In business since 1996
- © Krause House Info-Research Solutions -






(1) 216 DIVISION: 1916


1916 - 1917


Histories of Two-Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which participated in the War (1914-1918), pp. 684-686 -


The German Forces in the Field, 6th Revision, April 1918, Independent Divisions -p. 153,



Berezhany - 20th Century

  • Pour le merite mit Eichenlaub ...

Generalleutnant Kurt von Morgen 11.12.1916 .    01.11.1858-15.02.1928 ...

Generalleutnant Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen 11.12.1916 .    24.11.1862-22.08.1953 ...

  • Pour le merite mit Eichenlaub ...

11. Dezember 1916 Kurt von Morgen ...

7. September 1916 Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen ...

  • Blue Max Recipients:

Gen Lt. Kurt von Morgen awarded on - 1 Dec. 1914. He was awarded Oakleaves on  11 Dec. 1916 ...

Gen. Lt. Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen awarded on - 7 Sept. 1916. He was awarded Oakleaves on 11 Dec. 1916 ...  and

  • .. Alexander Adolf August Karl von Linsingen  ...Transferred to the Eastern Front where German and Austrian armies were threatened by a Russian offensive in Galicia, Linsingen took command of Army Group South (1915). He defeated the Russian armies in the Battle of Stryi in 1915, capturing 60,000 Russian prisoners. He was awarded the Pour le Mérite. In 1916 he faced the Brusilov offensive. After an initial retreat, he checked the Russian advance near Kovel [North Western Ukraine]. He was promoted to Colonel-General, the highest rank for a general in the German Army. In 1917-1918 he led the German offense to Ukraine.


  • March 3, 1918 - UKRAINE CAPITAL [Kiev] TAKEN; Berlin Announces the Entry of Saxon and Ukrainian Troops.

    [ ]

  • Berezhany. . .a pearl of Halychyna ... Town in Western part of Ukraine. Polish and Austrian period name: Brzezany (in Polish so). It was part of Poland (1375 - 1772, 1919 - 1939) Austrian empire (1772 - 1918), USSR (1939 - 1941, 1944 - 1991) and now in Ukraine

  • The World War 1 did a lot of harm to the city. Berezhany was constantly in the middle of the hostilities. The headquarters of the Russian Army led by General Brusilov were stationed in the Berezhany Castle. This fact concentrated fire from the Austrian troops on the castle and its neighbourhoods ...

  • Hans Ritter von Hemmer ... officer in the Royal Bavarian Army  ... On 6 July 1915, he became the Chief of General Staff of the Imperial German Southern Army in Galicia under General Felix Graf von Bothmer. On the Eastern Front in 1916 he was in heavy fighting during the fighting in Galicia, the Carpathians and Sereth, today in Romania. ... 

  • Located in the eastern region of the Hapsburg Empire, not far from the Russian border, Brzezany witnessed continuous military operations during the war ... The front line moved back and forth, bringing devastation, misery, and suffering to the local population ... The Russians reoccupied the region within less than a year and fierce battles were raged near Brzezany in the summer of 1916, particularly around Lysonia Mountain, where Ukrainian units, which were part of the Austrian army, fought the Russians ...

Together and apart in Brzezany: Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians, 1919-1945, By Shimon Redlich, p.  44.

  • 9 October 1916  ... East of Brzezany (Galicia) enemy assumes offensive, fighting on Volhynia front ...

  • After defeating the Russians in Galicia in 1916, the German general von Mackensen ...

  • Sūd Army fought hard in south-western Ukraine at Zborov (August), Narayovka (August-October), Brzezany (September-October) and Lipnica (October-November) ...

The German Army in World War I (2): 1915-17 By Nigel Thomas, Ramiro Bujeiro, p. 27 - id=vJsLsnchyQIC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=

  • On 29 August [1916], on the Southwest Front, Shcherbachev's Russian 7th Army attacked Bothmer's Südarmee at Brzezany. In heavy fighting Russians seized Potutory. The Südarmee fell back on Halicz. Heavy fighting continued until the end of September. The Russians scored only local successes at great cost. The Russians captured Mount Pantyr, northwest of Jablonica Pass in the Carpathian Mountains ...

  • On the Romanian Front, Romanian troops advanced in the Transylvania mountains, taking Kronstadt, Petrozsany, and Kezdi-Vasarhely. The Romanians were opposed by von Falkenhayn's German 9th Army. Romanian artillery damaged an Austro-Hungarian armored train (Panzerzug) during these actions. German forces soon received five armored car units, each with two cars, which were largely responsible for the breakthrough and recapture of Kronstadt. They were returned to Germany in December. Germany declared war on Romania. German aircraft bombed Bucharest. On 30 August, on the Romanian Front, General von Mackensen's well equipped forces, consisting of the 217th German Division, the 1st, 4th, 6th and 12th Bulgarian Divisions, one Bulgarian Cavalry Division, and one German-Bulgarian Division, a total of 120,000 troops, moved from Rustchuk in preparation for an attack towards Turtucaia ...


November 1916-January 1917 (Casin, Vrancea and Focsani, December, 1916-January, 1917)

  • In total the enemy had during November 1916 the enemy had on the Romanian Front the following units:
    (a) Germans:16 Divisions of Infantry, one Mixt Brigade Germano-Bulgar Infantry, four Cavalry Divisions, one Brigade of cavalry and one Brigade of Cyclists.
    (b) Austro -Hungarian 10 Divisions of Infantry, two Brigades of Infantry ,One Division and One Brigade of Cavalry.
    (c) Bulgarians: five Divisions of Infantry and one of Cavalry.
    (d) Turkish: three Divisions of infantry.
    The total on weapons: 34 Divisions of Infantry and three Brigades, six Divisions of Cavalry and two Brigades; one Brigade of Cyclists. 

  • On the Romanian shore, the defence was given to a Group named the Group of Danube Defence, put under the Command of General C. Iancovescu .The Group was made of the 18th Romanian Division, General Referendaru, made out of three Brigades, strengthened with a Brigade of Artillery and three Brigades of Calarasi. The 2nd Cavalry Division, which fought at Magherus and Oituz, has been brought in Muntenia -without one Brigade, left at Oituz -and cantooned in Bucharest, forming thus the Reserve of the Group for Danube Defence. The Danube shore, from Olt to Calarasi, was separated in to three Sectors: Turnu Magurele-Zimnicea, Giurgiu and Oltenita, corresponding to the three brigades of the 18th Division. Face with the strech of the sectors, the guard was illusory: the density of the means was of one man at each 30 meters. The troop was made in the most part of Militia men. The Division was formed after the beginning of the War of Battalions of Militia and of the fourth Battalion of some of the Regiments in Muntenia. As active Regiment, was only the 20th Teleorman .The weapons of the Militia were very weak; the old weapons Martiny, with which their parents made the 1877 War. In the last moment it has begun the change of the rifles by Weterley, difficult to use weapon, defectuous as mechanism, but with a formidable bayonet! The artillery was submediocre. Without only few modern batteries or of great caliber, the majority were the old cannons, without repetition and the acompany batteries made out of the small cannons of 53 mm, taken out from forts and mounted on afets. The Romanian soldiers have nicknamed them the "rifles" in opposition with the powerful enemy artillery. Some batteries were harnassed with oxes, because of the lack of horses. In some points of the Danube shore were installed fixed batteries, which supervised the course of the Danube and the opposite shore.This was the weak cover that would have to be opposed to the strong Army, which Mackensen prepared to throw over the Danube .

The Crossing

In the morning of 23rd of November, a very thick fog covered the river and the shores. One could not see 10 m in front. At about 4 in the morning, the first Company of German Hunters crossed the river on to the Northern shore in boats with padeles. The thick fog made the crossing easier, unobserved. Other boats followed. A bit up stream, crossed the river also the Bulgarian Companies. The disembarked troops started to dig fast, holes in the ground, building a temporary bridgehead .

Soon, the enemies have been discovered by the Romanian Posts and the general alarm was made. It was too late. From the Bulgarian shore, the heavy and light German artillery started a strong bombardment over the Romanian shore, separating by a curtain of fire the desembarking zone of Zimnicea, by the neighbour villages, where the Romanian troops were. Under the protection of this fire of baraj, the tow motor boats start to dragg the bulk of the troops, on to Romanian shore. The Austro-Hungarian fleet of monitors was supporting the crossing, firing as well over the shore. By evening have crossed the 217th Division von der Goltz and the 1st Bulgarian Division.

The bombarding of the Romanian shore, was general now, from Islaz to Giurgiu. At Islaz disembarked other German troops, making the Romanian Militia Battalion to retreat, in the guard of which were the two bridges over Inferior Olt River. The small Detachments of Militia, which have tried to oppose resistance, had to retreat at North of Zimnicea. They are too weak -one against eight.

The next day, 24th of November, the Germans have widen and completed the bridgehead. Now have started the construction of the bridge itsef by the Austrian pontooneers; the construction continues also at night at the light of the projectors from the river monitors. In the next morning the bridge was ready; its metal bars were shining in to the rays of a joyful autumn sun. Over the bridge were passing in unterminable columns, in the sound of music and under the eyes of Marshal Mackensen, the infantry masses, cavalry and artillery, Germans from all parts of the empire: from Mainz and Platinat, from Bavaria and Pomerania, from Silezia and Schleswig -Holstein, then Hanovezi, Hungarians, Bosniacs, Turks, Bulgarians, to pour as an invasion wave over the fields and villages Romanian. The enemy invasion was bursting now the kingdom from three parts. The fire circle of the strong enemy was getting tighter now, more and more over the exhausted Romanian Army. She had to fight in the same time in the mountains facing North, at Olt with the face towards West and now,at the Danube facing South. The tragic situation in which we were finding ourselves, reclaimed in to memory another decisive moment in Romanian history. From the same place, in which now rise up the threatening sword of the enemy, with almost 40 years before rose a frightened voice :"The Turks are finishing us. Cross the Danube. Make a demonstration, pressure, or any other operation, as was your wish". It was the voice of Grand Duke Nicolae, the Generalisim of the Russian Army, cornered by Osman Pasa at Plevna, threatened to be pushed into the Danube River. He was imploring King Carol of Romania for the saving helping hand. The Romanians run for the aid of Russians, Bulgaria was freed and ... Basarabia was taken from us.Thirty nine years latter,on the same spot, the invasion hoardes, in which shine, filled with hate, the eyes of the liberated slave, hand in hand with his yesterday executioner, step onto Romanian land. But this time the voice of Romania resounds in vain. The great ally had his misterious calculations. His aid comes late ,weak, hesitant. We were alone in the hour of our grave danger !


The enemy has set foot on Romanian shore. He started its unfolding for battle. Goltz Division was closed down; its elements have been, part of them assigned to other units, and another part remained as a Mixt Brigade Bulgaro-German independent, and General von der Goltz took the Command of the Cavalry Division, which will form up the covering of the Danube Army*.

Even in the day of 24th, Zimnicea was occupied by the enemy. He begins his advance along Zimnicea-Alexandria railway. The 217th German Division and the Turk DIvision are at the center. The Cavalry Division is at the left wing. The Bulgarians are forming up the right wing; they take North -East direction, along the Danube, with direction of Giurgiu, accompanied by the Fleet of Danube, which defends their flank.

The Romanian Detachments of Militia, which constituted the defence of Zimnicea Sector, are too weak to obstacle the advance. However, they give attacks which delay the moves of the adversary,as the Commander of Danube Defence calls in support the troops of the other two sectors, to concentrate all his forces in the invaded region. The enemy avanguards are detained for a brief moment by an attack from direction of Bragadiru, executed by Arges Battalion; then are brought to a stand still in front of Romanian positions at Ulmulet Trainstation. But the enemy attacks strong with three Regiments of Infantry sustained by artillery, and the defence is made by three Militia Battalions with three batteries of old cannons; few Companies of 20th Teleorman Regiment arrive too late and are too tired to take part in the fight. Face with this crushing superiority ,the Romanian troops have to continue the retreat.

The enemy advances now in three directions: the left continues the road towards Alexandria; the center goes oblique towards North -East towards Tporu and Draganesti, to cut the driveway Alexandria-Bucuresti; the right follows the road of Giurgiu. the Turks remain in reserve. To dam the advance of the enemy and to gain time, to make the marches and concentration of troops necessitated by the new situation, the Romanian Commandment sets the troops of Danube Defence in a form of an arch of circle, leaning with the right on Vedea at Alexandria and with the left on Danube River, at Giurgiu.

The left enemy wing, made especially of Cavalry, is followed at distance by Turkish troops. She defeats the Romanian resistance at Soimu and at Sumirdioasa -were have fought only the 20th Regiment, Teleorman, because the Battalion of Militia have left the fight-and occupies at 26th of November Tiganesti, and at 27th Alexandria. The enemy avanguards meet at Plosca ,between Alexandria and Rosiorii de Vede ,with Schmettow avanguards.

The German cavalry, coming from Caracal direction, have crossed Olt River at Stoenesti Bridge, and have occupied in the eve Rosiorii de Vede. The 5th Rosori Regiment with an artillery battery and a section of machineguns is send to reoccupy Rosiorii de Vede, in which, the Romanian Commander thinks have entered only an enemy patrol. Entering in the city, the Regiment is received with fires from all the houses and especially from a position which the enemy occupies at West of the city. Surprised and threatened in his retreat, the Commander of the Regiment, gives order to Captain Corlatescu to cover the retreat by attacking the positin West of the city in which the enemy has retrenched himself. Corlatescu understands his sacrifice role and starts in a charrge with the lance in ballance for attack and in regulated files as at the parade, against the enemy. A gulley stops for a few seconds the elan of the attack,at 200 meters from enemy position. It was enaugh for that the rattle of enemy cannons and machineguns to cut down to the ground more than half of the men of the Escadron, ahead with his Captain. The Regiment could retreat and save.

Three German Cavalry -men have been killed in the city. As retaliations, the German set fire to the entire Comercial Center of the city; they also ask for a fine of half a million Le i(Romanian currency). Memories filled of feelings come back to the minds of Germans as they cross the city in flames." After 28 months of War, we relive in the bottom of Valahia, scenes of Belgium, scenes of Dinant", writes a correspondent which has recorded the German atrocities from the firsts times of the War only as a pitoresque element.

After occupying Alexandria, the Germans have advanced towards North-East, following the driveway Alexandria -Bucuresti. Five Miles from Alexandria, they have collided with the Romanian troops which have occupied the resistance line Vitanesti-Grosu on Teleorman. All the enemy columns which closed in of this line have been attacked end repelled. But the enemy, occupying with the middle column Prunaru and bombarding Draganesti ,behind Romanians, General Referendaru had to retreat towards these two localities ...

At 29th of November, the line of the German Front advanced like an invasion wave. The circle arch have diminished its ray. At North-East, Kraftt Group has occupied Pitesti and was advancing along the driveway with railways towards Golesti-Titu. The Group was now made of three Divisions of Infantry: the Bavarian Alpine Corps , the 216th German Division and the 73rd Austro-Hungarian Division. The last one of them, has been constituted of the Alpine Brigades Austro-Hungarian 2nd and 10th, which have fought on Olt Valley and on Topolog Valley Commander, Feldmarshal Goiginger. It has been aded a new Division of Cavalry, German, the 2nd ,General von Etzel.

At the center, Kuhne Group has touched with his five Divisions, the approximative line Costesti-Rosiori de Vede. At his left flank, te 301st Division, held for some time at Dragasani , was at about 6 Miles from Costesti ,and at the right flank, the 115th Division, which constituted the reserve, was on the road between Caracal and Rosiori de Vede. Between the two wings of the Group was : the 41st Division at Mirosi , the 109th Division at Beuca , and the 11th Division Bavarian exactly at Rosiori . 6 Miles ahead ,the two Divisions of Cavalry of Schmettow, with the Cyclist Brigade, with auto-machineguns and its armoured automobiles, were making the avanguard, masking by their unfolding the march of the Divisions arriving from behind.

At the right wing of the enemy Front, Kosch Army was advancing with 217th Division on driveway Alexandria -Bucharest. At left the 217th Division, at North of the driveway. The Mixt Cavalry Division von der Goltz was forming the phallanxguard; behind ,the 26th Turk Division was at Dragasani as reserve; on the right, the Bulgarian Divisions 1st and 12th were closing in by Calugareni.

The three Armies: Kraft, Kuhne and Kosch, represented with this face a force of 12 Didivisions of Infantry and four Cavalry Divisions. For to give more cohesion to the formidable ensemble of forces, it has been given to Marshal Mackensen the Supreme Command of all forces of the enemy, allied in Muntenia, Falkenhayn remaining Commander of the IXth Army.

The Battle of Neajlov and Arges, 1916 - See Grupul Krafft

For the systematization of the description of the fights given in the days of 30th of November-3rd of December, the battle theatre may be separated in three Sectors.: a)Superior Arges Sector ,with the initial Front Costesti-North -East of Pitesti having as unfolding axis of the fights ,Arges Valley , the driveway and railway CGolesti-Titu . The sector was defended by the Ist Romanian Army , general Stratilescu, having in the first line Divisions 1/17,8th,14th and Divisions 11th and 13/23 - the rest without combative value -a reserve on the second line .The 1st Cavalry Division covered it on the left side. On the side of the enemy operated in this direction Kraftt Army von Delmensiengen, made out of the Bavarian Alpine Corps, the 73rd Austro-Hungarian Division, the 216th Division the 2nd German Cavalry Division, as well as two Divisions: 301st and 41st of Kuhne Army.

b) Arges Sector and of middle Neajlov was the sector of the Attack Group Romanian .The fighting action unfolded alon Valleys Glavaciocului , middle Neajlov and Arges, having the driveway Alexandria -Bucharest as advancing axis . The Romanian Group was made , as we know ,of Divisions 2/5 ,9/19 and 21st sustained on the right by the 2nd Cavalry ; between this sector and the preceeding one was added latter the 10th Division. The enemy had in this region Divisions 109th,11th and 113th of Kuhne Army ,the two Cavalry Divisions - 6th and 7th -which formed the group Schmettow and a part of Kosch Army . Division 217 German , Division 26th Turk and the Mixt Division of Cavalry von der Goltz.

c) Neajlov Sector and of inferior Arges ,with the tactical center at Calugareni , having as Front infrerior Neajlov until the flowing of this one into Arges , continuing then towards South , till the Danube . The advancing axis :drveway Giurgiu -Bucharest . In this sector .were fighting on the Romanian part Division 18th -reduced at four Battalions and two Escadrons -parts of the 7th Division and the Mixt Brigade 9/19.On the enemy side were Divisions Bulgarian 1st and 12th (five Brigades) and a Mixt Brigade Germano-Bulgarian ...

The battle at Cricov
8-11th of December

The enemy was advancing with the two Armies of his. The IXth Army hd as axis of advance the railway Ploiesti-Buzau. On the left of her, in the mountaineous region, has constituted a Group Kraftt, composed of all the elements Alpine Germans and Austro-Hungarians; then followed Morgen Group , increased as number of Divisions , and at the right was Kuhne Army. The Cavalry of Schmettow and the Danube Army , Kosch , were in Ialomita sector ,with direction Urziceni. The Kosch Army has strengthened with numerous Bulgarian Detachments, which made till then the guard of the Danube River ,and now have crossed the Danube at Calarasi and Fetesti , to increase the bulk of Bulgarian troops. This right wing ,moving parallel with the left one through the heart of Baragan (Romanian Great Wheat Field), in direction Braila, had a much longer way to make than the left one ...

The attack unfolds favorable in the beginning ;at 10,30 [December 8] in the morning the 12th Division is at Albesti and the 23rd Division beyond Tomsani. In this moment, though, Morgen, which was helding the enemy Front with three Divisions, 12th,76th and 216th, pronounce a strong counterattack on the two wings of the Romanian Group of Attack, threatening to turn them;one column attacks at North from Urlati the positions of 16th Romanian Division ,and another at South from Cioceni the positions of 22nd Romanian Division. Another column,in the strength of three Battalions ,with numerous machineguns ,strongly supported by artillery,attacks the Romanian center, along the railway, overwhelms the right of the 23rd Division and breaksthrough the Romanian Front .The 12th Division loses Loloiasca .Threatened with going around the wings ,the II-nd Romanian Corps gives up the terrain and retreats on line Ceptura -trainstop Ionesti-Degerati ,followed by the adversary; in the evening ,this one attacks again and occupies Ionesti,Colceag and Degerati ...

Early in the morning ,the enemy attacks the entire line of the II-nd Romanian Army with Kraftt and Morgen Corps . At the right side , the Alpiners of Kraft force the 3rd Hunters Regiment to leave Patirlagele ...

The battle of Rimnicu Sarat ...

The battle at Rimnicu Sarat has been engaged by the Germans with the totality of their forces, existing between Carpathian Mountains and Danube : 17 Divisions. At the left , the IXth Army, under the Command of General Falkenhayn , had to execute the principal mission with the mass of the 10 Divisions from Infantry of his . The advancing axis of the IXth Army was the driveway and railway Buzau-Rimnicu Sarat ; his operational field was the region of hills and mountains in the North of Buzau County and Rimnicu Sarat County, until Buzau River. When the Romanian-Russian position will be broke through , will begin the action also the Danube Army, Commanded by General Kosch, made out of five Divisions of Infantry German-Turk-Bulgarian and two Cavalry Divisions. She will operate in the flat region between Buzau River and Danube River, with the direction towards Braila. ...

The battle at Rimnicu Sarat has lasted six days, from 22nd to 27th of December and it was the greatest battle in the retreat times. The Germans name her also "Weihnachtsschlacht"-Christmassbattle , because her decissive action was given in the days of Chatolic Cristmass. General Falkenhayn ,of which IXth Army, will carry the weight of the battle ,has set to its left wing Kraftt Group, made out of the totality of its mountain troops; this one would operate against the Group of Romanian Divisions in the mountaineous region and of hills; its mission was to operate a turning of the Romanian flank in Dumitresti region . Mounted on Buzau-Rimnic driveway was Morgen Group; its mission was to breakthrough the Russian lines and conquer Rimnicu Sarat city. Falkenhayn kept in reserve Divisions 89th and 41st ,to throw them into the fight at the moment and right point, to obtain the decissive success. At the right side ,until Buzau River, was Kuhne Group. At 22nd the battle unleashes on the whole Front of the IXth German Army. At the left extremity ,the Bavarian Alpine Corps ,operating in the mountains, extends its wing, seeking to establish the connection with the right side of the Ist Austro-Hungarian Army under the Command of Archduke Iosif , which operates in Vrancea. On our side, the connection between Rimnic Group and Vrancea Group is established by a Cavalry Division, Russian. For three days, the German Alpiners and the Austrian Alpiner of the 73rd Division which are at the right side of the first ones, cannot make one step forward .The Romanian troops of Divisions 2nd ,1st and 6th kepp with strength the positions on Cilnului Water ; the Russian Cavalry Division Zamurskaia have occupied Vintileanca and Intre Rimnice ,at the right of Romanians ...

In the day of 24th of December ,Morgen Group manages to obtain a decissive success :the 12th Bavarian Division ,with the aid of the 89th Division ,fighting at the junction point of the Russian Front with the Romanian one ...

In the South -Eastern Sector of the battle, Kosch Army has started the attack on the Front between Buzau and Danube, when on the Front of IXth German Army,the battle begun to be decided in the favour of the Germans . At 26th of December ...

War theatre at Casin, Vrancea and Focsani, December 1916-January 1917

See Grupul Morgen

Siret line

After the victory at Rimnicu Sarat , Falkenhayn had a moment of hesitation. The hardships of the winter, which was announcing more and more threatening , the exhaustion of his troops and the resistance of the enemy showed him the continuation of the advance as a risky bussiness. At 31st of December however, the Great German Headquarter ordered the continuation of the operations ;the IXth German Army and the Danube Army have to occupy line Focsani -lower Siretului Valley , to unite with the right wing of the Army of Archduke Iosif on a shorter Front and to gain on this river a strong line of defence for the winter time, and a base of operations for the latter beginnings of offensive. Keeping the line of Siret was for the Russians a capital matter.I t was strongly organized and will be tremendeously defended. At its defence ,was not about saving of a piece of Romanian land anymore, which left the Russians indiferent ; it was about the safety of the Russian Front ; Lower Siret River Line formed the left flank of the big Russian Front , stretched from the Baltic Sea until the Danube River and the Black Sea ...

The Front of the two Armies was descending thus , from Oituz mountains and of Vrancei ,along Milcov River , continuing then with Putna Valley and at the Sout of Siret until Braila region, occupied by the enemy at 4th of January. [1917] The grouping of the enemy forces was the following: in Oituz-Vrancea Sector was operating ,just as until now, Gerock Group, from the Army of Archduke Iosif ; in Odobesti Sector ,against Vaitoianu Group ,was operating Kraftt Group ,made out of the Divisions of German Alpiners and Austro-Hungarians; in Focsani and Putna Sector, against the right of the IVth Russian Army, was operating Morgen Group; Kuhne and Kosch Army were operating in Siret Sector ...

For the conquer of Magura-Odobestilor, Falkenhayn destined to Kraftt Group two more Divisions from the left of Morgen Group, which will make a veiling attack. At 5th of January, the Bavarian Alpine Corps has attacked at the junction point of Rimnic Group and Mannerheim Divisions 12th and 1st Romanians ...

Romanian Campaign of 1916.The Invasion History of the War for Wholing Romania/Constantin Kiritescu  -

  • At 25th of December [1916], the 14th Russian Division arrives on position to replace the Romanians, which begin at night to evacuate the positions from North towards South. The next day, at 26th of December, like he would have been knowledge by this change, Staabs attacks the sector with 71st Division, on both sides of Oituz Valley, breaksthrough the Russian Front, and conquers Cernica Peak and Staneica Ridge. At the request of help of the Russians ,four Romanian Battalions return from their marching,counterattack the Germans and after a violent fight reconquer Staneica Ridge; during the night Grigorescu sends another five Battalions in the aid of the Russians. The next day the German's attack is general, on the whole stretch of the sector, intervening also the 187th Division in Casin Valley ...there pushes Staabs the 187th German Division with strength and the right wing of the 71st Austro-Hungarian Division ...

In Mannerheim sector, Sturza has started at 30th of December the counteroffensive from Soveja with the 7th Mixt Brigade,strengthened.The Romanians are advancing on six columns, attack with energy Ruiz 's troops and reject them. Two Battalions of the 25th Rahova Regiment suround a German Company and make it prisoner entirely, with the Commander and machineguns. At the left, however,the 12th Russian Cavalry Division and the Calarasi Romanian Brigade do not resist to the enemy attack; the Germans are advancing towards Negrilesti ...

At 31st of December however, the Great German Headquarter ordered the continuation of the operations; the IXth German Army and the Danube Army have to occupy line Focsani -lower Siretului Valley, to unite with the right wing of the Army of Archduke Iosif on a shorter Front and to gain on this river a strong line of defence for the winter time, and a base of operations for the latter beginnings of offensive ...

  • On 22 December [1916] , on the Romanian Front, the enemy was concentrating forces at Rimnicu-Sarat, with hard fighting along the line ...

On 23 December  [1916] , on the Romanian Front, there was heavy fighting for positions on the Moldavian frontier ...

On 24 December [1916], on the Romanian Front, heavy fighting continued near Rimnicu Sarat.  ...

[December 25, 1916] On the Romanian Front, there was bloody fighting along the entire Romanian front ...

[December 27, 1916] On the Romanian Front, von Falkenhayn's troops took Rimnicu Sarat. The Bulgarians seized positions east of Macin in the Dobrudja. The Romanians ordered the evacuation of Galatz ...

[December 28, 1916] On the Romanian Front, von Falkenhayn advanced north from Rimnicu Sarat against the Russian 15th Division, and moved to the southeast, engaging elements of the British RNAS Armored Car Squadron ...

  • The 9th Army finally came on 1 December 1916 under Army Group Mackensen while the Army of the Danube came on 5 January 1917 as a General Command under the 9th Army ...

Imperial German Army, 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders of Battle By Hermann Cron, p. 56 -

  • At 19th of July the commander of the first reserve german Army Corps, General von Morgen, was officially empowered by Ludendorff “to end the suspension of hostilities with the 34th and 13th russian divisions ”. The great German Headquarter preffered to begin the offensive in a Russian sector. And it wasn’t chance, neither the effect of some savant strategic combinations when the german commandment choose, for beginning to break the enemy front, exactly the sector defended by the 34th Russian division.

The fighting forces of the two adversaries ...

  • In June of 1916, the Russians attacked, penetrating deep into Austrian positions and taking 13,000 prisoners on the first day (marked 1). By the time the offensive was two months old, the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire was in danger of falling. Romania then entered the war on the side of the allies, but greedily invaded Transylvania instead of striking into the Austrian homeland. This mistake gave the Germans time to deploy troops to the border, and the ensuing counter-offensive achieved the total collapse of Romania to the Central Powers.

  • On September 13, 1916, the first German troops to arrive on the scene came in contact with the Rumanians southeast of Hatszeg near Hermannstadt ...

General von Mackensen and his staff in Rumania. Already victorious in campaigns in Galicia and Serbia, Mackensen won new laurels in the Dobrudja. His troops pushed on to Bucharest, which fell December 6, 1916 ...

The Story of the Great War, Volume VI (of 12), Edited by Francis J. Reynolds, Allen L. Churchill, and Francis Trevelyan Miller  -

  • Romania declared war on the Central Powers on August 27, 1916 ... Over the next three months, with help from the newly created "Army of the Danube," under the leadership of General August von Mackensen, Fallenhayn led the German 9th Army in a brilliant operational campaign against Romania. By the end of 1916, Germany controlled two-thirds of Romana, including the capital, Bucharest ...

The new German 9th Army had the pivotal task of defeating the Romanian 1st and 2nd Armies. The German High Command appointed General Erich von Falkenhayn as its field commander ... Falkenhayn's 9th Army contained German and Austro-Hungarian troops divided into two main groups, the XXXIX  Reserve Corps, commanded by General von Staabs, and the Schmettow Corps, named after its leader ...The German Supreme Command instructed Falkenhayn to break through the southwest Carpathians (Transylvanian Alps) and invade the Wallachian plain, in the process trapping the Romanians in a Kesselschlacht. Once inside Wallachia, the 9th Army was supposed to move east towards Bucharest and defeat the remaining enemy troops ... The German High Command ... gave Mackensen the following directive: "For the present the execution of Danube crossing has to be given up. The first task of the army group will be to draw to itself enemy forces and to beat them, by breaking into the Dobrudja while securing the Danube line ...

The second debate pertained to German operational planning in Transylvania. How  would Falkenhayn's 9th Army cross the Carpathians and invade Wallachia? ...

Falkenhayn arrived at main headquarters on September 18 ... By September 19, Romania's offensive had failed, and Falkenhayn's 9th  Army had been formed.

The 9th Army was a combined German/Austro-Hungarian force consisting of approximately five divisions. On its left wing and center, Schmettow's Corps comprised the German 3rd Cavalry Division, and the Austo-Hungarian 1st Cavalry and 51st Infantry Divisions ... Schmettow's Corps was the pivot linking 9th Army and the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army on its left. The right wing of the 9th Army comprised the XXXIX Reserve Corps (Staabs), which included the German 76th Reserve Division and 187th Infantry Brigade, the Austro-Hungarian 145th Infantry Brigade, and the Alpine Corps ... Staabs' Corps stood nothwest of Schmettow's Corps, north of Petroseny, and west of Orsova, opposed by the left wing of Romanian 1st Army... Falkenhayn stressed the imporatance of the 9th Army linking up with Army Group Mackensen in western Wallachia ... On September 19, six battalions of the 187 Infantry Brigade and three of the Alpine Corps ...

Mackensen's army group ...

Falkenhayn ... assigned General Kühne four infantry divisions (41st, 109th, 301st, and 11th Bavarian ...

[November] Despite these efforts, the 9th Army broke through at the Red Tower and Kronstadt Passes. In early November Falkenhayn created "Group Krafft," which consisted from west to east of the Goiginger Division (named after its leader), the 216th Infantry Division [Independent Division], and the alpine Corps ...

Mackensen had under his command five divisions, the 217th, "Division Goltz" (named after its leader), the Turkish 26th, and the Bulgarian 1st and 12th Divisions, as well as the Austro-Hungarian Danube flotilla ...

ordered Kühne's 11th Bavarian and the recently created 115th Division to attack ....

Jacob Lee Hamric, Germany's Decisive Victory: Falkenhayn's Campaign in Romania, 1916 (M. A. Thesis, Eastern Michigan University, 2004), pp. 1, 25-26, 27, 33, 37-38, 41.

  • On November 14/27, the Kosch Group (217th German infantry division, 26th Turkish infantry division and the von der Goltz cavalry division), led by Robert Kosch ... vigorously advanced along the Zimnicea–Drăgăneşti-Vlaşca–Bucharest line ...Intending to continue the defence of the division, an Alpenkorps battalion from the vanguard of the 217th German infantry division occupied the village of Prunaru on the afternoon of November 14/27 ...

  • Mackensen’s next move was to have the Western Group, consisting of the Turkish VI Corps, German 217th Division and Bulgarian 1st Division, to cross the Danube, merge with the units moving north through Wallachia and hit the final blow to the Romanians ...

on 25 November, joining Mackensen’s Danube Army that also included the German 217th Division and a German cavalry division, marching to northeast towards Bucharest ...

  • OHL [German High Command] reinforced him with the German 217th Infantry Division, heavy artillery ...

  • The 217th Division was formed on the Eastern Front about August, 1916 ...Roumania ...

Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918)

  • The failure of Verdun, the resurgence of Russia through the Brussilov offensive, the loss of Bitolj to the Serbs, and the loss of Gorizia (Görz) to Italy all combined to have Falkenhayn's [Erich von Falkenhayn ] leadership called into question. The final straw was Roumania's declaration of war on Austria-Hungary. German might was all that held the kingdom in neutrality, and Falkenhayn had failed to deliver this. He was therefore relieved of command and sent on 29 August 1916 to the Transylvanian Front, to command the IX. Army. At the Battle of the Red Tower Pass on 30 September 1916, he defeated the Roumanians (see below), and advanced toward Bucharest. He linked up with Mackensen's composite Army of the Danube in mid-November. His troops entered Bucharest on 6 December, where the defeat of Roumania was loudly proclaimed. ...

  • [ROUMANIA] The offensive planned in the Namoloasa area was abandoned and the bulk of the forces were moved in the Focsani area. The new offensive was going to be launched west of the Siret River, on the Focsani – Marasesti – Adjud direction, with the German 9th Army (general Johannes von Eben) and on the Oituz Valley with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army (Archduke Joseph). The objective was to encircle and destroy the 2nd Army ...

On 10 August  

However the offensive had reduced the combat potential of the German 76th, 89th and 115th Infantry Divisions, which had suffered the brunt of the assault. These were already exhausted after several days of failed attacks. The report of general von Eben to the Army Group CO, marshal von Mackensen, mentions the fact that the 216th Infantry Division had suffered many casualties because of the flank bombardment of the Romanian artillery yon the eastern bank of the Siret ...

  • [December 1, 1916] During their movements, the adverse troops were mixing and it happened, frequently, that in the morning,a troop to noticed that has bivouacked in the night in the middle of enemy troops. At Ratesti, on Arges, at South of Leordeni an automobile of the 8th Division - which has fought on this Front -in which there were two officers of General Staff of the Division, Captains Epure and Barcan, fell in the day of 1st of December in the midst of the troops of a Bavarian Regiment, in marching. In the metal box in the automobile was the correspondence of the Division and all the orders of operations given by Superior Commandments, which the officers had to distribute to the units of the Division.

In the great speed of his automobile, General Kraftt runs at the Headquarter of the IXth Army and surrenders it to Falkenhayn, where the complete decifring of the documents produced an enormous senzation. Seldomly, in the History of Wars, a Commander of an Army has been served by luck in such an extraordinary way. Falkenhayn has found the secret of the great operation of manoeuvre, started by Romanian Army! ...

  • Rumanian Front

The 'Mackensen' Army Group had occupied Wallachia, western and southern Moldavia since January 1917. In June 1917 there were 11 divisions in southern Moldavia in German 9th Army's 1st Reserve Corps (89, 212, 216) Inf, 76 Rse. 12 Bav Inf, Alpenkorps(; 18 Corps (217 Inf) and Schaer Force (92, 109 & 115 Inf), 3rd Bulgarian Army in northern Dobrudja included the German 52nd Special Corps with the Goltz Detachment; 1st AH Army in SW Moldavia included four German divisions (218, 225 Inf, 8 Bav Res, 3 Cav); and 7th AH Army in NW Moldavia included two (117 Inf, 6 Cav). In july 1917 the reorganized Rumanian Army, supported by the Russian 'Rumanain Army Group' in eastern Moldavia, launched an offensive into western Moldavia. German 9th Army promptly counter-attacked into eastern Moldavia, but was held by the Rumanian 1st and 4th Armies at Marasesti (6 August-3 September) ...

The German army in World War I.: 1917-18, Volume 3 By Nigel Thomas, Ramiro Bujeiro, p. 14 -

  • The Battle of Mărăşeşti, Vrancea County, eastern Romania (August 6 to September 8, 1917) was a major battle fought during World War I between Germany and Romania.

Before launching the attack, the battle was thought to be taken at Nămoloasa, both sides were counting at that moment about 1 million soldiers. Field Marshall August von Mackensen launched a counter-attack on August 6. Mackensen, displaying his usual skill, forced the Russians to retreat. It must be admitted that the Russian army was nearly useless by this point in the war. For the next month, the Germans, together with some Austrian units, fought a see-saw battle with the Romanian army. The fighting lasted until September 8, when both sides ran out of fresh units. The German attempt to crush the last Romanian army had failed, but the Romanians had not expanded their territory either ... The motto of the Romanian Army during the battle was "Pe aici nu se trece" (English: "You shall not pass"), probably inspired from the famous slogan of General Nivelle during the Battle of Verdun

  • The offensive planned in the Namoloasa area was abandoned and the bulk of the forces were moved in the Focsani area. The new offensive was going to be launched west of the Siret River, on the Focsani – Marasesti – Adjud direction, with the German 9th Army (general Johannes von Eben) and on the Oituz Valley with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army (Archduke Joseph). The objective was to encircle and destroy the 2nd Army.

For the offensive, the German 9th Army was strengthened with units brought from the French (the Alpine Corps, which arrived on 6 August) or Italian fronts. General von Eben decided to deliver the main blow with the German 1st Corps (6 divisions), while to its left the German 18th Reserve Corps (3 divisions) had to pin down the Entente troops opposite it. The right wing of the 9th Army was manned by the Ramnic Group (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one German and one Austro-Hungarian divisions and the Alpine Corps, which arrived in the area during the first day of the battle. The German forces in the attack sector were 102 infantry battalions, 10 cavalry squadrons, 24 pioneer companies, 2 armored cars, 1,135 machine-guns, 356 mortars, 223 field guns and 122 heavy guns and howitzers ...

The German 9th Army's offensive was preceded by a powerful artillery preparation, which began at 0430 hours on 6 August 1917. At 0730 hours the 1st Corps (general Kurt von Morgen) started the attack, with the 12th Bavarian, 76th and 89th Infantry Divisions in the first line and with another two divisions in the second echelon...

12th Bavarian Division ...

The last failures had weakened the German 9th Army. Thus, general von Eben strengthened the 1st Corps with a new division and the 18th Reserve Corps with the Alpine Corps ...

On 10 August  

However the offensive had reduced the combat potential of the German 76th, 89th and 115th Infantry Divisions, which had suffered the brunt of the assault. These were already exhausted after several days of failed attacks. The report of general von Eben to the Army Group CO, marshal von Mackensen, mentions the fact that the 216th Infantry Division had suffered many casualties because of the flank bombardment of the Romanian artillery yon the eastern bank of the Siret ...

Noticing that the troops of the German 1st Corps were exhausted, general von Eben decided to assign the main strike to the 18th Reserve Corps of maj. gen. Kurt von Wenniger, which had suffered fewer losses and was less tired. Thus, on 12 August, the 9th German Army attacked with small forces ...

On 15 August, the 18th Reserve Corps continued the offensive ...

On the other side, at the intervention of marshal von Mackensen, general von Eben grouped 7 infantry divisions under the command of the German 1st Corps and subordinated almost all the heavy artillery of the 9th Army to it. These forces totalized 55 battalions and 95 batteries. On 19 August, the Germans resumed the offensive, attacking with the 1st Corps towards Marasesti and with 18th Reserve Corps on the Panciu-Muncel direction ...

It was attacked by the 28th Bavarian Infantry Regiment (from the 12th Bavarian Division) and by units of the German 89th and 115th Divisions ...

However, the Germans advanced towards Hill 100, behind which the allied artillery was situated ...

Because of the failure of its army to take the objectives on 19 August, general von Eben decided that the continuation of the offensive was no longer possible. A week of pause followed, which both sides used for reorganizing. The 9th Army again changed the attack sector. The 18th Reserve Corps was strengthened with 3 divisions and the entire heavy artillery at the army's disposal ...

On 30 August, the German 18th Reserve Corps resumed the attack ...

3 September ...

some violent hand-to-hand fighting ...

This was the last day of the battle of Marasesti, both sides deciding to adopt a defensive attitude on the entire front ...

the German 9th Army had lost about 47,000 ...

The fighting continued with little intensity the following days, with local attacks and counterattacks ...



Imperial German Army, 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders of Battle By Hermann Cron, p. 56 -

Corresponding to the important strategic goal, followed by the big batlle planed, it was put to Mackensen disposal an impozant military force. The Mackensen army groups was made, from west to east, of three armies: IXth Army, Rimnic Group and Danube (river) Group. The army which was to start the offensive was the IXth german. Until May, it was commanded by Falkehayn; he was then send to Asia Minor to organize the Turkish-german armies “Yildirim”(spelling ilthrm?). his successor was General von Eben, ex-commander on the galitian front.

The front of the german IXth army started, considered from east to west, at Suraia on Siret river, 10 km lower than the place where Putna flows into Siret.This front was following the Siret till Biliesti, in front of Movileni de Jos (lower Movileni), then it was farring Siret, taken the north-east direction, going through Siret field, meeting at Paraipan (Balta Ratei=duck pond) the Putna valley, following then all the time the southern shore of this valley, cutting the road Focsani-Marasesti at the 10th kilometer, north of Faureni, then cutting the railway south of railway station Putna Seaca, all the way to Iresti. here in the point where putna valley makes an angle, towards south –west to enter Vrancea, the IXth Army was connecting with Gerock Army. the german front was itself cutting itself towards south-west, to draw the curve line, to which it has been pushed by our(romanian) victory at Marasti. On this opening of 60km the german front was split into two sectors:

a) Sector I reserve Corps, stretching from Suraia to a line wich would cut Putna valley and Susita, with south-north direction, between Ivancesti village and Satu Nou village. The terrain is flat with gorges, some of them with water some of them dry, with the west –east direction and and cut across by the road and railway Focsani –Marasesti, of which direction is north-south. General von Morgen, the commander of the Ist reserve Corps, had in this sector, without counting the divisions, 89 prusian, 12 bavarian and 216 saxon, which were making the Ist Corps, of two more divisions: reserve 76 and 115. To have the troops concentrated in the attack zone itself, Divission 12th Bavarian, which previously occupied the shore of Siret, between Biliesti and Suraia, was withdraw and taken south of Padurea Neagra (black forrest), between Paraipan and Biliesti. In the place of this division was created a new one, Divission 303 commnded by General Wehmer-made out of seven infantry battalions de Landsturm, taken from the occupation force of Muntenia. this subsector will have a pure defensive and observation role.

b) the sector of the XVIII army Corps, spread from line Ivancesti-Satu Nou, till Iresti. It is a terrain of hills covered with orchards of wine grapes towards east and with forrests toward west which, starting from the valleys of Putna and Susita are rising in higher and higher mountain ridges toward west. At south, Magura Odobestilor dominates with its crenelated cannopy the whole region. XVIIIth Corps was constituted by 62nd austro-hungarian Division, of 217th german Division and by detachments Stange and Vogel, of the value of a division, made out of troops taken from divisions 101st and 69th: regiments 29th, 59th, 3rd grenadieri and of three german infantry battalions. Together with 217th divission these detachments made Gallwitz Group. The command of XVIII was given to bavarian General von Wenninger, brought in the eve of the battle from the french front.

As a reserve for the IXth army there were: german Division 12 at Focsani, 13th Austrian Division a liitle south of Plainesti, and from the French front arrived bavarian Alpine Corps. The units and the weaponry - especialy the artillery - have been completed with elements brought from the neighbouring unuts from the quiet sectors and from the deposits situated in Muntenia (central +south+east part of Romania, also called Wallachia). with this face, von Eben Army, destined to force the crossing over Adjud, was made of 12 fighting divisions. Numericaly, was constituted of 102 infantry battalions, 24 pioneers companies and 10 cavalry escadrons. The weapons were very strong: 1135 machineguns and an artillery made out of 865 fire mouths of different calibers. The IXth Army was prolonging, in the eastern direction with the other units of the general Mackensen Army Group. - von Bahr -The Danube Army-Kosch - constituted of german units, austro-hungarian units, Bulgarians and Turkish units, which occupied the souther shore of Siret River, till the flowing point of this into Danube River, between Galati and Braila; from this point it was the Bulgarian Army of Dobrogea –General Nerezov.

The role of the armies on the lower Siret was, that after the run through of the enemy front (romanian-russian) has been made andd the Ist reserve Corps would have hit in Tecuci direction, if the enemy front will surrender in the face of the german front, they will cross Siret and pursue;t he right wing to climb Prut river and cover Galati towards East.

As the germans were finishing their attack preparatives, the northern shore of Putna River was occupied, in front of the sector of the IXth german Army, of units from IVth Russian Army-comanded by Prince General Ragoza. The Russian IV th army was mede organicly of three army corpses: VII,VIII and XXX, of three division each. Of those only three divisions were keeping the front line in the face if the IXth german Army and namely: 34th Divission, from Movilenii de Jos,and at the right wing, 103 Division, from Sirbi to Iresti. Another two divisions, 14th and 15th of the VIII th Corps- were outside the front of the IXth german army having in front Gerock Group, from Irest to Sarii Valley ,in the positions earnetd by the victory of Marasti. In reserve they had:71th Division in Zabrautu valleyand cavalry Division Zamurskaia on the left of Siret river at Nicoresti. Other units of the IVth army have been retreated previously from the fighting zone ...

In the Eve of the Battle ...

In the evening of 5th of August, Mackensen left Bucharest (which was occupied by the germans at the time), to, personaly take charge of the battle which will give him Moldavia and Basarabia. Shaking hands of the high officers and the germane-romanian demnitaries gathered on the walk of Bucharest-North-Railway Station, to wish him luck, the marshall said good bye with the words: Good Bye to weeks from now in Iasi (biggest city and capital of Moldavia and also capital of Romania since Bucharest ,the capital was occupied by Mackensen)). And for two weeks the coffee shops of Bucharest sounded with the words of the marshal Mackensen,and the pro german Romanians saluted with joy “the re-whole of Romania” through the chains of german occupation ...

The Breakthrough of the Russian Front.

In the night of 5-6 August the german artillery started a strong bombardment over the line Faurei-Siret and over the eastern shore of Siret river, south of Movileni. Shells of different calibers, grenades, shrapnel, machinguning, they were all falling like the rain over the Russian lines between the railway and Siret river, and also over the Romanian positions across the river. Towards morning, waves of axfixiant gass emerged from the enemy lines especially over Padurea Neagra( Black Forrest), chocking the air into a dense fog. Between the clocks 4 and 7 in the morning the bombardment reached an extreme of violence.

General von Morgen had the order to execute with the Ist german Corps the breakthrough of the Russian front. He had thus aligned on the first line of the front three divisions: 12th Division on the right side leaned over Siret river, 89th Division on the left ,at Faureni; 76th Division in the middle, between the other two. Behind 12th Division he sat 216th Division, and in the reserve he kept the 115th Division.

Like a restrained resort, which unstrains instantly, he then started the attack at 7:30 in the morning, the infantery of the three german divisions against the russian lines. It wasn’t even needed so much power. The Russians are leaving, one by one their strong positions. Till midday they lose three lines of defence, which was one in front of the other. The germans cross Putna river on the northern shore ,then they cross Sovarga valley and finally Putna-Seaca valley. The 12th german Division occupied the village Radulesti, Padurea-Neagra,and then Ciuslea village.

Some part of the Russian infantry crosses the boat bridge thrown over Siret river at Ciuslea village,and they refuge on the eastern shore of Siret river. At the order of the Russian commander they proceed at burning the bridge .Following the Russians, the germans turn to the right and try to cross the bridge by surprise: they stand now in front of the burning bridge and they are received by a rain of projectiles thrown by the Romanian artillery from the front shore of the river. Forced to retreat, the germans give up the crossing of the bridge over Siret river and organize, for the night to come, to force the crossing over: the bridge parts are brought behind enemy lines and sheltered in Padurea Neagra (The Black Forrest).

At the left wing of the Ist german Corps, the 76th Division and the left wing of the 89th Division conquered the forrest Balta-Ratei (The Duck_Pond), pushing the left wing of the 13th Russian Division, neighbor with the 34th Russian Division, captured thus ten cannons positioning themselves in the front of Bizighesti village. Between the two wings which were going to left and right, Morgen pushed the 216th Division, which was in reserve till then, and by nightfall occupied Strajescu village without fight. The village has been evacuated by the Russians in their hasty run.

In the night of that day, the german victory seemed complete. The Russian front has been broken on a length of 10km at right, along the Siret river and with 3km along the railway Focsani-Marasesti. The Russian forces were blown away, some of them crossed on the left side of the Siret shore, under the protection of the Romanian artillery, and the big chunk was running disorderly to the north, leaving their strongholds one after the other, without putting up the slightest of fights. It was after the expression of a Russian historyograph “the first act of cowardice made by the Russians on the Romanian front”. Many will follow.

The Romanian intervention  ...

... russians evacuated the position and run away, without announcing the romanians, and behind them the germans occupied, withot a fight the village and the forrest. the soldiers of 8th Buzau regiment are not intimidated and attacks the enemy. A live fight of rifles ,grenades and machine guns is cooking in the middle of the night. The germans are pushed back a few hundred meters; they climb the machineguns up into the trees and start a killing machine gun fire over our troops which were advancing and over the reserve troops. ...

All night the romanian artillery on the eastern shore of Siret river, high and steep, has bombarded the german positions on the front shore, downstream, causing losses in both men and material to the germans ...

Mackensen renounces at the plan of crossing Siret. After not being able to do “the surprise crossing”, von Eben reports that neither the plan of “crossing the river by force” has more of a chance. The front shore of the river is well fortified with Romanian troops and artillery,and this artillery is wonderfully shooting making heavy losses in the day to 12th bavarian Division. Today the german attack would have in the ribs also the 5th romanian Division, which is on the righy shore of Siret. This enterprise will be risky and exposed to a bloody failure. So the plan of crossing the SIret is renounced altogether: the 12th Bavarian Division is let to rest and observe on the shore of the river, and Morgen receives the order to push with full strength the other three divisions -216,76,89 - and to put in to the fighting line also the 115th Division, which was kept in reserve. Morgen attacks with full power the front of the 5th romanian Division. The german artillery starts to bobard the Russian-romanian lines, mostly the points Bizichesti, Moara-Alba, Moara –Rosie and Doaga village; the artillery of the 5th romanian divisions responds with”shot by shot” The germans have discovered the vulnerable point of the Romanian front At the right wing of the romanians are the leftovers of the 34th russian Division. One column of the 89th german Division attacks this very spot. The russians don’t hesitate much and run off their positions, leaving the right Romanian flank uncovered. Through this breach, storms the thick of the 76th german division, to turn the Romanian position. It is a critical moment. General Razu, the commander of the 5th Romanian Division, sends two battalions of the 7th Regiment, which he kept till then in reserve, behind the 32th Regiment. The romanians arrive in a hurry, they attack in point 77 the enemy, which was coming from Bizighesti, managing to stop the “stream of germans “and to fill the breach.

The preparations for the final german attack are finished around 11 o’clock. All the artillery has been brought near the new front,and the troops of the three german divisions: 89,76 and 216 are ready to throw themselves over the line occupied by the for Romanian regiments:7,32,3 and 8.At half past eleven, the german bombardment, ignited from cannons of all kind of calibers, especially 105 caliber and 150, becomes frightening. Our positions( romanian) organized in haste, during the night, by the troops tiered by marching all day, are carefully distroied. The german artillery aimings, goes over and beyond our lines to the reserves. In Jugastru valley,a company of 32 Regiment, gathered here, without trenches is completely destroyed-amongst the dead is also their commander, Captain Andreescu. The bridge over Siret, from Cosmest i, is bombed with 210mm shells.


At noon, the enemy center begins to roll the waves of the 76th german Division against 32nd Mircea Regiment, between Moara Alba and Strajescu. All afternoon, till late into the night, the enemy attacked furiously, without stop, only for brief moments just as to remake the rare lines, in which time the artillery was restarting the bombardment over our lines well sighted. It is a frontal attack but full of violence, of overwhelming power. The first enemy troop waves are rejected over the whole front line by our macine gun fires ;but they renew themselves and come in greater numbers all the time. Our fires cuts them ,but also the rows of romanians are macerated.. The reserve troops are running in haste to fill up the gaps on one side and the other. Between the two belligerant front lines, the continous bombardment has rose a cloud of smoke and dust, so thick that the eyesight is obstructed ,so the fight stops for a few moments. The germans are using it to dig trenches and to form up for advance their reserves.The fight begins .The heat is overwhelming. The August rays of sun burns the fighters. Raws of sweat plough the blackened faces. Teargasses blinds the eyes and chocke the breathing. The Romanian soldiers throw away their blouses and their metal helmets. In their shirts with folded sleaves, heads uncovered, they rush to the counterattacks with their bayonets. The germans are stunned by the unexpected apparitions: veterans which have fought in colonies, clarifie their camarads that they benn attacked by” african soldiers”…

The attack of the enemy infantry against Doaga starts at 12 o’clock, but as thei reach our lines, they are attacked by hunters (Regiment of mountain hunters, which is an infantry regiment) with their bayonets and thrown in Strajescu village.

But Morgen is renewing all the time the waves of attackf rom the reserves of his three divisions. ...

through the breach of the front line, the germans are advancing till 500 m south of Susita corner and Jugastru valley. The troops of the 76th german Division are executing now a surrounding to the left, to fall in the back of 7th romanian Regiment, ...

But the germans don’t give up. Furious by the bloody failure,they begin at five o’clock a new bombardment which reaches ,after one hour a horrifying violence. For three hours, cannons of all calibers beat with furry ...

7th of August the enemy front strengthens. Powerful enemy forces were brought in fast marches to the point of breakthrough, to stop our advance...  In this day also arrives on the battlefield the commander of thr XVIIIth german Army Corps, General von Wenninger, which takes his command, while in Focsani and the surroundings they organize the general reserve of the army with elements, newly arrived, of the divisions 212th,13th and of the alpine Corps. The frame of the german power offensive is now complete.

The attack of the 8th of August was combined with the attack of the Gerock Group, on the mountaineous front of the west ...The attack wil be commenced by the 115th german Division, which was kept in reserve, at Faurei; she was elongated by 89th and 76th divisions, on a line from Ivancesti, on Putna-the south of Calin forrest, in the Susita elbow. The right flank of the german attack front was defended by the 212th Division along Siret, in the region Ciuslea-Radulesti, replacing thus the 12th bavarian Division which was taken out and brought back to Faureni ...

All morning till noon, the germans and the romanians have bombarded each other’s positions. The german bombardment was made with an extraordinary waste of ammunition, which made our soldiers to say that they installed near each battery an ammunition factory. On the Romanian Front of the 5th romanian Division the germans have tried several attacks, some of them reaching our barb wire fence. All of them have been easily rejected by the baraj artillery fire and by the machin guns. Especialy has suffered heavy losses the infantry of the 76th german Division, which was surprised in open field by the fire of machineguns of the 5th romanian Division, redrew on the edge of the Calin Forrest.

The main attack was made by the germans over the Russian Front, kept by the 71st and 13th divisions. The attack given with powerful forces and with a violence beyond say, has defeated the russians, producing them considerable losses. One Russian regiment was almost wiped out. The germans said that only one sanitary company has buried at Patrascani 800 russian dead bodies. The Russians have lost the villages Patrascani and Batinesti and have disorderly retreated to Susita. The german front has advanced on a line to the north of those villages, connecting them to the right, over the railway and driveway, with the front of the 76th austrian Division, from the XVIIIth Corps, brought forth by the advancing of the Ist german Corps, she has done progress to Olesesti. With this face, the fighting action was progressing step by step from east to west, transmitted to the sector Wenninger Corps, quiet till then.

All night between 8-9 August, the artillery bombardment was very violent forseeing a hard day ...

The fourth day, 9th of August ...

With all the yesterday’s succes on the Russian Front, the german commandment has no reason to be pleased: the target proposed by the new offensive to north-west has not been touched and the line Clipicesti-Diocheti was still far away. So the action wil continue doday with power in the same direction and by the same units, as yesterday, by the 115th, 89th and 78th divisions, from east to west. In the left of the german attack sector, the 62nd austro-hungarian Division will join the fight, as far as the circumstances will permit, and on the right side, the 216th german division will attack the positon occupied by the 5th romanian Division. Along Siret, in Ciuslea sector, the 212th and 303rd german divisions will maintain their resistance positions, facing east. The main blow will be received by the 71th Russian Division, seated in front of 76th and 89th german divisions, as well as the 13th russian Division, disposed in font of the 115th german Division and 62nd Austrian. The germans were following consecvent their tactic program: attacking only the Russian troops ...

The germans have prepeared the today attack, by a long(time) bombardment of the romanian-russian positions ...At 6:30 in the evening, the german artillery is extending its aiming, and the attack waves of the 76th german Division starts towards the positions occupied by Russians in the eve. To their surprise, instead of Russians, ready to run away, the germans are greeted by the Romanians, which resist with manhood and counterattack with vigour. The Romanian artillery opens, to its turn,a baraj fire very well aimed, and the machineguns crops the terrain in front of the lines. The upwind of the enemy is drowned in its own blood and the broken and rared raws are getting to a stop. The germans are always changing the palce of the attack ...

All the gain made by the germns, with heavy losses, is now lost. Towards east, the artillery on the left shore of Siret violently bombards in flank the german lines, making big losses to 216th, 212th and 303rd divisions. At the center, in the middle of the duel of the two artilleries adversary, which does not weakens the strength, german troops attack the front ...The commander of the Romanian battalion takes measures for defence, by rising a wall of dead bodies in the driveway trench; the germans ar doing the same on the other side and, sheltered by this double dead bodies wall  ...

In the russian sector, the right wing of the 89th german Division, taken in to flank by the artillery of the 9th Romanian Division, had big losses and realized small progress. To the west ,the germans, encountering ...

The fith day, 10th of August ...

From the intact german lines, undestroyed by the artillery fire, which was not enough, the enemy prepeared for attack, waves down fires over the braves that are advancing to attack ...

The assault troop has remained all night to guard before the enemy barb wire nets, as a symbol of fulfilling the duty, beyond death….West of the railway, in the russian sector, the germans continued to unfold their offensive action started in the eve. They have rejected on a large front the troops of the 71st russian Division - which have fought badly - and they pushed the front line, in the shape of an angle, in the depth of the russian positions., crossing over Susita. Hung by the german advance, the 62nd austro-hungaran Division was advancing as well, almost without will, thus occupying the villages Oltesti and Tifesti, left by the russians. In the afternoon however, the russians started a counterattack from the direction of Poiana, with four battalions of the 13th Division. The austrians have given thus to the Russians the possibility of a cheap success; they quickly withdrew from the conquered positions; a whole regiment have given up their weapons double-crossing thus to the enemy, together with all their material (military gear) The german troops of the alpine Corps, situated in reserve near the front line, together with the left wing of the 115th german neighbor Division, intervine into the fight and retake the position lost by the austrians.

The fifth day of the great battle was one of the bloodiest. On the romanian battlefield,a small success, payed dearly with great martyr. But also the adversary had to pay expensive for his resistance: the 89th german Division, which was in front of the 5th romanian Division, had big casualties. Overcome with exhaust,driven to half of its effectives, had to be drawn out of the fight and brought behind the front, at Ivancesti, for rest and recovery. On the russian front however, the germans have made a felt success; they have pushed north the frontline, constituting a serious threat for the romanian flank and a joyful hope for the germans. The unfolding of the next day action will be made by exploiting this situation ...

The Sixth day, 11th of August  ...

The offensive action wil be given on the whole front of 5th and 9th Divisions, with the involvement of the Russian divisions from the right. As the Romanian command was taking measures ,the german commandment, was measuring himself for a great offensive which he has also planned for the same day. Under the impression of the success obtained yesterday on the Russian front, Mackensen was sure that he will be able to give today a major blow. This was supposed to be made out of two attacks: one attack wil be given at the left side of the IXth german Army, in the sector of XVIIIth Wenninger Corps, which was inactive up until now. The concentrations of forces of this Corps was now complete. The Alpine Corps was now in position, over imposed between 62nd Austrian Division, which has gathered her front- and 115th German Division. The 13th Austrian Division was in the Corps reserve, and the 217th Division was taken from Gallawitz Army, and passed under the orders of XVIIIth Corps. Wenninger wil attack with the Alpine Corps, leaned on the right, by 1st german Corps: Morgen will attack wit 76th and 12th Bavarian Divisions - the las one taken again into front, after rest and recovery. He will hit the Russian troops, made out from the remains of the 71st and 34th Divisions, along the driveway and railway Focsani-Marasesti-Adjud,in the right flank of the 9th Romanian Division. So ,a double offensive, both hitting the Russian troops. The day of 11th August was announced to be a bloody one, filled with high hopes, both sides. The German offensive has started in the morning in Wenninger sector. The Alpine Corps attacks fith full strength the 15th Russian Division, assaulting Poiana village, advancing all the way in to Susita valley. At the left the Austrians have occupied the village Sirb. The German front has made in this way an important advance; he mastered Susita valley,Putna valley up to Vitanesti....

The Germans confess that their divisions, 216th and 76th have sufferd this day great losses, because of the Romanian artillery fire on the eastern shore of Siret river ....

The 7th and the 8th days of battle

12th -13th of August. Changes in the Romanian Command.

During the night of 11th -12th of August

on the left shore of Siret river, in front of the 212th and 303rd German Divisions. ...

The German commander took fight dispositions for the day of 12th of August. In the wave of the heavy fights in the eve, the offensive force of Morgen’s Corps has weakened. On the other hand, the idea that only on the Russian front it is possible to obtain an important success, was stronger. Von Eben was ordered to suspent the action against the Romanians and to aim his attacks with full strength against VIIIth Russian Corps, moving the action west, in the region of Panciu. The Alpine Corps, new elite and fresh unit, has ben intercalated in the VIIIth German Corps .General von Wenninger will retake the offensive with a group made out in the center by the Alpine Corps, sustained on the right by 115th German Division,a nd on the left by the 62nd Austrian Division and by the Galwitz Group. The action will evolve together with Gerock Group,from the Rohr Army ,in Oituz valley.

In two days of fights, the Germans, attacking the Russian forces which were weak resisting, have made quick progresses and conquered one after the other a multitude of localities. Satu Nou (The New Village), Crucea de Jos (The Lower Cross), Dumbrava (Smallforest), Valeni (like valley but masculine gender…), Clipicesti(wink-ing), Burca, have been occupied at 12th of August. Tirgusorul –Panciu,Crucea de Sus and Serbesti have been occupied in the morning of 13th of August. The 115th German Division, looking to enlarge her front, at the right wing,c ame into contact with the 13th Romanian Division, which occupied the ex-sector of the VIIth Russian Corps, and had to stop there. In this way, the Germans have managed to conquer the lines of the heights which dominate Susita Valley.from the north. The whole Russian front, till Iresti was shaken and pushed back. The Germans were in front of the hills of Iresti, Muncelului, Straoanelor and Minastioarei, making in the depth of the Russian positions a big entering angle. From here, they were threatening the whole flank of the Romanian line from the east, to Siret river. On the Romanian front of the Vth Army Corps, the counteroffensive given on days 10th and 11th of August, have not been pursued because, if the 13th Division, fresh and intact unit, was able to fight the enemy, the 9th Division was completely exhausted and incapable to make an offensive gesture. Thus, it was renounced whatever velleity of counteroffensive and was decided to proceed to fill in the blanks and and organize the defensive of the new positions. The Germans have given in these days, small attack of fixation, sometimes with big patrols, sustained by artillery, to distract one’s attention from the principal action given on the front of the VIIIth Russian Corps. They have all been rejected by artillery fire and machineguns. The strongest attack was made on 12th of August on the front of the 13th Division; it was brilliantly rejected by a counterattack of the 50th Infantry Regiment, which made the enemy run away making bloody losses, of around 200-300 men, gaining 200 meters of terrain in depth ...

The 9th day,14th of August

The attack of the XVIIIth German Corps was given against the sector occupied by the VIIIth Russian Corps, in the Panciu region ...

The German Alpineers, starting from Straoane de Jos,Crucea de Sus, Panciu si Crucea de Jos, haste to attack at the Russian troops on Chicera Hill ...

The Germans have concentrated against the Romanian position of Prisaca Forest the whole 216th Division, which has been given to dispose of a very powerful artillery of all calibers, especially a lot of heavy artillery. The bombardment have started during the previous night and continued all morning. In the afternoon it has reached an intensity almost unknown till then. Shells of big caliber ,especially 150 mm, explosives mines, bombards, grenades, shrapnels, are beating like stonerain over the defensive workings. The terrain being weak in this sandy field of Siret River, the works are easily destroyed. The sticks of the wire nets are pulled altogether, the trenches are undone, burring alive the defenders. Clouds of smoke, of axfixiant gas and tear gas unfolds then everything in thick veil black-redish. It is complete blackness. It is an Inferno. At 5 in the afternoon the bombardment has reached paroxysm. Their effects are crushing. The entires of the first and the second Romanian defensive lines does not exist anymore; the strongholds of the third line are turned over as well. The phone lines, between battalions, artillery and commandments are destroyed. The soldiers in the trenches are killed by bombardment or axfixiated by gas and covered by the blowing Earth. The enemy artillery is elongating its aiming; She hits Cosmesti village, the bridge over Siret and the opposite shore, to stop any attempt of help. A cloud of axfixiant gas is waved down over the artillery of the 14th Division; all servants of a battery (four cannons) are out of service. At 7:45 in the evening ,under the protection of a cloud of dust and smoke, the Germans are beginning their attack. One column, in the power of almost two regiments, attacks in the connection point of 8th and 9th Romanian Regiments. The defenders are few and weak. It is the 9th day since the 5th Romanian Division is in the first line of fire, receiving blow after blow; the effectives of the Division are reduced at one third of what was in the beginning, and the man , unexchanged, are torn with exhaust at body and soul. The strongholds workings, destroyed cannot oppose any resistance; the soldiers of the Ist Battalion of the 8yh Regiment are pushed back and the front is broken. The enemy flow is pouring more and more and the breach is widened .The Germans open in three columns: one towards the left ...

This resistance, united with the cover of darkness which was falling in the mean time, on the battlefields stops the Germans on the spot. They try during the night three attacks, which are rejected and the fight ends. The big attack enterprised by the Germans against the “bridge head” at Baltareti-Cosmesti, has succeded in part. The Prisaca Forest has fallen into their hands; the 5th Division was destroyed. The Germans say they have captured almost 3000 prisoners, 16 cannons and 40 machine guns ...

From the 10th till the 13th day,

15th-18th of August.

In the day of 15th of August, Weninger attacks with his left the VIIIth Russian Corps, at the union point of Divisions 15th and 103rd,south –est of Muncelu, after preparations of artillery and axfixiant gas. ... The German Alpiners have occupied Stranoare, Muncelul and are advancing towards Mingalaicu.  he German front has taken here the form of a great angle ...

The advance of the Germans in Muncelul region ...The advance of the German troops in Muncelul region has worsen things further ...he is thus intercepting the direction of advancing of the Germans towards north-west, along Susita ...

The big German Headquarter gives the green light ,and decided to give at 19th of August a double blow: one violent offensive at Marasesti and an attack on Trotus front. The combined action of Mackensen armies and Rhor must, in the conception of the enemy commander, give the decisive victory, so long waited ...

Mackensen has choose for applying the decisive blow, the Romanian portion of front between Panciu and Marasesti. The position was occupied in this sector by 13th Romanian Division and what was left from the heavy trialed 9th Division. On the map it draws an oblique line north-west-south –east, stretched from east of Dumbrava Village, where it was connected with the 10th Division, passing then south-west of the Razoare Forest, cutting the railway Marasesti-Panciu close to the height point 100,cutting the railways Focsani-Marasesti and Marasesti-Tecuci one half kilometer south of the Fabrica de Zahar(sugar factory) to link with the 14th Romanian Division near an arm of Siret River, one km or so further fromn the estern corner of Marasesti Village . In this sector, Mackensen proceeded in the days of 17th-18th of August to a new grouping of forces of infantry and artillery. Five infantry Divisions have constituted the attack group, which command has been given to Commander von Morgen. It was ,starting from north –west towards south-east, the 13th Austro-Hungarian Division, in the right angle of the railway Marasesti-Panciu; The 115th German Division , in continuation, south –east of the first one; the 76th German Division , south of Marasesti; in reserve has been brought the 89th German Division and set behind 115th and 12th Divisions.I n the left side of the attack group was XVIIIth German Corps; at the right Divisions 216th, 212th and 303rd;they will sustain with all their infantry and artillery the primer blow, which will be given by the attack group. The five Divisions of this, aimed against two Romanian Divisions were making, of course , a crushing superiority. The Marshall was sure that the day of 19th will bring him the so long waited success ...

A hot summer day was forseen for the 19th of August, morning ...

The 9th Romanian Division was attacked by the right half of the 12th Bavarian Division and almost the entire 76th German Division; he right wing of this division has also attacked the right of the 14th Romanian Division ...

All over the place, the advancing of the Germans, in the empty terrain in front of the 9th Hunters Regiment is stopped at 3-400 meters before the front line. The attack is then going at the two wings of the Hunters line, where the Negroponte grape growing of the right flank and the corn uncut of the left flank , in front of the 40th Regiment, give to the Germans the possibility to sneak through the connecting places with the neighbor regiments: with 50th of the 13th Division and with Regiment 40th. The wing companies are strongly attacked by the flanks by the enemy much superior. The Hunters see for the first time the Germans with their metallic assault helmets; mislead by the resemblance, they take them as Romanians with French helmets and let them close the trenches. then ,attacked from very close, beginning to receive machine gun fire from the back, where the enemy managed to sneak, the companies do not resist for long and break. The Hunters are making efforts to keep the factory. Beat infernal by the enemy artillery, the walls of the factory are tore down, making a big noise under the blows of projectiles of big caliber. A furious fight with grenades and bayonet is starting ,between the smoking ruins of the big Sugar Factory (Fabrica de Zahar) The enemy cannons execute a baraj firing range behind the factory; a handful of men can sneak through the baraj line. The rest o those living are made prisoners. At 10:15 the first line and the factory are in the hands of Germans ...

The front of the 13th Division has been attacked by a powerful enemy, by two Divisions as such :the 50th Regiment has been attacked by the left wing of the 12th Bavarian Division, the 51st Regiment has been attacked by the 115th German Division, and the 47th Regiment by the right half of the 13th Austro-Hungarian Division .Between clocks 9 and 10 in the morning the attack over the German infantry over the Romanian line has become generalized , as the enemy artillery is concentrating its fires especially over the eastern side of the forest “La Razoare”. The Romanian-Russian artillery is firing with precision over the enemy waves; the artillery of the neighbor Division, the 10th,takes part in the fight, firing oblique over the enemy masses which were attacking the 13th Division. But the enemy has a crushing superiority of forces. He doesen’t care about losses, because today and in this sector he is looking for the decisive. Over the fallen rows , others pass. Stepping over the dead bodies over their fight colleague, fallen, the enemy rows reach the Romanian line, which has been pulverized by the artillery firing range, breaks the Romanian rows and throw them backwards ...

While the 51st Regiment was heroic sustaining the fight against the masses of the 115th German Division troops ...

The attack of the Austrian Division was given weak and late, compared with the attack of the neighbor 115th German Division. Until 11 clocks, the enemy is satisfied to attack only with patrols, which were crushed with gun shots and machinegun fire .The assault waves begun to show after 11 hour ...

The German soldiers, demoralized, start to run through the forest, throwing away their metal helmets and rifles, pursued with fury by the Romanians .The counterattack was a success ...

The Germans are retreating precipitated towards Susita Valley,leaving in the hands of our soldiers, prisoners, machineguns, ammunition and equipment ...

On the other hand, at the south of the enemy front-were announced important movements of troops. The units of the 89th German Division-reserves-where approaching the theater of battle to replace the defeated troops. So the Commander of the Army advice the Division Commanders to prudent moves, and to be thankful to reoccupy the old trenches, keeping the Divisions reserves intact for any eventuality ...

The German commandment has been deeply impressed of the great failure of this day, in which he put all his hope. He was conscious that this was the last effort, which he could muster for winning the victory, in what the Germans called the battle of breakthrough on Putna and Susita. The failure of 19th of August was putting to an end to the chain of efforts of which the IXth German Army made for 14 days, with the price of immense losses; she proved the impossibility of breaking the Romanian wall thus sealing the German defeat. The continuing of the German offensive was impossible. General von Eben the commander of the IXth Army, is forced to knowledge this impossibility,and to express in covered words the renunciation :”Because to put in order of the units and a pause of the troops shows absolutely necessary and because, in the wake of heavy fights, the infantry effectives have diminished, a continuation of the offensive cannot be conciliated ,thus, it is ordered that for the time being to fortify and keep the conquered positions”. Dry words ,official style, which meant nevertheless, the ending of the great battle of Marasesti, by confessing the defeat, arrived from the most qualified character to do it ...

The forces put into the fight by the Germans, 12 infantry divisions, where to the height of the expected results from the big action, which was ”the battle of breaking through on Putna and Susita”. With all this imposant unfolding of forces, with all the blood sacrifices imposed to the troops, which had so grave losses , such as, some divisions were almost exterminated as combative power, still none of the goals hasn’ t been accomplished, by far. The only result obtained after 14 days of heavy battles, was that the German front line has been pushed with 6-7km further ,meaning that from Putna shore it was moved on the heights between Susita Valley and Zabrautu Valley. And this result was obtained only due to the weakness of the Russian troops -which on the whole stretch of the front line of battle, have received the first hits- their disgust for war ,their wish to put an end to it, even with the price of shameful defeat Only the substitution in time of the Russian troops by Romanian troops has made possible to stop the fatal ending and to transform the German victory, which seemed a sure thing, in a complete defeat ...

The battle has begun at 6th of August by attacking the front, made exclusively by Russian troops. The Russian position of Iresti to Siret River, which constituted the fighting zone itself, was occupied by three Russian divisions The Austro Germans were opposing, on the same stretch, seven divisions. In the attack zone, between Siret and the railway, three German Divisions-76th, 216th and 12th have attacked the 34th Russian Division. The unfolding of the battle constituted then a double manoeuvre .On one side, the Germans have stretched , step by step the fighting zone westward, until the Muncelu plateau , in constant search of points of lesser resistance, represented by the Russian sectors ...

In the same day the German front was constituted by the Divisions 126th,76th,12th Bavarian, 115th, 13th Austro-Hungarian, Alpine Corps, 62nd Austro-Hungarian Division and Galwitz Group, of the strength of one and a half division. This without taking into account the divisions along Siret River on both shores; one and a half Cavalry Division, on the Romanian side and two divisions of infantry, on the German side ...

The Battle of Marasesti in Romania 6-19 August 1917 from The War for Wholing Romania 1916-1919 by Constantin Kiritescu  -

(2) 212 DIVISION: 1917 - 1918



Histories of Two-Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which participated in the War (1914-1918), pp. 674-675 -


The German Forces in the Field, 6th Revision, April 1918, Independent Divisions, p. 151 -

(c. Late August - Early September)

1917 - 1918


  • [July 22, 1917] On the Romanian Front, the Russian 4th Army, and the reorganized Romanian 2nd Army under General Averescu, launched an attack on Marashti. It was supported by a 48 hour heavy artillery barrage, between Focsani and the frontier in support of a rapidly worsening situation on Russian Southwest Front.

[August 4, 1917] On the Romanian Front, von Mackensen's Germans launched an offensive at Marasheshti on the Sereth.

On 6 August [1917], on the Romanian Front, von Mackensen's counter-offensive north of Focsani halted the Russian-Romanian drive ...

On 14-15 [1917] August, on the Romanian Front, there was heavy fighting at the battle of Muncelu.  ...

[August 20, 1917] On the Romanian Front, Romanian troops gained some ground north of Focsani ...

[August 21, 1917] On the Romanian Front, German forces attacked the town of Sereth in Bukowina. ...

[August 22, 19171] On the Romanian Front, very heavy fighting continued along the front ...

[August 28, 1917[ On the Romanian Front, the Germans renewed attacks in Focsani region. There was heavy fighting in the Ocna Valley ...

[August 29, 1917] On the Romanian Front, heavy fighting continued in the Focsani region ...

[September 4, 1917] On the Romanian Front, the Romanians opened a counter-offensive at Marashesti, which lasted only two days and cost 2,700 men. The Germans counter-attacked, advancing about 8 km on a 29 km front, taking 18,000 prisoners.

[September 8, 1917] On the Romanian Front, the German 9th Army attacked towards Munceli, but was quickly forced to retire by the Russian 4th Army, supported by eleven aircraft, which bombed the Germans, causing heavy losses. There were now about twenty Austro-German aviation units, with 120-150 aircraft, serving on the Romanian Front.

[September 14, 1917] On the Romanian Front, Austro-German forces were repulsed near Focsani ...

On 20 September [1917], on the Romanian Front, the Romanians repulsed an Austro-German attack in Susitza Valley in Moldavia ...

[October 3, 1917] On the Romanian Front, fierce Austro-German attacks were halted in Bukowina. Bulgarian troops attacked the Romanians north of the mouth of Buzeu River ...

[November 16, 1917] On the Romanian Front, at Odessa, numbers of Romanian troops joined the Red Guards, while loyal Romanian units bravely held their positions ...

On 5-6 December [1917], on the Romanian Front, Romania was obliged to suspend hostilities, as Russian General Shcherbachev offered armistice terms to the Central Powers ...

[December 9, 1917] On the Romanian Front, the Armistice of Focsani was concluded between Romania and the Central Powers ...


FEBRUARY 9, 1918 and MARCH 3, 1918- NOVEMBER 11, 1918


  • The Austro-German high command assigned 29 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions for the occupation of the Ukraine, comprising 200,000 to 220,000 men. Of course, if the only object was the clearing of the territory of Soviet troops, the mission involved could have been accomplished with much lesser forces. The entire forces which Antonow-Ovseyenko could have mustered against this mass of troops were: 3,000 men in the Kiev area, about 3,000 men scattered throughout the various Ukrainian cities, and finally, Murav'ev's "army" with a total strength of about 5,000 men, which had just completed their action against the Rumanians and were now situated at the lower Dniester. In the nature of a general reserve of these forces, situated a considerable distance away, there might be considered the Sivers and Sablin columns (4,000 men, in round figures) that were operating against Kaledin's forces. In all, Antonow-Ovseyenko could have raised not more than 15,000 men, scattered over vast areas. The organization of local Ukrainian units was just started, and was carried on very slowly.

    The XLI German Corps (3rd, 18th, 48th, and 35th Landwehr divisions) proceeded along the main Brest-Litovsk-Gomel-Briansk railway line; this corps serving as the connecting link between forces ordered to occupy the Ukraine and the forces directed to occupy the western districts of the R.S.F.S.R. In the course of its advance, however, this corps encountered the resistance of comrade Berzin's forces, and this hindered the further advance of the Germans on Briansk. The German XXVII Corps (89th, 92nd, 93rd, 95th, 98th, and 2nd Landwehr divisions) proceeded along the main railway leading to Rovno to Kiev and farther on Kursk, directing a portion of its forces over northern and southern branches of this main railway. With its center at Kiev, this corps occupied the left portion of the Ukraine and extended southward up to Krementchug, and eastward up to the line: Sievsk - Sudzha - Poltava. The XXII Corps (20th and 22nd Landwehr divisions), with center at Zhitomir, occupied the right portion of the Ukraine. The German I Reserve Corps (comprising the 16th, 45th, 91st, 215th, and 224th Landwehr divisions and the 2nd Bavarian Cavalry Division) had the mission of occupying the eastern Ukraine and the Donets Basin. This corps, the most active of the corps employed by the Germans in the occupation of Russian territory, assumed the brunt of the fighting at Poltava, Kharkov and Northern Donets Basin. Upon its occupation of the Donets Basin the corps halted its movement east of the Rostov - Voronezh railway. It maintained its base of operations at Kharkov.

    On the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and in Podolia, the Germans were already operating jointly with the Austrians: three Austrian corps - the XII, XVII, and XXV with a total number of 11 1/2 divisions (15th, 59th, 34th, 11th, 30th, 31st, 32rd, 54th, and 154th infantry divisions and the 2nd and 7th cavalry divisions and the 145th Infantry Brigade) were marching preparatory to the occupation of Podolia an the Odessa area (XXV Corps), the Kherson area (XII Corps), and Yekaterinoslav area (XIII Corps). The group of forces under General Koch [Gen. Robert von Kosch] was directed to occupy the Crimea (comprising the 212th, 217th infantry divisions and the Bavarian Cavalry Division).

    In the first echelon of the advancing occupational forces were the I Reserve Corps and the group of southern divisions: the 10th, 7th, 212th, and 214th. The rest of the corps were moved up in proportion as the territory was occupied. The German forces began their advance on the 18th of February;* [The Austrian corps launched their offensive on the 28th of February] on March 2nd the German troops entered Kiev, and on the 3rd of March they were in Zhmerinka.

  • At the second peace conference in Brest-Litovsk in January, 1918, appeared a delegation from the Ukraine, which had declared itself an independent state, desirous of concluding a separate peace. To the Central Powers this division of Russia was very opportune, andelny they concluded a separate peace with the Ukraine on the 9th of February . When soviet Russia, in spite of her pledge to respect the right of self-determination of the nations, desired to carry the revolution to the Ukraine, the Central Powers found themselves compelled to send troops for the protection of that country, and accordingly made it a condition in the peace treaty with Russia of March 7 to occupy the land with troops . So General v. Linsingen, who was later relieved by Field Marshal v . Eichhorn, occupied Kiev, Taurida, the Crimea, the territory of the Donetz with its coal mines, and in May reached Rostov on the Don.

The main purpose of the occupation was to utilize the rich resources of the land, which possessed much corn, cattle and horses in addition to the large coal mines in the Donetz territory. To insure the requisitions and to prevent an invasion by the Bolshevists, small detachments were distributed all over the land with larger units held in the larger cities as reserves, where also numerous lazarets and convalescent homes were established  ...

Finally on July 24 [1918] word was received that trains were again running, at least occasionally. I rode to the frontier station Goluby and found welcome, information and aid in that always safe refuge-the collecting station for the sick . In Goluby was an enormous transfer railroad station, 3 kilometers in length and 2 kilometers in width, provided with one track of Russian and another of German (standard) gauge .

After a trip of thirty hours we neared Kiev ...

After five days I reached Taganrog on the Sea of Azov, the ancient Cossack region ...

August 5, 1918, I went on a small steamer, overcrowded by all sorts of folk, to Rostov on the Don . The first part of the trip . was over the Sea of Azov ...

The following weeks led us to the different places where we maintained lazarets [quarantine stations] and collecting stations : Taganrog [Sea of Azov], Kharkov [Eastern Ukraine - Kharkiv], Kiev [north central Ukraine], Odessa [southern Ukraine[, Nikolaievsk [Nikolaev - Ukraine, on the estuary of Yuzhny Bug River, about 40 miles (65 km) from the Black Sea], Kherson [southern Ukraine], the trips being made on the trains, which were now gradually getting back to regular schedules ...

A steamer took us to Kherson, and an Austrian military train to within 8 kilometers of Nicolaievsk . There we boarded the engine to the railroad station, took a most dilapidated cab to the hotel, which shone with cleanliness, and was managed by a senior sister. The city [Nicolaievsk], at the mouths of the Bug and of the Dnieper, which empty into the Black Sea, is pleasant, with streets bordered by trees, large factories and dockyards, which had just been taken over by Blohm & Voss . In the vicinity were many well-to-do German colonists . Everywhere were old cannon which had served as landmarks for cultivated land . The Bolshevists had torn them -out to be melted, but then had let them lie. Here, too, we found a beautiful German lazaret  ...

They had nothing to do and had become completely stagnated. A steamer actually took us to Rostov via the corn cities Berdiansk [south-east Ukraine], Mariampol [Sea of Azov - Mariupol] and Taganrog [Sea of Azov] ...

I arranged my affairs in Biala and Warsaw and was in Berlin September 18 [1918] ...

  • - Professor Dr. Wilhelm His, A German Doctor at the Front (Die Front Der Arzte, translated from the Original German by Colonel Gustavus M. Blech), pp. 212-215, 21-219, 223-224, 226.

  • Jekaterinoslav [Dnipropetrovsk or Dnepropetrovsk formerly Yekaterinoslav (, translit. Katerynoslav, also Catharinoslav on old maps) is today Ukraine's third largest city] taken on Friday 5 April (O.S.) [= 18 Apr N.S.] by Ukrainian and Austro-German troops ...

  • By the spring of 1918, [Max Von] Hoffmann was assured of total cooperation by the Austrians on Eastern Front matters. In fact, threats by the Austrian Foreign Ministry to make peace with Ukraine separately in February 1918 caused Hoffmann to threaten removal of all German support on the Eastern Front; such an ultimatum had the desired effect of causing the Austrians to follow his lead in the invasion of Soviet Russia in March 1918. In all, Generalmajor Hoffmann was probably Germany's most brilliant military mind. Hoffmann was the uncredited genius behind the formidable Hindenburg-Ludendorff, and he spared no ink in criticizing both commanders in his memoirs. Max Hoffmann died in Homberg in 1927.

  • [According to Max Hoffman:] Therefore our troops marched into the Ukraine. Our advance, chiefly along the railway lines, went rapidly forwards, although we met with opposition in many places. The Bolshevik bands that had been sent to occupy the Ukraine defended themselves, and besides we had many fierce engagements with the Czecho-Slovak Divisions whom we met here for the first time. However, resistance was suppressed everywhere and our troops marched through the whole of the Ukraine as far as the Steppes of the Don ...

    On the Eastern front there were troops that they could have disposed of. For although the Divisions we had on the Eastern front were chiefly composed of old Landwehr and Landsturm units and unsuitable to fight on the Western front, I am convinced that they would have done their duty on the Bulgarian front ...

  • Alfred Krauss [Austrian Commander] was given command of a newly designated "Ost Armee" in early May, 1918. It's mission was to protect the Ukrainians from Soviet penetration. General Kritek and his VII. Army had pushed to Odessa in March under terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed on February 9 by Austrian Foreign Minister Czernin and the Rada's representative, Hrushchevsky. The Austrians and Germans divided the occupation of the Ukraine into several sectors. Odessa and Podolia came under Austrian control, while Volhynia [northwest corner of Ukraine], Kiev [north central Ukraine], and Kharkov [Eastern Ukraine - Kharkiv] was occupied by the German Ost Armee under Genmajor Max Hoffmann. The Dnieper River and the Crimea was also administered by the Germans ...

    In May 1918, he replaced General Bšhm-Ermolli as commander of the II. Army and this force was redesignated the Ost Armee. GdI Ferdinand Kosak took command of the I. Corps. Ostarmee was assigned as an occupation force in the Eastern Ukraine. Krauss was to remain in this command until well after the armistice; he helped supervise the evacuation of German and Austrian troops not only from the Ukraine but also from Turkey. Krauss published his book "Die Ursachen unserer Niederlage" shortly after the war. Krauss also wrote "Theorie und Praxis in der Kriegkunst" (Munich, 1930) and "Das Wunder von Karfreit" (Munich) ...

  • The Brest-Litovsk Treaty [March 3, 1918] resulted in the Russians surrendering [ceding to the German Empire] the Ukraine, Finland, the Baltic provinces, the Caucasus and Poland. Occupation by German troops was short lived however, and in November 1918, the armistice Treaty of Versailles forced German troop withdrawal. - ]

  • The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk lasted only eight and a half months. Germany renounced the treaty and broke diplomatic relations with RSFSR on November 5, 1918, because of Soviet revolutionary propaganda ... Following the German capitulation, the Bolshevik legislature (VTsIK) annulled the treaty on November 13, 1918, (the text of the VTsIK Decision was printed in Pravda the next day). In the year after the armistice, the German Army withdrew its occupying units from the lands gained in the treaty, leaving behind a power vacuum that various forces subsequently attempted to fill ... -

  • Ost Armee

  • was established in May 1918 of 2 Army. She worked in Ukraine.

  • commander
    Gen. d. Inf Alfred Krauss [Austrian Commander at Odessa]

  • composition

    • XXV. Korps
      - 155th Honved Division
      - 54th Schützen divivision

    • XVII. Korps
      -7. kav. Div.
      -11. Inf. Div.

    • XII. Korps (Sector Odessa, Governor Feldmlt. von Boltz)
      -5. Honved kav. Div.
      -15. Inf. Div.
      -2. kav. Div.

      • - IV. Generalkommando
        Group Siebenbürgen
        -1. kav. Div.
        Oberkommando Mackenstein

      • - XVI Generalkommando
        -62. Inf. Div.

    • The deployment of subordinate units

      • Ost Armee Headquarters
        Located in Odessa. After the start of evacuation (October 30, 1918) moved to Vinnitsa [Central Ukraine].

      • XVII. Army Corps
        In May 1918 the Bukovina [historical region on the northern slopes of the northeastern Carpathian Mountains and the adjoining plains] ceded to Ukraine. Headquarters was located in Kherson, where he remained until November 1918.

      • XII. Army Corps

      • In May 1918 graduated from Galicia to Ukraine. The headquarters were located until the end of November 1918 in Jekatěrinaslavi. [Yekaterisnoslav or Yekaterinoslav (Ekaterinoslav) or Keterinoslav? - now named Dniepropetrovsk or Dnepropetrovsk]

      • XXV. Army Corps

      • In May 1918 graduated from Galicia to Ukraine. Headquarters was located until November 1918 in Žmerince.

  • Orders of Battle: Eastern Front, mid-October 1918
    Austria's Army of Occupation in the Ukraine

    • Ost Armee, Gen. d. Inf. Krauss [Austrian Commander at Odessa]

      • XXV. Korps, Gen. d. Inf. von Hofmann

        • CLV. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. ?

        • LIV. SchŸtzen div., Feldmlt. Severus von Laubenfeld und Ciminago

      • XVII. Korps, Gen. d. Inf. von Fabini

        • VII. kav. div., Genmj. Szivo de Bunja

        • XI. inf. div., Feldmlt. Metz von Spondalunga

      • XII. Korps, Feldzm. von Braun (Odessa sector; Governor Feldmlt. von Bšltz)

        • V. Honved kav. div., Genmj. von Mouillard

        • XV. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Aust

        • II. kav. div., Feldmlt. Abele von und zu Lilienberg

        • IV. Gen. Kom., Feldzm. Heinrich Goiginger

      • SiebenbŸrgen Group Command, Feldmlt. Goldbach von Sulittaborn

        • I. kav. div., Genmj. von Haberman

      • Oberkommand Mackenstein, XVI. gen. kom., Feldmlt. von Salis-Sewis

        • LXII. inf. div., Feldmlt. Braunschweig von Krompa

  • 15 October 1918
    Ost Army: General der Infantrie Krauss - For excellent in-depth details on the Austro-Hungarian Ost Army, Russian Theater, 15 October 1918:

  • The Ost Armee: Deep in Alien Territory, 1918

    Alfred Krauss was given command of a newly designated "Ost Armee" in early May, 1918. It's mission was to protect the Ukrainians from Soviet penetration. General Kritek and his VII. Army had pushed to Odessa in March under terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed on February 9 by Austrian Foreign Minister Czernin and the Rada's representative, Hrushchevsky. The Austrians and Germans divided the occupation of the Ukraine into several sectors. Odessa and Podolia came under Austrian control, while Volhynia, Kiev, and Kharkov was occupied by the German Ost Armee under Genmajor Max Hoffmann. The Dnieper River and the Crimea was also administered by the Germans.

    The Zaporozhian or "Wild" Plains together with the South Russian port of Taganrog was under Austrian control, while Rostov and the Don Basin was occupied by the Germans in late June 1918, at the request of the Cossacks. Krauss soon discovered that his forces were quite unwelcome in the Ukraine, and the people, though loathing the bolsheviki and Russians in general, did not look upon the Quadruple Alliance as liberators. In general, the Ukrainians had supported the Tsar's war against Austria as much as the Russians, and the fall of Przemysl in early 1915 was acclaimed throughout Kiev as a great victory for Slavdom. On the Zaporozhian Plains especially, there was a significant anarchist element that strove to expel the occupiers, no matter whom it might be...

  • The front stabilized but, when Russian forces refused to support her, Rumania concluded an armistice on 6 December 1917 ...

    Army Group Mackensen remained in Rumania following the Treaty of Bucharest of 7 May 1918; and on 19 June 1918 German 9th Army transferred to the Western Front, leaving the remaining German forces in place as the Rumanian Occupation Army (GFM Mackensen). Finally, on 10 November1918, Rumania broke out of her Moldavian redoubt just one day before the German Armistice, forcing the Occupation Army to retreat to Hermannstadt in Hungarian Transylvannia (Sibiu, Rumania) ...

    The German army in World War I.: 1917-18, Volume 3 By Nigel Thomas, Ramiro Bujeiro, p. 14 -

  • After the conclusion of peace with Rumania, Army Group Mackensen was, from 1 July 1918, named Army of Occupation in Rumania. The High Command of the 9th Army had already left on 18 June 1918 to be used on the Western Front ...

Imperial German Army, 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders of Battle By Hermann Cron, p. 56 -

  • Francke took command of the 212.? (Kgl. S?chs.) Infanterie-Division in September 1916

  • Of the nine German divisions which constitute Mackensen's army of occupation in Rumania [after the signing of the ... three are known to have already have been sent to the Bulgarian front ...

October 2, 1918 - The New York Times -

  • Kherson (Ukrainian and Russian: Херсон) is a city in southern Ukraine ...

  • [April] 10 Capture of Kherson and Byelgorod by the Germans ...

  • 212th Infantry Division-Ukraine, Kherson (May 1918). [Independent Division]

  • The purpose of the German-Austrian occupation of the Ukraine in 1918 was also to assure the export of grain, as promised by the Rada government in a secret protocol of 25 January 1918. ...  By an agreement made on April 23 of that year, the Ukraine was to supply the Axis powers with one million tons of grain and other products by the end of July. ... In fact, only 65,000 tons were exported, ...  for in 1918 the food situation was extremely grave throughout the Ukraine, especially in Kiev and Odessa. ... The Germans’ difficulty in requisitioning grain was due mainly to peasant protest. In early June a peasant uprising exploded in the district of Zvenyhorodka, south of Kiev.... Eighteen partisan divisions comprising 25,000 men took up arms. ... The uprising spread to the Tarašča [Tarashcha, Tarascha [Ukrainian], Tarasche [Yiddish], Taraszcza [Polish], Tarasca [Yiddish], and Tarashtcha [German]-sixty miles south of Kiev- / ] district. During the German occupation, 30,000 German and Austrian soldiers were killed in the battle with Ukrainian peasants ....

  • [May] 21 Large-scale peasant revolts in the Ukraine against oppression by the German troops and the Haydamaks.

  • In the Ukraine and Byelorussia the partisan movement emerged in 1918, with the occupation of those regions by the Austrian and German interventionists. The movement was characterized by the combination of an acute class struggle with a national liberation struggle. As early as February 1918, N. A. Shchors’ partisan detachment began active operations in Chernigov Province and in neighboring provinces (the Gomel’-Novozybkov-Chernigov region). By the summer of 1918 the partisan movement had become broad in scope. Uprisings against the occupation forces and Hetman P. P. Skoropadskii’s regime broke out in June, encompassing the entire province of Kiev and the adjacent provinces. (The struggle was joined by about 30,000 partisans, whose leaders included V. S. Balias.) Two German divisions were sent to suppress the uprising. After fierce battles the partisans were forced to retreat in early August to the left bank of the Dnieper and then to a neutral zone between the Ukraine and the RSFSR [Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic] ...

  • By 18 February 1918, the Russians had evacuated the last zone occupied by them in Eastern Galicia (Western Ukraine), which was immediately reoccupied by the Austrians. There began on the same day a rapid movement by the Germans eastward along the railway lines. The southern wing (Lisingen) went via Rovno/Rivne and Zhitomir, such that, by the end of February, it was before Kiev, which was occupied on 3rd March. The Germans then occupied Odessa on the 13th, Nikolaev/Mykolaiv on the 17th and Khar'kov/Kharkiv on 8 April 1918 ...

Apart from these [Austro-Hungarian] units which had participated in the advance into the Ukraine, troops were also brought in during the months of April to June to occupy the Ukraine, as well as other units from other fronts. The Ukraine was divided between Germany and Austria-Hungary into zones of military occupation. The Austro-Hungarians had zones of occupation in the following provinces:

Apart from these units which had participated in the advance into the Ukraine, troops were also brought in during the months of April to June to occupy the Ukraine, as well as other units from other fronts. The Ukraine was divided between Germany and Austria-Hungary into zones of military occupation. The Austro-Hungarians had zones of occupation in the following provinces:-
- Podolia province: In the zone of Zhmerinka (54th & 155th Infantry Divisions, from 17th Army Corps).
- Kherson province: In the zone of Voznesensk (11th Infantry Division, from 17th Army Corps).
- Ekaterinoslav province: In the area of Ekaterinoslav/Katerynoslav (34th Infantry Division, 5th Cavalry Division & 145th Infantry Brigade, from 12th Army Corps).
- In Odessa: The Command of the 2nd Army was set up there and then named "Ostarmee" = Eastern Army; also the 30th Infantry Division.
By the beginning of October 1918, the units in the Ukraine were gradually being transferred to the Italian Front ...

17th Army Corps: It was moved from Bucovina into the Ukraine in May 1918, being permanently subordinate to the Ostarmee and setting up its Command at Kherson, where it remained until the end in November.

93rd Infantry Regiment in the 34th Infantry Division [of the Austro-Hungarian Army] : It was in Kiev on 1 June 1918, subordinate to the German Army Group of Eichhorn. It left the Ukraine for Serbia on 14th October ... [IR 93 = 67 IBg, 34 ID, then 1st June with Eichhorn Army Group; 30th Aug. German Army Group Kiev ]

27th Jäger Battalion [of the Austro-Hungarian Army]: Subordinate to the 16th Infantry Brigade of the 30th Infantry Division on 28 February 1918. It was in Nikolaev/Mykoläiv on 1st June (in Odessa, according to other sources) with the German 212th Infantry Division [Independent Division] of the [Austro-Hungarian] 17th Army Corps. It was subordinate on 15th June to the 60th Brigade of the 30th Infantry Division; on 30th August with the German 42nd Infantry Division in Nikolaev, directly subordinate to the Ostarmee. Under the 2nd Cavalry Division on 15th October ...

-The Austro-Hungarian Army in the Ukraine: March-November 1918 by Dan Grecu, pp. 74-75 - and

  • At the end of March an agreement was at last reached. On the Black Sea the Austrians retained Odessa and Kherson; the Germans Nikolaev and Sevastopol. Three Governments, Ekaterinoslav, Kherson, Podolia and the southern strip in Volhynia were reserved as the Austrian zone. In this wise [sic], the Crimea, which shortly passed into German hands, was separated by the Austrian zone from the rest of the territories in German occupation ...

Ukraine: a history By Orest Subtelny, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, p. 289 -

German Military Governors at Kiev
 1 Mar 1918 -  1 Apr 1918  Alexander von Linsingen            (b. 1850 - d. 1935)
 2 Apr 1918 - 30 Jul 1918  Hermann Gottfried Emil von         (b. 1848 - d. 1918)
30 Jul 1918 - 14 Dec 1918  Günther Graf von Kirchbach         (b. 1850 - d. 1925)

  • The gradual advance eastward of the Heeresgruppe Kiev continued. The 22nd Reserve Corps remained in Volhynia [northwest corner of Ukraine]: the 27th Reserve (Saxon) Corps was in Kiev [north central part of the Ukraine on the Dnieper River]: the 41st Reserve Corps, after crossing the Dniepr, occupied the Government of Chernigov [on the left (East) bank of the Dnieper River], the 20th Army Corps that of Poltava [city in central Ukraine]: the 1st Army Corps marched into Kharkov [north-eastern part of Ukraine] on 20 April. General Groener, who was concerned to collect supplies, gave the order in May for the 215th Infantry Division and the 2nd Cavalry Division to march into the south-east into the Donets coal basin [eastern Ukraine] as far as the boundaries of the Don Cossack region, where an independent Government been set up. At the same time the 212th Infantry Division [Independent Division] occupied Melitopol [southeastern Ukraine and situated on the Molochna River that flows through the eastern edge of the city and into the Molochnyi Liman, which eventually joins the Sea of Azov] and the northern part of the Government of Tauris [Crimea], while the 15th Landwehr Division was sent to the Crimea and Sevastopol [port city in Crimea, located on the Black Sea]. By the middle of May the occupation had been accomplished.

Ukraine: a history By Orest Subtelny, Canadian coal  Institute of Ukrainian Studies, p. 289 -

  • Near Melitopol, the corps was confronted by large defense-ready enemy force for the first time during the campaign. The Bolsheviks put up fierce resistance, and the battle could have ended with their victory if it were not for a fortunate coincidence. At the time, a unit commanded by Col. Drozdovsky was passing behind the Bolsheviks’ positions on its way to the Don to join the White Guard forces there. When they learned that the Bolsheviks were fighting some unknown enemy, the Russians attacked them from the rear. The surprise attack overwhelmed the Bolsheviks and they fled all the way to Syvash [Sea of Azov]. On April 20 [1918], the Zaporozhian Corps also reached this area and was found there by Gen. Robert von Kosch, commander of the German force. Col. Bolbochan informed him about his decision to immediately attack Syvash ...

  • In the late summer of 1918 the German troops received an order to return back to Germany. World War 1 was over. The retreat of the armies here should be ended before the turn of November and December. The local German Commandant promised the German settlers to leave enough weapons behind for them to be able to defend themselves. He also recommended them to establish a common strategy of defense if they were to be under attack. In the end the German army left about one hundred German rifles (Mausers), two small machine-guns and ammunition for these weapons, which were, however, not sufficient for a large battle. South of Schlangendorf [Odessa] and north of Klosterdorf [Odessa] there were small fortifications built of stones taken from the stone fences at the boundaries. These fire trenches and machine-gun nests were built at strategic places along the border of the district, especially to protect the main road from the south (Berislav) to the north (Bizjukov). There were several veterans from the war that could lead the villagers in the defense against any aggressors. This year, in 1918, a census was conducted in the district. Schlangendorf [Odessa] had 712 inhabitants, Möhlhausendorf [Mühlhausendorf - Odessa] 773, Gammalsvenskby [Kherson Oblast - Southern Ukraine] 809 inhabitants and Klosterdorf [Odessa] 734. Together there were 3008 people living here in the so-called Swedish district ...

  • In November 1920 German Mennonite leaders met in the city of Ludwigshafen on the Rhine to establish the Mennonitische FlüchtlingsFürsorge [MFF] – Mennonite Refugee Aid organisation (renamed Deutsche Mennoniten-Hilfe [DMH] in May 1922) ... [In November 1920 German Mennonite leaders met in the city of Ludwigshafen on the Rhine to establish the Mennonitische Flüchtlings-Fürsorge [MFF] – Mennonite Refugee Aid organisation (renamed Deutsche Mennoniten-Hilfe [DMH] in May 1922) ...]

The movement of Russian Mennonites to Germany began during the time of the German occupation of Ukraine from February to November 1918. Many Mennonites, especially wealthier and “connected” Mennonites (including Johann Esau, the former mayor of Ekaterinoslav, now Dnepropetrovsk), left Ukraine with the retreating German forces after the German surrender at Compiegne in November 1918. Others fled secretly and illegally across Russia’s and Ukraine’s western borders into the newly founded Republic of Poland and from there into Germany.

Once in Germany, some were able to find refuge with family or friends, but most ended up in displaced persons camps scattered throughout the country – housed in cramped, poor conditions along with thousands of other German refugees from the East, from former German and Austrian lands that had been lost to Poland, Russia and Romania at Versailles in 1919. As a result of limitations imposed by this treaty on Germany’s armed forces – limiting them to a maximum of 100,000 men – dozens of military establishments, barracks and training centres had to be closed and vacated.

Leaders of the MFF met with representatives of the Prussian and Bavarian governments in 1920 to negotiate a lease for the abandoned military Camp Lechfeld, located in Bavaria, about 20 km south of Augsburg. The deal was finalized in April 1921, and the first Mennonite refugees began arriving in May-June 1921 ...

After the First World War, all POWS kept in Lechfeld were repatriated and the barracks were used temporarily to house German soldiers being demobilized. After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), military hardware and airplanes were dismantled and aircraft hangars destroyed ...

When the first wave of “legal” Mennonite migration from the Soviet Union began in the summer of 1923, the facilities at Camp Lechfeld were enlarged to provide temporary housing for these new Mennonite immigrants as well ...


  • Mecklenburg is a region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It was the seat of a short-lived Mennonite settlement of refugees from Russia made in 1921 and sponsored by the Mennonitische Flüchtlings-Fürsorge (MFF) ...

  • Lechfeld, Bavaria, Germany, a Mennonite refugee camp and temporary settlement (1921-1925), located on the former military drill ground of the same name about 10-12 miles (16-19 km) directly south of Augsburg. The Mennonitische Flüchtlingsfürsorge (M.F.F., founded 12 November 1920), a German Mennonite organization, sought in various ways to aid Mennonite refugees from Russia who had come to Germany before the major emigration movement from Russia to Canada in 1923-25. A small colonization attempt in Mecklenburg in 1921 had failed. A similar attempt at Camp Lechfeld, although on a much larger scale, beginning in April 1921, also failed and by 1926 was completely abandoned for lack of funds ...

  • By Christmas of 1921 there were 180 Mennonites present ...

  • Now an organized and centralized program of support was inaugurated on 22 November 1920, when the Flüchtlingsfürsorge was organized in Ludwigshafen with its seat at Heilbronn. Its purpose was "to assist with pastoral and material aid the German refugees from Russia, especially the brethren in the faith, who have been sorely tried in soul, spirit, and body in consequence of war and anarchy." An attempt was made to find the Mennonite families and support them with money, clothing, and food. An effort was made to give permanent aid by finding employment for them in industry and on farms. A considerable number of families settled in Gronau in Westphalia and worked in the textile mills of the van Deldens. Others were settled on state lands east of Lübeck in Lockwisch and Westerbeck near Schönberg in Mecklenburg-Strelitz in the winter of 1920 and summer of 1921; this was made possible by loans from the German Mennonite congregations. But the settlers soon emigrated to America with the exception of one family. The loans were fully paid back; some of the funds were donated to the conference of the South German Mennonites for benevolent purposes.

Other refugees were given work and lodging for their families in the Lechfeld camp, a former army drill ground which was given for agricultural purposes to the Mennonite Fürsorgekomitee, the Mennonite relief organization called "Christenpflicht ", and the union of German Baptists. This farm yielded about 50,000 marks in 1923 for charitable purposes. The refugees who could not be used in farming were given other work such as basket making or the manufacture of work clothing. At the same time a camp was kept in Lechfeld for Mennonite refugees whose admission to Canada was postponed for reasons of health. The German government consented to this arrangement after the Heilbronn committee had given a guarantee that it would take care of all expenses and assume political responsibility for the refugees.

To meet the increasing scope of its work the committee changed its name on 9 May 1922, to "Deutsche Mennonitenhilfe" (German Mennonite Aid) and transferred its seat to Oberursel near Frankfurt. Most of the refugees were able to emigrate to Canada with the support of the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization ...


NOVEMBER 1918 - MARCH, 1919

Here are The ArmeeKorps associated with Heeresgruppe-Kiev [Heeresgruppe-Kiew]
as it evacuated from The Ukraine in November, 1918-March, 1919:

1st Armee Korps [1st Army Corps]
41st Reserve Korps [41st Reserve Corps]
20th Armee Korps [20th Army Corps]
22nd Reserve Armee Korps [22nd Reserve Corps]
27th Reserve Armee Korps [27th (Saxon) Corps]

  • Petlioura, another Red leader, penetrated into Odessa on Dec.10 1918, but his force of 1.500  volunteers were afraid to march on the harbor  defended  by French seamen and 300 Poles.  By December 18, the battalions the French 156th division (Général Borius) took possession of the city. The French chased the Reds hundreds of kilometres to the north of the city and north-easterly to Nikolaïev. Despite the French presence, much civil unrest continued with 100,000 armed civil workers on strike in Odessa, and  the 40.000 blue-collar workers in Nikolaïev, who were provoked by the Germans; the 20.000 blue-collar workers of Kherson received their orders from  Grégorieff, all of them were pro-bolshevik. The French had stepped into a hornet’s nest and by April 1919, they would leave the Ukraine to the Reds.



MARCH 1919 - 1921

  • An extraordinary medley of events had been taking place in Odessa. The 7th German Landwehr Division, sent there in November to take over from the absconding Austrians, was duly cut off from Kiev and found that it could not fight its way through the swarms of 'Petlyurians' who were occupying the station of Birzula [Ukraine] ...

Meanwhile the Germans were trying to remain strictly neutral. During the previous week the bulk of the Landwehr Division had  succeeded in getting away, but there still remained in Odessa about 1600 German troops and a battery of field artillery. The 15th Landwehr Division in Nikolaev [southern Ukraine] was in the same position: it too was cut off from communication with the German Command in Kiev ...

French troops were now quartered in Odessa ... The command was vested in the French General d'Anselm, who proceeded to entrust the 15th German Landwehr Division with the maintenance of law and order in Nikolaev ...

On 10 March began the evacuation by sea of the 7th Landwehr Division from Odessa and of the 15th Landwehr Division from Nikolaev. In the latter city the bands of Grigoriev entered the burning suburbs while the Germans were still embarking ...

Ukraine: a history By Orest Subtelny, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, pp. 307 -308

  • After the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) an independent Crimean republic was proclaimed; but the region was soon occupied by German forces and then became a refuge for the White Army ...  

  • On 14 December 1918, after German troops had abandoned Kyiv, Skoropadsky abdicated and fled to Germany. The Ukrainian People's Republic was once again proclaimed by the directory headed by Volodymyr Vynnychenko and Symon Petlyura as supreme otaman ...

  • Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic (Dyrektoriia UNR) The temporary, revolutionary, state authority created by the Ukrainian National Union on 14 November 1918 ... On 5 February 1919 the Directory moved from Kyiv to Vinnytsia. Henceforth it frequently changed residence, depending on events at the front ... The ‘Law on the Temporary Supreme Authority and the Legislative System of the Ukrainian National Republic,’ passed on 12 November 1920, gave constitutional sanction to the new one-man Directory as the supreme power of the republic ...\D\I\DirectoryoftheUkrainianNationalRepublic.htm

  • On January 16, 1919 Ukraine officially declared a war on Russia while the Russian Soviet government continued to deny all claims of invasion. On January 22, 1919, the Directorate was officially united with the West Ukrainian People's Republic, although the latter entity de facto maintained its own army and government. In February 1919, the Bolsheviks captured Kiev ...

Throughout 1919, Ukraine experienced chaos as the armies of the Ukrainian Republic, the Bolsheviks, the Whites, the foreign powers of the Entente, and Poland, as well as anarchist bands such as that of Nestor Makhno tried to prevail. The subsequent Kiev Offensive, staged by the Polish army and allied Ukrainian forces, was unable to change the situation, and in March 1921, the Peace of Riga sealed a shared control of the territory by Poland, the Russian SFSR, and the Ukrainian RSR. ...'s_Republic

  • Poland and the Soviet Union exchanged prisoners after the Peace Treaty in Riga was signed in late 1920. The POW exchange process begun in March 1921, with most POWs being transferred by May 1922.


  • The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic had been founded already on January 6, 1919 and by the end of the year they had managed to get control of most of the country. A last attempt to re-take control of Ukraine was made by the Ukrainian People's Republic under the president Symon Petljura in April 1920. With help of Polish troops they also managed to take Kyiv on May 7, but were forced to retreat in June. Poland and Soviet Russia concluded an armistice in October 1920, and in November the major Ukrainian Army formations were forced to retreat across the Zbruch River into Polish-held territory and to submit to internment. Although the partisan movement in Ukraine remained active until mid 1922.

    On December 30, 1922 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was a founding component of the Soviet Union.



Typical Uniform to Regiment 182

Germans in Russia - 1916

 Kgl. Sachs. Landwehr Infanterie Regiment 103 - In Russia 10.6.16 [Perhaps on the Minsk-Smolensk road}
"14. Landw. Div. L.I.K. 103/12., 5 Korp. Admin stamp from 11 Komp Landw. Inf. Regt. 103. Postage cancelled 12.6.16"
For more details, See:




[Note: About July 27, 1916 the units of the division were relieved from the front of Lake Narotch and sent to Volhynia [Ukraine]
to the Von Linsingen Army. The division was on the Eastern Front from c. July 27, 1916 to March, 1918
Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German
Army which participated in the War (1914-1918) (Washington Government Printing Office, 1920), p. 192
- ]

HQ:  Cologne

Generaloberst  Hermann von Eichhorn

26 Jan 1915

* chief of staff Oberst Emil Hell "

* HQ transfers to Marggrabowa  (Olecko, Poland)

6 Mar 1915

* HQ transfers to Vilna  (Vilnius, Lithuania)

29 Sep 1915
* chief of staff Oberst Walter FH Schmidt von Schmidtseck 17 Jul 1916
* chief of staff Generalmajor Traugott Martin von Sauberzweig 9 Sep 1917
* chief of staff Generalmajor Walter FH Schmidt von Schmidtseck 17 Dec 1917

* Eichhorn promoted Generalfeldmarschall

18 Dec 1917
* chief of staff Oberst Georg Frotscher 16 Feb 1918
* chief of staff Oberstleutnant Max Stapff 4 Mar 1918
Gen.d.Inf.  Erich von Falkenhayn 4 Mar 1918

* HQ transferred to Minsk  (Belarus)

12 June 1918

* end of Falkenhayn's command

25 Feb 1919

*  German Field Army Commanders

[ ]


BUG (Bug-Armee)

* formed from AOK South, HQ:  Lemberg (Lvov, Ukraine)

Gen.d.Inf.  Alexander von Linsingen

6 Jul 1915

* chief of staff Generalmajor Paulus von Stolzmann "
* chief of staff Oberst Emil Hell 17 Jul 1916
* chief of staff Oberstleutnant Victor Keller 7 Dec 1916

* disbanded

31 Mar 1918

*  German Field Army Commanders

[ ]


SOUTH (Süd-Armee)

HQ:  Munkacz (Mukachevo, Ukraine)

Gen.d.Inf.  Alexander von Linsingen

11 Jan 1915

* chief of staff Generalmajor Paulus von Stolzmann  "

* HQ transfers to Stryj (Ukraine)

5 Jun 1915

* AOK South transfers to Lemberg and becomes AOK Bug

6 Jul 1915

* AOK South immediately reformed from II. Bavarian Army Corps 

6 Jul 1915
Generaloberst Felix Graf von Bothmer 6 Jul 1915
* chief of staff Oberst Hans Ritter von Hemmer "

* HQ established at Brzezany  (Ukraine)

4 Sep 1915

* HQ transfers to Chodorov  (Ukraine)

15 Jan 1916

* HQ transfers to Czortkov  (Ukraine)

4 Aug 1917

* disbanded

3 Mar 1918

*  German Field Army Commanders

[ ]

Armee-Abteilungen 1914-1918 * Army Detachment Commanders
[Note: Four independent temporary armies ('D', Gronau, Scheffer, Woyrsch),
and three temporary armies (Eben, Litzmann and Marwitz) fought on the Eastern Front ]
Armeeabteilung "D"  (Scholtz)

* HQ:  Uzjany, Lithuania

Gen.d.Art.  Friedrich von Scholtz

28 Oct 1915

* chief of staff Oberstleutnant Detlef Graf von Schwerin "
Gen.d.Inf.  Oskar von Hutier 2 Jan 1917

* renamed Army Detachment D

10 Jan 1917
Gen.d.Inf.  Günther Graf von Kirchbach 22 Apr 1917
* chief of staff Oberst von Kessel 8 Jun 1917
Gen.d.Art.  Hans von Kirchbach 12 Dec 1917

* Kirchbach promoted Generaloberst

23 Jan 1918

* HQ transfers to Dünaburg  (Daugavpils, Lat)

28 Feb 1918
* chief of staff Oberst Leopold von Kleist 25 Mar 1918

* AAbt D becomes part of Army Group Kiev

2 Oct 1918

* Army Detachment Commanders


Armeeabteilung Gronau

HQ:  ??

Gen.d.Art.  Hans von Gronau

5 Aug 1916

* disbanded

31 Dec 1917

* Army Detachment Commanders


Armeeabteilung Scheffer
Gen.d.Inf.  Reinhard von Scheffer-Boyadel

4 Oct 1916

* disbanded 9 Sep 1917

* Army Detachment Commanders


Armeeabteilung Woyrsch

HQ:  ??

Generaloberst  Remus von Woyrsch

3 Nov 1914

* chief of staff Oberstleutnant Wilhelm Heye "

* Woyrsch concurrently CO Army Grp Woyrsch through 31 Dec 1916

29 Aug 1916

* disbanded

31 Dec 1917

* Army Detachment Commanders 




General Johannes Karl Louis Richard von Eben


Karl von Litzmann


Georg Kornelius Adalbert von der Marwitz  

  • In World War I, the 3rd Division served initially on the Western Front, seeing action in the invasion of Belgium, the First Battle of the Marne and the Race to the Sea. The division was then transferred to the Eastern Front, and remained there until the end of the war with Russia. It then served in occupation duty in Russia until October 1918, when it returned to the Western Front for the final few weeks of the war.

  • At the beginning of the war the 3rd Landwehr Division formed a part of the 2nd Landwehr Corps (old 6th Landwehr Corps) and always occupied the eastern front. Poland - Up to the German offensive of the summer of 1915 the 3rd Landwehr Division along with the 2nd Landwehr Corps, participated in the Polish Campaign. At the end of October 1914, it was identified before Warsaw (Rawa-Vistula); in the middle of November it was in retreat to the south and east of Czenstochow; in December it was to the west of Kielce. -

  • On mobilization in August 1914 at the beginning of World War I, most divisional cavalry, including brigade headquarters, was withdrawn to form cavalry divisions or split up among divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from their higher headquarters. The 3rd Division was again renamed the 3rd Infantry Division and the 54th Infantry was transferred to the 36th Reserve Division. The 3rd Infantry Division's initial wartime organization was as follows:[6]
    • 5.Infanterie-Brigade:
      • Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1. Pommersches) Nr. 2
      • Colbergsches-Grenadier-Regiment Graf Gneisenau (2. Pommersches) Nr. 9
    • 6.Infanterie-Brigade:
      • Füsilier-Regiment Königin Viktoria von Schweden (1. Pommersches) Nr. 34
      • Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (5. Pommersches) Nr. 42
    • Grenadier-Regiment zu Pferde Freiherr von Derfflinger (Neumärkisches) Nr. 3
    • 3.Feldartillerie-Brigade:
      • 1. Pommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 2
      • Vorpommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 38
    • 1./Pommersches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 2 ...

    Divisions underwent many changes during the war, with regiments moving from division to division, and some being destroyed and rebuilt. During the war, most divisions became triangular - one infantry brigade with three infantry regiments rather than two infantry brigades of two regiments (a "square division"). An artillery commander replaced the artillery brigade headquarters, the cavalry was further reduced, the engineer contingent was increased, and a divisional signals command was created.

The 3rd Infantry Division was heavily reorganized by 1918, losing all of its prewar infantry regiments. These were replaced by lower grade infantry and Landwehr infantry regiments. The division was also weaker in artillery and engineers than most other divisions. These changes reflected the division's primary role as occupation troops late in the war. Its order of battle on January 10, 1918 was as follows:

  • 6.Infanterie-Brigade:

    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 425

    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 428

    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 4

  • 3.Eskadron/Grenadier-Regiment zu Pferde Freiherr von Derfflinger (Neumärkisches) Nr. 3

  • Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 87

  • Stab Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 112:

    • 1.Landwehr-Kompanie/Schlesisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 6

    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 3

    • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 3


  • The 3rd Landwehr Division (3. Landwehr-Division) was an infantry division of the Imperial German Army during World War I. It was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914 under the "Higher Landwehr Commander 3" (Höherer Landwehr-Kommandeur 3). The Landwehr was the third category of the German Army, after the regular Army and the reserves. Thus Landwehr divisions were made up of older soldiers who had passed from the reserves, and were intended primarily for occupation and security duties rather than heavy combat. The division was a Landwehr formation, but also had attached at the beginning of the war an Ersatz infantry brigade, made up of cadres from various regimental replacement battalions (this brigade was dissolved in September 1914). The division was primarily raised in the Prussian provinces of Posen, Lower Silesia, and West Prussia. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

The 3rd Landwehr Division fought on the Eastern Front in World War I. It was on the front in Poland from the early days, and participated in the Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive, crossing the Vistula in July and advancing toward the Bug, and eventually reaching the line between the Servech and Shchara rivers, where the front stabilized. It remained in the line there until the armistice on the Eastern Front in December 1917. Thereafter, the division served in Ukraine and in German occupation forces in Russia until late September 1918, when it went to the Western Front, serving in the Flanders area until the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the division as fourth class and of mediocre combat value

The order of battle of the 3rd Landwehr Division on mobilization in August 1914 was as follows:
  • 17.Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 6
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 7
  • 18.Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 37
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 46
  • 17.Ersatz-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 17
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 18
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 19
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 20
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 77
  • Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr. 1
  • 1.Landsturm-Batterie/V.Armeekorps
  • 2.Landsturm-Batterie/V.Armeekorps
  • Ersatz-Abteilung/1. Posensches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 20
  • Ersatz-Abteilung/2. Niederschlesisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 41
  • Ersatz-Kompanie/Niederschlesisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 5
The division underwent several structural changes as the war progressed. It was triangularized in September 1916, sending the 18th Landwehr Infantry Brigade to the 217th Infantry Division. Cavalry was reduced, pioneers were increased to a full battalion, and an artillery command and a divisional signals command were created. The division's order of battle on March 18, 1918 was as follows:
  • 17.Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 6
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 7
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 46
  • 1.Eskadron/Dragoner-Regiment von Bredow (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 4
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 130
    • Landwehr-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 3
  • 1.Ersatz-Kompanie/Niederschlesisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 5
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 503


  • The 4th Landwehr Division (4. Landwehr-Division) was an infantry division of the Imperial German Army during World War I. It was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914 under the "Higher Landwehr Commander 4" (Höherer Landwehr-Kommandeur 4). The Landwehr was the third category of the German Army, after the regular Army and the reserves. Thus Landwehr divisions were made up of older soldiers who had passed from the reserves, and were intended primarily for occupation and security duties rather than heavy combat. The division was primarily raised in the Prussian provinces of Upper and Lower Silesia. It was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

  • The 4th Landwehr Division fought on the Eastern Front in World War I. It was on the front in Poland from the early days, and participated in the Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive, crossing the Vistula in July and advancing toward the Bug, and eventually reaching the line between the Servech and Shchara rivers near Baranovichi, where the front stabilized. It remained in the line there until the armistice on the Eastern Front in December 1917. Thereafter, the division served in Ukraine and in German occupation forces in Russia. In November 1918, elements of the division were transferred to the Western Front, but had barely arrived in the line by the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the division as mediocre

    Order of battle on mobilization

    The order of battle of the 4th Landwehr Division on mobilization in August 1914 was as follows:

    • 22.Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 11
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 51
    • 23.Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 22
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 23
    • Ersatz-Kavallerie-Regiment
    • Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr. 2
    • Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment von Puecker (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 6
    • Ersatz-Abteilung/2. Oberschlesisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 57
    • 1.Landsturm-Batterie/VI.Armeekorps
    • 2.Landsturm-Batterie/VI.Armeekorps
    • Ersatz-Kompanie/Schlesisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 6

    Order of battle on February 5, 1918

    The division underwent several structural changes as the war progressed. It was triangularized in September 1916, dissolving the 23rd Landwehr Infantry Brigade. Cavalry was reduced, pioneers were increased to a full battalion, and a divisional signals command was created. The division's order of battle on February 5, 1918 was as follows:[3]

    • 22.Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 11
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 23
      • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 51
    • 3.Eskadron/Dragoner-Regiment von Bredow (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 4
    • Landwehr-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 4
    • Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 404
    • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 504


Ukrainian National Republic/Ukrainian People's Republic (1917-1920)

List of Ukrainian governments of 1917–1920

  • Central Rada of the Ukrainian People's Republic: March 17, 1917–April 19, 1918.

  • First Ukrainian Soviet government: December 25, 1917–March 1918.

  • Hetmanate of the Ukrainian State: April 19, 1918–December 14, 1918.

  • Ukrainian National Council of the West Ukrainian People's Republic: October 18, 1918–January 22, 1919 (de facto independent until July 1919).

  • Second Ukrainian Soviet government: November 20, 1918–August 1919.

  • Directorate of the Ukrainian People's Republic: November 14, 1918–1920.

  • All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee: April 1919–July 1919.

  • Third Ukrainian Soviet government: December 21, 1919–1991.

  • Galician Soviet Socialist Republic: July 8, 1920–September 21, 1920


  • Ukrainian National Republic [UNR] ... Central Rada (Tsentralna Rada). At first, an all-Ukrainian center that united political, community, cultural, and professional organizations ...

  • The Central Rada was founded in Kyiv on 17 March 1917 on the initiative of the Society of Ukrainian Progressives with the participation of other political parties ... By the end of July 1917 the Rada consisted of 822 deputies, who represented the following groups: the All-Ukrainian Council of Peasants' Deputies (212), the All-Ukrainian Council of Military Deputies (158), the All-Ukrainian Council of Workers' Deputies (100), non-Ukrainian workers' and soldiers' councils (50), Ukrainian socialist parties (20), Russian socialist parties (40), Jewish socialist parties (35), Polish socialist parties (15), cities, towns, and gubernias (84), and professional, educational, economic, and community organizations and the national minorities—Moldavians, Germans, Tatars, Belarusians (108). Out of the 822 members, the 58 members of the Little Rada were chosen, with 18 of these representing the national minorities. Following the declaration, the Central Rada passed a series of laws, establishing the eight-hour work day, land reform (see Land law, Land reforms), and, during its stay in Zhytomyr and Sarny in Volhynia, laws on the monetary system, a national coat of arms, citizenship in the UNR, and the administrative-territorial division of the territory of Ukraine. The most important legislative act of the Central Rada was the adoption of the Constitution of the Ukrainian National Republic (29 April 1918).  ...

  • The citizens of the republic, regardless of sex or nationality, were guaranteed basic civil and political rights ...

  • The law of the Central Rada on the national autonomy of national minorities in Ukraine formed a separate section in the constitution ...

  • The Constitution of the Ukrainian National Republic turned out to have merely a moral-political significance, for Pavlo Skoropadsky's coup on the day of its adoption prevented it from being implemented. Skoropadsky's declaration of his assumption of power and the proclamation on 29 April 1918 of a temporary structure of Ukraine abolished the constitution of the UNR. However, some of its provisions inspired the legislation of the UNR under the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic ...\C\O\ConstitutionoftheUkrainianNationalRepublic.htm

  • The 7th Landwehr Division (7. Landwehr-Division) was a unit of the Prussian/German Army ... The division was formed on January 27, 1915 out of the formerly independent 55th Mixed Landwehr Brigade and the 57th Landwehr Infantry Brigade. The division spent the period from its formation to early 1917 on the Western Front, mainly involved in positional warfare in Upper Alsace, after which it went to the Lorraine front. It was transferred to the Eastern Front in the Spring of 1917, where it remained after the 1917 armistice on that front. In 1918, it served in internal security missions in Ukraine, where it was located when World War I ended. Allied intelligence rated the division as a fourth class division ...  The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. [NOTE: As a Landwehr division, it was primarily composed of older soldiers who had already fulfilled their regular and reserve service obligations] 


  • From Autumn 1916 onwards, sixteen [German] brigade Staffs became autonomous, and in 1918 mostly formed mixed units in Russia and the Ukraine ...

From February 1918. the Military Operations Directorate Ukraine was set up and from July 1918, the Railway Central Office Kiev. Under the command of the Military Railway Directorates were the Railway Station Commanders' Offices, and the technical operations offices of their area. Of these offices there were in total: 59 for operations, 35 for traffic, 6 for workshops and 31 for machines. In addition, there were also 9 Military Railway Workshop Sections and 9 Military Goods Offices ...

Imperial German Army, 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders of Battle By Hermann Cron, pp. 127, 210.

  • Generaloberst Remus von Woyrsch [veteran German infantry officer Remus von Woyrsch was recalled from retirement in August 1914 to command a corps on the Eastern Front - His forces were attached to the Austro-Hungarian First Army for a short time before becoming part of Army Section Woyrsch on the Silesian sector of the front in October. Woyrsch remained in Poland until the end of the war on the Eastern Front, commanding Army Group Woyrsch, which covered the south of the country from August 1916 until its disbandment at the end of 1917. ]

[ ]

  • Generaloberst Alexander von Linsingen [His Army of the Bug won glorious victories along the river Bug in summer 1915 ...henceforth, all of the Eastern Front north of the Bukowina was to be under German military direction. This brought nearly all operations against Russia by Austria under German control. It was perhaps necessary under the circumstances, but it was not at all appreciated by the Austrians ...

[ ]

  • Eben Group, Gen. d. Inf. von Eben [Field Army Commander General Johannes von Eben] ...

[ ]

General Johannes Karl Louis Richard von Eben (1855-1924)

[ ]

  • Field Army Commander Gronau

[ ]

Hans von Gronau (1850-1949), General der Artillerie

[ ]

[ ]

General Reinhard Gottlob Georg Heinrich Freiherr von Scheffer-Boyadel (1851-1925)


  • Felix Graf von Bothmer ... Bothmer took leadership of the Südarmee [Deutsch Süd Armee] on 7 July 1915 and retained command until 1918.

[ ]

German South Army (Südarmee), [1n 1715] consist[ed] of two Austrian divisions and four German divisions ...

[ ]  

  • The most famous of these groups was that of the peasant anarchist leader Nestor Makhno, who began operations in the south-eastern Ukraine against the Hetmanate regime in July 1918. In September he formed the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine with arms and equipment obtained from the retreating Austro-Hungarian and German forces ...

  • Until the creation of the USSR in December of 1922, Soviet Ukraine was officially a sovereign state, only allied with the Russian SFSR by the treaty of 1920. In fact, Ukraine was bound to Moscow by the centralized Russian Communist Party, of which the Communist Party of Ukraine (overwhelmingly non-Ukrainian in leadership and composition) was but a branch. Russian control of Ukraine was further assured by the Red Army and the infamous Cheka, the forerunner of the NKVD and KGB. The alliance treaty signed between the two "sovereign republics" in 1920 further integrated their economic and military affairs, and put the resources of Ukraine at the disposal of Russia. During the last quarter of 1921, while famine ravaged the southern provinces of Ukraine, the Kharkiv government did virtually nothing to alleviate it. Instead it was very actively involved in organizing famine relief for Russia.

The reaction of the Soviet authorities to the famine in Russia stood in marked contrast to their inaction in response to the Ukrainian tragedy. In the RSFSR, the famine had broken out somewhat earlier than in Ukraine and eventually affected about three times as many people; the final toll was about twice as heavy. After a brief attempt to hide this catastrophe, which the Bolsheviks feared would be interpreted as a failure of their rule, Moscow launched an elaborate famine relief campaign. In July 1921, the famine regions in Russia were declared a disaster zone and were exempted from food taxation. Food and money collection was organized for them in the Soviet republics, and help was sought also from the West. The Volga famine zone included many nationalities, but aid seems to have been concentrated in the ethnically Russian areas. During the second year of the famine, Western agencies noticed that the majority of the starving population consisted of national minorities (Tatars, Germans, etc.)

Throughout the whole period, the starving areas of Ukraine continued to be taxed, and forced to provide 'voluntary" aid for Russia. This amounted to criminal behavior on the part of the Bolshevik authorities and astounded foreign observers ...

In July of 1921, anguished cries pierced the air, begging the West to "save starving Russia." Tikhon, patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, wrote to the pope and the heads of other Churches; the prominent Russian writer Maxim Gorky addressed Western intellectuals; George Chicherin, as commissar for external affairs, sent a message to the heads of states; and Lenin appealed to the proletariat of the world. This campaign received an immediate response. States, Churches and charitable organizations offered to supply food, medicine and clothing ...

Since the fall of 1921, food parcels could be bought by private individuals and organizations in the West and sent through relief organizations to designated parties in the Soviet republics. Most of these parcels, costing $10 each and capable of feeding one person for one month, were bought in the United States and distributed by the ARA in Ukraine. ...

Most of the Ukrainians living in the West came from Galicia and were understandably most concerned about the fate of this region. In November 1918, Galicia proclaimed itself an independent state, the Republic of Western Ukraine, and two months later attempted to unite with the Kiev-led (Eastern) Ukrainian National Republic. This union came to nought when Poland and Russia attacked Ukraine and then divided the country between them through the treaty of Riga (armistice was signed on October 12, 1920, Treaty March 18, 1921). The new political division of Ukraine split the concerns of the Ukrainian diaspora, focusing most of its attention on the events in Galicia rather than the problems in Soviet Ukraine. Polish occupation of Galicia had not immediately been accepted by the great powers, and in 1921 there was still hope that the Ambassadors' Conference in Paris would decide in favor of the region's autonomy, if not outright independence.

The smaller and weaker emigration from Eastern Ukraine at first avoided getting involved in famine relief because this would have implied a certain amount of cooperation with the hated Communists who, in any case, would divert it to their own use. Therefore, Eastern Ukrainians concentrated all their effort on driving the Bolsheviks out of Ukraine, the success of this policy being the best guarantee for the speedy solution of the famine problem. Hopes ran high in November 1921 when Tiutiunnyk left Poland with the remnants of Petliura's forces, and the early reports spoke of Ukrainian victories.

In the meantime, the diplomacy of the Ukrainian governments-in-exile found itself in an impossible situation with regard to the famine. Ukrainian delegates lobbied Western governments simultaneously for military aid against the Soviet regime and for famine relief for the Ukrainian population. At the same time they insisted that the food supplies be sent through the Ukrainian national authorities, knowing full well that this would be considered by the Western powers as an impossible request.

Ukrainian religious, social and charitable organizations, as well as prominent community leaders, also tried to alert the West to the Ukrainian disaster. The Synod of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine, led by Metropolitan Vasyl Lypkivsky, published an open letter to the West. Both Ukrainian Red Cross organizations, the one in exile and the one controlled by the Soviets, made representations to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Save the Children Fund. Metropolitan Sheptytsky, primate of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, wrote to Felix Warburg, president of the Joint Distribution Committee. He suggested that the more affluent Jewish community come to the rescue of Ukrainians and that for the sake of bettering Jewish Ukrainian relations, this help be made public ...

  • The Treaty of Riga brought to an end the Russian Civil War. Within Russia, the Communist government under Lenin was now secure ...

  • With the October 12, 1920 Armistice in Place, it was made official by the Peace Treaty of Riga, signed on March 18, 1921 and ratified in Minsk on April 30, 1921, thus ending the Polish-Russian War of 1918-1921, with the peace to last less than 20 years ...

  • Incidentally, some 2000 files on the introduction of Magdeburg Law into Ukrainian towns, the activities in Ukraine of German colonists, WWI and the presence of Germans in Ukraine in 1918 were shipped to Germany during the [1941-1943] occupation ...

  • ...[1918] For example, German troops and Drozdovskii [White Army] collaborated. For example, German troops and Drozdovskii's men arrived at the Dniepr at the same time and the two armies agreed not to interfere with each other's crossing ... A. V. Turkul, a participant writes "when we went by with our wounded, short commands were given and the German Ulan regiment gave the Russian volunteers a military salute." ...

German troops occupied the Ukraine in order to extort as much food and raw material as possible, but the German high command was wary of penetrating deeper into Russia for fear of spreading their army too thin ...

Civil war in South Russia, 1918: the first year of the Volunteer Army, Volume 1 By Peter Kenez, pp. 129-130, 144


The Uhlans continue to raid Ukraine for foodstuffs ...

Peasants with machine guns at Massoever, surrounded and took prisoner squadrons. They compelled them to disarm, and then mercilessly slew them ...

RUSSIA. PEASANTS FIGHT UHLANS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 9280, 27 April 1918, Page 5 -


  • [January, 1918] 27 (Feb. 9) Ukrainian Rada signs separate peace with the Germans.

  • [February, 1918] 17 The German offensive begins

  • [February, 1918] 19 Radio message by the Soviet Government agreeing to accept the Germans’ peace conditions.

  • [February, 1918] 22 The Germans reply, agreeing to continue the negotiations for peace.

  • [February, 1918] 24 The German offensive continues. Capture of Borisov [Belarus], RevAl [Esthonia], Yuriev [Livonia]. Our troops in the Ukraine retreat.

  • [March, 1918] 13 The Germans take Chernigov [Northern Ukraine]

  • [March], 1918] 16 The Germans take Kiev [North Central Ukraine]

  • [March, 1918] 30 Poltava [Central Ukraine] taken by the Germans

  • [April, 1918] 10 Capture of Kherson [Southern Ukraine] and Byelgorod [South of Kursk] by the Germans ...

  • [April, 1918] 26 Rout of the Central Rada by the Germans and accession to power in the Ukraine by Hetman Skoropadsky.

  • [May], 1918] 1-6 Capture of Sevastopol [May 1 - Port City, Crimea], Rostov [Don River] [May 8] and Taganrog [Seaport, Sea of Azov] by the Germans.

  • [May, 1918] 21 Large-scale peasant revolts in the Ukraine against oppression by the German troops and the Haydamaks.

  • [July, 1918] 6 Murder of the German ambassador Mirbach.

  • [November, 1918] 9-10 General strike and revolution in Germany. Fall of the monarchy and formation of a Government by the Scheidemannists and the Independents.

  • [November, 1918] 11 Armistice on the Western Front between the Germans and the Allies.

  • [November, 1918] 17 The German occupation forces start to withdraw from the territory of the Soviet Republic.


  • 19 April 1918-21 June 1918: Combat in support of the Ukraine

  • 22 June 1918-15 November 1918: Occupation of the Ukraine

  • To clear the Bolsheviks out of the Ukraine, the Germans and Austrians dispatched an expeditionary force into the Ukraine. They seized [New Style Calendar]

    • Kiev on March 3rd [March 16]

    • Odessa [North Central] on March 13th [Southern Ukraine]

    • Nicolaiev [Nikolayev] on March 17th [Southern Ukraine]

    • Kharkov [Eastern Ukraine] and Rostov [land of the Don Cossacks] on April 8th

    • and invaded the Crimea [northern coast of the Black Sea], capturing Sevastopol on May 1st. [Black Sea Coast]

  • [March 29, 1918] Poltava (South Russia) captured by German forces ...

  • [April 3, 1918] Ekaterinoslav (South Russia) taken by German forces ...

  • [April 19, 1918] German forces enter the Crimea ...

  • [April 29, 1918] German Government establish a military dictatorship in The Ukraine. General Skoropadski proclaimed Hetman ...

  • After Brest-Litovsk, 40 or so German divisions remained in the east. Granted most were third class formations but around 500,000 German troops were involved in occupation and expansionary activities that had little impact on the desire for victory against the Western Allies.

German Divisions in the East - 1918

  • Bavarian Cavalry Division-police duty in Ukraine, Rumania Spring 1918. Part also in Crimea.

  • 1st Cavalry Division-police duty in Ukraine, Lithuania, Danube.

  • 2nd Cavalry Division-advanced through Kiev, Kharkov to Rostov.

  • 8th Cavalry Division-police duties until April 1918,then disbanded.

  • 9th Cavalry Division-police duty in Ukraine, until disbanded July 1918.

  • 3rd Infantry Division-movements obscure in East

  • 3rd Landwehr Division-in East.

  • 4th Landwehr Division-near Minsk (April); Kiev (May); Ochra.

  • 5th Ersatz Division-Livonia (March); Pskov (June); Mittau.

  • 7th Landwehr Division-Ukraine, Odessa, Rostov (July).

  • 11th Landwehr Division-Kiev, south of Moscow (July); Danube Front( Nov 1918).

  • 12th Landwehr Division-‘Baltic Division’ sent to Finland (April); sent to Alsace (July 1918).

  • 14th Landwehr Division-on Minsk-Smolensk road (April); Regiments sent to Alsace (May); Division reconstituted from new regiments in Orcha region (June 1918).

  • 15th Landwehr Division-Kiev, Crimea, Kerch region.

  • 16th Landwehr Division-Kharkov( May), Tanganrog (Sept); moved to Constanza, Rumania (via Constantinople) October 1918.

  • 17th Landwehr Division-Vitebsk (Spring 1918); Don(Sept 1918).

  • 18th Landwehr Division-Orcha (June); Mohilev (Sept 1918).

  • 19th Landwehr Division-Libau, Riga; Finland (July); Estonia(Oct 1918).

  • 20th Landwehr Division-Ukraine.

  • 22nd Landwehr Division-Ukraine, Kiev, Stochod (Sept 1918).

  • 23rd Landwehr Division-Dvinsk region.

  • 24th Landwehr Division-Ostrov region.

  • 29th Landwehr Division-Vitebsk (March); Estonia.

  • 35th Reserve Division-Ukraine, Gomel.

  • 45th Landwehr Division- Ukraine, Kovel, Poltava.

  • 46th Landwehr Division-Ukraine, Berezina, Minsk (May 1918).

  • 47th Landwehr Division-Ukraine, Bryansk, Kiev( Sept 1918).

  • 85th Landwehr Division-Courland (April); Ukraine, Polotsk (May 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 89th Infantry Division-Rumania, Bucharest (Oct 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 91st Infantry Division-Ukraine. [Independent Division]

  • 92nd Infantry Division-Ukraine; moved to Danube Front (Oct 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 93rd Infantry Division-Minsk, Kiev, moved to Danube Front (Oct 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 95th Infantry Division-Ukraine, Gomel region. [Independent Division]

  • 205th Infantry Division-Courland, Narva region. [Independent Division]

  • 212th Infantry Division-Ukraine, Kherson (May 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 215th Infantry Division-Kharkov (April); Sea of Azov (May). [Independent Division]

  • [216th Infantry Division-Glacia-Transylvania (1916); Roumania (1916-1918). [Independent Division]

  • 217th Infantry Division-Kherson (May); Sebastopol; one regiment( 29th Bavarian) sent to Tiflis, Georgia in June 1918; remainder of Division moved to Danube/Serbian Front (Oct 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 218th Infantry Division-Rumania. [Independent Division]

  • 219th Infantry Division-Livonia; sent to Serbia (Oct 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 224th Infantry Division-Pinsk, Gomel; moved to France (Sept 1918). [Independent Division]

  • 226th Infantry Division-Lake Narotch region; disbanded June 1918; reconstituted and in Rumania (Oct 1918).[Independent Division] -

See also: Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which participated in the War (1914-1918) (Washington Government Printing Office, 1920)-  ]

See also: Great Britain. War Office. General Staff, The German forces in the field (1918 -

  • 3rd Regular Division (German Empire) - The division was then transferred to the Eastern Front, and remained there until the end of the war with Russia. It then served in occupation duty in Russia [Included Ukraine] until October 1918, when it returned to the Western Front for the final few weeks of the war.

[ ]


Army Groups in the East: 1914-1918

Heeresgruppe Eichhorn - Kiew  

* HQ:  Kiev  (Ukraine)

Generalfeldmarschall  Hermann von Eichhorn 31 Mar 1918
* chief of staff Generalleutnant Wilhelm Groener "

* renamed Army Group Kiev following Eichhorn's murder

30 Jul 1918


Heeresgruppe Kiew  
Generaloberst  Günther Graf von Kirchbach 30 Jul 1918
* chief of staff Generalleutnant Wilhelm Groener "
* chief of staff Generalmajor Emil Hell 31 Oct 1918
* chief of staff Oberst Rethe 3 Dec 1918

* end of Kirchbach's command 

7 Feb 1919

*German Army Group Commanders - East



  • 28 Jun 1917 [Ukraine] Autonomy declared within Russia.

  • 20 Nov 1917 Ukrainian National Republic proclaimed.

  • 22 Jan 1918 Ukrainian People's Republic (independence from Russia).

  • 27 Jan 1918 - 1 Mar 1918 Soviet Russian occupation (government to Zhitomir). - [Ukraine]

  • 29 Apr 1918 Ukrainian State

  • 1 Mar 1918 - 16 Dec 1918

    • Austro-German occupation;

      • Germans in Volyniya (24 Feb), Kiev (Mar), Chernigov (12 Mar), Poltava (30 Mar), Kharkov (8 Apr), and Taurida and Crimea (22 Apr);

      • Austrians in Podoliya (28 Feb), Kherson and Odessa (12 Mar), Rostov and Ekaterinoslav (4 Apr).

  • 14 Dec 1918 Ukrainian People's Republic (restored).



  • 19 Mar 1918   Northern territories of Crimean peninsula (parts of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions) occupied by the German army.

  • 18 Apr 1918 - 14 Nov 1918 German Occupation

  • 21 Apr 1918    Tavrida (Tauride) abolished by German forces.

  • 25 Jun 1918     Crimean Regional Government founded at Simferopol under German protectorate until 14 Nov 1918.


Commanders, Governors, Chairmans

Soviet Russian Commander [Ukraine]
27 Jan 1918 - 1 Mar 1918 Vladimir Aleksandrovich Antonov- (b. 1883 - d. 1939)

German Military Governors at Kiev

1 Mar 1918 - 1 Apr 1918 Alexander von Linsingen (b. 1850 - d. 1935)
2 Apr 1918 - 30 Jul 1918 Hermann Gottfried Emil von (b. 1848 - d. 1918)
30 Jul 1918 - 14 Dec 1918 Günther Graf von Kirchbach (b. 1850 - d. 1925)

Austrian Commanders in Eastern Ukraine at Odessa

12 Mar 1918 - 6 May 1918 Eduard Freiherr von Böhm-Ermolli (b. 1856 - d. 1941) 
6 May 1918 - 16 Dec 1918 Alfred Krauss (b. 1862 - d. 1938) 

Chairman of Council of Ministers of the Region of Crimea (under German occupation)

 25 Jun 1918 - 14 Nov 1918 Suleiman Oleksandrovych Sulkevych (b. 1865 - d. 1920) Mil



  • 18 Dec 1918 - 8 Apr 1919 Allied occupation of Odessa.

  • Allied Commander in Odessa

    • 18 Dec 1918 - 8 Apr 1919 Albert-Charles-Jules Borius (b. 1865 - d. 1937) (France)

  • Dec 1918 - 1919 Allied occupation. [Crimea]

  • Besieged by the Bolsheviks and having lost much territory, the Rada was forced to seek foreign aid, and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on February 9, 1918 to obtain a military help from the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Germany helped the Ukrainian Army to force the Bolsheviks out of Ukraine ...

The Ukrainian People's Republic was recognized de jure in February 1918 by the Central Powers of World War I (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria) and by Bolshevik Russia, the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and the Holy See. De facto recognition was granted by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Persia ...

Later in 1918 Russia chose to unrecognize independent Ukraine justifying that by the protocols of Versailles Treaty ...

After the treaty of Brest-Litovsk Ukraine became virtually a protectorate of the German Empire which at that time seemed more favorable than being overrun by the Soviet forces that were spreading havoc in the country. Germany was anxious of losing the war and trying to speed up the process of food extraction from Ukraine, so it decided to install its own administration in the person of Generalfeldmarschall von Eichhorn who replaced the Colonel General Alexander von Linsingen. On April 6 the commander of the Army group Kijew issued an order in which he explained his intentions to execute the conditions of the treaty. That, of course, conflicted with the laws of the Ukrainian government that annulled his order. The Germans arrested and disbanded the Tsentralna Rada on April 29, 1918 to stop the social reforms that were taking place and retarding the process of food supply transfer to Germany and Austria-Hungary. The German authorities also arrested the Ukrainian Prime-Minister, Vsevolod Holubovych, on terrorist charges, and thus disbanded the Council of People's Ministers. Prior to this, the Rada had approved the Constitution of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Concurrently with all these events and few days prior to change of powers in the country on April 24, 1918 the government of Belarus confirmed the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce in Kiev headed by Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky on the initiative of the Belarusian secretary of finance Pyotr Krechevsky.['s_Republic

  • The German Occupation ... April 1918 - November 1918 ... The summer of 1918 passed orderly and quietly ... The presence of German troops in the Ukrainian Mennonite settlements ... With the withdrawal of the German troops ...

book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA29,M1 - Lost Fatherland: The Story of the Mennonite Emigration from Soviet Russia: 1921-1927 By John B. Toews Published by Regent College Publishing, 1967 ISBN 1573830410, 9781573830416 264 pages ]


  • After establishing themselves in the Ukraine in the course of March 1918, the leaders of [a new Army High Command] Army Group Eichhorn
    [Oberste Heeresleitung Heeresgruppe Eichhorn], as the German occupying force in the Ukraine was termed ... 

    • [Michael Kellogg, The Russian Roots of Nazism: White émigrés and the Making of National Socialism, 1917-1945  (Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 51.]

  • Army Group Command Eichhorn established on 5 March 1918 took over on 3 April 1918 the dissolved Army Group Linsingen [1 January 1916-5 March 1918]  under the name Army Group Eichhorn-Kiev. The addition 'Kiev'  was discontinued on 30 April. But after Generalfeldmarschall von Eichhorn had fallen victim to a Bolshevik assassination attack,
    on 13 August 1918 it was renamed Army Group Kiev. The Supreme Commander was Generaloberst Graf von Kirchbach.  The HQ was in Kiev until 20 January 1919, then in Brest-Litovsk, [at the border with Poland opposite the city of Terespol, where the Western Bug and Mukhavets rivers meet] from where it was moved on 3 February 1919 to Stettin [a seaport of Germany - During the interwar era, Stettin was Weimar Germany's largest port at the Baltic Sea, and her third-largest port after Hamburg and Bremen] ... 

    • [Hermann Cron, Imperial German Army, 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders of Battle (Helion & Company Limited, 2006) p. 75.

  • Groener, Wilhelm ... With the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March of 1918, the High Command recognized that Groener was the only general capable of enforcing the economic provisions of the treaty fast enough to benefit Germany. Groener was sent east in April, ostensibly as chief of staff of Army Group Kiev but in reality to organize and head Germany's economic interests in the Ukraine. He remained there until the end of October 1918 when the Kaiser and Hindenburg called him to Spa to replace Ludendorff as Quartermaster General. He arrived hours ahead of the Kaiser who had decided to flee an inhospitable Berlin and just in time to be saddled, in the popular mind, with the armistice....

    • [ ] [Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn [Eichhorn was born in Breslau in the Province of Silesia], and assisted by chief of staff Lieutenant General Wilhelm Groener]

  • [October 1918] ... complete disorder prevailed in the Ukraine, and that German officers had no control over the men ... 

    • [Tim Travers, How the war was won: command and technology in the British army on the Western Front, 1917-18: Command  and Technology in the British Army on the Western Front, 1917-18  (Routledge, 1992),  p. 156 ]

  • In late April [1918] the German Supreme Commander in Ukraine, [was] Hermann von Eichhorn ... [,_1918) ] Eichhorn became the commanding general of the 10th Army on January 21, 1915, which he would command until March 5, 1918 ... On July 30, 1916, while remaining in command of the 10th Army, Eichhorn became supreme commander of Army Group Eichhorn (Heeresgruppe Eichhorn) based around 10th Army, which he would command until March 31, 1918. ... On April 3, 1918, Field Marshal von Eichhorn became supreme commander of Army Group Kiev (Heeresgruppe Kiew) and simultaneously military governor of Ukraine. ... [ ] On 4 March [1918] Eichhorn was appointed to command the German occupation forces in western Russian and the Ukraine (a new Army Group Eichhorn). His main job was to extract as much grain as possible from the Ukraine to break the British blockade. He used a combination of bribery and violence to achieve this aim, aided by his able chief of staff General Wilhelm Groener ...on 30 July he was murdered by a left wing social revolutionary who hoped to force the Bolsheviks to abandon their limited cooperation with the Germans. 

[ ]

  • March 3, 1918 - UKRAINE CAPITAL [Kiev] TAKEN; Berlin Announces the Entry of Saxon and Ukrainian Troops.

[ ]

  • Alexander Adolf August Karl von Linsingen (1850-1935) was one of the best German field commanders during World War I.

Linsingen joined the Prussian Army in 1868 and rose to Corps Commander in 1909. He was one of the very few top German generals not to have served on the general staff ...

Transferred to the Eastern Front where German and Austrian armies were threatened by a Russian offensive in Galicia, Linsingen took command of Army Group South (1915).... In 1917-1918 he led the German offense to Ukraine.

[ ]

  • 1. 1. 2. Bank-notes of the Ukrainian State Government

(29 April 1918-14 November 1918)

Main article: Ukrainian hryvnia

 The Congress of Free Hubb'andmen on April 29, 1918 (with the great support of Austrian-German occupants), elected tsarist general P.P.Skoropadsky as Hetman of Ukraine. He proclaimed the overthrow of the Central Rada Government and the foundation of the Ukrainian State.

 In Skoropadsky's time, the so-called "paper hryvnias" were introduced in commerce. They were ordered by the Central Rada from Germany.

 On August 5, 1918, the first bank-note which appeared in commerce was the 3.6% state-bond with the name "Bank-note of the State Treasure". State-bonds were printed with eight coupons, four coupons on each side. Primarily they were to be issued for the purpose of internal loans. But the general lack of circulating banknotes led to state-bonds and even separate coupons being used as paper money.

 On October 17, 1918 Hetman's government received from Germany another supply of bank-notes with values of 2, 10, and 100 hryvnias, as ordered by the Central Rada. A bit later, bank-notes of 1000 and 2000 hrivnias were received. They were needed by Hetman's Government due to exaggerated inflation in Ukraine. They bore the abbreviation of the Ukrainian State(УД, Ukrainian: Українська Держава), an official name of Ukraine in Hetman's time.

These hryvnias were issued on October 17, 1918, 59 days before Hetman's overthrow. .....

The defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I resulted also in the break-up of Ukraine's occupation regime (Hetman Skoropadsky's government). On the night of November 14, 1918, in Bila Tserkva, the Government of the Ukrainian Directorate was formed with V.K.Vynnychenko, S.V.Petlyura and others at its head. Within a month, military forces of the Directorate occupied Kyiv. On January 16, 1919 the Government of the Directorate declared war on Soviet Russia. This action required issuing enormous sums of money ....  
  • Landsturm shako & pickelhaubes

Postally unused.

Studio photograph of three Prussian infantrymen from Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 7. The man wearing the tschako in the centre is possibly a Landsturm replacement (cheers Geo). The obsolete Landwehr tschako was issued in lieu of the Wachstuchmütze (black oilcloth cap) which was in short supply.

L.I.R. 7 formed part of the 3rd Landwehr Division and initially fought on the Eastern Front.

It was on the front in Poland from the early days, and participated in the Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive, crossing the Vistula in July and advancing toward the Bug, and eventually reaching the line between the Servech and Shchara rivers, where the front stabilized. It remained in the line there until the armistice on the Eastern Front in December 1917.

Thereafter, the Division served in Ukraine and in German occupation forces in Russia until late September 1918, when it went to the Western Front, serving in the Flanders area until the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the Division as fourth class and of mediocre combat value.

  • 'Eichorn" Army Group [in 1917] had stationed 8th Army in southern Latvia ... and 10th Army in Lithuania ... 8th Army attacked northwards ...10th Army [advanced] into north-western Bylerussia, absorbing Woyrsh Army Group on 31 December 1917. Linsingen Army Group defended south-western Byelorussia ...

10th Army occupied the rest of Byelorussia as far as Mogilev. Meanwhile 'Linsingen' Army Group [Alexander von Linsingen] advanced into western Ukraine.

Following the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, on 3 March 'Linsingen' (later 'Eichorn-Kiev') commenced a brutal occupation of the Chernihiv [northern Ukraine], Kharkov [northeast Ukraine], Kiev [north central Ukraine], Poltava [central Ukraine], Taurida [included the Crimean peninsula and the mainland between the lower Dnieper River and the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov] and Volhynia [northwest corner of Ukraine] provinces of northern and eastern Ukraine. GFM Hermann von Eichhorn established Army Group HQ in Kiev ...

The Germans then contravened the treaty by advancing further east into the Cossack Don Republic, and occupied the Crimea on 1 May 1918 ...


Here the 53rd Landwehr inf Reg, 15th Landwehr Div, is marching along the Crimean coast in May 1918 ...

The German army in World War I.: 1917-18, Volume 3 By Nigel Thomas, Ramiro Bujeiro, pp. 13 -14

The Bolsheviks of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine occupied Kiev (2 February) thanks to the fact that many Ukrainian forces changed sides and other refused to fight. The government of the Rada, chaired by Binechenko, that was negotiating a separate peace with the central Powers, was arrested. The Ukrainian forces concentrated in Pechek, South of Kiev, and the government of the Rada moved to Jitomir under the presidency of Golubovich. On 9 February 1918 they signed the peace separately with Germany and Austria: Ukraine kept its frontiers and got the territory of Kholm. The German armies broke the ceasefire with Russia on 18 February and entered in Ukraine on 19 February. Golubovich, who was in Jitomir in a desperate situation due to the unstoppable Bolshevik advance, requested help from Germany (19 February) . The German troops crossed the Dnieper on 1 March and advanced in all fronts and headed to Kiev that was occupied the following day. On 3 March Russia signed an armistice (that leaded to the peace of Brest-Litovsk on 8 March) and the combats stopped in Russian territory but not in Ukraine. The Treaty of Brest Litovsk assigned to Ukraine a part of Belorussia (8 March), that however lost part of Kholm. On 12 March practically all Ukraine was under Austrian or German control.

The President of the Rada, Golubovich, collaborated with the Germans but they favored the landowners and conservative classes while the government was social democratic. As the anti-German agitation was increasing and the Rada was expressing more and more opposition to the occupation regime, the German Army performed a coup d'état. On 29 April the Parliament or Rada elected Michael Hrushewsky as first president of the Republic. The following day the German forces, with the collaboration of the cossaks of the Hetman Skoropadsky, performed a coup d'état. Hrushevsky and other members of the Rada were jailed. It was proclaimed the martial law. At the head of the government was put the Hetman Paulov Skoropadsky.

Led by the anarchist Nestor Makhno. In the area of Guliay-Pole it was created an 'anarchist state' (sic!). Makhno fought against the Germans, against the white armies (on the side of the Red Army), and against the Bolsheviks. The flags of the 'makhnovtzy' were black with inscripions "Anarchy is the mother of order" [Anarkhiya - mat' poriadka] and other inscriptions, or plain black or red-black.

Soviet Republic of Ukraine (December 1917): On 23 December the Bolsheviks took Jarkov in the Eastern Ukraine. They also controlled Shmerinka in the West. The first Congress of all the Soviets of Ukraine gathered in Jarkov on 12 December 1917 and decided the establishment of the formally proclaimed Soviet Republic on 25 December (Ukrainian Peoples Republic of the Soviets of Workers and Peasants, or Soviet Federal Republic of Ukraine or Soviet Peoples Republic of Ukraine) that had as its capital Jarkov. The Soviet republic encompassed theoretically all the Soviets of Ukraine, each one having established their own republic. It subsisted until May 1918. It used red flag with the national flag in the canton, adopted at the beginning of January 1918. In this month Yekaterisnoslav was occupied. In February the Bolshevik forces entered in Kiev, but the arrival of German forces (March) forced them to vacate it, losing practically all Ukraine. The Republic of Donetzk-Krivorog was established simultaneously with capital in Jarkov, probably as one of the constituent subrepublics.

Jaume Olle, 31 August 2001 

Infantry Regiments

Schütze Franz Stein was recruited into the replacement battalion of Infanterie-Regiment 79 in March 1915 and was posted to Feld-M.G.-Zug 227 in May 1915. After being wounded on the Eastern front in August 1915 he was posted to 1. Maschinen-Gewehr-Kompagnie Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment 55, part of 27. Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade, 15. Landwehr-Division in January 1916. He saw action west of Roye-Noyon and on the Siegfried line until March 1917, when the division was transferred to the west of Brody on the Eastern Front. The division remained in the East after the ceasefire in December 1917 and became involved in fighting to support the Ukraine. He saw action at Dolinskaja, Kriwoj-Rog, Alexandiowsk and in the Crimea. He remained as part of the occupying forces in the Ukraine from December 1918. Discharged in January 1919. Awarded the EK II. -

Artillery Regiments

Kanonier Ernst Dümpe joined the recruit depot of 2. Badisches Feldartillerie-Regiment No. 30 as a member of the Landsturm in April 1915. In October he was posted to 7. Batterie Landwehr-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 15, part of 27. Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade, 15. Landwehr-Division. He saw action west of Roye-Noyon, at Frise and on the Siegfried line until March 1917, when the division was transferred to the west of Brody on the Eastern Front. The division remained in the East after the ceasefire in December 1917 and became involved in fighting to support the Ukraine. He saw action at Snawjonka, Nowa-Ukrainka, Kriwoj-Rog, Kolaj and the capture of Sewastopol. He remained as part of the occupying forces in the Ukraine until March 1919, when the division was interned in Saloniki until June. He returned to Germany by ship in July 1919. Awarded Lippesches Verdienst-Kreuz and the EK II. -

Cavalry Regiments

Ulan Johann Neller was recruited into the replacement squadron of Königlich bayerisches 1. Ulanen-Regiment in August 1915 and joined the active regiment, part of the bayerische Kavallerie-Division, on the Eastern Front in December 1915. He saw action between Krewo, Smorgon, Lake Narotsch and Tweretsch, on the Stochod, Upper Styr-Stochod and at the capture of the Tobolz bridgehead. Following the ceasefire, he was involved in fighting to support the Ukraine and the occupation of the Ukraine and the Crimea. He withdrew through the Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland in early 1919. Promoted to Gefreiter on returning to Germany in February 1919. Awarded the EK II and bayerisches Militär-Verdienst-Kreuz 3. Klasse mit Schwertern. -  - The documents presented here include German military service records until 1918 (Militärpässe and Überweisungsnationale)

Our first car was requisitioned that spring (1918) by the Reds but by applying to the the German Commander in Melitopol .... we got it back. No damage. I was glad to drive it once more. In 1919 the Reds took it again and we never saw it again ...

School in Halbstadt started in September 1918, my last year in the Halbstadt Commercial School. Our area was peaceful: The German Army kept good order. In November the Allies entered into peace negotiations with Germany and Austria. Armistice was declared November 11, 1918.

Soon the Allies demanded the German army leave the Ukraine ...

I was in school when we hear the Germans were leaving. My first thought was to get home and go, with friend Pinkau and the Horse Clinic, to Germany. I'd go by train to Fedorovka on the railroad, then one station south to Melitopol, then telephone home for someone to get me. But after three days I decided I was not to leave Russia. A day later I found out the Horse Clinic had left first.

I again stayed with my aunt, Eva Willms,; A Colonel of the Guard, Uhlans, and his adjutant also stayed with her. The Unlans were the last Germans to leave Halbstadt. We watched them ride past the house two by two in a long line, a sad moment for us ...

[Chortitza settlement] The war came close to home when the German army advanced and succeeded in occupying the Ukraine. Actually, most of the peaceful population welcomed this turn of events. It saved us from occupation by the Bolsheviks or from invasion by the unorganized bands that were massacring people and destroying property in the countryside. When the war ended, the German officers warned that the population would be in great danger after the army left and advised us to flee with them to Germany. We and many other people followed this advice and our family of four departed. We were placed in a third-class wagon with wooden benches, together with the officers, the injured, and some other refugees. The uninjured soldiers rode in freight wagons. All passengers received food out of large kettles. Because of various difficulties and of obstacles put in our way by the revolutionary governments in the cities through which we passed, the journey lasted two weeks. We departed on December 20, 1918, and arrived in Berlin on January 5, 1919 ...

Escape to Germany Did you escape on a troop train? Yes, when the time came for the Germans to leave, they took the trains. And that is what we did. We went to the train station, and there was a little time to spare, so mother and I went back to our house and picked up a few articles of clothing, which didn‘t amount to much. We then returned to the station and boarded a third class carriage. Russia had first, second and third class: first was the best all upholstered; second had the soft seats, too; and third class just had wooden benches. Third class was what was available for us and to the people who were injured during the war and who couldn‘t walk. The German officers were also in third class, as well as a couple of other families that they had managed to bring along with them.

We started off. The distance we traveled would have normally taken about 36 hours, but it took us two weeks because the train was stopped by the different governments. The country was now in revolt, and you never knew who was ruling the cities along the way. Some of the people at the railroad stations would come and go through the train and see what was going on. They were surprised to see some civilians, but fortunately, they didn‘t do anything. I remember an incident that occurred early in the morning, when one of them tried to pull my blanket away from me. I yelled at him in Russian, ―Leave me alone!" He was startled and he left my blanket.

After two weeks, we finally came to a station, which was just before the German border. There was a massive accumulation of trains because the army was retreating and the civilians and the military units were all mixed up. They were all collecting at that station. It was very frightening. And we began to question whether we were ever going to make it to Germany. Fortunately, we were able to get through. They had to change trains between Russia and Germany because the two countries had different tracks; the tracks in Russia were wider and the German trains could not run on them.

So we did get out, just like that. My brother was still in Russia. Fearing the Bolsheviks would detain him once they discovered who he was, he put on a German soldier‘s uniform, so as to not be conspicuous, and managed to leave Russia. It was just luck that he got out. My father decided that that was what he had to do, since he felt he would have been killed if he‘d stayed back ...  - Katherine Esau, A LIFE OF ACHIEVEMENTS

[Chortitza settlement] Now I finally liquidated everything and started getting ready to go to Germany. The commanding general had given permission for every German train to reserve one railroad car for the civilians. I had several trunks and boxes with clothes and food packed by the soldiers for us to be put on the train. However, the night before the start of the journey, a gunfight began in town ...

The Petljura gang demanded that the departing Germans give up their weapons. The soldiers refused and during the night, about 100 German soldiers were taken prisoner. The Petljura warned that they would shoot the 100 men they had captured if the Germans did not turn over their weapons. The Germans agreed and next day the train was to depart. Our baggage was taken away with the weapons.


We also took the train, using the wagon provided for the civilians. My son wore a German soldier‘s uniform and went along as an interpreter. During the next night, the train was attacked by armed Petljura. The whole train consisted of about 700 air force officers and the Petljura were looking for weapons. However, they were also taking away clothing and boots. Even the sick people had their clothing stolen from them. However, they left us alone since we addressed them in Russian. ―We only want to punish the Germans for what they have done to us," was their excuse.
The trip to Germany lasted almost 2 weeks. Every 100-200 kilometers the train was detained until the paymaster of the army paid 10 to 20,000 German marks. The paymaster had 3 million marks hidden. In Kasatin [Ukraine - Kazatin], the last station before Germany, we were threatened with no passage because another contingent of the army refused to give up their weapons. But after a 24-hour delay and a big monetary payment, we were allowed to leave. However, outbreaks of gunfire occurred several times. At the German frontier, we had to change trains from the wide gage of the Russian train to the narrow gage of Europe. We changed trains and were in Berlin in 24 hours. In Berlin, we slept in a hotel, even though we were hearing the sound of machine guns ...  - "My Live By John Esau" in Katherine Esau, A LIFE OF ACHIEVEMENTS


A different political move occurred after the Brest-Litowsk Peace—the civil war: Skoropadsky, Petljura, Machno and the arrival of the German troops. During Skoropadsky’s term, I was called upon again and elected as mayor. The entire city economy had to be put in order. One can well imagine whether this was at all possible. It was a little better when the city was occupied by German troops. The commanding general, von Knörzer, lived in my house. It seemed we had peace and order.

I did not trust this peace and order. General Knörzer also said, “When we leave, it will be bad news. My advice is to leave the country.” Even though I was still mayor, I sold my house and all my inventory, with a loss, of course. The money was sent to Berlin, Germany through the military booking office. The citizens of Ekaterinoslav were astonished, but at that time, this was still permissive. Good friends tried to prevent me from doing this.

When Skoropadsky was overthrown and Petljura came into the government, order vanished again, especially since the German troops were preparing to leave the country. A group of workers of the Briansk Factory and other suspicious individuals came into the city administration and demanded that I leave my position forthwith. They were all well armed. They insisted I was no representative of the people, just an agent of the rich. I had been expecting this for a long time. I demanded a receipt stating that they had taken over the money box (it still contained 200, 000 rubles.) I did not want to be accused of having escaped with the money.

Now I finally liquidated everything and started getting ready to go to Germany. The commanding general had given permission for every German train to reserve one railroad car for the civilians. I had several trunks and boxes with clothes and food packed by the soldiers for us to be put on the train. However, the night before the start of the journey, a gunfight began in town.

The Petljura gang demanded that the departing Germans give up their weapons. The soldiers refused and during the night, about 100 German soldiers were taken prisoner. The Petljura warned that they would shoot the 100 men they had captured if the Germans did not turn over their weapons. The Germans agreed and next day the train was to depart. Our baggage was taken away with the weapons.

We also took the train, using the wagon provided for the civilians. My son wore a German soldier’s uniform and went along as an interpreter. During the next night, the train was attacked by armed Petljura. The whole train consisted of about 700 air force officers and the Petljura were looking for weapons. However, they were also taking away clothing and boots. Even the sick people had their clothing stolen from them. However, they left us alone since we addressed them in Russian. “We only want to punish the Germans for what they have done to us,” was their excuse.

The trip to Germany lasted almost 2 weeks. Every 100-200 kilometers the train was detained until the paymaster of the army paid 10 to 20, 000 German marks. The paymaster had 3 million marks hidden. In Kasatin, the last station before Germany, we were threatened with no passage because another contingent of the army refused to give up their weapons. But after a 24-hour delay and a big monetary payment, we were allowed to leave. However, outbreaks of gunfire occurred several times. At the German frontier, we had to change trains from the wide gage of the Russian train to the narrow gage of Europe. We changed trains and were in Berlin in 24 hours. In Berlin, we slept in a hotel, even though we were hearing the sound of machine guns ...  - Life in Czarist Russia : A Conversation with Katherine Esau Katherine Esau with David E. Russell.



  • It was January-February, 1919, and in that region the cold was bitter but there was no snow. The roads were covered with a layer of thick dust and our officers' coats, lined with sheepskin, were full of dust. That was worse than if there had been a lot of snow around. To the amazement of all the other officers, my activity in getting volunteers was 100 percent successful because I knew German even better than I now know English, and I drove around the so-called colonies of German settlers.

These Germans had been there since the days of Catherine the Great, more than a century, yet they were still Germans. Their villages were typical German villages. Most of them were Protestants and the pastor of the Protestant Church was their leader. I addressed them in perfect German and the fact that a Russian officer could speak just as they could, made a great impression on them. They were very wealthy landowners; they had perfect cattle and excellent horses that we requisitioned according to Army Regulations of the past. For the requisition of the horses and the cattle they got a slip of paper, signed by me and stamped. They realized, of course, at the bottoms of their hearts, that those receipts were not worth very much. In the old days , they could have presented those receipts to the Russian authorities of Imperial Russia and they would have been paid. Now, who would pay for those receipts? That was a very problematic question. But, as I said, they were very much against the Bolsheviks, and the Bolsheviks in those days were just gangs like the famous Maruska gang. They lived off the country and they looted the very wealthy colonies of the Germans.

But not all the country was just German colonies. Next to the German colonies there 'were big villages of Russian peasants. They were the Germans' neighbors, and I was amazed that there was a kind of iron curtain between those two groups living next door to each other. The Russian villages were mostly primitive, not to say dirty. Their cattle were skinny and there was good reason for this: the Russian peasants were not individually full owners of their land. Back in the days of Tsar Alexander II, when he abolished by decree serfdom (1861) , some of the lands of the local nobility were taken over by the administration and paid for at a token price with bonds issued by the government to compensate for the land that was to become the peasants' land. Now it belonged to the villages and it was distributed to the heads of families for the duration of seven years. After seven years the families of the village were recounted. Sometimes there were fewer, but sometimes there were more, and the land which belonged to the village as a whole was redistributed again among the villagers. So any villager knew he had his plot of land for only seven years and naturally he was not interested in making any improvements, like digging ditches or putting manure into the land. He just tried to get out of the land as much as he could with the least possible effort, because any improvements he might make would just be passed on to somebody else. Sometimes, of course, the plots were many kilometers away from his house in the village, and to get to his plot to work would take a half -day's driving; Sometimes he had to build a makeshift dwelling on his plot to protect himself from a cloudburst, rain, or wind. Therefore, agriculture was stagnating. Actually, those Russian villages were communes. It could be said that it was Communism under the rule of a distant Tsar somewhere - in Petersburg or Moscow - whom the peasants never saw.  Therefore, these Russian peasants were not anti-Bolshevik. On the contrary, these peasants were being promised by the Bolsheviks a final redistribution of the land belonging to the colonists and to the gentry, and they were told that this land would be their own. This had been their dream for many, many centuries, and therefore the propaganda of Bolshevism had a powerful effect on them. Some of the Russian peasants had noticed the success of the Germans and they imitated them as well as they could. They saved money, they bought land from those of the gentry who were eager to sell the land in order to take up some job in the government and live in the city. These peasants who did imitate the Germans, rapidly became just as prosperous as the German colonists, and extremely anti-Bolshevik, and their sons were eager to join the regiments which were being formed to fight Bolshevism. They also joined my volunteers. So starting with myself and a volunteer that another regiment had "loaned" to me, my squadron grew faster than the others, to the amazement of everyone. My squadron soon numbered about twenty , and we marched and  exercised, and this Russian Volunteer Squadron of the White Army was marching and singing battle songs in German ...

During that time more volunteers arrived and soon there was not enough room for everybody, so we moved to a village, a colony of German settlers, Eichenfeld [Mennonite settlement, Chortitza, Russia]. That colony had roughly 100 houses and a big school that could be used for the headquarters of the regiment. There, the training of the horses continued. Still more officers came to join us, more volunteers. Officers of my regiment were detached from their assignment in the Wrangel army and came over to join me ...

In February 1919, we were told by the German colonists that a rather numerous Bolshevik gang was in the vicinity, looting, burning, raping ...

... In the late fall of 1918, many officers of different units had managed to escape from north Russia, from the region of Kiev, and even from Odessa, all to the city of Rostov, lying in the estuary of the Don River ...

There was a day when those units in Rostov were fighting against superior forces of the Red Army to the north of the city and they were retreating, outnumbered and outgunned by the Reds. The situation was very difficult and quite desperate. Right on the border of the Don region, in the Ukraine, there stood a German cavalry regiment of real regimental size. They looked on through binoculars at the then losing battle of the Whites and they offered their support to the Whites against the Communists. But the Commander- in-Chief of the White Army, then General Denikin, had a short-sighted, foolish, and naive policy that he must be absolutely loyal to the far-away allies, the French and British, and to consider the Germans as enemies and not to have any kind of contact with them, let alone accepting their help. So the help of the German regiment was declined. The retreating White units all of a sudden noticed that the Reds, who were obviously gaining success, also started to retreat and retreated very rapidly, almost in panic. The White side could not figure out any reason for the Reds' retreat when they were obviously winning, but anyhow they were happy for this event and they too retreated, carrying their wounded and some of their dead with them. When they were passing very close to the German cavalry unit, a German mounted brass band was standing in front of the regiment playing the Russian national anthem, and in front of the band was the commander of the regiment with his sword drawn ...

We are refugees in Constantinople Constantinople was overflowing with refugees, all of them absolutely penniless, and finding a job was completely hopeless. Fortunately the American Red Cross had organized feeding points where anyone who had a document certifying that he was a Russian refugee, either civilian or military, could get a hearty meal once a day. One meal a day kept them from dying of starvation ...

By the end of 1920 and 1921, Constantinople, otherwise Istanbul, was full of refugees ...

The League of Nations was headed by a Norwegian scientist by the name of Nansen. His seal and signature was fixed on new passports. The passports were issued on blanks of the Netherlands. The Netherlands spread their diplomatic protection over all the refugees. That big sheet of paper, the blank of the Nether lands, looked very impressive, but it was almost totally use less for any practical purpose because in those days, Europe was scrambling back on its feet, economically speaking, after the first World War, which had barely ended. Every country had crowds of refugees and displaced persons and unemployed persons. Under such conditions, nobody wanted to have more unemployed people, more refugees from Russia. In order to travel anywhere, you had to have on that Nansen passport an entry visa from the country where you were going, and on top of that, all the visas from all the countries you would be travelling through. Obtaining such an entry visa to some country was a dream of the hungry, jobless refugees in Constantinople ...

 That was about two or three months after my marriage in [April] 1921.

So now, my nineteen year old wife and I had to leave. But of course, people who had obtained visas to travel, just as we, had no money to do so, just as we. To buy tickets normally and to leave was beyond the dreams of anybody in Constantinople. Well, the American Red Cross in Constantin ople found a solution. Under their influence, a freight car, an empty freight car, would be attached twice a week to the luxury Orient Express that again started moving all through Europe as far as Paris. This freight car would be attached to the train and detached in Beograd. In this car, thirty refugees could find a place to travel without paying anything, just sitting in that car on their luggage. And that was the solution. There was a waiting list and finally the day came when it was our turn to board that freight car. The freight car was full of people we did not know ...

The express was an express train by name only. It could not travel at the normal speed of an express train, because the rail tracks in Turkey and Bulgaria that we had to cross, and in Serbia itself after the war, were in no shape to carry a big, fast express train  ...

We came to Yugoslavia in June [1921]...

[1922] After staying a few weeks with her brother's family, Mother left for Berlin. Germany had recognized the Soviet Union [in 1922] and Mother's Soviet passport was valid in Germany. Mother's intention was to go on to the city of Beograd in Yugoslavia, where she knew that she would find me, but the Kingdom of Yugoslavia did not recognize the Soviet Union and a Yugoslav entry visa could not be stamped on a Soviet passport. Mother had to change her status of a Soviet citizen to that of an immigrant, which required much red tape and time ...

Ivan Stenbock-Fermor, MEMOIRS OF LIFE IN OLD RUSSIA, WORLD WAR I, REVOLUTION, AND IN EMIGRATION Completed in Palo Alto, California, 1976, pp. 301-303, 306, 370, 372, 498, 529-534, 561 -

  • That very year Nansen was invited by Philip Noel-Baker to organize the repatriating of 500,000 German and Austrian prisoners of war from Russia. That was an extremely difficult task because of chaos accompanying the Russian revolution and the decision of the Soviet government not to recognize the League of Nations. However the international respect towards Nansen along with his ingenuity allowed him to convince Bolshevik leaders to bring the prisoners to the borders of Russia and then he evacuated them from the Soviet ports using German ships captured by British Army. Thanks to Nansen nearly 437 thousand prisoners returned home by September 1921 ...

  • In early 1920 the Weimar Government also negotiated a deal with the Soviets on a finalisation of prisoner exchanges; some Germans that had not managed to get out after the Brest Litovsk Treaty was signed were in this category. The Soviet Government also benefited from this deal in the latter half of 1920 when 10-15,000 Red Army soldiers, interned in East Prussia as a result of the Russo-Polish War of that year, were later allowed to return home ...

  • With the successes of the Red Army and the collapse of the White Armies across Russia during the summer of 1920, there was no longer any reason for the Allies to prevent the Weimar government from repatriating Russian prisoners. The Germans established a Baltic shipping route between Stettin and Narva, Estonia, Riga, Latvia, and Bjoerkö, Finland to transport Russian prisoners from Germany and retrieve German and Dual Monarchy [Austria-Hungary] POWs from Russia. While the political constraints on repatriation no longer existed, physical barriers had emerged. Under Annex III of Part VIII, "Reparation," of the Versailles Treaty, most of Germany's merchant marine fleet had been transferred to the Entente nations as replacements for Allied merchant ships and fishing boats sunk during the war. These enforced reparations left very few merchant ships available to transport prisoners between Germany and Estonia. Of the eight ships that the German government could charter to ply the Baltic waters during the summer months of 1920, only one ship was German-owned ...

    The Central Power prisoners arriving in Stettin from Russia were a somewhat different lot. The Bolshevik government sent home only prisoners that had been certified 60 percent invalid by a special committee; officers were not permitted to leave ...The Central Power prisoners also varied considerably in nationality. They began the war as German or Austro-Hungarian troops, but they arrived at Stettin as Germans, Austrians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians, Yugoslavians, or Italians ... In comparison to the Russian prisoners, these men were more alert, better educated, and even more destitute. Since many of these men had lived in Russia for six years, some of them had met Russian women and married. They returned with complete families, and Lowrie reported that one transport he traveled on carried eighty children, including an eight-day old baby. Many of these men were sick, the children were malformed and undernourished, and all bore traces of mental suffering; Davies described one ship that landed 125 insane prisoners in Stettin ...

    When these ships docked, the former prisoners were met by German girls carrying flowers and bands playing national songs. The prisoners cheered for the first time in many years. They stumbled down the gangplanks carrying assorted packs filled with their ragged collections of worldly goods. The POWs wore a variety of articles, ranging from German and Austrian uniforms to Russian peasant clothing, all patched. Some wore shoes or homemade sandals, but most were ragged. Nevertheless, they wept at the welcome. Families reunited on the docks: parents and sons, wives and husbands, and even new children or grandchildren. Some parents and wives met every transport, hoping to hear some news about a lost loved one from disembarking prisoners. The YMCA had secretaries meet these transports at their arrival at Stettin. The Americans were invariably asked if the United States was open to these men. With the imposition of tougher immigration laws, the secretaries had to respond that, while the U.S. did not offer them a home at that time, Americans were mindful of their plight and were anxious to help them rebuild Europe ...

    The onset of winter slowed down the repatriation process in January 1921. The freezing of Baltic ports hindered shipborne traffic. While twenty-two transport voyages occurred during the month, the number of Russian POWs in Germany only declined by just under fourteen thousand men, to 102,681 ...

    The repatriation process resumed in earnest in February 1921 ...

    By the fall of 1920, the majority of Russian POWs in Germany had returned home, and the YMCA redirected its resources to aiding Russian refugees. Several more years and the efforts of the Nansen Commission and the League of Nations were required to transport the last German and former Austro-Hungarian POWs home from Siberia ...


  • Donald A. Lowrie, the American War Prisoners' Aid Secretary sent to Narva, Estonia to set up a repatriation program for Central Power and Russian prisoners of war in July 1920, wrote a number of reports and letters describing his experiences. WPA secretaries worked at the ports (Stettin, Germany; Narva, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Helsingfors, Finland) and on board ships traveling between these cities to provide relief to prisoners of war and their families. In his first report, How Repatriation of Prisoners Is Aided by the YMCA, Lowrie describes the arrival of German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war from Russia. Many arrived with families in tow which they had acquired during their captivity in Siberia. German girls greeted the prisoners with flowers and the mayor of Stettin gave an address outlining the changes the ex-POW's would experience after the war. He described the family reunions and the search for lost loved ones among the arrivals. Lowrie also provides some insights into life in Siberia as described by the prisoners. Lowrie wrote this report on board the S.S. Lisboa enroute to Narva where he would help establish a YMCA repatriation station. Note that the report was classified not for publication by the International Committee ...

    In his second report, The "Y" at One of the War Prisoners Exchanges, Lowrie provides a general overview of War Prisoners' Aid operations in Narva. He described the POW exchange at the railway station where former Russian prisoners took trains into the interior and German and Austro-Hungarian POW's arrived in Estonia. Ex-prisoners traveled through the internment camp in the fortress of Ivangorod where they were registered and deloused. The American YMCA set up a wide range of services for prisoners including the distribution of cigarettes and chocolate; laundry, barber, tailor, and shoe repair services; writing material; books; musical instruments; and sports equipment. The Association set up a special map section to help former Austro-Hungarian soldiers determine their new nationalities. To provide entertainment, the YMCA organized special performances for children and concerts for adults. In addition, the WPA secretaries set up a field kitchen and a tent for reading and writing for Russian ex-prisoners waiting for trains to take them home ...

    Lowrie wrote to his parents in July 1920 in the third document, again listed as "not for publication" by the YMCA. The American secretary provides far more detail about the arrival of German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners at Stettin including the general welcome, the family reunions, and the effect of Bolshevik propaganda on the former prisoners. The Bolsheviks only released prisoners that were 60 percent invalid and refused to repatriate officers, so many POW's had to resort to disguises and evasion to escape their captivity. Lowrie met a number of prisoners with whom he had worked as a WPA secretary in Tomsk during the war. They described the terrible conditions they experienced in Siberia and how they were able to survive. Lowrie also mentions that Conrad Hoffman, who arrived in Stettin on the S.S. Lisboa, had adopted an orphaned Russian boy during his travels. This addition expanded his family to five since his wife had another daughter after Louise

  • In the summer of 1922, the last of the German and Austria-Hungarian soldiers who had been in Russian captivity after the First World War were shipped home across the Baltic. On the return voyage, the ships carried the last Russian prisoners-of-war from Germany. Altogether, over 400,000 prisoners were exchanged in less than two years. The credit for this was given mainly to the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen. That autumn he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Nansen did his country great service as a politician and diplomat, but he acquired his international renown primarily as a scientist, polar exploration hero, and the altruistic champion of people in times of distress ...

In the spring of 1920, the League of Nations appointed Nansen as High Commissioner in charge of arrangements for exchanges of prisoners. The appointment came about thanks to the efforts of Philip Noel-Baker, a young British member of the League of Nations leadership. Noel-Baker was eager to boost the League's reputation after the American Senate had rejected US membership. The League needed to be able to point to concrete results, which Noel-Baker believed Nansen would be able to deliver.

To some extent, the ground had already been prepared. The Red Cross had taken up the cause, and Russia had released the prisoners. The problems were money, and the ships to carry the prisoners home. These became Nansen's main tasks. Thanks to his popularity in Britain, he was able to persuade the British government to grant loans to finance the exchanges of prisoners. Nansen also got the British to agree to release German ships which had been commandeered since the World War, so they could be used to transport prisoners of war across the Baltic ...

In the summer of 1922, Nansen was able to report to the League of Nations that the repatriation of over 400,000 prisoners of war had been completed. At the same time, he thanked the International Red Cross, which had carried out the bulk of the practical work ... - Fridtjof Nansen: Scientist and Humanitarian,  by Asle Sveen

  • In order to understand the present situation of the interned it is necessary to know exactly the causes and origin of internment in Germany.

Those who still remain in the camps may be divided into five principal categories :

(1) Former prisoners of war who refused to return to Russia during the general repatriation in the spring of 1921. In many cases the cause of their refusal was not political. They have for a long time enjoyed relative freedom of action, and have worked for peasants, some of them having married and possessing families. They do not desire to return to Russia, where, as a general rule, they no longer have family connections. The number of these former prisoners of war does not exceed 225. Until recently many of them were at the Cassel camp, and when this camp was dispersed at the beginning of this year they were sent to Celle ...

Although the repatriation of interned persons was carried on to the end of 1921, and its continuance is still proposed, repatriation by the Red Cross terminated officially on 31 July 1921 ... - INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE OFFICIAL BULLETIN July-December 1022. Vol. VI.

  • I was born on the 18th April, 1916 under the sign of Aries, influenced by Mars. I was born in Petrograd, now called Leningrad, during the First World War and at the beginning of the Russian revolution ...

My father was born in the second half of the 19th century; he was born on a farm in Lithuania ...

In Russia the Revolution was approaching and in Europe World War One was in progress.

The Tsar regime started to lose ground. The Tsar’s family were all killed, also most of his close relatives. The Tsar’s adherents, aristocracy and elite had to flee. It affected us: Father was imprisoned in 1918 by the revolutionists for belonging to the suspect ‘educated’ class.

Whilst my Father was in prison mother took me to her father’s place, grandpop Alexander’s, who had a big house in Novorosysk [a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia] on the Black Sea.

Whilst in Novorosysk my Mother, Julia, became an actress because as such she was allowed unrestricted accommodation and also felt safer , as there was less risk for them to be imprisoned, even if she did belonged to the group of people who should have, by now, been eliminated in the revolution.

Mother was able to secure a whole two-storey house for us where we all lived together; my mother Julia, her father Alexander, her sister, who was married to a doctor, and their boy of five ...

Only later did I know that we were on a cattle train, converted to accommodate people and their belongings. All these people had gained permission to leave Russia proper (Central Russia) [i.e. 'European' Russia west of the Urals] and to go to the place from wher  e they originally came. We were going to Lithuania as father was born there and now Lithuania was an independent country. Only much later did I learn that father was released from prison thanks to friends, especially some poor men, some of them Jews, for whom father had done some favours when he was in a position to do so. Maybe some bribes helped, who knows? We arrived in Lithuania in the spring of 1921, when I was five years old. We lived there, with only short breaks, for the next twenty three years.

Maria’s Memoirs By Maria Skarbek, Printed: October 2006 pp. 5, 11, 13 -

  • "Eventually the family was granted Polish citizenship and received permission to leave Russia in the spring of 1921. My grandmother, my mother, Aunt Leontyna and I moved to Wilno." ...

  • In 1921, after yeshivah students were finally given permission to leave Russia, R. Elchonon returned to Poland, to Baronovitch, where he was asked to head the local yeshivah, Ohel Torah. -

  • Thanks to the good offices of Gorky, Bialik and a group of Hebrew writers were given permission to leave Russia in 1921, relinquishing all their possessions ...

  • Mass emigration from the USSR only became possible from 1920, when a series of agreements on citizenship options and exchanges of prisoners of war, refugees, hostages, and internees were concluded. During the next few years all who had the right to emigrate and wanted to do so left the Soviet republics. . Unlike the rules on options of 1918-19, those established now were milder, with more reasonable deadlines. It was very seldom that the Soviet government, including the organs of the NKVD [People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs], could prohibit the exit of persons who had documentary proof of permanent residence in the territory of another state. Thanks to these mutual agreements, a limited number of Soviet citizens who did not have rights of option also received permission to emigrate. For example, according to a Russian-Lithuanian pact, those who could not document Lithuanian citizenship could still apply to the People's Commissariat of Nationalities for permission to go.62 Exchanges of individuals, independent of their citizenship, were made between Poland and Russia.63

    In accordance with the provisions of these mutual agreements, the Soviet government also permitted the emigration of the families of foreigners or 'optioners'. This aspect of Soviet policy was still based largely on international tradition.67

    67 - Unlike Russia, the Ukraine permitted marriages between its citizens and foreigners both in the Ukraine and abroad (see S.U. UkrSSR, 1922, st. 237).

  • Emigration to a foreign country likewise offered no satisfactory settlement of the problem of unemployment in the Russian village. In the first place the trip to a foreign country was fraught with many difficulties, both legal and financial. The prospective emigrant was obliged to procure a special passport from the governor of the province. Since he was himself either ilUterate or else entirely inexperienced in the manner of filing an application for such a permit, he was under the necessity of engaging an attorney, and that involved considerable expense. In certain cases if the applicant was within three years of military age, he could not get a passport at all. It was not impossible, however, to leave the country without a passport, if one had the fee to pay to an agency which by arrangement with the frontier guards, smuggled the emigrant across the border. There were numerous such agencies in Russia. It was chiefly through them that political suspects and other disaffected persons managed to escape abroad. Then to embark upon a trip to a foreign country was an expensive enterprise for a peasant. It cost, for example, about one hundred dollars to come from Russia to this country in the steerage, not a big sum to an American, but a fortune to a mouzhik. If he was poor, he had to borrow it from the kulak or middleman, and we have already learned what extortionists these money-lenders were ... Maurice Gerschon Hindus. The Russian peasant and the revolution,  H. Holt and company, 1920 -

  • The Russian Civil War had ended in Western Russia in November 1920 with the defeat of General Wrangel in the Crimea. All across Russia popular protests were erupting in the countryside and in the towns and cities. Peasant uprisings were occurring against the Communist Party policy of grain requisitioning. In urban areas, a wave of spontaneous strikes occurred. Kronstadt was a direct result of these strikes. These started in Moscow, before spreading to Petrograd where (as elsewhere) a three-man Defence Committee was formed in Petrograd and Zinoviev "proclaimed martial law" on February 24th [1921].  ...



On the 9th of February 1918 the Central Rada in Brest-Litovsk signed a peace treaty with Germany and its allies, hoping to get help from them in fighting against advancing Bolsheviks' troops. An additional treaty [February 9, 1918] concerning the Ukrainian Germans, was signed. According to this treaty they got a right of direct contact with representative offices of Germany, a right to leave the territory of Ukraine without any obstacles, a right to liquidate their properties and to export the money which they got for it in the course of 10 years ...  [The treaty was effectively neutralized by the armistice terms at Compiègne (November 1918) and abrogated by the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. Read more: ] .

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 3, 1918) - [Note: The treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year and later The Treaty of Rapallo of 1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia canceled the German commitments made at Brest-Litovsk] ?


Diplomatic and consular relations between the contracting parties are resumed at once after ratification of the treaty of peace.


  • On June 28, 1919, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending its involvement in World War I. The treaty subjected Germany to a number of harsh penalties and restrictions that many historians believe contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Germany and the Allied Powers had signed an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. Two months later, the Allied Powers met at the Paris Peace Conference to begin what became a four-month process of drafting the terms of Germany’s surrender ...

  • On June 28th, 1919, Germany signed the formal Peace Treaty sealing the previous armistice of November 11th - this was the well known Treaty of Versailles. According to the treaty Germany was allowed a standing armed forces of 100,000 men. This new and highly regulated force was to be known simply as the Reichswehr which was officially formed on January 1st, 1921. It consisted of the newly named Reichsmarine and Reichsheer. The Reichsheer consisted of 2 Group Commands, 7 Infantry Divisions and 3 Cavalry Divisions. The Reichswehr and Reichsmarine would exist until 1935 when the WWII-era Wehrmacht was formed ...

Within the two years following the definitive transfer of the sovereignty over the territories assigned to
Belgium under the present Treaty, German nationals over 18 years of age habitually resident in those
territories will be entitled to opt for German nationality. Option by a husband will cover his wife, and option
by parents will cover their children under 18 years of age. Persons who have exercised the above right to
opt must within the ensuing twelve months transfer their place of residence to Germany. They will be
entitled to retain their immovable property in the territories acquired by Belgium. They may carry with them
their movable property of every description. No export or import duties may be imposed upon them in
connection with the removal of such property.

The Treaty of Versailles, which had severed Danzig and surrounding villages from Germany, now required that the newly formed state had its own citizenship, based on residency. German inhabitants lost their German nationality with the creation of the Free City, but were given the right within the first two years of the state's existence to re-obtain it; however, if they did so they were required to leave their property and make their residence outside of the Free State of Danzig area in the remaining part of Germany ...

The Versailles treaty had stipulated that Germans in the part of German Reich territory to be ceded to Poland, the Polish Corridor [(also known as Danzig Corridor or Gdańsk Corridor - strip of land, 20 to 70 miles (32 to 112 km) wide, that gave the newly reconstituted state of Poland access to the Baltic Sea], had until 1922 to make the choice for Polish or German citizenship ...

  • The German Caucasus Expedition was a military expedition sent by the German Empire to the formerly Russian Transcaucasia during the Caucasus Campaign of the World War I. Its

On October 21, the German government ordered the withdrawal of all troops from the region. The last ship with German soldiers aboard departed from Poti, Georgia, on December 1918. Thus, it was the last German military formation to return home, in April 1919, from active service in World War I.

  • Under the terms of the 1921 settlement, White Russia, or Belarus, was partitioned between the Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic and Poland, and the latter was burdened with a collection of minorities, mostly Ukrainian, that reduced the Polish majority to just sixty per cent. It also now enveloped East Prussia, still in German hands but cut off from direct land access.


The last remaining POWs were "exchanged" until 1922. The head of the negotiations leading to all surviving POWs returning home was the Polar researcher Nansen.

  • Russia and Germany were anxious to get their affairs wound up, so arrangements were made in the spring of 1920 to complete the exchange. Since the Russo-Polish affair dragged on interminably, overland repatriation was impossible. The Allies lent ships and the transfer was effected primarily through the Baltic ports .... The spring of 1921 found practically all at home once more ...

The movement, begun slowly in the spring of 1920, continued in varying volume month after month. Train service from Germany was resumed later on. The total progress was slow on account the lack of facilities both in ships and in train service in Russia. The stream continued through 1920 and 1921 ...

  • Holman’s report on Makhno’s army, 1 February 1920, WO 157/772, NA. Despite persistent Allied suspicions, the German volunteers serving with Makhno or the Bolsheviks in 1919 appear to have acted on their own account and were not sent to Russia by the German General Staff. The secret co-operation with the German and the Red Armies did not start until a year later as the first German military envoys joined Tukhachevskii’s HQ during the Polish campaign in August 1920 ...

One of the most trying duties of the British Mission during the last months of Denikin’s regime was the evacuation of the White civilian population. The British political High Commissioner MacKinder, after consulting Holman, had promised Denikin that the British would evacuate all the families of the AFSR’s officers. MacKinder had clearly no authorization for such promises from the British Cabinet or the Foreign Office, but Churchill authorized the shipping to be organized for the evacuation. In South Russia it was the British Military Mission, not Denikin’s officials, which organized the registration of these civilian refugees and their transportation to Novorossiisk. All 50,000 registered refugees were indeed shipped to the Crimea or Constantinople by 22 March 1920. The same ships which carried the refugees transported thousands of wounded White soldiers to Allied military hospitals in the Near East.293 Despite all the efforts of the Mission more and more refugees poured into Novorossiisk. In addition to the original registered civilians it was estimated that in March 1920 there were over half a million refugees, and it was impossible to organize transport for all of them in such a short space of time ...

The evacuation of Novorossiisk was a nightmare. As feared by the British, the White troops did not attempt to defend the city, instead pouring towards the harbour together with the mass of civilian refugees ...

The evacuation would have been a complete disaster, had the British not been able to maintain order at the harbour and if the continuous gunfire of the Allied warships had not kept the Bolsheviks at bay. On 26 March the British Mission itself embarked on a steamer in good order ‒ under the protection of the bayonets of the Royal Scots. On the same evening Denikin and his staff boarded a British destroyer, the last one to leave Novorossiisk, as the Bolsheviks entered the city.301 The Armed Forces of South Russia were no more ...

  • In April 1920 the council of the League of Nations gave Nansen his first great task, appointing him high commissioner responsible for the repatriation from Russia of about 500,000 prisoners of war from the former German and Austro-Hungarian armies. The Soviet government would not recognize the League of Nations but negotiated with Nansen personally, and in September 1922 he reported to the third assembly of the League that his task was completed and that 427,886 prisoners of war had been repatriated. In August 1921 Nansen was asked by the International Committee of the Red Cross to direct an effort to bring relief to famine-stricken Russia. He accepted, and on August 15 a conference in Geneva, at which 13 governments and 48 Red Cross organizations were represented, appointed him high commissioner of this new venture. On August 27 he concluded an agreement with the Soviet government authorizing him to open in Moscow an office of the “International Russian Relief Executive.” Nansen’s request to the League for financial assistance was turned down, but by appealing to private organizations and by addressing large public meetings he succeeded in raising the necessary funds. On July 5, 1922, on Nansen’s initiative, an international agreement was signed in Geneva introducing the identification card for displaced persons known as the “Nansen passport.”

  • Such was the stature of Fridtjof Nansen that the Soviet authorities agreed to negotiate with him personally. Funds were somehow raised, and the gigantic task put in hand. By September of 1922 Nansen was able to tell the League of Nations that the mission had been accomplished. The Nansen Relief organization had succeeded. Well over 400,000 prisoners of war had been repatriated, not only quickly, but at amazingly low cost ...

  • On February 7, 1920, the Supreme Economic Council passed a resolution inviting the Council of the League to take measures for the assistance of prisoners, of war in the territories under the Soviet Government. Efforts to deal with the matter had already been made by various public and private bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross; but, in spite of these efforts, it was ' estimated that there still remained some 500,000 prisoners of war in Europe and Asia to be repatriated. In many cases these prisoners had been absent from their homes for from four to six years , and were suffering severe hardships . Of these prisoners, some 250,000 in Russia and Siberia belonged to Central Europe. The Council of the League, during its fourth session at Paris in April, 1920, decided to invite Dr. Nansen to act on behalf of the Council, and authorised him to negotiate with the Governments interested to co-ordinate efforts of the existing organisa- tions, and to prepare plans. He was also asked to submit recommendations regarding the financial credits required for the work.

Dr. Nansen immediately began negotiations with the Soviet Government, and arranged for the repatriation of prisoners over the Baltic and through Vladivostok. He also engineered an agreement between the German Government and the Soviet Government, and an exchange of Russian prisoners in Germany against prisoners belonging to the Central Empires in Siberia, and opened another route for repatriation over the Black Sea for prisoners in Turkestan. It would have taken some considerable time to raise money by private subscriptions to finance the work, and Dr. Nansen therefore applied to the Inter- national Committee of the Relief Credits in Paris and to the Governments represented on this Committee for immediate advances. This appeal was endorsed by the Council of the League. Most of the Governments allocated funds for repatriation through the Committee of Relief Credits and a total sum of 43 5,000 was received. The American Relief Committee substantially assisted with funds for the evacuation of prisoners from Vladivostok ...

In his report made in November, 1920, to the first Assembly of the League, Dr. Nansen stated that up to that time 180,000 prisoners had been repatriated, of whom rather more than half were Russians returning from Europe, while the remainder were Central Europeans returning from Russia ...

  • In early 1920 the Weimar Government also negotiated a deal with the Soviets on a finalisation of prisoner exchanges; some Germans that had not managed to get out after the Brest Litovsk Treaty was signed were in this category ...

  • On 23 March 1920 the Council [Allied Supreme Council] authorized the repatriation of prisoners of war detained in Siberia . Then, on 11 April 1920, the League of Nations entrusted Dr Nansen with the task of organizing the repatriation of all prisoners in cooperation with the ICRC, which was responsible for the practical arrangements. More than 425,000 people were subsequently repatriated under ICRC auspices.

    Riga, Latvia, 1920-22. Transit camp for Russian and Latvian POWs being repatriated from Germany (Stettin) and for German POWs being repatriated from Russia.  ©ICRC/Ref. HIST 1126 

    Riga, Latvia, 1920-22. Transit camp for Russian and Latvian POWs being repatriated from Germany (Stettin) and for German POWs being repatriated from Russia. ©ICRC/Ref. HIST 1126

UNOG Registry, Records and Archives Unit (1870-) / League of Nations Secretariat (1919-1946) /
Refugees Mixed Archival Group (Nansen Fonds) (1919-1947) / Registry files (1920-1947) /
Registry files (1920-1927) (1920-1926) / 42 (Reg. 19-27) Prisoners of War (1920-1924)

  • 42/5774 - German, Austrian and Hungarian Prisoners of War (1920)

    • R1705/42/6842/5774 - German and Austrian Prisoners of War in Southern Russia - Correspondence regarding the Impossibility at present of using French Ships for Transportation of German and Austrian Prisoners of War Home (1920.06.23-1920.09.18)

  • 42/6574 - Repatriation of the Prisoners of War from Southern Russia, Middle Asia (1920)

    • R1707/42/6574/6574 - Repatriation of German-Polish Prisoner of war (S. Fleisher) and other Prisoners of War in Southern Russia (1920.07.05-192009.16)

    42/9812 - Transport - Land Route through Poland Riga to Germany (1920-1921)

    • R1708/42/9812/9812 - Necessity to secure Consent of the Polish Government to the Passage of Prisoners of war Trains from Riga to Germany through Polish Territory (1920.12.20 - 1921.01.06)

    • R1708/42/10115/9812 - Forthcoming Conference in Riga between Delegates of the Polish, Soviet, German Governments and Mr. Frick as F. Nansen's Representative to discuss Land Transport of Prisoners of War through Poland (1921.01.07-1921.01.19)

    • R1708/42/10116/9812 - Letters concerning Passage through Poland of Prisoners of War Trains from Riga to Germany - The forthcoming Conference on this Issue - The Payment of the second half of the British Contribution to the Repatriation of the Prisoners of War Scheme (1921.01.04-1921.01.07)

    • R1708/42/11281/9812 - Difficulties with the Polish Government (1921.03.01-1921.03.03)

    • R1708/42/11720/9812 - Response from the Polish Delegation at the League of nations about the Consent of the Polish Government with the Passage of German-Russian Prisoners of War Trains through Poland (1921.03.18-1921.03.24)

  • By early 1920, literally hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war still had not been repatriated between Russia and Central Europe. To rectify matters a major humanitarian initiative followed, carried out largely under the auspices of the League of Nations. In a little less than two years, 427,886 people were repatriated. Of these, 406,091 were transported through the Baltic region. This paper highlights the important role of British officials in managing the ambitious project and emphasizes that Estonia, and Narva especially, played a pivotal role facilitating movement between East and West. The success of the venture meant that subsequent humanitarian agreements concluded in the 1920s built on international success rather than failure.

  • April 19 [1920] – Germany and Bolshevist Russia agree to the exchange of prisoners of war.

  • Germany: An Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany concerning the Repatriation of Prisoners of War and Interned Nationals, signed on April 19, 1920, at Berlin. An Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany for Giving Effect to the Agreement for the Repatriation of Prisoners of War, signed on April 23, 1920, at Reval.

  • A Supplementary Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany for the Repatriation of Prisoners of War and Interned Nationals, signed on July 7, 1920, at Berlin.


  • A Supplementary Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany to the Agreement concluded on April 19, 1920, for the Repatriation of Imprisoned and Interned Nationals, signed on May 6, 1921, at Berlin ...

MAY 31, 1920

(Signed April 19, 1920 in Berlin; Confirmed in Russia April 25, 1920; Entered into Force May 31, 1920 on exchange of acts of ratification
20REPATRIATION&f=false )

Deutscher Reichsanzeiger - German Reich Gazette

The American Journal of International Law, Volume 14, No. 4, October, 1920, p. 645 (June 11, 1920) -

[Establishment of Commissions in each Country?]

JULY 20, 1920

The American Journal of International Law, Volume 14, No. 4, October, 1920, p. 652 (July 20-25, 1920)

  • The Versailles Treaty of 1919, which officially ended World War. 1, inveighed against the forcible repatriation of POWs. The repatriation treaty of April 19,1920 between Germany and the Soviet Union declared "Prisoners of War and interned civilians of both sides are to be repatriated in all cases where they themselves desire it." ...

  • On the 19th of April 1920 USSR and Germany concluded agreement about the exchange of prisoners of war and intern persons ...

    And in November 1920 for enlargement Soviet-German commerce, the German-Soviet economical union was made ...

    after signing of new Soviet-German agreement, on March 16th 1921 government of Germany concluded temporary commercial agreement with Soviet Russia. “It was the first agreement where Germany appeared as equal country” ...

    At the same day the addition to the agreement from April 19, 1920, about return of prisoners of war from both countries to homeland, was signed. This addition also pointed that “both governments take the responsibility in a shortest time to return to homeland all prisoners of war who were still not returned”... Control organs from both countries were assigned, which had to take care about the fulfillment of signed addition.

    Soviet-German agreement from May 6, 1921 was very significant. It helped to develop good connections between Germany and Soviet Russia. “Though Soviet representation in Germany was officially not called diplomatic, in reality it was”... Thanks to agreements of 1921, diplomatic representations both in Moscow and Berlin were established ...

    • SOVIET-GERMAN RELATIONS IN THE INTERWAR PERIOD by Sofiya Radomska (2006 Stockholm)

APRIL 19, 1920 AND MAY 6, 1921.



The GERMAN GOVERNMENT, represented by :

(1) M. Gustave BEHRENDT, Director in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs,

(2) M. Ago VON MALTZAN, Councillor of Legation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs,




have agreed upon the following provisions :


Article 1

Both Governments expressly undertake to carry out with all possible speed the repatriation of prisoners of war and Interned civilians who have not yet been sent home.

Article 2.

No prisoner of war shall be detained on the ground of enquiries into, or a sentence on account of, breaches of discipline, or on account of punishable acts of any kind committed before the date of the signing of this Supplementary Convention.

The date of repatriation which shall take place with the least possible delay, shall be determined by special agreements between the authorities carrying out the provisions of the Convention.

Article 3.

The Welfare Centres of both parties shall be authorized to institute enquiries regarding persons missing or deceased, and also to furnish death certificates and information regarding graves, and, further, as far as possible to superintend the upkeep of the latter.

For this purpose they shall enter into communication with the competent central authorities of the other party. The latter shall be bound to collect and supply all information necessary in order to discover the whereabouts of missing persons.

Both Governments undertake to exchange as soon as possible any articles in their possession, left by deceased persons who took part in the war, together with an inventory drawn up in tripliate [sic], one copy of which shall be returned, together with an acknowledgment of receipt.

Article 4.

If, and in so far as, either of the two Governments so desire, those nationsals [sic] of the two States who at the time of the outbreak of war were resident in territory now belonging to the other party, or who remain there permanently or temporarily until the conclusion of the Peace of Brest-Litoysk [sic] (March 3/7 1918), shall be regarded as interned civilians within the meaning of the Convention of April 19, 1920, and also of this Convention.


Article 5.

Subject to a fundamental settlement of the rights of property of nationals of both States, the following shall be provisionally agreed upon in execution of Article 10 of the Convention, dated April 19 1920, with regard to personal and private property for personal use, including household furniture (hereinafter described simply as "property") :

In order to safeguard the claims of former prisoners of war and interned civilians with regard to property, and in order to carry out this settlement of such claims, a German- Russian Commission, sitting at Moscow, shall be formed, and shall enter upon its duties not later than four weeks after the coming into force of this Supplementary Convention. Both Governments shall bring to the notice of this Commission the claims of their respective nationals, supported by documentary evidence.

The Commission's terms of reference and rules of procedure shall be laid down in detail in subsequent regulations. It is agreed that for this settlement of the claims of German nationals by the Commission, the Decree of the Council of the People's Commissaries, dated April 16, 1920, with regard to requisitions and confiscations, published in the legal gazette, 1920, No. 29 (Annex I), and the Supplementary Decree dated July 23, 1920, published in the "Isvestia" [sic] of July 25, 1920 (Annex II) shall alone be authoritative : the claims of Russian nationals shall be settled in accordance with the German laws.


In dealing with the claims of German nationals, the relevant provisions of the Decree of the Council of the Peoples' Commissaries regarding unclaimed property, published in the " Isvestia " [sic] No. 237 of November 16, 1920 (Annex III) shall apply.

Article 6.

The property of such repatriated persons, may insofar as it does not exceed 8 poods (131 kilogrammes in weight) be forwarded at once, tax and duty free, subject to export regulations.


Movable property at Petrograd and Moscow amounting to about 1500 kolli, shall be considered as the private property of persons who have already been repatriated and shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this Article. After having been examined, such property may immediately be forwarded. For this purpose, the Russian Government shall provide the necessary means of transport to one of the ports used for the exchange of prisoners of war.

Article 7.

Property belonging to former prisoners of war and interned civilians recognised by the Commission as German property, and exceeding 8 poods in weight, and property of this description the export of which is prohibited, shall pending a final decision regarding transport, be entrusted by the Russian Government to the custody of the German Welfare Centre, upon the latter's request. For this purpose, the Russian Government shall provide the necessary storage premises and means of transport by rail.

Article 8.

In so far as an application laid before the Commission refers to movable property, the central authorities for foreign affaire of both States shall be bound, at the request of the welfare centres, provisionally to take charge of such property until the documentary evidence to be laid before the Commission has been furnished. Such documentary evidence must be produced within a period of three months from the date on which the welfare centres have submitted their application.


Article 9.

All persons who, as members of the Russian Soviet Army, have crossed the German frontier shall be regarded as interned Russian soldiers in Germany.

The principles of the Convention of April 19, 1920, and also of the Convention supplementary thereto, and Article 3 of this agreement, shall apply to the treatment of interned persons.

Article 10.

Unless otherwise provided for the Russian Government undertakes to reimburse the German Government not later than July 1, 1921, for expenditure incurred by the latter before January 1, 1921, in connection with the internement [sic] of all Russian military contingents.

Such expenditure incurred after January 1, 1921, shall be reimbursed by the Russian Government not later than 3 months after a claim thereof has been put in.

Article 11.

The Russian Government agrees that in order to cover the expenses referred to in Article 10, the Army property brought by the Russian military contingents, shall be utilized, on condition that such property shall be used in accordance with the principles laid down for the use of superfluous German army property, and that for this purpose a representative of the Russian Welfare Centre shall be present and shall have the right of taking notes of the proceedings and of entering objections, without, however, delaying the utilisation of the said property.

Article 12.

This Agreement shall come into force immediately upon being signed, except Articles 2, 4, and 9, which, in so far as they involve exemption from punishment, shall not come into force until special acts of ratification have been exchanged.

In witness whereof, the plenipotentiaries of both parties have signed the present Agreement and have fixed thereto their seals.

Done in duplicate at Berlin on May 6, 1921.



(Signed) SCHEINMANN. - See also: Soviet Diplomacy 1925-41 By J.C. Johari,
false -

  • Throughout 1920 the Bolsheviks expended great effort to secure German recognition of the government of the Ukrainian SSR ...

For the Bolsheviks, the large number of German prisoners on Ukrainian territory presented an opportunity to press the Germans to enter into direct relations with Kharkiv [i.e. the Kharkiv Government]. The issue was raised during the Soviet Russian-German negotiations in the spring of 1920. German representatives at that session proposed a simple agreement with Russia covering only the return of POWs on Ukrainian soil They did not accept the offer of direct contact with Soviet Ukrainian delegates. Thus the Ukrainian mission was refused permission to travel to Germany: even the Ukrainian Red Cross was denied this privilege. German prisoners were to be handed over to German authorities at the Russo-Ukrainian border. Such a stance was unacceptable to the Soviet side. Through Russian representatives, the Kharkiv government insisted that the Ukrainian department of the Soviet legation in Berlin be allowed independent representation and that Germany announce of formal break of diplomatic relations with the UNR [Ukrainian People's Republic]. These were the preconditions for resolution of the POW issue ... Although the German government did not accede to most of these demands, by 23 April 1921 it did sign an agreement with Soviet Ukraine which extended the teams of the 19 April 1920 POW agreement with Russia to cover Ukraine as well. In addition, it provided for the establishment of special missions in Berlin and Kharkiv to oversee the implementation of this accord ... De facto recognition of Kharkiv was secured.

Trade relations between Germany and Ukraine did not develop until 1921 when, in the wake of the 16 March 1921 Anglo-Russian trade accord, Germany signed a trade treaty with Russia ...

Hans-Joachim Torke, John-Paul Himka, German-Ukrainian relations in historical perspective, pp. 112-113 -

  • Agreement Between Germany and the Soviet Union with Regard to the Mutual Repatriation of Prisoners of War and Interned Civilians, Apr. 19, 1920, art. 1, 2, L.N.T.S. 66, 67 ...

    • The Yale Law Journal, Volume 83, No. 2, December 1973, Notes The Right of Nonrepatriation of Prisoners captured by the United States -

  • EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS GERMANY AND RUSSIA (Australian and N.Z. Cable Association) (Received Feb. 29, 5.5 p.m.) Paris, Feb. 26 Negotiations, instituted with Great Britain's assent, between the Russian Soviet and German Governments, are proceeding. Germany has arranged to run weekly trains between Berlin and Moscow for the purpose of exchanging prisoners.

  • GERMANY AND RUSSIA EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS BY CABLE - PRESS ASSOCIATION - COPYRIGHT (Aus. -N.Z. Cabl eAssn.) PARIS, Feb 26 Negotiations  instituted with Britain's assent between the Soviet and the German Governments are proceeding. Germany has arranged to run weekly trains between Berlin and Moscow for the purpose of exchanging prisoners. Germany takes over the Prussian railways for thirty-two thousand marks.

  • GERMANY AND RUSSIA EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS BY CABLE - PRESS ASSOCIATION - COPYRIGHT (received April 21, 11.25 a.m.) The Russo-German agreement for an exchange of prisoners is the first official compact between the Bolshevik, and German Republican Government. Two hundred thousand Russian prisoners now in Germany have suffered harsh treatment.

  • With the successes of the Red Army and the collapse of the White Armies across Russia during the summer of 1920, there was no longer any reason for the Allies to prevent the Weimar government from repatriating Russian prisoners. The Germans established a Baltic shipping route between Stettin and Narva, Estonia, Riga, Latvia, and Bjoerkö, Finland to transport Russian prisoners from Germany and retrieve German and Dual Monarchy [Austria-Hungary] POWs from Russia. While the political constraints on repatriation no longer existed, physical barriers had emerged. Under Annex III of Part VIII, "Reparation," of the Versailles Treaty, most of Germany's merchant marine fleet had been transferred to the Entente nations as replacements for Allied merchant ships and fishing boats sunk during the war. These enforced reparations left very few merchant ships available to transport prisoners between Germany and Estonia. Of the eight ships that the German government could charter to ply the Baltic waters during the summer months of 1920, only one ship was German-owned ...

    The Central Power prisoners arriving in Stettin from Russia were a somewhat different lot. The Bolshevik government sent home only prisoners that had been certified 60 percent invalid by a special committee; officers were not permitted to leave ...The Central Power prisoners also varied considerably in nationality. They began the war as German or Austro-Hungarian troops, but they arrived at Stettin as Germans, Austrians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians, Yugoslavians, or Italians ... In comparison to the Russian prisoners, these men were more alert, better educated, and even more destitute. Since many of these men had lived in Russia for six years [in Siberia], some of them had met Russian women and married. They returned with complete families, and Lowrie [Donald Lowrie, an American YMCA secretary] reported that one transport he traveled on carried eighty children, including an eight-day old baby. Many of these men were sick, the children were malformed and undernourished, and all bore traces of mental suffering; Davies [J. A. V. Davies, an American YMCA secretary] described one ship that landed 125 insane prisoners in Stettin ...

    The onset of winter slowed down the repatriation process in January 1921. The freezing of Baltic ports hindered shipborne traffic ...

    The repatriation process resumed in earnest in February 1921 ...

    By the fall of 1920, the majority of Russian POWs in Germany had returned home, and the YMCA redirected its resources to aiding Russian refugees. Several more years and the efforts of the Nansen Commission and the League of Nations were required to transport the last German and former Austro-Hungarian POWs home from Siberia ...

  • Annotated index by Peter Letkemann, Winnipeg, Feb 27, 2011
    Friedensstimme / Molotschnaer Flugblatt / Volksfreund / Nachrichten des “Volksfreund”
    John B. Toews, “A Voice of Peace in Troubled Times.” Mennonite Life September 1972, 93-94.
    ______________ . “The Beginnings of Friedensstimme,” in Mennonite Historian 24/No.3 (Sep 2000), 1-2.
    Index: all dates are ‘Old Style’ up to 14 Feb 1918 [Ukraine did not adopt Gregorian calendar]
    January 1919 edition is back on O.S. dating

1. Nachrichten des „Volksfreund“
- 13 May 1917 [notice on “Notwendige. . .Mitteilungen” leads one to conclude that this issue was preceded by a “Probenummer” – Nr. 1 earlier in May
- the issue of 6 July is missing, but is referred to in subsequent number
2. Molotschnaer Flugblatt 12 August 1917 – this is the first issue under this name still available
28 October 1917
3. Molotschnaer Flugblatt (“Volksfreund”) 9 December 1917
15 December 1917
4. Volksfreund 21 December 1917 Nr 1 (19)
I. (X.) Jahrgang - erscheint einmal wöchentlich
Why the label (X.) Jahrgang? > 10th year of Friedensstimme?
II. (XI.) Jahrgang Nr. 2 (20) - Nr.29 (47)
Nr. 6 (24), 14 Feb 1918 [N.S.] > the change was made to New Style [Gregorian] Dates
5. Friedensstimme this name reappears on 2 July 1918,Nr. 30; and continues until summer 1920
XVII. Jahrgang – 1919 [labeled as 17. Jahrgang, which means FRST began in 1902/03]
Nr. 7 25. January 1919 [first issue still available]
(appeared weekly) 43 numbers to 21. December 1919
Nr. 27 10 August 1919 [Sonnabend] – reintroduces “old style” dates under White Rule
6. Volksfreund beginning in Summer 1920 the name was changed back to “Volksfreund”
but it was still labelled as XVII. Jahrgang [old style dates continue in 1920 issues!]
The following numbers were issued, but no copies have survived:
Nr. 1 19 Juni
Nr. 2 25 Juli
Nr. 3 12 September [on 23 Sep A.K. requests people to return this number!?]
Nr. 4 16 Sep (?) - Mittwoch
Nr. 5 (19 September) to Nr. 11 (10 October) are extant, after that it seems that publication ceased.
Kroeker himself fled with his family [see story > Escape via Batum]
Censorship: In issue Nr. 76 of 11 Dec 1918, Kroeker finally explains that the paper was read by a censor during the entire time of its appearance - under German rule it was read by German censor, “ein Man mit mehr Einbildung als Verstand.”
- was not allowed to say anything negative about German troops, German army, war reports
- see also response of Mennozentrum and Kroeker’s reply in 1918. Nr. 78

Molochna Chronology during the period that Volksfreund – Friedensstimme was published:

7 Makhnovtsy Occupy Molochna: 8 October – 16 November 1919
During this period no editions were published!
Nr. 38 – Nr. 39 [“Ein mennonitischer Buß- und Bettag”] – Nr. 40 – Nr. 41 [Missing] –
Nr. 42 [losses for period 26 Sep – 3 Nov, O.S. are set at 64,815,283 roubles] – Nr. 43

8 3rd Bolshevik Occupation: January 1920 – 5 July 1920
During this period no editions were published!

9 Under White Army [Wrangel] Occupation: 5 July 1920 – October 1920
Beginning in the Summer of 1920 the name was changed back to Volksfreund ...

10 4th [and final] Bolshevik Occupation: October 1920 . . .

  • Nr. 6 23 Sep 1920 [a.St.] [Mittwoch]

    Aufruf an die deutschen jungen Männer Südrußlands. 29 August 1920 [Appeal to the young German men of southern Russia. 29 August 1920]
    -- formation of German regiment in White Army
    - signed by various officers including Mennonites - G. Braun, A. Klassen, P. Dyck, J. Wiebe,
    - regimental doctor = Dr. P. Sawatzky

    Nr. 7 26. September 1920 [a.St.] [Sonnabend] = 9 Oct 1920 [n.St.] ...

    4. “Ein Zeugnis für die Deutschen” [A witness to the Germans]
    - report from russian military commander praising efforts of German battalion from Taurien [Halbstadt, Gnadenfeld and Prischib regions]

  • Germany was humiliated in by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was forced to reduce her military capabilities to a token force of limited troops, to have no capital ships, no submarines, to give up all colonial possessions, was proscribed from manufacturing a wide range of military goods, was forced to pay war reparations realistically outside of its means to do so, was forced to give up German territory, and more. Internationally, Germany had few friends or allies to draw on for support.

    Similarly, the Soviet Union also found itself in a poor post-World War situation. The Russian Civil War was still going on. The military campaign against Poland had failed. The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all declared their independence; the Soviet Union now only controlled the port of Leningrad in the Baltic Sea. The Allied intervention forces were in Archangel and Vladivostok. The military limitations of the new Soviet Union were often the laughing stock of the world. Internationally, the Soviet Union was essentially isolated.

    Given the above, both nations quickly realized that their best chances for growth and success in military matters was to rely on each other. The start, in fact, occurred quite early. In August of 1920, Enver Pasha worked as an intermediary between von Seeckt and Moscow. He proposed that Germany provide the Soviet Union with information regarding the Polish military as a gesture of good faith. On their side, the RSFSR selected Viktor Kopp (a very capable diplomat and of Estonian heritage), to work with the Germans. He established a cover office in Berlin, Unter den Linden Nr. 11 (a second RSFSR cover office was located in Tallinn, Estonia; a third in Riga, Latvia and a fourth in Kaunas, Lithuania). Kopp's official task was to work on repatriation issues of Russian POW's and interned Russian civilians in German custody (one of his proposals was to convert Soviet POW commissions into de facto consular missions). His more covert assignment was to work on improving German and Soviet relations. Kopp was successful in getting the Deruluft and Deru-metall companies established, as well as a number of other Soviet-German joint ventures.

    Soviet supporters for a secret (or at least not a publicized) partnership included Lenin (only after he became ill), Trotsky, Dzerzhinski, Stalin, Frunze and a host of others.

    German supporters for working with the Soviet Union included von Seeckt, von Blomberg, Rathenau and many other civilian and military leaders. Von Seeckt was in fact one of the most vociferous proponents of the program. He did not so much wish to see the Soviet military increasing drastically in strength, but he did see the benefits of working closely with Soviet industry. Von Seeckt believed that the Soviet Union was an excellent source of many hard to obtain metals and minerals necessary for the creation of a modern military force.

    The German Reichswehr's counterpart at that time was the Soviet Workers and Peasant's Red Army (RKKA) and the ties that bind moved very quickly in the early days. Both agreed that they had a good co-operation future together. In early 1921, Major Fischer of the Reichswehr was selected to head a special working group within the Reichswehr Ministry. Their task was to work out a basic foundation for future German-Soviet co-operation efforts with their Soviet counterparts.

    It all culminated with the Rapollo Treaty of April, 1922.

  • The Government of South Russia (Russian: Правительство Юга России Pravitel'stvo Juga Rossii) was a Russian White movement government established in Sevastopol, Crimea in April 1920.

It was the successor to General Anton Denikin's South Russian Government (Южнорусского Правительства Južnorusskogo Pravitel'stva) set up in February 1920 ...

General Pyotr Wrangel was the pravitel' (правитель, "ruler")  ...  while the government itself was headed by a Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Alexander Krivoshein, with Peter Berngardovich Struve serving as foreign minister. The government officially assumed the name Government of South Russia on 16 August 1920 and it controlled the area of the former Russian Empire's Taurida Governorate, i.e., the Crimean Peninsula and adjacent areas of the mainland.

The government received assistance from the World War I Allies including France (which recognized it in August 1920) and the United States, as well as newly-independent Poland. However, foreign support gradually dried up and offensives of the former Armed Forces of Southern Russia and the Volunteer Army, now called the Russian Army, outside of Taurida failed.

In early November, the Bolsheviks won decisive victories and entered Crimea proper. Wrangel initiated an evacuation of 146,000 people to Constantinople with the last boats departing on 16 November. With this withdrawal, the final remnants of the White forces in Europe were defeated ...

In 1918 there were 260 persons in the village of which twelve were non-Germans, while in 1924 there were 290 persons of which fifteen were non-Germans. In 1920 two families (17 persons) immigrated to Germany and found a new home in Silesia ...

  • Mennonites of Molotschna sent a commission to North America in the summer of 1920 to alert American Mennonites of the dire conditions of war-torn Ukraine ...

  • The Russlandmennonitische Studienkommission was a committee of three Mennonite leaders of the Ukraine, from the Molotschna settlement, appointed in 1919 after the terrible experiences of the Mennonites of Russia in World War I, the Revolution, and their aftermath, apparently by the Allgemeiner Mennonitischer Kongress. The primary purpose of the Commission was to report to Western Europe and to America on conditions among the Mennonites in Russia and to study settlement possibilities abroad. The members were A. A. Friesen, chairman, B. H. Unruh, secretary (both teachers in the Kommerzschule in Halbstadt), and C. H. Warkentin, a merchant. Johann Esau, former mayor of Ekaterinoslav, then living in Berlin, Germany, offered to join the group. Friesen and Unruh, together with H. H. Epp of Chortitza, had been sent to Germany in the summer of 1918 as a commission to study the possibilities of repatriation to Germany, where they learned that such a plan was impossible.

The Studienkommission members left Russia 1 January 1920, via Constantinople, and after spending some time in Germany and Holland consulting Mennonite leaders there, reached New York on 13 June ... Unruh returned to Europe on 1 November 1920, while Friesen and Warkentin stayed in Canada ... [After his return to Europe in November 1920 he [Unruh] settled in Karlsruhe, Germany, living most of the time in the suburb of Rüppurr - ]

  • The delegates [of the Russlandmennonitische Studienkommission] left Russia on January 1, 1920, by way of the Crimea and Constantinople ...

    On September 2 [1920] the MCC [Mennonite Central Committee] dispatched a relief unit to Russia ... They disembarked at Constantinople on September 27. Since southern Russia was still in the grip of civil war, Constantinople was selected as the base for contact with Russia ...

    On October 1 ... left Constantinople ... into worn torn Russia. Arriving at Sevastopol they were accorded a warm reception by the American General McCully and officials of the White government ... [They] decided to go as far as Halbstadt. On October 8 they left for this city, arriving there on the evening of October 11 ... a general retreat [of the White Army] became evident by October 16 ... By October 26 Miller was back in Constantinople ... ... rumor [on November 10] in Constantinople reported Wrangle's retreat and probable defeat ...

    • Lost Fatherland, the story of the Mennonite emigration from Soviet Russia, By John B. Toews, pp. 50-52.

  • Eighty-thousand German prisoners have been repatriated from Russia during the last six months ...

    • Sunday Times (Perth),  Sunday 21 November 1920, p. 2 S - russia AND "german prisoners"&searchLimits=exactPhrase=german+prisoners|||anyWords|||notWords|||l-textSearchScope=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||fromdd|||frommm|||fromyyyy=1920|||todd|||tomm|||toyyyy=1921|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby 

  • In December 1919, the leaders of the Western Allies defined the so-called Curzon line as the eastern border of Poland, approximately at the level of the River Bug. This did not satisfy Poland, and she commenced war to defend her old areas. The troops of Pilsudski, supported by the Ukrainians of Petljura, occupied Kiev in May 1920, but as early as June and July they were forced to retreat as far as Warsaw under the pressure of the Soviet troops commanded by M.N. Tuhatsevski. The maintenance and supply system of the Soviet troops had, however, met with difficulties during the large operations, and Pilsudski managed to break their resistance in August 1920, and force them to retire as far as the Grodnon-Brest Litovsk-Wlodawan line. In September and October, the Poles staged a further offensive in front of Minsk. The Armistice was concluded in October1920, and the Riga Peace Treaty in March 1921. Russia consented to the territorial claims of Poland. Ukraine joined the Soviet states late in 1920. Hostilities began between Poland and Lithuania, when Poland took possession of the disputed Vilna in October 1920 ...

  • So arbeiteten wir fort bis zum 14. August. Da wurde der erste Transport zusammengestellt. Es waren die Reichsdeutschen und wir von der Bahn kamen dazu.

    • So we continued working until 14 August [1920]. Then the first convoy was assembled. It was going to the German Empire and we went there by train.

      •  - Zur Erinnerung an meine Jugend und an meine traurigen Erlebnisse von 1914 - 1920 (In memory of my youth and my sad experiences of 1914 - 1920) [An account from a German POW in Siberia and the first day when they all were allowed to go back to Germany]


  • THE question of the repatriation of prisoners of war and the efforts of the International Red Cross Committee and the League of Nations to bring this repatriation about have already on two occasions been dealt with by the Bulletin. ...

    The result of this collaboration speaks for itself. From May 1, 1920, to January 20, 1921, 248,870 prisoners were exchanged. Fifteen steamers, plying between Stettin [Germany], Narva [Estonia], Bjorko [Finland] and Riga [Latvia] transported the greater part of these prisoners, while other ships, sailing from Hamburg, went to Vladivostok to bring back such prisoners as came from Siberia, and to fetch the Germans, Austrians and Hungarians, as many as were still left in those parts, to Trieste [Italy]...

    Taking these difficulties into account, Dr. Nansen asked the permission of the Soviet Government to alter the route for the winter and to repatriate prisoners by way of the Black Sea. On November 20 his request was refused; but he was not to be discouraged. He continued to demand from Moscow the necessary authorisation, and in the meanwhile, at his suggestion, two delegates from the International Red Cross Committee left for Constantinople in order to be ready to set out for Novorossisk as soon as the authorisation should be forthcoming. According to latest reports (February 1), the Soviet government has consented to the constitution of a Russo-German committee for transporting prisoners from the Caucasus and from the Kuban to Novorossisk ....

  • Germany.
    Except for one or two thousand interned who have not yet been repatriated from Russia and Siberia, German prisoners of war have returned to their homes. A certain number of refugees and German settlers are still in the interior of Russia, but could if they, desired be sent home in the course of this year.

On the other hand, there are still in Germany 30,000 Russian prisoners of war and interned men, as well as about 300,000 Russian refugees. It is desired to lay special emphasis on the distressing situation of Russian prisoners of war suffering from tuberculosis, of whom there are from 600 to 700; there is no longer any desire to help them and, owing to their condition, it is difficult to repatriate them. Among the refugees, there is also a certain number of persons suffering from tuberculosis, as well as underfed and scrofulous children, who have not yet been able to receive the care they need ...

  • BULLETIN OF THE LEAGUE OF RED CROSS SOCIETIES, Volume II, No. 9, June 1921, p. 356.

  • In the fall of 1920 the civil war gradually ceased. The Soviets had at last gained full control of the land. Pillage and murder from various marauding parties also ceased to some extent ....

Stopping for a short time in the colony of Tiegenhagen I began to hold meetings. Into the first service came many communistic soldiers. The Lord manifested His power. After the meeting there was a lengthy conversation, and tracts were distributed. Many begged me to hold a meeting again on the following day.

It was about one o'clock in the night when, weary from my latest journeys and from the various activities of an exceedingly busy day I had just dropped off to sleep, when I was awakened by a loud and insistent knocking at the door. In a few minutes a number of soldiers, heavily armed, entered my room, and I was obliged to arise and receive the unwelcome nocturnal visitors.

"Are you the man who preached today in the church in this place, and is your surname Astakhoff ?" began the officer of the group.

"Yes, my name is Astakhoff," I returned. "I held a meeting today and have announced another service for tomorrow." ...

Going to the headquarters of the Staff next morning I again realized that through the registered papers of the Mission God had saved me (and many other believers of this place who had assisted me to organize the meetings and distribute tracts) from imminent danger. We learned later that this Staff was the Military Field Revolutionary Tribunal which conducted a pitiless secret surveillance, and ruthlessly shot everyone who fell under their suspicion.

After yesterday's meeting the above mentioned tract "Wheat and Straw" was given to the Examining Inspector, who hastily reading it pronounced it to be the most virulent counterrevolutionary article he had ever read. I saw it now lying on the table before him (together with my papers which gave permission to carry on our meetings and which bore the seal of the highest officials of the Ukraine). The decision of the Staff regarding me had been already consummated previous to my arrival.

"If you had not possessed that paper, Comrade," said the Military Examiner, pointing to my Statute, "we would have ended your career today !" ...

After dinner, by permission of the Commander of the Tribunal, I was able to hold a meeting again in the church in Tiegenhagen, which was attended by nearly all the members of the Tribunal and the guards. Again the Lord was glorified and manifested His help and victory. ...

The presiding President of the local Soviet, communist Glazov (one of the Hungarian war prisoners who had failed to return to his native land when peace was signed) now sought with his utmost powers to obtain a speedy permission from the central powers to destroy all that pertained to religion and God.

The former owners of the Raduga, knowing that destruction threatened their stores (which were prepared for the glory of God) requested me to save the literature if possible, and distribute it among the people ...

Glazov, having perfect command of the German language, had pretended to be from that nation, so thus far he had played a two-faced treacherous role, showing himself sometimes a great friend of the German colonists by having gained their confidence, then again turning into their bitterest enemy and betraying many. The unfortunate inhabitants therefore trembled before him as he ruthlessly tyrannized over them ...

THE Mission work continued, and God's blessing and timely aid appeared often in tangible form. The number of workers however, was steadily decreasing. First the famine raged in the northern parts of the land and in the year 1921 it's dread grip embraced the southern parts (where were most of the homes of our workers.) ...

With the advent of spring (1921) only one small group of missionaries (a mere handful of five souls) could go forth and sow the Gospel message in virgin soil ...

To go by train was impossible as the railway system was completely demoralized ...

"Fly, fly, save yourselves ! The Mackno's ! The Mackno's !" they cried to us in passing, leaving a cloud of dust and a bloody trail behind them as they disappeared at a gallop down into the valley. They were fleeing from Mackno's troopers, whom to meet was extremely dangerous ...

To pitch our tent for the meetings was still impossible. Though the civil war was over, and the Soviet government was now established in the land, yet the southern part of Russia was still thickly infested with various warring and marauding bands who terrorized the country and conducted a ruthless guerilla warfare with the presiding powers. Often from revenge they massacred Soviet officials who had been unjust and cruel ...

Soon after the events narrated in the last chapter, we experienced another special evidence of God's power in the year 1921. Toward the end of July nineteen-hundred and twenty-one, the land seemed to have settled down to comparative quiet since the various marauding bands had apparently ceased more or less their activities for awhile. We decided to again use our tents for our meetings, and made preparations to commence our work in the populous village of Petropavlovka, forty verst from Pavlograd. ....

FOR the benefit of persons unacquainted with the true state of affairs in Russia after the Communists came into power this brief account is written. In order to conquer the whole country and establish their rigorous rule, the Communists from the very beginning declared that all property in the country belonged to the public, and everyone was to have equal rights in its use. Factories, mines, manufacturing plants, department stores, great farming districts, and the like, were speedily appropriated and taken from their rightful owners. Railways, and the whole system of transportation also came under their monopoly, therefore first and second class modes of travelling were eliminated and everyone had to travel in freight cars. Tickets and fares were abolished and travelling was free, but ''Permission" had to be obtained from the authorities before one could board a train ...

During the famine the status quo beggared description! Passenger trains were abolished, but from time to time wretched freighters crawled from place to place. These were fairly besieged by the frantic, starving population whose one absorbing desire was to go to other places in search of food. In countless numbers they swarmed on the train, crawled up to the roofs of the cars, or clinging to the stanchions in one wild and desperate (often hopeless) attempt to escape the dread death from starvation. In winter countless numbers of these unfortunate passengers were frozen to death on the roofs of the trains. Unknown and unidentified they would roll off and be buried in the snow, or the agents of the Tcheka would take down the frozen corpses at the railway stations. In many instances (where a narrow tunnel like passage barely wide enough was cut through the deep snow for the train) the hapless passengers, clinging to the sides of the train, were invariably torn away and perished miserably, either under the wheels of the cars or they were slowly frozen to death. Many parents, who took these desperate journeys in the hope of procuring food for their children, never returned. They perished by the way unknown and unidentified. The corpses of those who were frozen, or killed under the wheels of the train, were invariably buried without an attempt at identification for the simple reason (though appalling fact) that these cases were countless in number; that disorganization had taken the place of any systematized plan and that there was no one to look after these problems ...

South Russia: 1920 - 1921

... But the White Army was defeated by the Red Army in November 1920, after the Red Army returned forces from its war in Poland. The White Army escaped across the Black Sea to Constantinople.

The first years of the new Red rule were disastrous. Famine and pestilence on an unprecedented scale struck southern Russia, killing hundreds of thousands of Russian peasants and German colonists. Agriculture had been badly disrupted in the region during the civil war. The war itself, the absence of law and order, the land seizures from the most competent producers, the shortage of horse power resulting from constant requisitioning of horses, and the destruction of initiative by the hopelessness of the outlook brought a drastic decline in agricultural production. The yield had been good in 1919 and average in 1920. But the new Red government shipped grain out of the region and then disaster struck with the drought of the spring of 1921, causing a complete crop failure. A general food shortage rapidly developed. By the spring of 1922 famine afflicted the whole population, accompanied by typhus and other diseases, all contributing to the death rate.

Thus, shortly after the civil war of Revolution, famine and pestilence struck southern Russia, killing hundreds of thousands of Russian peasants and German colonists. Yet the government continued to ship grain out of the area to other parts of the country. The American Relief Administration, an organization which established offices in Odessa in the spring of 1922, soon had stations all over the Black Sea. By July 1922 the Americans were feeding 120,000 children in the Odessa area alone. By the middle of the summer they were feeding ten million adults and children in the famine regions of Russia. Church organizations in North America responded as has been written in numerous publications. This forced starvation was the first form of repression by the new Communist government ...

[ Source: The Lutheran Church in Russia, with special emphasis on Ukraine: Intertwined with the history of Russia By R. Reuben Drefs -


  • Our family moved to the Crimea, Boselachea ...

There was nothing left for us and so in January of 1921 we left in search of a new home. We packed up what we could onto wagons. Mother took many Gereischte Zwieback to feed us on the way.

After some time, we reached Batum where we spent one year and seven months. Many people died here of Malaria Fever and Typhoid Fever. The dead were wrapped in blankets and carried into the Caucasus mountains on stretchers. Sometimes we got to go along for part of the way. Every family had casualties and no one really cared whether they lived or died. We had money with us, but it was worthless. It took thousands of dollars to buy something. We spent four months in Constantinople. Here Jake and Mary got the red measles. No one would be allowed to go to America with any sickness and so they wanted me to get the measles at this time too. I slept between them, but to this day, never had the measles!

  • Treaty between the Ukrainian SSR and Germany concerning repatriation Signed Apr. 23, 1921, in Berlin Entered into force on signature. Source: SDD, 1, pp. 236-37

    • Robert M. Slusser, A calendar of Soviet treaties, 1917-1957: Volume 1917 - Page 21

  • A Treaty of Repatriation between the Ukrainian S.S.R. and Germany, signed on April 23, 1921, at Berlin ...

    A Supplementary Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany to the Agreement concluded on April 19, 1920, for the Repatriation of Imprisoned and Interned Nationals, signed on May 6, 1921, at Berlin ...

  • A Supplementary Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany to the Treaty of April 19, 1920, concerning the Repatriation of Imprisoned and Interned Nationals of both sides via Latvia and Lithuania, signed on January 22, 1921, at Riga.

  • A Treaty of Repatriation between the Ukrainian S.S.R. and Germany, signed on April 23, 1921, at Berlin ...

  • A Supplementary Agreement between the R.S.F.S.R. and Germany to the Agreement concluded on April 19, 1920, for the Repatriation of Imprisoned and Interned Nationals, signed on May 6, 1921, at Berlin. [ - Article 1. Both Governments expressly undertake to carry out with all possible speed the repatriation of prisoners of war and Interned civilians who have not yet been sent home ....SEE EARLIER FOR THE FULL AGREEMENT]

  • Germany — Soviet Russia. Ratifications exchanged at Berlin of the supplementary agreement of May 6, 1921, for the exchange of prisoners of war and interned persons. Reichs. G., Sept. 16, 1921, p. 1261 ...

German POWs

950 German prisoners-of-war on board "Cyprus" arrive in Szczecin [Poland - formerly Stettin, Germany] on July 26, 1921, after having crossed the sea from Riga.

  • Title: German POWS Returning Home Via Stettin

  • In 2001 restoration of the ICRC’s film archives covering the period 1920-1957 was completed. Nearly a hundred exceptional documents on the organization’s activities were saved and made accessible to the public.

    This article relates the circumstances surrounding the ICRC’s first steps in cinematography in the early 1920s. This innovative and promising medium was turned to good account to make known the ICRC’s new assistance activities at the end of the First World War.

    The first four films were produced for the 10th International Conference of the Red Cross, held in Geneva in 1921. Le rapatriement des prisonniers de guerre via Stettin-Narva (The repatriation of prisoners of war via Stettin-Narva) shows how some 40,000 soldiers returning home were transported across the Baltic Sea to Russia and Germany. Les réfugiés russes à Constantinople (Russian refugees in Constantinople) tells of the first relief provided to 170,000 Russian refugees who had landed in Constantinople in November 1920. Actions de secours en faveur des enfants hongrois à Budapest (Relief operations for Hungarian children in Budapest) illustrates the ICRC’s work on behalf of children and the poverty endured by the inhabitants of Budapest. La lutte contre le typhus: l’activité du CICR en Pologne (The fight against typhus: the ICRC’s work in Poland) is about the measures taken to combat lice, which were responsible for spreading the typhus epidemic in central Europe.

    Since 1922, the cinema has played a decisive role in the success of humanitarian campa igns. The documents preserved in the ICRC’s archives bear witness to the beginnings of humanitarian film-making and to a keen awareness of its dramatic potential and suggestive power.

    Date: Jul. 26, 1921 Description:View of a ship with German prisoners of war returning home via Stettin in Poland. Found in RS: 15/35/54, Box 5 (cross referenced to oversize), Folder Narwa Photograph Album, YMCA POW Work, Narwa, Estonia Phys. Desc:TiffID:0005152Repository:University of Illinois Archives Found in:Paul B. Anderson Papers, 1909-1988 Subjects:Prisoners of War YMCA International Committee YMCA Russian Service in Europe YMCA War Prisoners Aid Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Contributor: Paul B. Anderson

  • May 8 [1921] -Signature of German-Soviet agreement covering the regulation of diplomatic and commercial relations.

  • The Soviet Government, in honour of the anniversary of the Russian revolution, has granted an amnesty to soldiers of the "White" armies, and the men are to be repatriated ...

    • The Queenslander (Brisbane), Saturday 19 November 1921, p. 31  - soldiers AND "ukraine"&searchLimits=exactPhrase=ukraine|||anyWords|||notWords

  • A Trip to Moscow ... By mid-July 1921 several difficult problems confronted the VMSR [Union of South Russian Mennonites]  [and it] decided to send chairman Janz ... to Moscow ... both the tickets and official sanctions for the journey were procured ... Janz and Wiebe boarded the train to Moscow at at Melitopol ... finally disembarked at the Kursk railway terminal in Moscow ...

    • Lost Fatherland, the story of the Mennonite emigration from Soviet Russia, By John B. Toews, pp. 56-57.

  • “In terms of the Bolshevik POW’s in Germany, while some trickled in during the course of the war, up to March 1918, the Bolshevik problem was not acute under Hoffman’s tenure as Senior Secretary. The Germans utilized Russian POW’s in agricultural labor wherever possible to help increase German food production in response to manpower mobilization for the German Army and the effects of the Allied blockade (Germany was a net food importer before 1914). The number of Russian POW’s arriving in German prison camps dropped significantly after the Soviets signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 and under the terms of the agreement, the Germans were supposed to begin the process of repatriation of Russian prisoners. However, the disrupted transportation system, the need for Russian labor on farms and as trustees in prison camps, the growing Russian Civil War, and the low priority of transporting Russian POW’s east made repatriation a very slow process. After the Armistice, the Allied Powers ended the Russian repatriation process -- they did not want the Germans sending soldiers to Russia which the Soviets would impress into the Red Army. This created a continuing POW burden for the Germans who had to continue to care for and feed large numbers of Russians while the Allied blockade remained in force. The Bolshevik presence in German prison camps exploded in August 1920 when the Polish Army launched a counterattack against the Red Army, which was threatening Warsaw, in the ‘Miracle of the Vistula’ in the Russo-Polish War. Red Army units had the choice of annihilation or escape into internment in East Prussia. By this time, Hoffman was no longer supervising War Prisoners’ Aid operations in Germany and other American secretaries had taken up the operation. Bolshevik prisoners were not as docile as tsarist POW’s and set up Soviets within the prison camps. Surprisingly, the American YMCA secretaries got along very well with the Bolshevik POW’s and many of the Soviet prisoners signed testimonials regarding the important work that the Y did among the Russian prisoners. The Germans began repatriating the Soviet POW’s after the end of the Russo-Polish War through Estonia, but because of the breakdown in transportation (as a result of the Russian Civil War and the lack of German merchant ships as a result of the Allied Armistice), this process would take several years” (Kenneth Steuer interview 2010) ...

  • Her parents were also born in Russia, though they, like Zeitner, were German citizens-- their parents had emigrated from Germany to attempt to prosper in a newly populated area of Russia ...

Zeitner and her family were then unexpectedly struck by violence in 1918, while they were living in Werch Kisilsk. Caught in the middle of the “Red” (Communist) and “White” (pro-monarchy) armies, the village was swiftly invaded by gunfire. The family escaped to several known safe cities in Russia, with the ultimate goal of reaching Moscow, where they hoped to be able to obtain legal permission to move to Germany. They migrated from town to town, and in 1920, came across some bad luck: Franz was forced to join the Russian army, and he eventually died in service.

The rest of the family was successful in reaching Moscow in 1921. Zeitner, her mother and recently born sisters Ruth and Alice lived in a camp, awaiting exchange with Russian prisoners of war in Germany, and her father was allowed to work in Berlin. In about a year, the rest of the family was able to join him ...

  • Diplomatic relations were established between the USSR and Germany on Apr. 16, 1922, by the Treaty of Rapallo. The treaty had been preceded by a provisional agreement of May 6, 1921, on trade and economic relations; the agreement signified Germany’s de facto recognition of the Soviet government. Although diplomatic relations had been established between the countries on Mar. 3, 1918, by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the German government crudely violated relations by taking part in the military intervention against Soviet Russia. After the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee annulled the Brest-Litovsk Treaty on Nov. 13, 1918.

  • When Poland's borders had been set in 1921 [peace treaty of Riga, March 21, 1921], Ukranians, Byelorussians, Jews, and Germans accounted for one-third of the population ...

Holocaust: a history By Debórah Dwork, Robert Jan Pelt, Robert Jan Van Pelt,

  • At the peace treaty of Riga, March 21, 1921, Poland gained vast Ukrainian and White Russian territories with a population of about 11 million ...  

  • Giesinger also tells us about one group of Brunnentalers [The [German] Village of Brunnental, Russia (called Kriwojar in Russian) located on the east side of the Volga River] that left in 1921. He writes in the Fall 1982 AHSGR Journal (p. 21 - 26):

"The many thousands of Volga Germans who fled from their homes in 1921, left mainly because they were afraid of dying of starvation, but also because they were unhappy about the bitter atmosphere that existed within their villages."

"On the Wiesenseite [The Samara region, more commonly called the Wiesenseite (valley or meadow side)], was the Protestant village of Brunnental. Many of its people also fled from their homes in 1921. One of the Brunnental refugees of that period, now living in Calgary, has written a brief story of his life. His family left Brunnental in the late fall of 1921 and traveled by wagon to the nearest railroad town, Krasny Kut [Lugansk region, Ukraine - southwestern part of Ukraine]. Here, 42 persons, presumably all from Brunnental, boarded a small freight car, in which they lived for six weeks on the road to Minsk [Minsk, Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR), was one of the two designated border crossing points for thousands of refugees, returning home to Poland from the Soviet republics - - In 1920, Poland invaded land held by the Russians. The Poles quickly overwhelmed the Russian army and made a swift advance into Russia. By 1921, the Russians had no choice but to sign the Treaty of Riga  (armistice was signed on October 12, 1920, Treaty March 18, 1921) which handed over to Poland nearly 80,000 square kilometres of Russian land. This one treaty all but doubled the size of Poland - ]. Other groups from their village came in a similar way. At Minsk they found shelter in a large partially destroyed building; and by working or begging for food, most of them managed to survive a hard winter. In most families some family members died. The rest were saved by the German Red Cross and brought to Germany in December 1922. Brunnental refugees who arrived at Frankfurt on 9 December 1922 were 68 persons, numbers 57 to 124 incl. on the list." ...

Ben Kister [his forefathers "had come to Russia from Germany on the invitation of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia ...] arranged a train trip on a stock car out of Russia [According to a letter written by Anna Maria Kister in 1922, she explained that they left on September 4th, 1921 along with 6 other families from Brunnental by renting a boxcar in Kraemuzei for 3 million rubles to take them to Smolenska.] While aboard the stock car, a man who knew that Ben Kister was AWOL from the army [In 1914, Ben was called into World War I for three years ... On Nov. 18, 1918, he married Anna Maria Steinmetz. Two months later, he was called into the army again -- this time to fight in the Russian Revolution. For two and 1/2 years he fought for the White (Byelorussians)...] threatened to turn Kister in at the end of the ride. The rest of the occupants told him that if he did say anything, they would kill him. The man stayed quiet and the Kister family, Ben, Anna Maria, Victor and Marie (later Mrs. Joseph Weber) made it to the Russian border ...

They arrived in Poland in November 1921 and posed as Polish prisoners so they could get to East Prussia (Germany) ...

"There was a delegation from the German consulate and then we had to confess that we wanted to go to Germany. From then on, they took are of us." The German Red Cross provided the trip to Germany. They arrived in Frankfurt on November 18, 1921 ...

The family stayed at a concentration camp for almost 4 months, until March 27, 1922, when the family went to work on an estate ...

For nearly four years, they waited for a visa to America, eking out an existence best they could ...

ESCAPE FROM BRUNNENTAL -- 1921/1922 ----As published in the Summer 1994 Issue of the Frank/Brunnental Village Newsletter  ... and

  • Eighty five years ago, on the eighteenth of March, nineteen twenty one (18th March 1921), here in Riga in the famous, beautiful and magnificent Czarnogłowce Palace that has been restored, was signed the Polish-Soviet Peace Treaty. It brought to an end the biggest of the wars in East Central Europe, one that had lasted two years, that came in the wake of the First World War. It established relations and the borders between Poland and Soviet Russia, At the same time, the Treaty, as indeed the circumstances which brought about its signing, signalled stabilisation which was to hold in our part of Europe for almost twenty years. Its provisions brought consolidation to the independence of Poland, as well as other countries in the Baltic region ...

    Poland won the armed conflict with the Western Ukrainian Peoples' Republic that had been set up in eastern Galicia, which had belonged to Poland before the partitions and which had been annexed by Austria ...

    On the eighteenth of March nineteen twenty one (18th March 1921) the peace treaty between Poland on the one hand and Russia and Soviet Ukraine on the other, was officially signed in the Charnoglovtse Palace in Riga. The treaty affirmed the mutual recognition of each other's sovereignty and established frontiers. This meant that the Soviets renounced their attempts to create Polish political structures that were subordinate to them. The principle of reciprocity was binding. The treaty regulated the question of citizenship, the rights of national minorities, the return to Poland of the cultural and material assets taken out of the country by the Russian authorities.

    Further to the ratification of the treaty - which was to occur thirty days after the signing - diplomatic relations were to be established ...

    The treaty brought formal Polish recognition of the existence of the Soviet Republics of Belarus and Ukraine ...


  • Two other relatives were not so fortunate. Johannes Bier and Andreas Hardt, the husband of Theresa Bier, who had come with their families to the Brunnental chutor in hopes of finding refuge, were both shot. Friedrich's position now became untenable and his children decided that he had to be taken to Saratov. To accomplish this, false papers had to be secured and these cost money. All livestock on the chutor had been seized by the Communists or turned over to a newly organized Soviet farm, but two of Friedrich's daughters stole a camel, which had formerly belonged to them, and succeeded in selling it in Saratov for a vast amount in rubles. With this money, Fritz Bier and a relative named Ferdinand Borger were able to buy false papers, which they brought to the chutor with them. They then shaved off Friedrich Bier's mustache and hair and succeeded in bringing him and his wife to Krasny-Kut, which was the nearest railroad station. After putting the elderly Biers into a train compartment, the two young men stood in front of the door, as though they were soldiers on duty. On this train Friedrich and his wife managed to reach Saratov safely.

    All four surviving Bier brothers now decided to leave for Germany. To do this they all assumed other names. Alexander, as we have already learned, became Alexander Müller; Friedrich took the name Barth; Emanuel and Ferdinand also assumed new names. Friedrich was the first to arrive in Germany, in September 1921. He was followed by Emanuel and Ferdinand. The last to arrive was Alexander, who came on the refugee train of 9 December 1922. Of their four sisters, only Katharina Miller escaped to Germany. Anna Weber, as mentioned earlier, was shot in prison in Saratov, along with her husband and son. Theresa Hardt and Elisabeth Hardt were deported to Siberia and never heard from again ...

The Fate Of A Wealthy Warenburg Family, Written by Emma Schwabenland Haynes,

the WEBER family who also left Russia in 1921 ...

"On September 4th, 1921 Maria Steinmetz [my mother], Benjamin Kister & Anna Maria (Steinmetz) Kister [my mother's sister], and their son Victor Kistor, with many other families, including my father's [Joseph Weber's family ], left Brunnental Russia for the last time, on a wagon. They traveled to Holzel [Russia]and then by rail to Smolensk  [Rusisa - located on the Dnieper River] in red boxcars. The village of Brunnental was close to a "salt-sea" so they took salt with them to barter or sell as they had no salt to the west."

"The train engineers would only take them so far before they would side track them. They had small army buckets with them, which held about 2 quarts, and they would bribe their way across country by giving the engineer a bucket full of salt. This was a welcome bribe." "It took about 3 weeks to arrive in Smolensk. There they became carpenters and worked on building small shacks. For their pay, they bought their way to Minsk (close to the Polish border). There they worked on the railroad by digging out ground for the new railroad ties. They were paid for their work with hard dark rye bread and a few cents. In Minsk they bought Polish papers and crossed into Poland as "Polacks". My father [Joseph Weber] said, "We had to change our Russian lies into Polish lies". They traveled into Poland on passenger trains and finally arrived there in November of 1921."

"Here they stayed in an unheated barn-like structure with about 1000 people ...

"They then went to Warsaw to the German Consul and told them they were German and would like to go to Germany. The Red Cross then provided them with food and their trip to Frankfurt on the Oder." "In Germany, they stayed in an old concentration camp under the Red Cross's care through the winter. Their food consisted of bread and marmalade (hog-fat lard) ...

ESCAPE FROM BRUNNENTAL -- 1921/1922 ----As published in the Summer 1994 Issue of the Frank/Brunnental Village Newsletter  ... and

  • From the Refugee Camp at Frankfurt a. O.

Wolgadeutsche Monatshefte: Number 15/16; August 1922 Translated courtesy of Hugh Lichtenwald

The Refugee camp Frankfurt a. O. has granted temporary accommodations to thousands of poor Volga German refugees over the last 3 years. There are still well over a thousand of our compatriots there. With mixed emotions I look back at the fate of those who had forsaken their old motherland Russia and come to this their second homeland in this old German city, in whose proximity they found their first admittance.

  • Medical Statistics Report from Heimkehrlager Frankfurt a.O.
    By Dr. of Medicine V. Rothermal, Camp Physician

    From: Deutches Leben aus Russland (Berlin) , No. 2, Feb. 1924
    Translation courtesy Hugh Lichtenwald

    Available statistics covering the illnesses and deaths of the Volga Germans in the Homecoming Camp Frankfurt a.O. from Dec. 6, 1921, the day of arrival of the first Volga German Refugee Transport, up to Nov. 1, 1923 ...

  • Report and Letter about the Refugees at Frankfurt a.O., Lockstedt and Lechfeld
    From: Deutches Leben aus Russland (Berlin) , No. 1, 1923
    Translation courtesy Hugh Lichtenwald

My friends and acquaintances in America expressed an interest in learning details of the refugee experiences and asked me to visit the refugees. I visited all three of the above named camps and their refugees. There are refugees from all over Russia. One finds people from Volhynia, Cherson, from the Crimea, from the Don region, from Siberia and from the Volga. ...

  • A Visit in the Refugee camp Frankfurt/Oder
    (This article, translated from the original, was published in the German-language publication “Heimkehr”, No. 2, 1923.)

    It is well known that a year ago, when the unmercifulness of hunger was felt more every day by the Volga settlers, a mad despair came over the unfortunate inhabitants of the German colonies, more and more Volga settlers left their homes and fled in every direction, trying to escape their ill fate. Some went westwards since they were hoping that their journey to reach Germany would not take them too long. It is still imprinted in everybody’s memory the cruel expectations of most refugees were crushed: they were held back in the forests of Minsk for over half a year. The first refugees to arrive in Germany via White-Russia got here in 1922. So far, the largest transport of about 1000 people (222 men, 295 women and 436 children under the age of 16) reached the homecoming camp Frankfurt on the Oder on December 9, 1922, to find a temporary residence in the barracks which used to house prisoners of war ...

  • Drought and famine also hit the southern regions of Ukraine, the Urals, the northern Caucasus, the Crimea, and western Siberia. People fled these areas by carts and railroad cattle cars. In a diary entry on August 15, [1921] Alexandra Rakhmanova wrote about this.

The train moves slowly, passing endless deportation trains from the famine areas of the Volga and the North. The cattle trains are crowded with people, piled up like coal: men, women, children. But are this still people? Many of them lost their teeth, their gums are bleeding, their faces are green and ash-gray ...

The Aftermath of the Russian Revolution By Kathlyn Gay, pp. 59-60 -

  • Wolgadeutsche Monatshefte Number 3, 1 September 1922

(Translation courtesy Hugh Lichtenwald)

The Fate of the Refugees in Western Russia

The situation of the refugees in Minsk and Poloczk

“The exodus of the Volga Germans began in October of last year [1921]  ...

  • During the five years of turmoil during the Russian revolution, German occupation and Russian civil war 1917-1921/22, an estimated roughly 120,000 Russian-Germans were able to leave their areas of settlement for German. Almost all of them arrived in the course of the war or during the retreat of German troops from the territories of the former Russian Empire. For about half of them, Germany was merely a stopover on their way to the United States, South America, or Canada ...

When the first reports concerning large scale westward movements of 'ehtnic Germans' fleeing from hunger reached Germany and predicted a "massive inflow to Germany" the Ministry of the Interior reacted in the early summer of 1921 by proclaiming a clear policy of rejection . "We will have to strive to keep away from Germany that flux of refugees by all means." All applications for immigration to Germany, the ministry went on to say, were to be rejected in the interest of "protecting the local population from further deterioration in living standards", given the housing shortages, unemployment situation and problems with food supplies. The Migration Office was given instructions by the Ministry of the Interior to employ all means at its disposal in order "to stop[ the ethnic Germans in Russia or divert them to other regions outside of Germany ...

The Migration Office objected to the strict blockade policy pursued by the Ministry of the Interior It regarded the rumours about masses of refugees flowing towards Germany as false. Therefore it strongly recommended "far-reaching concessions," for humanitarian reasons and in view of the German ethnicity" of those few refugees who could actually be expected to cross the border to find no sympathy abroad, but especially within Germany itself, considering that the German immigration policy was already being met with considerable protest anyway ...

Until December 1921, the number of Volga Germans fleeing starvation who were able to reach Poland and cross the German border had increased to roughly 500 or 600. For the Ministry of the Interior, this exceeded the low limit of tolerable immigration by Russian-Germans, especially considering that many of them suffered from severe diseases, and because the German authorities had not prepared for their admission.

The events in the admission camp in Frankfurt/Oder on December 6, 1921 finally prompted the Ministry of the Interior to once again close the borders to Russian-Germans. On this day, a transport of some 400 Volga Germans fleeing starvation had arrived in Frankfurt/Oder ... by the end of December, 24 ... the municipal authorities of Frankfurt/Oder thought it "entirely incomprehensible that a contaminated transport of this kind was, without any precautionary measures, led here and we were not informed until we had no choice but to admit the sick ...

Since 1919, anyone intending to cross the border needed a permit issued by the Soviet Ministries of the Interior and of War. Since 1922, it was effectively impossible to cross the border of the soviet territory for purposes of work or emigration, and exceptions were rare ...

Paths of integration: migrants in Western Europe (1880-2004) By Leo Lucassen, David Feldman, Jochen Oltmer, pp. 105 - 108 -

  • Since at that time the biggest concern of the international community in refugee affairs was the evacuation of crowded refugee camps around Constantinople, the Foreign Ministry sent a special delegation there to select the first group of refugees to come to Czechoslovakia ...

It took approximately two months to complete the transportation of the refugees from Constantinople to Czechoslovakia. The transit countries were reluctant to allow the refugee transport across their territories. It waqs finally agreed that they should follow the Trieste-Ljublana-Vienna route. The Czechoslovak governemnt had to pay all transportation expenses ... The first group of exiles reached Czechoslovakia late in 1921 ....

Russians outside Russia: the émigré community in Czechoslovakia 1918-1938, By Elena Chinyaeva, pp. 55-  -
=onepage&q=1921&f=false Jochen Oltmer, pp. 105 - 

  • As early as 1921 there were refugees from Fuerstenau in Constantinople ...

  • David Goertzen had fled to Germany by 1921 ...

  • Five people were in Germany by February, 1921, including Jacob Kroeker and Benjamin H. Unruh ...

  • Johann Martens was listed as a refugee in Constantinople in 1921 ...

  • Peter Huebner was already in Germany in 1921 ...

  • Two young men escaped from the region before 1921, and four persons were in Germany by then ....

  • Very few people were able to leave Ruderweide in the mid 1929s. Gerhard Becker had fled to Constantinople by February, 1921. Lists of those emigrating to Canada mention at least eight family groups, 29 individuals. This includes the extended Janzen family, four family units with 15 people ...

  • By 1921 a number of people had managed to leave Russia. Heinrich Richter made it to the United States, and four people were in Germany by February 1921.

  • A Mrs. Kemnitzer (nee Dyck) had fled to Germany by February of 1921...

  • Jacob Thiessen of Neukirch had already escaped to Germany by 1921...

  • Heinrich Kliewer escaped to Germany by 1921...

  • By 1921at least one person had escaped to Germany ...

Molotschna Historical Atlas By Helmut Huebert, pp. 121, 129, 135, 136, 140, 168, 178, 164, 165, 174, 184, 193

  • By the summer of 1921 Jacob [Wieler] had to go into hiding when he was warned of his impending arrest. From his hiding place he secretly sold what he could and converted the proceeds into gold. He then arranged to rent a railway boxcar and, with his second wife Augusta along with Justina, her daughter by her first marriage, plus foster child, Helen Dyck, then his son Gerhard, and his three daughters plus four other families, (Peter Wiens, and the teachers P. Siemens, G. Toews, and Heinrich Wieler (unrelated) ) they were able to flee to Moscow. There as members of the group where preachers and teachers, they were able to obtain papers and permission to proceed to the Wohlynia area near Kiev where there was a shortage of these professions. Where they stayed a number of months while he arranged for the dangerous secret crossing over the Polish border. While in this area, Jacob's second wife, Augusta died from cancer of the liver, in January 1922. He used up most of his gold for bribes and crossing fees. They eventually reached Lager Lechfeld, Germany, with little money left at a time when Germany was wracked by extreme inflation and mass unemployment ....

  • Abraham Jakob Kroeker ... In 1904 he was one of the founders of Raduga, a publishing house at Halbstadt, Molotschna, of which he was manager until 1920 ... Kroeker left Russia in 1921, came to America in April 1922, by way of Constantinople ... and

  • In the siding beyond the camp was a refugee train, a sort of rolling village, inhabited by people who were for the most part in slightly better condition than the peasants flying at random from the famine. These were part of the returning wave of that flood of miserable folk who fled eastwards before the retreating army in 1915 and 1916, and are now uprooted again and flying westwards again with the whip of hunger behind them. To understand the full difficulty of Samara's problem it is necessary to remember the existence of these people who are now being sent back to the districts or the new States to which they belong. They have prior right to transport, and, in the present condition of Russian transport, the steady shifting of these people westwards still further lessens the means available for moving the immediate victims of the drought. I walked from one end of the train to the other. It was made up of cattle trucks, but these trucks were almost like huts on wheels, for in each one was a definite group of refugees and a sort of family life. These folks had with them their belongings, beds, bedding, chests of drawers, rusty sewing machines, rag dolls. I mention just a few of the things I happened to see. In more than one of the waggons I found three or four generations of a single family - an old man and his still more ancient mother struggling back to the village which they had last seen in flames as it was set on fire by the retreating army, anxious simply, as they said, 'to die at home,' and with them a grandson, with his wife (married here) and their children. Families that had lost all else retained their samovar, the central symbol of the home, the hearth of these nomads; and I saw people lying on the platform with samovars boiling away beside them that must have come from West of Warsaw and travelled to Siberia and back.

In the doorway of one truck I found a little boy, thinner than any child in England shall ever be, I hope, and in his hand was a wooden cage, and in the cage a white mouse, fat, sleek, contented, better off than any other living thing in all that train. There were a man and his wife on the platform outside. I asked them where they were going. 'To Minsk,' said the man, 'those of us who live; the children are dying every day.' I looked back at the little boy, warming his mouse in the sun. The mouse, at least, would be alive at the journey's end ...

Famine on the Volga, Arthur Ransome, Tuesday 11 October 1921,,,6051,126591,00.html

  • On June 28th, 1919, Germany signed the formal Peace Treaty sealing the previous armistice of November 11th - this was the well known Treaty of Versailles. According to the treaty Germany was allowed a standing armed forces of 100,000 men. This new and highly regulated force was to be known simply as the Reichswehr which was officially formed on January 1st, 1921. It consisted of the newly named Reichsmarine and Reichsheer. The Reichsheer consisted of 2 Group Commands, 7 Infantry Divisions and 3 Cavalry Divisions. The Reichswehr and Reichsmarine would exist until 1935 when the WWII-era Wehrmacht was formed ...



      • - research on the German armed forces 1918-1945
        10.(Sächsisches) Infanterie-Regiment by Jason Pipes
        Unit Emblems



        1. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 1. (Leib)-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.100

        2. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. Schützen (Füsilier)-Regiment Prinz Georg Nr.108

        3. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 2. Grenadier-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen Nr.101

        4. Komanie: Saxon Fliegertruppen

        5. and 8. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 4. Infanterie-Regiment Nr.103

        6. and 7. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 12. Infanterie-Regiment Nr.177

        9. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 2. Jäger-Bataillon Nr.13

        10. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 1. Pionier-Bataillon Nr.12

        11. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 16. Infanterie-Regiment Nr.182

        12. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 1. Jäger-Bataillon Nr.12

        13. Komanie: Saxon Minenwerfer-Truppen

        14. and 15. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 3. Infanterie-Regiment König Ludwig III von Bayern Nr.102

        16. Komanie: Kgl. Sächs. 13. Infanterie-Regiment Nr.178

January 1, 1921 - February 6, 1922


A long and detailed report on the repatriation of prisoners of war, directed on behalf of the League of Nations by Dr. Xansen, was presented to the Council. While noting the great results which have been obtained, the report emphasized the necessity of securing as quickly as possible the necessary contributions to continue the work undertaken. Two hundred and eighty thousand prisoners of all nationalities had been repatriated by the Baltic routes, through the ports of Narva, Bjorko, Baltischport and Riga, and by train through Poland. Five thousand prisoners have been brought home from Turkestan by the Black Sea route (Novorossysk), and the Red Cross Mission estimates that there are 15,000 more. The repatriation of these alone will cost over a half million of dollars. By the Vladivostock-Trieste route 2,750 Russians have gone home from Germany and 8,837 men of various nationalities have been brought back from Siberia. There are still about 6,000 prisoners scattered around Eastern Siberia. Dr. Nansen has been much embarrassed by the difficulty of getting money to pay for ships, railway trains, food and clothes. If the work was to be completed, additional expense would be involved, and the Council decided to transmit the report to the Governments interested, expressing the hope that they would take the conclusions into consideration ...


The Council received a report from Dr. Nansen, showing that, if the money holds out, the work might shortly be completed. By the various Baltic routes down to June 1st, 323,850 prisoners had gone home. From Vladivostok, 11,080 had been sent home, and from Novorossysk 14,089 prisoners had just reached Trieste. The prisoners in Black Sea regions were in the worst plight, but Dr. Nansen hoped to have them repatriated within five months. ...


Dr. Nansen acknowledged the "willing co-operation" of the German and Russian Governments, and the invaluable aid of the American Red Cross and other organizations. He described the misery of men who had "passed three, four, five, and even six years in captivity and suffering of every description," men of central, southern and eastern Europe, whose Governments lacked resources, credits and means for bringing the prisoners home. "At the last meeting of the Assembly I was still appealing to the Governments to provide me with further credits. Happily since then, I have received the payments which I had hoped for through the agency of the International Committee of Relief Credits. With the money which the countries represented on that Committee placed at my disposal I have been able practically to bring my work to a conclusion ...

  • - Second Year Book of the League of Nations January 1, 1921 - February 6, 1922 Including the Complete Story of the Washington Conference, With the Complete Texts of Treaties and Agreements. By CHARLES H. LEVERMORE, Ph.D. Secretary of the League of Nations Union and of the New York Peace Society. Member of the American Historical Association. Published by The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1922

  • Fridtjof Nansen was appointed High Commissioner for Russian Refugees by the League of Nations in summer 1921. At once he was confronted with an urgent humanitarian crisis in and around Constantinople. His response included the attempt to repatriate Cossack refugees, formerly of White armies led by Denikin and Wrangel, to Don, Kuban and Terek. To ensure their well-being, and with the agreement of Moscow, Nansen deployed assistants (including a British civil servant) to supervise their treatment by Soviet authorities at their port of arrival and in their villages. This care for the welfare of returnees defines the operation as the first modern repatriation of refugees from civil conflict. Its premature termination heralded a fundamental change in the way the League of Nations managed refugee issues ...

  • This work continued throughout 1921, and on September 21, Dr. Nansen reported to the Second Assembly. He expressed grateful recognition of the help received from every Government he addressed in the name of the League and of the ready co-operation of all the voluntary organisations. From Vladivostok 12,000 were brought away. From the Black Sea, and principally from the Novovossik [Novorossiysk ?], where there are still two ships working at the collection and transport of prisoners of war, scattered round the shores of the Black Sea, there have been, so far, 5,000 men brought away.

Through the Baltic, from Riga, Narva and Bjorko (the cheapest route), 350,000 men were brought away.

Therefore, for the 400,000 placed at Dr. Nansen's disposal approximately 380,000 men have been returned to their families, many of them from the remotest parts of the Russian Empire, where communication was exceedingly difficult.

He expressed great gratitude for the admirable co-operation of the Soviet and German Governments in assisting this work, and for the invaluable assistance proffered by the International Committee of the Red Cross ...


Treaty of Rapallo, 1922 ... signed in the Italian town of Rapallo on April 16, 1922 between Germany (the Weimar Republic) and Soviet Russia under which each renounced all territorial and financial claims against the other following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and World War I ...

Article 4
Both Governments have furthermore agreed that the establishment of the legal status of those nationals of the one Party, which live within the territory of the other Party, and the general regulation of mutual, commercial and economic relations, shall be effected on the principle of the most favoured nation. This principle shall, however, not apply to the privileges and facilities which the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic may grant to a Soviet Republic or to any State which in the past formed part of the former Russian Empire ...

Treaty of Rapallo, 1922 ... Text of Supplementary Agreement November 5, 1922 ... The plenipotentiary of the German Government, namely Freiherr von Maltzan, Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs; the plenipotentiary of the Socialist Soviet Republic of the Ukraine, namely, Herr Waldemar Aussem, Member of the Central Executive Committee for all Ukraine ... agreed to the following provisions:  ...

Article 3

All nationals of one of the Contracting Parties who are resident on the territory of the other Party shall enjoy complete legal protection of their persons in conformity with international law and the general laws of the country of residence.

Nationals of the German Reich who enter the territory of the States allied to the RSFSR in conformity with the passport regulations, or who are at present resident there, shall be granted inviolability in respect of all property taken with them and of all property acquired on the territory of the States allied with the RSFSR provided that the acquisition and employment of that property is in accordance with the laws of the State of residence or with specific agreements made with the competent authorities of that State. The exportation of property acquired in the State allied to the RSFSR shall, unless otherwise provided for in special agreements, be governed by the laws and regulations of the State allied to the RSFSR ...

Article 6

The States allied with the RSFSR shall allow persons who possessed German nationality but have since lost it, and also their wives and children, to leave the country, provided that proof is forthcoming that they are transferring their residence to Germany ....,_1922

  • In December 1921, my wife and our two small children and I left by wagon for the railroad at Kamyshin [city in Volgograd Oblast, Russia, located on the right bank of the Volgograd Reservoir of the Volga River]. We figured we had enough silver and gold to get out of the country. We rode in a boxcar with 50 other people; men, women, and children, all together. We could buy some bread along the way. Sometimes the boxcar would be left on a side rail, and we stayed in the boxcar for two or more days. We got to Minsk where we stayed in someone's house for several days. Our baby boy, Alexander, died there. He had measles and caught cold. We buried him there in the cemetery in a little basket. Most of the people who were left were young, but one older man said a prayer at the graveside. That was the best we could do. Many people fell ill and died. Fifty turned back to Dreispitz, but never arrived there, as far as I could find out.

Since I spoke Russian, the Russians didn't know I was German, and this was to my advantage. I heard there were two people from Dreispitz who had been caught by the Russians. I found them, and got them some food. We managed to get them away. They always remembered this, and said I saved their lives. In Minsk, we hired sleds to take us to the Polish border. We