Soviet prisoners captured by ϟϟ-Panzergrenadier-Division „Das Reich“

SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Das Reich
Soviet prisoners of war during the Battle of Kursk
Kursk Salient in July 1943
SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS and Das Reich were the most successful units on the German southern wing on the first day of the offensive. The Leibstandarte SS were overrunning the first Soviet defensive belt in heavy fighting against Soviet Paratroops of 9th Guards Airborne Division. The Das Reich pushed upwards of 65 kilometers into the southern sector of the bulge, but the Wehrmacht got bogged down. Top image: Tiger of the Das Reich Division passes Soviet prisoners of war while it moves forward at Kursk to consolidate the positions on the exposed Russian steppe. Footage from Die Deutsche Wochenschau. Fair use. Middle and bottom images: Shots showing a quiet moment in the midst of battle during Operation Zitadelle in July 1943. Soviet prisoners captured by soldiers of the Waffen-SS being treated on the battlefield by an SS-Scharführer of Das Reich. Photos by SS-Kriegsberichter Hermann Grönert who served with Das Reich at Kharkov and Kursk. U.S. National Archives. Fair use. More than 3 million Soviet prisoners of war died in German POW camps, about 60% of all Soviet prisoners. Similar death rates prevailed among German soldiers in Soviet captivity. German Wehrmacht prisoners had of course much higher survival rate than volunteers and conscripts of the Waffen-SS. It was actually more dangerous to be in a prisoner-of-war camp than to be on the Eastern front line as an infantryman. In fact, the poor conditions were not caused primarily by incompetence or lack of preparation: harch treatment of prisoners was a matter of policy. The capturing government itself, not the Waffen-SS nor any other frontline organization, was responsible for what happened behind the front lines. 

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