Fraternal Union of Prisoners of War BSV
Fraternal Union of Prisoners of War (BSV)
one of the strongest and best-organized underground antifascist organizations, which was created by Soviet prisoners of war in fascist Germany during the Great Patriotic War of 1941—45. It was initiated in March 1943 in a camp for captured Soviet officers in Munchen-Perlach (the Munich region). Its organizers were participants in the defense of Sevastopol’: Colonel M. M. Tarasov; Lieutenant Colonels N. A. Baranov, D. S. Shelest, and M. P. Shikhert; Majors M. I. Kondenko, M. L. Krasitskii, Makarov, K. K. Ozolin’, and I. Petrov (I. V. Bugorchikov); Quartermaster 3rd Class M. I. Zinger; and Privates I. E. Kononenko and R. V. Petrushel’. The staff of the BSV set up ties with the inmates of other concentration camps, prisoners of war, and people driven into Germany. There were committees and cells of the BSV in most prisoner-of-war camps and in more than 20 camps for “Eastern workers.” By the end of 1943 the organization had extended its activity to all of southern Germany and Austria and had penetrated the Ruhr region and northwestern Germany.
The program of the BSV provided for sabotage to undermine Germany’s military and industrial potential, the organization of escapes by prisoners of war, propaganda against Vlasov’s adherents, explaining to German soldiers the inevitability of Germany’s defeat in its war against the USSR, the establishment of close cooperation with the German antifascist underground, and the exposure and extermination of traitors. The chief aim of the BSV was the organization of rebellion in prisoner-of-war camps around Munich, the capture of the city, and the development of armed insurrection. Under the leadership of Major Ozolin’, the fighting organization of the BSV was created. Plans of action for the revolt were worked out and distributed. In the summer of 1943 the BSV established a working relationship with the underground antifascist German popular front in southern Germany, which had also undertaken the task of armed rebellion.
However, the Gestapo late in 1943 became aware of the existence of both organizations. All the leaders and many of the rank-and-file members of the BSV were caught and tortured by the fascists. On Sept. 4, 1944, 93 Soviet officers who had participated in the BSV were shot at the Dachau concentration camp.
REFERENCEUl’brikht, V. K istorii noveishego vremeni. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from German.)
Brodskii, E. A. “Osvoboditel’naia bor’ba sovetskikh liudei v fashistskoi Germanii (1943-1945 gg.),” Voprosy istorii, 1957, no. 3.
V. S. KOVAL’