Closely examining the documentary photographs of Nazi accomplices from the ranks of the Auxiliary Police (Hilfspolizei-Hipo) created in the territories occupied by the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War, one cannot but pay attention to one extremely characteristic detail: the presence of young people of military age among those depicted on them. How so? Those who were obliged at that moment to fight the invaders in the ranks of the Red Army, defending the Motherland and their father’s home, suddenly found themselves in the service of the invaders …
Let’s talk about how it happened.
Indeed, the decision on a massive military conscription on the territory of the Soviet Union was made on June 22, 1941. The next day, the mobilization of citizens liable for military service, born in 1905-1918, began, which was carried out in 14 of the 17 military districts of the USSR. In a week, the ranks of the Red Army were replenished with almost 5 and a half million soldiers and commanders. However, as we can see, the guys born in 1922-1923, that is, those who were 18-19 years old at the age of 41, were not affected by this call. Perhaps the point here is that until 1939 he was called up for active military service from the age of 21.
Nevertheless, the difficult situation at the fronts, the huge losses of the Red Army forced the State Defense Committee on August 10, 1941 to begin the second wave of mobilization, which affected not only guys born in 1922-23, but also people born in 1894. The conscription was already carried out in all districts. Another 6.8 million Soviet citizens went to part of the Red Army. However, one should not forget that by this moment the enemy had already seized significant territories of our country, on which they simply did not have time to carry out a deployed mobilization. Here is the first source of potential recruits in the ranks of the police …
Now about the others. Huge crowds of young people literally storming the military registration and enlistment offices in the first days and weeks of the Great Patriotic War – this, no matter how anyone would like to prove the opposite, is not an invention or propaganda, but the most authentic reality, “reinforced concrete” documented. There were, however, those who did not rush to the front at all. Some were simply afraid to go to fight, while others were evading the draft for “ideological reasons.” It is only liberal historians who are trying to prove that every single enemy of Soviet power was invented by Stalin and Beria. In fact, those who in 1941 did not consider either the state of workers and peasants, or the Red Army, which defended it, as their own, in the country, alas, were enough.
By the way, it was they who first of all ran to enroll in the police created by the occupiers and in the punitive Schutzmann-schaft teams. I really wanted to settle scores with the hated Bolsheviks. As a rule, these were the children of those who, during the revolution and the Civil War, lost their wealth, high social status, and power. Separately, it is worth mentioning here also the nationalists, primarily Ukrainian and Baltic. These were ready to serve the Nazis in order to be able to slaughter commissars and ethnically “wrong”.
However, there were those among the future Hitler’s henchmen who hid the usual bestial desire to rob their own compatriots and play with them to their heart’s content behind talking about a mortal offense against the Soviet regime. Of course, they hid from being drafted into the Red Army, but the “dust-free” and, as it seemed to them, safe police service was revered for great luck. This disgusting category also included criminals, whom, as a matter of fact, no one took to the front, but the invaders were quite willing to join the ranks of the “assistants”. We will leave on the conscience of some domestic filmmakers, either deliberately lying, or simply having no idea about the real events of those years, to the delusional tales of the lessons “heroically fought against the Nazis”.
Another category of police “youngsters” were those whom the Nazis selected from among the prisoners of war. Often, at the initial period of the war, a person had time to both be called up and be taken prisoner literally next to his own home. Such people, depressed, demoralized, weak in spirit, the Germans put before a simple choice: either the Hilfspolizei bandage – or a concentration camp. Could have threatened with execution on the spot, while killing someone for clarity.
In any case, everyone always had a choice. The pitiful assurances that “there was no other way out,” which sounded later when the Red Army drove the Nazis back to the West, are worth absolutely nothing. To become a hero or a traitor, swell with hunger or covet a policeman’s ration, freeze in a partisan dugout, risk his life in battles or participate in bullying civilians and their executions – here everyone decided for himself. And there were no excuses for those who, having betrayed their homeland, turned from its defender into its executioner, were not, and cannot be.