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German History in Documents and Images
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POWs Returning from the Soviet Union Exit Freight Cars after arriving at the Train Station on the Border in Herleshausen (Hesse) (October 1, 1955)
On a visit to Moscow in the fall 1955, Konrad Adenauer secured the release of the last approximately 10,000 German POWs from Soviet prisons. In return, the Federal Republic agreed to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. West German press reports emphasized somewhat optimistically how well the newly released men had survived their time in prison and how glad they were to reprise their roles as family breadwinners. The Soviets temporarily halted the release of prisoners when it became clear that the Federal Republic was seeking to delay the agreed-on exchange of ambassadors for as long as possible. Photo by Robert Lebeck.