The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Ministry
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No. 618

Moscow, February 7,1938.
Tgb. Nr. C IV a Verh. adh.
Received February 9, 1938.
(Pol. V 1179)

With reference to the report of January 22, 1938, C IV a Verh. adh.(1)

Subject: Arrests in the Soviet Union.

Since the deportation of Reich-Germans arrested in the Soviet Union his now been going on for 3 months, I take the opportunity to review the history of the question of the prisoners.

The last list of persons arrested that was submitted before the start of the deportations, dated October 8, 1937, showed a total of 382 prisoners, of whom 45 had been sentenced, 326 were in custody pending trial, and 11 were of undetermined citizenship. During October there were 78 additional arrests, minus 2 deportations, so that the list of those arrested showed a total of 458 prisoners as of November 1, 1937. In addition, approximately 50 cases of arrest must be counted which occurred prior to November 1 but became known only in November and December. It may therefore be as-sumed that as of November 1, 1937, there were approximately 508 Reich-German prisoners in the Soviet Union.

As is evident from the reports of our Consulate and the Soviet authorities, 98 of these 508 prisoners have already left the Soviet Union, in the course of the deportation proceedings, and 80 more are scheduled for deportation; their departure may be expected in the very near future.

On the other hand, in the months of November, December, and January, 96, 38, and 23 new arrests were made.

The following statement shows the over-all situation:

Those arrested as of November 1, 1937

those who have left the Soviet Union

those scheduled for deportation


The following arrests were reported to the Embassy:

in November 1937
in December 1937
in January 1938
February 1-7, 1938
Of these,

had already been arrested by November



Other reductions:

citizenship revoked

Soviet citizenship acquired

released from custody



Cases still pending on the list of those arrested


However, this figure gives only a partially correct impression. The deportations have shown that there are a number of Reich-German prisoners in Soviet prisons whose arrest has not come to the attention of the Embassy. Of a total number of 263 prisoners deported or scheduled for deportation there were only 178 on the list of persons arrested. It must therefore be. assumed that in addition to the 408 prisoners known to the Embassy there are still a sizable number of additional Reich-Germans in Soviet prisons. The Embassy estimates the number of these unknown prisoners at approximately 200.

It may be mentioned here that in this estimate those political refugees are not included who came into the Soviet Union on forged passports and were arrested. Such cases have not yet been reported to the Embassy for deportation.

Even if, as is evident from the above statement, the success of the deportation proceedings has not come up to the original ex-pectations of an early liquidation of the question of prisoners, an appreciable decrease in the figures can, nevertheless, be noted for the first time, after the number of Reich-German prisoners had steadily increased for months. In addition, the tempo of arrests obviously has also slowed down at present, so that, if the deportation figures remain the same, it may be assumed that in the next few months the number of prisoners will decrease still further.

Furthermore, during my call on February 4,1938, I again repeated the wishes, expressed previously in my conversation of January 21, 1938, with M. Potemkin, for an acceleration of the deportations. M. Potemkin promised me that he would contact the domestic au-thorities and that he expected the result of these steps to be favorable.


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