Soviet POWs behind Barbed Wire (1942)
German treatment of POWs varied greatly and was largely determined by the nationality of their captives. Soviet POWs suffered the worst fate, since National Socialist racial policy held that the “Eastern races” were inferior, and since fighting Bolshevism was among the goals of Nazi political ideology. Soviet POWs were kept in makeshift camps without sufficient food, medical care, or protection from harsh weather conditions. Thousands of prisoners were used as forced laborers in the armaments industry and at mining sites. More than 3 million Soviet POWs died in German prison camps. This photograph was taken at a POW camp in Charkov (Ukraine).