Norwegian newspaper Nordlys revealed the grotesque conditions that Russians lived in war camp near Troms. According to researcher and author Michael Stokke, plenty of material about the war crimes of the National Archives in London show previously unknown stories about war crimes that occurred on Norwegian soil just before peace came.
When sanitary soldiers were dead, other prisoners cut meat from the corps, cooked it and ate it, said Stokke. The three prisoners were executed, when German prison guards discovered that they ate human flesh, according to the researcher.
A Shocking Photography Experience
Norwegian photographer, Bjorn Winsnes (86) also affirmed the story. Winsnes was among the first who entered the camps in Troms after the war. Talking to Norwegian daily Dagbladet, he said the survivors looked like skeletons. – When I took pictures of them, I turned off the flash because we were afraid that such a bright light could kill them. They were so fragile, Winsnes says to Dagbladet.
Several of these prisoners were probably too exhausted and dull to understand that peace had come.
Norwegian photographer also said that he remembers the picture he took of one leg of a dead Russian prisoner. The thigh was completely eaten. There were only bones left, says Winsnes.
About the War Camps in Norway
In June 1941, the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany, and many soldiers in the Red Army were taken prisoner. The prisoners were first sent to Poland, and many were thereafter stowed into cargo ships and brought to Norway. At least 90,000 Soviet POWs came to Norway. According to Nazi ideology, these people were “Untermenschen” and belonged to a race best suited as workhorses. “The Aryans could never have managed the first step on the road to their culture if they had not had put in inferior people to do the work”, wrote Hitler in “Mein Kampf”. The prisoners suffered terribly, many died and some stayed in Norway to live when the war was over. We visited two of them: Nikolay Sergeyev and Ivan Pashkurov.
The POWs were placed in camps all over the country, but a great majority came to North Norway, especially to Nordland County, where National Road 50 (E6) and the North Norwegian railway were to be constructed. Many came to Troms County as well. There are many indications that local journalists were correct when they estimated the number of POWS in the county to be around 20,000 during the liberation spring of 1945.