My grandfather, Boris Krass, was born in Russia, and while still very young spent 5 or 6 years years as a refugee in Germany with other White Russian families before coming to the US.
Fluent in Russian and German, he was an intelligence officer in the US Army during WWII. In 1944 he interrogated hundreds of Russian forced-labor prisoners that the Allies had liberated from the Nazis.
This is a report he made to the Army and OSS about their situation:
“Bombings and black markets afford the only source of extra food.”
“If an Osterbeiter is … caught walking with a German girl, he is hanged the next day.”
“By far the great majority of Russians have nothing but hate for the Nazis”
“Incidents of sabotage, killing, plots, and secret organizations have been cited to this interrogator.”
“Several Ost workers have reported that they had been carefully approached by Germans, self-styled Anti-Nazis, who have invited them to listen to Allied broadcasts in the secrecy of their homes.”
“many of the Russian girls working as domestic servants in private homes listen to the radio in the absence of their employers. The subject matter of these broadcasts is then widely disseminated among other Russian laborers.”
Still-captive Russian prisoners want guidance on:
– Should we resist evacuations, and hide to await the Americans?
– How can we fight the Nazis at the critical moment? Sabotage? Passive resistance? Arms? Open revolt?
– How should we act during an air-raid?
“It is beyond the scope of this report to deal with the delicate question of why the Soviet Union has left much to be desired in sending propaganda to its citizens in Germany. It is presumed to be a matter of politics.”