In the National Archives in Washington, D.C., there exists a short clip of film which would appear to be the only one of its kind ever made. It is the unedited footage taken by an American Army camera unit at a prisoner-of-war camp in southern Germany in February 1946. A card, headed “Return of Russian Prisoners to Russia,” identifies the subject matter of the film and the location where it was taken.

For many years this unique piece of film was not available for public inspection. What it recorded was a small part of a vast operation that was one of the most sensitive of the Second World War, the handing over to Stalin of large numbers of Russians who in varying circumstances found themselves under German control by the war’s end. Some of these Russians had been organized into military units to fight alongside German forces against the Red Army; in addition...

 
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