Unknown pages of the history of the Second World War: Soviet prisoners of war in Finland (1941-1944)
30-09-2000 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 839, by Tigran S. Drambyan
Despite abundant literature on the Second World War, not much has been written about the situation of those members of the Soviet armed forces who were held in captivity by Finland between 1941 and 1944. Yet between June and September 1941 close to 65,000 officers and men of the Red Army were taken prisoner, many of whom were wounded. Although the Soviet Union was not a party to the 1929 Prisoner-of-War Convention, Finland treated its prisoners according to the Law of Geneva. Thus ICRC delegates visited the POW camps, and prisoners received food and medical assistance from various Red Cross Societies. In the autumn of 1944 they were repatriated to the Soviet Union. Not much is known about how they fared after their return to their home country. Firsthand accounts by former Soviet POWs close this review of a chapter of recent history unknown to most.