Book Presentation of the Russian-language Edition of "Soviet prisoners of war in the German concentration camp system"

Book Presentation of the Russian-language Edition of

20 November 2020

November 20th, on the premises of the Russian Historical Society in a hybrid format, a presentation of the Russian-language edition of the book "Soviet prisoners of war in the German concentration camp system" by Reinhard Otto and Rolf Keller unfolded. The event was timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Victory and the Nuremberg Trials.

Launching the meeting, the Chairman of the Board of the Russian Historical Society, moderator K.Mogilevsky expressed gratitude to the Co-Chairman of the coordinating committee of the Russian-Austrian "Sochi Dialogue" A.Fursenko and the Russian Historical Society for providing a platform for the presentation. He also conveyed greetings to the event participants, wished them fruitful work on behalf of the Chairman of the RHS S.Naryshkin and emphasized the symbolism of the meeting being held on the day of the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials, as the treatment of prisoners of war was one of the important subjects the Tribunal considered.

In his talk, A.Fursenko, Aide to the President of Russia and Co-Chairman of the Co-ordinating Committee of the Russian-Austrian "Sochi Dialogue" Civil Forum noted that it was for the Forum a great honor to support the publication of this book. “The book is very hard and cruel, it is troubling to read it even now, 75 years after the Nuremberg trials. But this publication is also very touching: it shows the pain of the authors regarding the events that had taken place. " He noted that the book "Soviet prisoners of war in the system of concentration camps in Germany" is the result of 30 years of work by the authors, two experts who have been jointly working for decades. Unfortunately, they were not able to attend the book presentation in person due to the pandemic, but agreed to hold a series of face-to-face presentations for students of Russian humanitarian universities in Voronezh, Kursk, St. Petersburg and Moscow when the pandemic ends. This initiative was supported by the “Sochi Dialogue” Forum.

A.Fursenko extended his gratitude to everyone who contributed to the publication of the book, the Russian Historical Society and, in particular, the initiator of the translation of the book "Soviet prisoners of war in the system of concentration camps in Germany" into Russian, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Austria D.Lyubinsky, who was invited to speak next.

The Ambassador emphasized that the Russian edition was being published in the year of the anniversary of the Victory in World War II, thanks to the work of the “Sochi Dialogue” staff, which in difficult times managed to organize the preparation and translation of this difficult, but necessary book.

"The book should become a visible reminder of the historical truth of the Second World War, primarily for a number of European countries, where some signs of the rehabilitation of Nazism today can be seen." D.Lyubinsky thanked the authors of the publication and expressed hope that historians would continue their project.

During the book presentation, the authors of "Soviet prisoners of war in the system of concentration camps in Germany" shared their insights. R.Keller thanked all those who participated in the preparation and publication of the book, described how the study began, how they worked in the archives, including Russian ones. “Of course, in this book it is impossible to trace the fate of all prisoners of war, there were millions of them, but it was important for us to lay the foundation for further research: there are still a lot of questions left, and we would like our book to motivate other scientists from both the Russian and German sides and from the countries of the former USSR to continue working together in this direction. " R. Otto spoke about the content of the publication and explained why researchers so rarely choose this topic.

The Director of the Russian State Military Archive, V.Tarasov, congratulated everyone on the release of the Russian edition of the book "Soviet Prisoners of War in the German concentration camp system", which will allow all those interested to learn about the problem of captivity during wars. “This is a topic that needs further study. For ideological reasons, it was not fully studied during Soviet times, but we are in debt to many prisoners of war, whose names are still unknown. " He also spoke about the project to look for and digitize archive data regarding Soviet and German prisoners of war, launched by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

In his speech, MGIMO Rector A.Torkunov, also Co-Chairman of the Russian Historical Society thanked the authors for their serious and consequential work. “When reading this book, I realized that the authors are not just brilliant researchers and real academics, but also very brave people: you need to have a clear understanding that there are hundreds and thousands of people who want to know the truth about their loved ones."

The Rector remarked that previously very little was said about the problem of prisoners of war, and this has an impact on many of our fellow citizens. A.Torkunov also noted that the book is an impetus for work on this topic. He expressed deep satisfaction with the coordination efforts of historians and archivists when working on the publication and expressed hope that the authors would come to MGIMO as part of the Sochi Dialogue program.

Academician A.Chubaryan, the Scientific Director of the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, President of the State Academic University for the Humanities underlined the social, political but also academic importance of the publication. “This is a great contribution to the development of historical science, the history of everyday life, the history of individuals” he added.

The Russian-language edition of the book by German historians R.Otto and R.Keller "Soviet prisoners of war in the system of concentration camps in Germany" was published on September 15th. The study is devoted to one of the tragic pages of the Second World War. Based on various sources, the authors reveal the inner workings of the concentration camps, of the Nazi extermination system and consider the fates of specific people caught up in it. The book was published with the financial support of the Russian-Austrian Civil Society Forum "Sochi Dialogue".