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Russian Brutality: Massacres By Russian Soldiers During WW2

The eastern front was a hard place to be in. If the SS and gestapo did evil things in Russia, the Russian soldiers were no angels too. Here are some instances where German soldiers were massacred by the Russians. The Russians killed soldiers of other nations too. And we do not mention here the mass rapes in Berlin which started in April 1945.

KATYN FOREST (Smolensk, 1939-40)

In 1939, during the Russian invasion of Poland, some 14,500 Polish officers were captured and interned in three P.O.W. camps in the Soviet Union. The next time the world heard of these prisoners was a news broadcast on April 13, 1943, from Radio Berlin. It stated that the German Army had discovered mass graves at Katyn, 18 kilometres north-west of Smolensk, near the village of Gneizdovo and containing the bodies of Polish officers. Eight graves were opened and 4,253 bodies exhumed.



Katyn Forest massacre

All were dressed in Polish uniforms, with badges of rank and medals intact. No watches or rings were found on the corpses. It was established that the bodies were of Polish officers from the camp at Kozielsk, situated in the grounds of a former Monastery, near Orel. Two other camps, at Starobielsk (3,891 men) and at Ostashkov (6,311 men) were wound up and closed in the first days of April, 1940. Whatever happened to these 10,000 odd officers has never been established. They were never seen alive again. From evidence obtained after the war, all prisoners of Kozielsk camp were shot by Stalin's NKVD.

Red Army kills polish officers in the head

On April 13, 1990, fifty years after the massacre, the USSR for the first time admitted its responsibility for the murders. The whole controversy was finally laid to rest when Boris Yeltsin, handed over the secret files on Katyn to the Polish president, Lech Walesa, on October 14, 1992. In May 1992, in a wood near Kharkov, a Russian private investigation team discovered a mass grave containing 3,891 bodies of Polish officers from the camp at Starobielsk in the Ukraine. In June of that year, Soviet authorities discovered 30 mass graves at Miednoje, one hundred miles north-west of Moscow. They contained the remains of 6,287 Polish prisoners from the Ostashkov island camp on Lake Seliguer. Before the massacre, 245 officers from Kozielsk, 79 from Starobielsk and 124 from the camp at Ostashkor , were transferred, for no apparent reason, to a camp at Pavlishchev Bor, a hundred miles north-west of the Kozielsk camp. These 448 officers proved to be the only survivors of the Katyn massacre. KGB files state that 21,857 Poles were shot as a result of Stalin's order. In other parts of the Katyn Forest, other graves were discovered containing the bodies of Russian political prisoners who were executed in pre-war days by the NKVD. It seems that the Katyn Forest was the main execution site for Stalin’s secret police. (Not to be confused with the Khatyn murder site near Minsk) All mention of the Katyn atrocity has been removed from Soviet history textbooks.



On July 1st 1941, around 180 German soldiers of the 2nd and 6th Infantry Regiments and the 5th Artillery Regiment were taken prisoner by the Red Army in the town of Broniki. Most were suffering from battle wounds. Next day, the 2nd of July, advancing Wehrmacht troops discovered 153 bodies in a clover field near the town. All had been brutally murdered. According to the twelve survivors of the massacre, they were taken to the field just off the main road and forced to undress. All valuables such as money, rings, watches as well as their uniforms, shirts and shoes were stolen. Standing there naked, the prisoners were then fired upon by machine guns and automatic rifles. A few managed to escape by fleeing to the nearby woods. Similar reports from other regiments gave rise to the suspicion that the Soviets, in the early stages of the war, were not taking any prisoners. There was a division order, according to which every Russian soldier who shoots twenty German soldiers, received a three day leave pass to go home. He also was decorated and raised in rank.

THE GRISCHINO MASSACRE (February 18, 1943)

The area of Grischino lies to the north-west of Stalino (now Donets) an important industrial region in the Ukraine. Occupied by German forces, it was recaptured by a Soviet armored division and again recaptured by the German 7th Armored Division during a counteroffensive in February, 1943. What they found was the bodies of 406 German soldiers, (POWs) 58 were members of the Todt Organization, 89 Italian soldiers, 9 Romanian soldiers, 4 Hungarian soldiers and some civilian workers, Ukrainian volunteers and German nurses. A total of 596 souls had been killed. Most were shot after being dragged from their hiding places in cellars. Many of the bodies were horribly mutilated, ears and noses cut off and genital organs amputated and stuffed into their mouths. Breasts of some of the nurses were cut off, the women being brutally raped. In the cellar of the main train station around 120 Germans were herded into a large storage room and then mowed down with machine guns. It was realized that the Russians had killed every single German they had found there. As with most massacres, there were survivors and in this case, civilian witnesses.

During the week of 22/29 June, 1941, thousands of Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners were murdered in their cells by the Soviet NKVD (KGB). The Soviets' hurried retreat had tragic consequences for all political prisoners in the jails of Western Ukraine. Soon after the German attack on the Soviet Union, the retreating Soviets had no time to care for their prisoners locked up in prisons in the Ukraine, so they were simply killed. In some cities the whole prison was set on fire and the helpless prisoners burned to death. In Lutsk, 2,800 out of the 4000 inmates in the NKVD prison, were murdered. When the German 49th Army Corps occupied the Polish-Ukrainian city of Lvov, (now Limberg) around 2,400 dead bodies were found by German troops in the NKVD prison. Some were killed by hand-grenades thrown into their cells, most were killed by a shot in the neck. In the cellars of the Brygidky Prison on Palczymska Street, 423 bodies were recovered. Hundreds more were piled up in the courtyard. In the military prison at Samarstinov, which had been set on fire, 460 charred bodies were found, many showing signs of brutal torture. In the cellars, bodies were piled up layer upon layer almost to the ceiling. Owing to the stench of the decomposing corpses, the German commander of Lvov ordered all doors to the cellars bricked up after the bodies were covered with lime. On June 26-27, 1941, some 520 Ukrainians were shot at Sambor, and at Zlochev, another 700, including the entire local intelligentsia, were arrested and shot on July 16, 1941. At Kremenets, between 100 and 150 were killed and when the bodies were recovered some bodies were without skin, having been thrown into boiling water.

Altogether, in the Ukraine, around 10,000 Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners were killed in their prisons. It is a sad fact that many members of the NKVD execution squads in the Ukraine, were Jewish collaborators. These collaborators were hated by other Jews more than the German SS. (A memorial plaque at the former headquarters of the NKVD/KGB in Simferpol, Ukraine, is engraved with the names of thirty NKVD agents who gave their lives in the Great Patriotic War (the Soviet name for World War II). The amazing thing is that all thirty names are Jewish! About half a million Jews served in the Red Army and approximately 200,000 were killed. A total of 160,000 Jewish soldiers were decorated with Soviet awards, 145 receiving the highest Soviet award, 'Hero of the Soviet Union'. Two Jewish women were also awarded this honour. (Many Soviet soldiers, after capture, joined the Waffen SS. The 30th SS Division was composed of such troops)

ATROCITY AT FEODOSIA (December 29, 1941)

On the shores of the Black Sea, on the Crimean Peninsula, stands the port city of Feodosia. On the 3rd of November the city was captured by the German 46th and 170th Infantry Divisions. As the attack on Sevastopol was about to take place, most of the German forces were withdrawn to concentrate on the forthcoming battle. Left behind in the city were a small detachment of troops and all the wounded soldiers convalescing in the city's hospitals. On the afternoon of December 29, the city was bombarded by the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and a landing was made by Soviet marines followed by infantry. On the 18th of January, 1942, after their failure to capture Sevastopol, the German Wehrmacht was able to return and recapture Feodosia. They found that most of the German military personnel had been murdered. Wounded soldiers had been thrown out of the windows of the hospital to make room for Russian wounded. Water was then poured on the near dead bodies and then left to freeze. On the beach, piles of bodies were found where they were thrown from a wall several metres high after being beaten and mutilated, their bodies left in the surf so that the sea water froze and covered them with a sheet of ice. There were some twelve survivors who had hidden in cellars when the Russian troops arrived. Their testimony before a German court of inquiry confirmed that some 160 wounded soldiers were liquidated this way.

THE KORSUN SLAUGHTER (February 16-17, 1944)

During the freezing cold night of February 16, five divisions of General Hube's 1st SS Panzer Army, (54,000 men) including the 5th SS Division Viking and the Belgian Volunteer Brigade Wallonie, made a last desperate bid to break out of the Russian encirclement around the towns of Korsun and Shandrerovka in the lower Dnieper south-west of Kiev (Kyiv). At 4am, elements of the 8th Army formed up into two marching columns of around 14,000 men each and flocked into two parallel ravines in the surrounding countryside, and where the two ravines met, the troops, now in complete disorder, then emerged into open country and headed out towards the town of Lysyanka.

Soviet soldiers kill german soldiers

There, disaster struck as troops of the 2nd Ukrainian Front, under General Konev, were waiting. Soon after 6am, the slaughter began. Soviet tanks drove into the two German columns crushing hundreds under their tracks. Fleeing in panic, the troops were then bombed and shelled before being confronted by units of Cossack cavalry who started hacking them to pieces with their sabres, There was no time to take prisoners and in the short space of three hours around 20,000 German soldiers lay dead, their bodies later dumped in holes dug in the ground. The hundreds of wounded and medical personnel left behind were butchered by the Cossacks. Only a few officers survived, most had fled the scene by plane some days before. (Russian sources put the number of dead during the two weeks of fighting at over 70,000) To reach Lysyanka the troops had first to cross the raging Gniloy-Tikich river. Reaching the opposite side many were transformed into blocks of ice their uniforms frozen to their bodies. About eight thousand others, who had fled the scene and were hiding in the woods, were rounded up during the next few days and taken prisoner. For this great victory, General Konev was awarded the title 'Marshal of the Soviet Union'.

During the fighting in Norway and Finland, the SS Gebirgsdivision 'Nord', was opposing the Russian forces. Very few SS men were taken prisoners by the Red Army, most were shot immediately. A report on Operation No 11 from the Soviet 26th Division states: 'The enemy left approximately 400 dead on the battlefield. Some 80 Germans had surrendered and were executed'.

In the notes found on a Soviet doctor after he was captured, he had written: 'All POWs who belonged to the German Army were executed during the operations near Odessa'.

Soviet archives reveal the following: 'July 7, 1943, the enemy suffered great losses...we did not take any prisoners, they were all liquidated'.

Waffen ss soldiers tortured killed

This photo shows one of 34 german soldiers of 9th SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen" that were captured by the Red Army in April 1944 in the ukrainian village of Kalasantovka. The mutilated bodies were found by their comrades during the german counter attack on the near-by town of Ternopil. A german eyewitness: "That's not the way soldiers are supposed to act. The hands and the feet of the dead were bound with the ropes of their own tentpieces. Partially the trousers were pulled down and genitals severed. With some the eyes were stabbed, ears and tongue cut off. Furthermore their own bayonet was rammed into the stomach from the downside. Dogtags and other ID's were removed to avoid an identification of the dead. Fortunately most of them had their last names sewn on the inside of their uniform pieces so that a list of the victims could be compiled. However this list was lost later on so that these 34 soldiers are considered officially as "Missing in Action".

Source: ww2incolor



During the last months of the war, the ancient German city of K√∂nigsberg in East Prussia held out as a strongly defended urban fortress. After repeated attack and siege by the Red Army, it finally surrendered in early April 1945. Soviet troops then ravished the civilian population. The people were beaten, robbed, killed and, if female, raped. The rape victims included nuns. Even hospital patients were robbed of their possessions. Bunkers and shelters, packed with terrified people huddling inside, were torched with flame-throwers. About 40,000 of the city’s population were killed, or took their own lives to escape the horrors, and the remaining 73,000 Germans were brutally deported.



In October 1945, a New York Daily News report from occupied Berlin told readers:

 “In the windswept courtyard of the Stettiner Bahnof [rail station], a cohort of German refugees, part of 12 million to 19 million dispossessed in East Prussia and Silesia, sat in groups under a driving rain and told the story of their miserable pilgrimage, during which more than 25 percent died by the roadside, and the remainder were so starved they scarcely had strength to walk … 

 “A nurse from Stettin, a young, good-looking blond, told how her father had been stabbed to death by Russian soldiers who, after raping her mother and sister, tried to break into her own room. She escaped and hid in a haystack with four other women for four days … 

 “On the train to Berlin she was pillaged once by Russian troops and twice by Poles. Women who resisted were shot dead, she said, and on one occasion she saw a guard take an infant by the legs and crush its skull against a post because the child cried while the guard was raping its mother. 

 “An old peasant from Silesia said ... victims were robbed of everything they had, even their shoes. Infants were robbed of their swaddling clothes so that they froze to death. All the healthy girls and women, even those 65 years of age, were raped in the train and then robbed, the peasant said.”



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May 1945 - If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let lose.

- Ludek Pachmann, Czech Chess-Grand Master and publicist, forty years after the fact.

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Snippets from History

This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


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Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre
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