Antifascist Underground Patriotic Organization

Antifascist Underground Patriotic Organization


(APPO), one of the antifascist organizations of Soviet prisoners of war during the Great Patriotic War, in the territories of the USSR, Poland, and France occupied by German fascist troops.

The APPO was created in May 1942 in a concentration camp for prisoners of war of non-Russian nationality near Warsaw, in the town of Benjaminowo, where the fascist command formed national battalions. The organization was led by the Central Underground Bureau (TsB), headed by Soviet Army major S. A. Iagdzhian. The officers V. M. Bartanian, A. A. Kazarian, D. E. Minasian, A. M. Karapetian, B. K. Petrosian, and L. M. Titanian were members of the bureau. In October 1942 some of the prisoners were transferred to Pulawy (Poland), where the bureau adopted a resolution whereby the members of the underground were to assume command posts in the battalions being formed. The APPO established ties with Polish patriots. A plan for a joint uprising was developed but not consummated, since the camp was transferred to France (Mende) in October 1943. One battalion was moved to the area of Maikop, which was occupied by Hitler’s forces.

The Gestapo learned of the planned rebellion in the battalion and dealt cruelly with the members of the underground. Another battalion was sent to the region of occupied Zhitomir, where they carried out an uprising in August 1943. Some of the rebels broke through to the partisans.

Members of the underground in those battalions that were moved west in 1943 established ties with the French resistance movement and the Allied command. A battalion at the English Channel and two battalions in the area of Toulon rebelled and joined up with the French partisans. The APPO TsB, now in the south of France, was transformed into the underground Military Committee of Soviet Patriots in the South of France. In August 1944, Soviet partisan detachments in France were reorganized into the First Soviet Partisan Regiment in France. For liberating hundreds of settlements from the occupiers, the regiment was awarded French battle colors and the Order of the Military Cross. Members of the APPO also participated in partisan movements in Holland, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Czechoslovakia.