I have initially posted this question in relation to the Romanian army, which was second to the German on the Eastern front, but I have updated the title to include all other non-German armies on that front.

On Wikipedia I see an article on Romanian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, but not one on the reversed situation.

I find the same situation when searching on Google "Soviet prisoners in Hungary".

I know the treatment of Soviet prisoners by Germany was very harsh, amounting to extermination.

I know Romanian forces participated in the initial success of Germany on the eastern front and took some prisoners (like those mentioned here, here, here, and in other articles on the same website, here, etc).

Somewhat vaguely, from my own family I heard about some eye-witness (or rather actor) of events where Romanian soldiers had been ordered to summarily execute Soviet prisoners.

Information on Romanian army being involved in mistreatment and killing of civilians - especially Jewish - is easily accessible (like here or here) - drawing a trend that might have also included other Soviet population and prisoners - but information on Soviet prisoners taken by Romanian army specifically is not easy to find.

Were Soviet prisoners taken by Romanian troops immediately or later put under German custody? (Maybe related to Was Romania under German command during WWII?.) or did they remain under Romanian custody? Were they sent to Germany (and Poland) camps, camps in Romania or simply behind front lines?

What about POWs taken by Hungarians?

As for other Axis members, I imagine Italians (and the French legion) were far enough from their own territories to leave any such task to the Germans, while Bulgarian army didn't took part to the attack on USSR.

  • related: What kinds of WW2 POWs were treated best?.
    – user8690
    Dec 5, 2018 at 12:05
  • Finland wasn't exactly an Axis member, considering itself a co-belligerent rather than an ally, but it did fight against the Soviet Union in what they called the Continuation War, and likely took prisoners. Dec 19, 2018 at 19:44
  • @DavidThornley - I think excluding Finland from the question is obvious, as that was not "Eastern front" proper, was it? (I even wonder if that war shouldn't be considered at least to some point a separate conflict.) And there is a Wikipedia page on Soviet prisoners of war in Finland, which puts off-topic a question on Finland.
    – user8690
    Dec 19, 2018 at 19:50
  • 1
    @DavidThornley - for the record, the Wikipedia article says: The Finns took about 5,700 POWs during the Winter War, and due to the short length of the war they survived relatively well. However, during the Continuation War the Finns took 64,000 POWs, of whom almost 30 percent died. - Hostilities between Finland and the Soviet Union ceased in September 1944, and the first Soviet POWs were handed over to the Soviet Union on 15 October 1944.
    – user8690
    Dec 19, 2018 at 19:55
  • @DavidThornley - Also, not only Finland was not an Axis member, but it also faught Nazy Germany in the Lapland War, taking 2,546 German POWs afterwards handed to the Soviet.
    – user8690
    Dec 19, 2018 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Have you found this? It says that most POWs captured by Hungarian forces were handed over to the Germans. The rest were treated badly in general.

The Hungarian Occupation Forces had an auxiliary role in the German POW’s policy. These Hungarian units had no POW’s policy because their activity served the realization of German orders only. Therefore they participated in the destruction of Soviet prisoners of war.

The policy of the 2nd Army was ambivalent... Despite of the fact, that these Hungarian troops had to transfer their POW's to the Germans, the Hungarian commanders kept the thousands of prisoners back in the rear area of the 2nd Army. The most important factor of the POW’s policy was the work of prisoners. The treatment of prisoners depended on more ad hoc aspect, e.g. the mentality of the local Hungarian commanders, the amount of the supply, and the operational situation.

  • It says that at least for a time they were in Hungarian army controlled camps (1941-42) and then in camps guarded by Hungarian army (1943). These camps were behind but not too far from front lines (some close to Voronezh), and they were also work camps. As Germans were in control of food supply POWs were already dying there because of poor conditions (especially disease by lack of food, even cannibalism is mentioned) which degraded further when the retreat to West started. POWs were force-marched and some shot, at times the army units shot POWs after capture. Some POWs escaped.
    – user8690
    Dec 19, 2018 at 19:07

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