be used as workforce) echelons already caused wonders among the Germans because of the good nutritional state (especially of the civilian workers). Often the following could be heard:

"They don't look as if they're in hunger. On the contrary, they are looking fat and must've lived pretty good".

The head of one of the state health departments after surveying the ostarbeiters reported: "I am amazed by the good looks of the eastern worker women. The biggest wonder were the teeth, since I have not yet encountered a single case where a Russian woman would have bad teeth. Unlike us Germans, they must be paying lots of attention to keeping their teeth in good condition".

[...] Earlier a major part of the German population was thinking that people in the USSR are marked by illiteracy and low education levels. The use of ostarbeiters has spawned contradictions, which often confuse our Germans. For example, from all local reports we receive the information that illiterate people constitute only a very small percent. In a letter from a certified engineer, who was administrating a factory in the Ukraine, for example, it was reported that only 3 of his 1800 workers were illiterate (Reichenberg). The same conclusions follow from the other local reports.

"According to the opinion of many Germans, the current Soviet school education is significantly superior to the Tsarist times"

"The comparison between the mastery of german and russian agriculture workers often is not in the favour of germans" (Stettin)

"Particulary wondering was the widespread knowledge of German language, which is studied widely even in village elementary schools" (Frankfurt-on-Oder)

"A student from Leningrad has studied German and Russian literature, she can play the piano and knows many languages, including fluent spoken German" (Breslau)

"I have almost humiliated myself, reported one apprentice, when I gave the Russian a small arithmetic task. I had to concentrate all my knowledge not to fall behind his speed..." (Bremen)

"Many think that Bolshevism has led Russians out of narrow-mindedness" (Berlin)

[...] The destruction of the Russian intelligents and the fooling of the masses were an important part in explaining Bolshevism. In the German propaganda the Soviet people were presented as stupid exploited beings, as "working cattle".

Today the German worker on the basis of the work of the ostarbeiters and their mastery is daily convinced of the exact opposite. In many agenture reports we are infromed that the ostarbeiters directed to military industry have in fact baffled the German workers with their technical knowledge (Bremen, Reichenberg, Stetting, Frankfurt-o.-O., Berlin, Halle, Dortmund, Kiel, Breslau, Beireut)

One of the workers from Beireut said: "Our propaganda always presents Russians as stupid and dumb. But here I have witnessed the opposite. During the work Russians always think and never look dumb. I better have two Russians at work than five Italians"

In many reports it's noted that the worker from former Soviet regions professes a particulary high level of knowledge in all technical machinery. The Germans have had much experience, which has proven that the ostarbeiter, who can use the most primitive tools in work, can easily remove any type of breakdown in engines, etc. Various examples of this have been presented in a report from Frankfurt (o.O.): "In one estate a Soviet POW has easily understood an engine which German specialists did not know wnat to do with: in a very short time he had it running and then found out a damage in the transmission of the tractor which has not even been noticed by the Germans who maintained the tractor".

In Landsberd-on-Varta german brigadiers have instructed Soviet POWs, most of whom were village citizens, on the procedure of machine part unloading. But this instructions were not accepted by the Russians, and they have not followed it. They have done the unloading a lot faster and technically practical, and the german workers were amazed by their mastery.

A director of one flax spinning factory (Glagau) said the following on ostarbeiters: "The ostarbeiters directed here immediately show technical knoweldege and require not any longer training than the germans". Ostarbeiters can "from various rubbish" manufacture spoons, knives, etc. In one of the matting manufactures we received a report that machinery which long required a repair was set up running by easy repairs from ostarbeiters. And it was done so well as if it was a specialists' repair.

From a large number of students between the ostarbeiters the German population concludes that the level of education in the USSR is not low as our propaganda has claimed. German workers who had the chance to witness the technical mastery of ostarbeiters, most likely think that not the best of Russians are getting into Germany, since the Bolsheviks have evacuated the most qualified workers into the Urals, but even those Russian aren't sub-par in anything, or almost anything, to a German. In all these facts Germans find the explanation for the enormous amount of weaponry that we were reported about in the course of the Eastern campaign. The mere number of good and complex weaponry means that there are many highly qualified engineers and specialists. People who worked on the achievements of the USSR in this sphere much have undeniable technical prowess.

[...] An exceptional part in the propaganda was devoted to the GPU. Especially good results on the German impression were produced by the tales about forced labour expulsions in Siberia and shooting executions.

German enterpreneurs and workers alike were quite baffled when the German labour front (NSDAP union organization) has repeatedly pointed out that between the ostarbeiters none are found who had been repressed in their homeland. What concerns the violent methods of the GPU, which our propaganda hoped to confirm at large, we have, to common wonder, found not a single case in the major labour camps, where the relatives of ostarbeiters were forcibly exiled, arrested or shot. A part of the population is already expressing skepticism on this matter and thinks that the situation with repression and terror in the USSR is not as bad as we have always stated, like that the actions of the GPU are the main determinant of life in the Soviet Union, what people earlier thought. [...] Especially concerned the Germans are about the problem of the Red Army might, which, with quantity and quality of weapons was a great surprise. Until now the perseverance in battle was expained by the fear of the gun of the kommisar and politruk. Sometimes we have explained the disregard for life as an animal trait, which is common for eastern peoples. But again and again people suspect that brute violence is not enough to cause such selfless action in battle.

In various ways people arrive at the conclusion that bolshevism has led to the creation of a somewhat fanatical faith. In the USSR, possibly, many people, especially the younger generation, are of the opinion that Stalin is a great politician. At the very least, bolshevism, irrelevant how, has made the absolute majority of Russians uncompromising perseverance. It were our soldiers who have found out that such organized fervor in resistance have never been encountered in the first World War. It's possible that the people in the east are quite different from us in racial-national relation, but behind the enemy's war power stand the same qualities, such as a certain love for homeland, a certain courage and battle camaraderie, which the Japanese also exhibit in uncommon ways, but must be acknowledged.

Because of such observations, which are shown in local reports, the impression of the USSR and it's people have significanly changed. All these personal observations, which contradict directly the former propaganda, create a lot of thoughts. In places where anti-bolshevik propaganda is using the old and known arguments, it no longer encounters any interest or faith from the people.

I'm interesting to see the original text of that documant in German.
Can our german friends help?

08-13-2010, 05:19 AM
In English or German, it will be a very interesting document to read;
I have found it extremely interesting, my friend.

I would also be interested in similar reports and documents from the RSHA and Todt Organisation.
These would provide very interesting data to compare to the above report.
I suspect those documents more devoid of National Socialist ideology would reflect a similar situation to the document above, much to the ongoing consternation of those same National Socialists.

It would seem the Russian people were a surprise to the Germans, who had been propagandised into accepting a stereotype which was completely in-valid, and which they came to eventually question.

Much the same was later to happen in the West in general, right up to the fall of Communism, in the modern era.

Which goes some way to explaining my own attitude towards Russia.
As a child, the USSR/CCCP was thought of as "the enemy", largely because Communism was feared in the West, as it probably should rightly have been.
The distinction was NOT made though, between the political system and the people as a nation.
And, in my humble opinion, it should have been.

These days, I do not fear Russia, I respect her.
Those Russians I have been fortunate to meet have been fine and gentle people, very decent.
As I've said elsewhere, the West would be far better and far wiser to treat Russia as an equal, and with decency.
The West has a long way to go before it can claim to have done so, in my opinion.

Kind and Respectful regards Chevan my friend, Uyraell.

{{Online Translation: Clarification.

В эти дни, я не боюсь России, я уважаю ее.
Те русские, которых я был удачен встретить, были прекрасными и нежными людьми, очень приличными.
Поскольку я сказал в другом месте, Запад был бы намного лучше и намного более мудрым, чтобы рассмотреть Россию как равное, и с благопристойностью.
Запад имеет длинный способ пойти прежде, чем это может утверждать, что сделало так, по моему мнению.

Добрые и Почтительные отношения Chevan мой друг, Уираелл. }}

08-21-2010, 05:12 PM
A lot of people in the German Army did not share the Nazi's views concerning the Russian/Soviet people. Here are parts of an order of Field Marshal von Manstein for the troops of his Army Group containing codes of conduct. Some points however show that the Germans considered themselves still superior (incl. the usual generalizations).

- Avoid presumptuousness. The Russian (it was common to use the singular when talking about other nations' people - FTG) is most critical towards officers who tend to show off.
- Be righteous. In Russia the Germans always enjoyed a positive reputation concerning their sense of justice. The Russian hates nothing more than injustice.
-The Russian is an exceptionally good worker; if he's treated fair he just won't stop to labour. He's intelligent and a quick learner. If he's shown something new he'll be distrustful in the beginning. If he realises though that a matter is good he adjusts to it.
- For the Russian it's habitual to be ruled. It's not advisable to assign large duties and leave the initiative to him.
- Compliment the Russian if he's working well. If you don't he'll be losing the joy of working. Small presents and approvals -if legitimate- work wonders.
-Avoid it to beat the Russian. Honour is most important to the Russian. If he gets beaten he'll never forget! Beating a person counts as barbaric in Russia. The tsarist system was and is hated because the knout was used on a daily base. That's why the Bolshevics forbade public corporal punishment and executions. Still today the Bolshevics equalize the German method of hanging bandits (= partisans - FTG) with the tsarist regime.

To be continued, these were excerpts from points 1 to 4 of Manstein's order, there are 10 in total.

08-25-2010, 06:48 AM
Thanks , my friends.
Actualy Mainstain wrote in his memours the good words about russian soldiers.I actualy believe the Germans has changed it's oppinion about Russian character after 1941.
But in 1941 the G some germans wrote such a letters at home , that was used by the Race-hate propoganda .
i mean this ..German Soldiers in the Soviet Union (http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/feldpost.htm)

Only the Jew Lived Well
Soldier Reinold Mahnke, Military Post Number 02 179 to Supervisor Borrmann at the Otto Kloss Company in Hamburg:

Dьnaberg, 8 Aug. 1941

Dear Hermann, You have to have seen what people called the Bolshevist Paradise! It is poor, Hermann, incredibly poor. Only the Jews and functionaries lived well. The people didn’t earn enough to buy a pair of socks or anything like that. They earned 1 ruble a day, about 10 German pfennig, and that for a full day’s work. Only the Jews lived well. Each city is about 40% Jewish.

The Jews and Bolshevists hauled every Latvian who was still around out of his house before the Germans arrived. They stole the valuables, doused the houses with gasoline and set them on fire. The Latvians who did not want to go with the Bolshevists had their hands and feet cut off, their tongue slit, and then were left behind. They nailed men and even children to the walls.

These are things we have seen.

If these criminals had reached our country, they would have torn us apart. That is clear. But the Latvians did take their revenge.

The comrades from the Kloss factory should come here and see what 25 years of communism have done. There is only poverty, misery, and more misery. Old sod huts, a cow and a pig, that is all they have. In Germany people talked about how good the workers here had it.

“It is a country that our soldiers are coming to know after 25 years of Bolshevism. This I know: Anyone who went there with even the slightest sympathy for communism, even in the most idealistic sense, is cured. You can be sure of that.”

The Soviet Union is Absolutely Miserable
Flyer W. M., Res.-Lazarett Salzlwedel to his Cell Leader Schroeder

I have seen the “wonderful workers’ paradise” in the Soviet Union with all its terrible misery, and wish that those who thought differently could spend a few weeks here to see and experience what we have. The misery and horror of Bolshevism is terrible.

I hope that volunteering for our proud army may atone for my earlier sins, and that when I am back home, you, dear party member, will accept me as an honest person. In that hope, I send you my warmest greetings.

Worse than we Imagined
Corporal J. F., Military Post Number 26,280 to his Local Group

In the Field, 3.8.41

What we have seen of the so-called Soviet paradise is worse than we ever imagined. Anyone back home who still has any doubts should come here. All his doubts will disappear. Everywhere we go, the people are happy to be freed from Bolshevism, and looks to the future with confidence. We soldiers can say to those back home that he [Hitler] saved Germany and all of Europe from the Red Army. The battle is hard, but we know what we are fighting for, and, confident of the Fьhrer, we will win. In the hopes of a victorious return,

Heil Hitler
Corporal J. F.

there is endeed the deep contradiction we see between what ordinary german soldiers "saw" and how the german population meet the Russian peoples in Germany.The "Soviet paradice" where the peoples were more educated and patriotic then it were in Tsar Russia and where Germans meet the new wearpon designs they never seen before in Europe:)
We know the Ministry of Propogand specially deceived the GErman public in what was in East. However , what made the ordinary german soldier make to be deceived themself?Why they saw only ... dirt?
Mayby they seriously believed ONLY German nation maybe proud of its cultural and genetic achivenment? Some Germans i heard were in delight from Paris and Milan. Why no of them didn't wrote some delight about newest soviet industry giant plants and architecture?
What they note the misery after 25 years of Bolshevism , but didn't compare what was there during Tsar Time?
One may to conclude that the disaster on Eastern front made the GErmans to revise their view of slavs. In fact in 1941 only few of them doubted in German race superiority.

08-25-2010, 08:24 AM
What they note the misery after 25 years of Bolshevism , but didn't compare what was there during Tsar Time?
The story about misery (both resonable and unreasonable complaints) in Russia were appearing regularly in European press even before the revolution. Here is an article in Russian on how Danes perseived Russians during the last few hundred years (http://egorka-datskij.livejournal.com/29661.html) "Russians - who are they?" writen by a Danish historian- quite interesting and sometimes amusing story. :)

In fact in 1941 only few of them doubted in German race superiority.This superiority feeling has been there for ages. Some of it is well deserved and some other is egoism blown out of proportions..ю Do not we all have it to some extent...

But in some cases there were also letters like the following sent back to Germnany:

From the letter of Wehrmacht soldier Gerhard L.
18.04.1943 - "The life here is not as so bad, as our propaganda wants us to think. The local people are satisfied with their way of living and their destiny. In the mean while we are spoiled and, as always, judge accordingly!"

From the letter of Wehrmacht soldier Franz S.
09.08.1942 - "In peace time Russia is not that bad at all. In the countryside everyone hasa small patch of land and on top of that they work on the collective farm. Almost every household has a cow, which can graze on a meadow."

Rising Sun*
08-25-2010, 09:30 AM
No disrespect, Chevan, me old mate, but I'd like to see the authenticity of the document in your first post verified.

The date of the memo is a couple of months after Heydrich's death, by which time I'm not sure if the Gestapo and SD were unified under one head as in Heydrich's time as Himmler had taken over, although there was a nominal replacement for Heydrich.

I'm also not sure about the address to the "IIIrd Directorate". Is this supposed to refer to Amt III, which was an SD intelligence agency concerned with matters inside Germany? If so, that would be subordinate to the head of Gestapo and SD to which the memo is addressed, and wouldn't make sense.

Who is the author of the document? Given the demand for 'report immediately' it would have to be Himmler or Hitler. It's surprising that the author isn't identified in any of the versions of this memo I've been able to find in English on the internet, all of which agree with your version.

Maybe the points I'm nitpicking are explained by translation issues, but the the quoted document's consistent comments that Russian workers were technically and educationally better qualified than Germans are at least as consistent with propaganda from Russian, or anti-German, quarters as they are with a genuine document from the SD / Gestapo.

In the absence of clear evidence that it really was the German document it purports to be, I remain somewhat sceptical.

Cojimar 1945
01-10-2011, 11:20 PM
What makes you think the public was more educated and patriotic than in czarist Russia?

01-11-2011, 03:26 AM
Primarily, Cojimar 1945, the fact that under the Soviet system every citizen of Russia and the wider USSR was expected to be able to read and write in Russian, to at least high-school level. The communist government made extensive provisions for the education of it's citizenry, and carried out those plans.

Even allowing that said education was heavily slanted towards communistic and socialist political values, it is nonetheless a matter of record that the education system as established under communist rule was by and large a success.

By no means can the same be said for the citizenry as existed under the Tsarist system, wherein education of any sort was basically a thing for the elite classes and the church. Which is itself one major reason the Industrial Revolution took so very long to get underweigh in Tsarist Russia: there was simply not a sufficiently large educated population-base upon which to found or maintain said Industrial Revolution.

Contrast that with the industrial situation by 1930 in Communist Russia/the wider USSR; whereby there were not only sufficiently educated numbers of people to run the factories after having built them, but there were sufficient numbers to send abroad in search of the industrial technology Lenin had decreed as necessary.

I am no fan at all of Communism AS a governmental system.

However, nor am I willing to be a bigot and deride the achievements made in the first two or three decades post 1917.
Miracles were achieved, in the industrial context, which were not to have parallel elsewhere in the world until the Apollo Program another 3 decades later.

The above is my respectful attempt to answer your question regarding both the patriotism and education of the average Russian citizen under during the early Soviet Era as compared to the average Russian citizen during the Tsarist Era.

Respectful Regards, Cojimar 1945, Uyraell.

Deaf Smith
01-13-2011, 09:40 PM
I am no fan at all of Communism AS a governmental system.

However, nor am I willing to be a bigot and deride the achievements made in the first two or three decades post 1917.

I agree Uyraell. At first they did well compared to the Tsarist, since royalty tend to view others as just simple peasants not worthy of much education.

But communist, being a government that demands perfect people to run it, ran afoul when it was discovered there are no perfect people! And so it sunk into a dictatorship ran by the functionaries.