PLUNDERING DEFEATED GERMANY a series of four investigations into the Soviet pillage of defeated Germany. Follow us to make sure you don’t miss this or other breaking stories. Read Part I, Part II and Part III.
PLUNDER OF THE SOVIET HIGH COMMAND
While the soldiers were content with what fit in the duffel bags, the generals loaded the trophy property in wagons. And not only donated by the command or bought in warehouses. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin turned a blind eye to the self-supply of the nomenklatura in uniform, but took the opportunity to keep everyone on the hook and punish the unwanted selectively. Several cases of this kind help to represent the extent of the enrichment.
As soon as Marshal Georgy Zhukov, in the opinion of the leader, imagined too much about himself, he was recalled to the Soviet Union from the post of the commander of the Soviet occupation zone, accused of money-grubbing and forced to write humiliating explanations to the party commission headed by the secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks Andrei Zhdanov.
In January 1948, MGB operatives conducted a secret search of Zhukov‘s apartment and dacha and found 70 pieces of gold jewellery there, including diamonds, 30 kg of silver jewellery, 194 pieces of valuable furniture, 483 skins of fur animals, 3.7 thousand meters of fabric, 44 carpets and tapestries, 55 museum paintings, 7 boxes of crystal and porcelain, 740 silverware items and a large number of rich published books in German, which neither the marshal nor his relatives owned or understood.
However, during a search, the Chekists could not find the cherished suitcase of Zhukov‘s wife, who took it with her on all trips. It was assumed that there was her most expensive jewellery. Or maybe she was carrying medicine for the Marshal?
So the secret of the suitcase remained unsolved, although Abakumov reported to Stalin in writing about it and suggested that he demand voluntary extradition from Zhukov. Today, fans of the marshal say it was political persecution. Like, they wanted to discredit the Marshal of Victory. And this is all true. Only the inventory of property is genuine, and the good is real.
The head of state security in the Soviet occupation zone, the future chairman of the KGB, Ivan Serov, settled in the former Goebbels mansion. He ordered his personal power not to hand over 80 million Reichsmarks found in the cellars of the Reichsbank to the treasury, and while this currency was still in circulation, he managed to spend 77 million uncontrollably on ‘operational needs’.
A member of the Military Council (political commissar) of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, Lieutenant General Konstantin Telegin received 25 years in the camps for sending a whole train of trophies back to his homeland in the Novosibirsk region. Apparently, the ‘package’ was not the first, since the investigators seized 16 kilograms of silverware, 218 woollen and silk cuts, 21 hunting rifles, antique porcelain, French and Flemish tapestries of the 17th-18th centuries.
Lieutenant-General Vladimir Kryukov and his wife, singer Lydia Ruslanova, were confiscated two Mercedes cars and a Horch-951 specially built for Hitler, 132 paintings by the most famous artists, 107 kilograms of silver items, 35 antique carpets, diamonds, tapestries, antique sets, furs, marble and bronze sculptures, 312 pairs of shoes, 87 costumes, as well as 78 window latches, 16 door locks and 44 bicycle pumps.
The head of the Berlin Interior Ministry’s operative officer, Major General Alexei Sidnev, appropriated about a hundred gold and platinum items, among which was a unique handbag made of gold, as well as 600 silver forks and spoons, five unique tapestries, 50 carpets, 32 fur coats, 1,500 meters of fabric, 296 garments, 78 pairs of shoes, 405 pairs of ladies’ stockings, 178 fur skins.
The current ‘lawyers’ of these generals see the reason for their exposure in their proximity to Zhukov, although they do not deny that the generals have lost their sense of proportion.
Everyone was involved in plunder: SMERSH and the military prosecutor’s office and the NKVD. And even the legendary head of SMERSH, Viktor Abakumov, were discovered found trophy gold, diamonds, paintings, tapestries, plus a suitcase of German suspenders. Read more
All was taken despite it being of no earthly use to the looters: Zhukov was not going to sew 1000 suits, and Ruslanova would not have been able to get to her feet if she had put on all the looted diamonds.
It is rightly said that several dozen generals were tried. But only generals during the war years were more than 6,000. There were also colonels, and lieutenant colonels, and majors.
A natural question arises, why the leader of the peoples, seeing money-grubbing among the military, did not stop it in the bud? The answer is simple. Josef Stalin was afraid. He was afraid that the military, who had lost fear in the war, would no longer accept the Soviet conditions of 37 years.
They saw a different life in Europe, knew an alternative to the Soviet system, which turned out to be not the best. And the leaders among the military were popularly beloved marshals and generals. The dictator knew well that they could sweep away the police power in an instant. So Joseph Vissarionovich pacified the front-line soldiers with hand-outs, ‘covered up’ the generals with trophies.
Without justifying the Red Army for its coarseness, I would like to note that the Allies behaved in Germany no better than the Soviets. American soldiers were so keen on collecting ‘souvenirs’ from the population that they literally combed residential areas. Moreover, they were not interested in stockings and dresses. It turned out that among them so many connoisseurs of antiquity and antiques formed, as if all of them worked in museums before serving in the army.
British soldiers ‘collected’ machinery and equipment, industrial lots of goods, especially valuable raw materials. And only when there was no room for sending the wounded on the ships going to Britain (and there were up to a thousand of them daily), the joint command of the Allies began to restore order, they reserved a certain number of ships for military needs.
The French, as connoisseurs of winemaking, were engaged in wine. The French returned to their homeland with millions of bottles of wine. The Poles were omnivores, and ‘picked up’ everything that was left after the Americans, British and French. Therefore, even today, in the flea markets in Poland, you can buy almost any household item of German production of that period, from a coffee grinder with sugar tongs to a latch with screws.
Related books : WITNESS TO HISTORY, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS, THE ALL LIES INVASION, DEATH OF A CITY.
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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, DEATH OF A CITY, WITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER , THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and II, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, IMMORTAL BELOVED, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS , The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS , SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S , PORCELAIN OF THE THIRD REICH: Supreme Ceramics and Porcelain Lost to War and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
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MICHAEL WALSH is an Irish British-born journalist. His 70 books include best-selling historical books THE ALL LIES INVASION, WITNESS TO HISTORY, TESTIGO DE LA HISTORIA: HISTORIA SIN CENSURA (SPANISH EDITION), REICH AND WRONG, HEROES HANG WHEN TRAITORS TRIUMPH , HEROES OF THE REICH, THE FUHRER’S PROCLAMATION TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE , FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, MEGACAUST, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH, PORCELAIN OF THE THIRD REICH: Supreme Ceramics and Porcelain Lost to War and DEATH OF A CITY.
MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL, AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS, THE LAST GLADIATORS, A Leopard in Liverpool, RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
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Art related books: Sculptures of the Third Reich: Arno Breker and Reich Sculptors, Volume I , Sculptures of the Third Reich: Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors, Volume II, Porcelain of the Third Reich: Supreme Ceramics and Porcelain Lost to War, The Red Brigands, Ransacking the Reich by Michael Walsh.
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