I Don’t Like You, but I Like What You Do

For a long time, the Russians viewed Germans and the Slavic minorities in their country as an issue, especially during World War II.  However, this enmity towards the Germans always existed, Stalin just used the war as an excuse to “cleanse” Russia of the perceived filth, claiming that the Germans had infiltrated Russia with spies.  In fact, the only thing that the Russian Germans and the Nazi Germans shared was a language and heritage.  In just three months at the ned of 1941, Stalin forced almost 800,00 Germans into “areas of internal exile called special settlements.”  Many of these settlements hardly provided the Germans with enough to live even at the most squalid levels.  In 1942, the Germans were forced into labor battalions and made to work with Gulag prisoners.  Tens of thousands died as a direct result of this forced labor.  Even after the end of the war, the displaced population was not allowed to return to their homes (Pohl 1-4)

This is very similar to how the Germans treated the Jews, gays, gypsies, and political prisoners.  They also forcibly removed them from their homes, forced them into labor camps, starved and mistreated them, and sometimes killed them outright.

 

For example, this:

Image pulled from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poles_in_the_Soviet_Union#mediaviewer/File:Evacuation_of_Polish_Civilians_From_the_Soviet_Union_To_Persia,_1942_E19024.jpg
Exiled Poles on their way to Persia.  Image pulled from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poles_in_the_Soviet_Union#mediaviewer/File:Evacuation_of_Polish_Civilians_From_the_Soviet_Union_To_Persia,_1942_E19024.jpg

Is eerily similar to this:

Poles being evacuated from their homes following the German invansion in 1939.  Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_evacuation_and_expulsion
Poles being evacuated from their homes following the German invasion in 1939. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_evacuation_and_expulsion

I find it interesting that despite all the hatred that existed between the Germans and the Russians, that they both employed similar means of dealing with the xenophobia that ran rampant in the years leading up to, during, and after World War II.

 

 

Information Pulled from:

Pohl, J. Otto. The Deportation and Destruction of the German Minority in the USSR. 2001. 1-4. Print.