GER-VOLGA-L ArchivesArchiver > GER-VOLGA > 2002-08 > 1030523344
From: Vera Beljakova <>
Subject: [GV] WW1 - Deportees > Polish/Volynian GRs > Volga
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 10:29:04 +0200
Answering Albert's query :
about "internment camps" on the Volga for Polish/volhyn. GRs.
Vera Beljakova-Miller answers:
They were not "internment" camps as you would imagine, (per se),
but more like refugee camps (and there were also refugees camps),
where the people were kept for a shortish while
until they were allocated to a village or a farm or a house.
It was a re-distribution centre of displaced people camp - and included
voluntary refugees who were fleeing the German enemy (German army) ).
Both deportees and refugees had to be placed, alloted abodes, as fast as
possible, because otherwise they had to be housed and fed by the
government (no one wants to spend money needlessly feeding civilians in
They were received in these "People Distribution centres", when they got
off the trains or arrived by wagons for registration (this is normal
for colonists, refugees and deportees and new settlers).
Now what happened next might have "felt" or perceived as an internment
camp, but was not.
Polish-Germans and Volhynians were then placed in batches of family
into Volga-German villages, where they had to live and work on the
which they did unwillingly (working a strangers' farm, and preferring to
time when they could return to their own farms).
They were meant to be paid by the Volga-GR farmers for work, but more
than not, they were exchanging their farm labour for "board and
Since sometimes accommodation was tight, these expellees were housed in
church hall or schools or admin.town halls.
Artisan Work-centres were established for them where they could practise
carft, trade = but these flopped dismally as most deportees were
farming folk with no trade/artisan experience or skills.
Volga-Germans were forever complaining about having to house them at
and be responsible for feeding them, complaining that the German-Polish
families camping on school properties were disrupting the childrens'
The Polish-Germans/Volhynians deportees (as opposed to refugess),
were not allowed to move from the GR Volga
villages to which they had been assigned and registered
(for it was here that they received their small social welfare income).
The welfare-income they received as small -
big enough to keep one from starving,
but small enough to force them to work to supplement meagre handouts.
Even these payments were irregular, as they were sent out from central
to the provinces for allocation.
The regulation of having to stay put in the village/farm where one was
registered was constantly broken, as the "deportees" moved on to
or joined old friends/family groups, or moved on to town to seek better
However, it won't be hard for me to read up this chapter again on
"Wartime migration of the Volga" (available only in Russian).
The reception centres were obviously in Saratov & Samara, the provincial
which were the main railway junctions to receive incoming trains of
deportees fleeing the advancing German armies.
All the archives regarding this topic are housed in the Saratov
and have been well-studied and reported on by Russian historians
in GR matters - but in Russian language only...which means, no one came
the budgets to have these works translated.
Each major town en route on the railways line all the way to Siberia had
'camps' or rather "Displaced Persons Reception Centres" -
They looked very similar to European workhouses, flopp houses,
where people sleep in tiered bunks, sometimes make make-shift curtains
family groups, (mini tents), have refectory long tables and benches, fed
one bowl pe peson (that is).
I suppose like WW1 soldiers canteens and DP camps all over Europe.
> To all,
> I was recently contacted by someone who was a German in Poland. In our
> phone conversation I mentioned my great-grandfather's internment by the
> Czar's government during 1914-1918. He said the same thing happened to
> his grandparents and added that the camp where they were held was near
> Saratov. Does anyone know the name of this camp or others In
> Russia/Siberia. I'm trying to find name lists and historical
> Please reply directly to me if you can help.
|[GV] WW1 - Deportees > Polish/Volynian GRs > Volga by Vera Beljakova <>|