According to the doctrine of the Wehrmacht, the further advance of the troops to the east was accompanied by the creation of a whole system of stationary camps in the area of responsibility of the occupational authorities [5; p. 118]. The beginning of the of the camp’s construction
In Dnepropetrovsk, the history of which is kept by the memorial, refers presumably to October 1941.
The official Nazi documents called it Stammlager 348 (in abbreviated form "Stalag"). It was intended for ordinary and junior officers of the Soviet prisoners of war. Stalag was not a single complex of buildings but was dispersed throughout the city of Dnepropetrovsk and in other settlements of the region. Suitable buildings were urgently found to equip individual segments of the camp. For example, the main segment of the camp in Dnepropetrovsk was in the former prison building.
The memorial is located on the territory of the residential area "Igren" within the modern city of Dnipro. During the war the "Igren" district was a separate town, so the segment of Stalag-348 located here was a branch of the camp in another town. This remark is very important because most of the information about Stalag-348 relates to the central segment in the former Dnepropetrovsk. Information about other camp branches is not fully currently available. Therefore, the history of this place of memory may be misinterpreted.
The local psychiatric clinic was chosen for the location of the Stalag-348 branch in Igren, where the monument to the dead is now located. It was chosen in advance because it had the necessary number of vacant buildings that could be quickly converted into barracks.
The names of the camp administrators in Igren are unknown. But on the basis of the testimony of former prisoners of war it is possible to mention the involvement of the leadership of the Stalag-348 branch in Igren in the creation of difficult living conditions in the camp [1; p. 39].
In addition, prisoners of war were often cruel treated by camp guards, who beat the prisoners at any sign of disciplinary misconduct [1; p. 40]. This situation is also characteristic of other branches of Stalag-348 and is confirmed by the testimony of prisoners of war, which were collected by officers of the 4th department of UNKGB in November 1943 (currently stored in the archival department of the regional branch of the Department of Security Service of Ukraine in the city of Dnipro).
Two-storey hospital buildings were filled with patients at most . Up to 50 people were usually in each room at a time. Systematic treatment and care for prisoners of war was absent: German doctors did not care for prisoners of war because they were afraid to get infected. The main reason for such fear of the German staff was typhus, which is mentioned by prisoners of war as one of the most common diseases in the camps. Medics were selected from among the prisoners themselves. There was a catastrophic lack of medication in the camp 348 units .
Another problem was nutrition. As early as July 1941, the Wehrmacht's leadership set as a priority the preservation of all possible provisions for the needs of the operating troops. It was never planned to allocate a lot of foodstuffs to prisoners of war, regardless of such factors as illness, heavy physical labour, etc. The diet in all the camps of the Reichskommissariat "Ukraine" was the so-called "balanda" - flour soup. There are reports that the prisoners of Stalag-348 were also fed with the remains of dead horses and dead cattle .
According to the official information of the special commission of inquiry, which worked immediately after the liberation of the city, the Dnipropetrovsk camp for prisoners of war became a grave for about 30,000 soldiers of the Red Army during the whole period of occupation [2; p.11].
However, the issue of the accuracy of the official data collected by the emergency commissions regarding the number of people killed from different categories of the Nazi terror's victims remains debatable for Ukrainian historical science to this day. Therefore, with regard to the number of prisoners of war killed in Camp 348, it remains to be seen how objective the current number is and whether the special commission of inquiry has taken into account all categories of prisoners killed, whether shot, seriously ill or starved.
Many eyewitness accounts of life in Stalag-348 have preserved. For example, the story of Mikhail Andreevich Smirnov, a prisoner of the "transit camp", a nurse who treated prisoners of war for typhus, is very revealing . He tells us that the prisoners of war, finding mutual understanding with the prisoners-of-war medics in the camp, depicted themselves as seriously ill. This was how they sought transportation to the city's infectious diseases hospital, from where they could escape. On the eve of the escape, the doctors recorded them as "dead".
However, most such evidence requires careful analysis and identification of the segment of the camp where the events described by the eyewitness occurred. This information is often not mentioned in eyewitness accounts, which can lead to confusion in the study of the history of Stalag, as different practices may have been applied to the same typhoid-infected prisoners in different segments of the camp.
The history of the Stammlager 348 ends in May 1943, when the retreating Wehrmacht began evacuating large stationary camps from Ukraine. It is known that all prisoners of war from Dnepropetrovsk were transferred to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and other camps. Despite the occupation authorities' fundamentally negative attitude towards captured Soviet soldiers, considerable efforts were made to evacuate them to Germany, considering that during this period all the resources were allocated to organize the retreat of the Wehrmacht. In addition, forced labor was planned to be used in military enterprises and mines. The camp itself was institutionally renamed and then merged with several other evacuation camps.
The monument consists of two elements.
The first element is the central figure of the prisoner, a large bronze statue depicting the prisoner of the camp. He falls and tears the imaginary barbed wire with his hand. The height is 5.2 meters, set on a granite slab of 0.6 meters high and 1.8 meters long. The statue is black. The second element is behind the prisoner's silhouette 3 meters further in the fence, which encircles the territory of the hospital. It shows the bas-relief image of the victims of the camp: two men, one girl and one child are depicted here. The size is 2.1 x 40 meters. The color of the composition is gray. To the left of the image of the victims in the bas-relief was paved with the phrase: "Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten". As of 2018, the phrase has been removed. This monument replaced the monument that stood in this area earlier.
The previous monument was erected in April 1973. It was a brick pylon covered with black ceramic tiles. At an altitude of 2.3 meters from the ground was built a memorial plaque of red granite with the text: “Here, at this place, during the Great Patriotic War, the German occupiers shot the sick and the prisoners of the concentration camp”. In front of the pylon there was a flower bed fenced with a black ceramic tile curb. The territory of the monument was lined with reinforced concrete slabs.
The new monument was erected in 1983.
In 2017, the monument was damaged by vandals: in particular, the bronze statue in the center of the composition lost its left leg.
"Monument to the dead of the concentration camp "Dnepropetrovsk pit". Date of erection: 1983.
Exact address: Dnepropetrovsk region, city of Dnipro, residential district "Igren", Dnepropetrovsk regional psychiatric hospital, the main entrance (on Bekhtereva street).
QPS-coordinates: 48.477306,35.185066 N 48º 28.629` E 35º 11.11`
The memorial is located to the left of the central entrance to the hospital and is the first object to be seen by visitors.
Important note: The entrance gate to the monument is not considered to be the main entrance to the hospital area. They are used to serve for vehicles; if you get to the hospital by public transport, you should know that you will be getting off at a stop near the new entrance, which is in front of the entrance gate. You should walk a few hundred more meters along the road to the memorial from the stop. Just before the memorial and the entrance gate there is a road and railroad track. Behind the memorial and the gate of the hospital, an alley begins, which leads through a small park area to the main buildings of the hospital.
Access to the monument, as well as to the whole territory of the hospital complex, is allowed.
Authors of the monument: sculptor V. Shchedrov, architect V. Polozhiy.
The monument was erected in 1983 on the money of the hospital by the decision of the Executive Committee of the Igren City Council.
Now it is under the guardianship of the Department of Public Utilities of Samara district of Dnipro city.
Comments, observations and suggestions regarding the monument can be addressed to the Department for Cultural Heritage Protection of the Dnipropetrovsk City Council
Pastushenko T. Systema nimec′kych taboriv dlja radjans′kych vijs′kovopolonenych v Ukrajini (červen′ – hruden′ 1941 r.) [System of German camps for Soviet prisoners of war in Ukraine (June - December 1941)] / T. Pastushenko // Krajeznavstvo. – № 2. – 2011. – 116–125 p.
Sites of memory
The platform was created as part of the “Memory – Wiki - In the footsteps of the memory of the “forgotten” victims of National Socialism in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Germany,” organized by the Berlin public association “KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI”.
The idea and the content of the website were developed by the students of history at four universities: Bremen University, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University, Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don and the National Research University "Higher School of Economics", Moscow.
The project was carried out by the association "KONTAKTE-KOHTAKTbI" with the support of the foundations “Erinnerung Lindau” and “Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft”, as well as the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.