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Open Wound : The Genocide of German Ethnic Minorities in Russia and the Soviet Union: 1915-1949 and Beyond
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Samuel Sinner's new book is a welcome addition to a growing body of literature on the subject of genocide. Sinner describes the various phases of the genocide perpetrated against the Russlanddeutschen and calculates the resulting excess mortality from each of these phases. The whole process of this genocide encompassed 34 years (1915-1949) and three different rulers; Tsar Nicholas II, Lenin, and Stalin. During World War I, Tsar Nicholas II deported close to 200,000 ethnic Germans from Volhynia, Bessarabia, and other western regions of the Russian Empire to Siberia. Sinner estimates that between one third and one half of those deported perished. During the Russian Civil War (1917-1921) Bolshevik forces massacred over 60,000 ethnic Germans in the Volga, Ukraine, Crimea, and Caucasus. These atrocities occurred in the context of forced grain requisitions that left the German communities of the Volga and other areas without any food. Sinner calculates that the famine resulting from these requisitions claimed the lives of 300,000 Russlanddeutschen, 150,000 of them in the Volga region. Under Stalin, the mass deportation of peasants branded as kulaks, executions, and the 1932-1933 Holodomor (Murder Famine) killed another 300,000 Russlanddeutschen by 1937. Finally, Stalin's forced dispersal of virtually the entire German population of the USSR to special settlements and labor army work sites during the 1940s brought the total death toll of the Russlanddeutschen due to the policies of the Russian and Soviet governments from 1915-1949 up to around one million.Read more ›