German POW Free After 8 Years in Russian Camp

German POW Russian Camp These days, it’s very hard for a collector to grab great collectibles. Well, I was lucky this time!

What you see here is a document set of Helmut Rohwedder, he was a lawyer in Riga until he went to war in 1941. Helmut was born 1910 in Tscheljabinsk (Chelyabinsk), a city at the Ural (nowadays Russia’s 7th largest city). According to the marriage certificate, his parents married in 1907 in Riga. It’s stated that his father Johan Hermann Rohwedder married the “Virgin” Erika Friedrich.

The Documents German POW Russian Camp

The documents are: German passport 1939 issued in Riga, large certificate and translation of his juristic diploma (1939), Certificate as German national (1940), Certificate of repatriation from the Friedland border transit camp from 1954, and a recommendation letter of Federal Judge – Dr. Oskar Haidinger, who knew Rohwedder from the District Court in Litzmannstadt before the war.

While there are records from Haidinger, I could not find anything on Rohwedder.

Haidinger is the presumed author of the nearly fifty-page anti-Semitic chronicle of the Litzmannstadt District and County Court, which states, among other things, “Here we now saw for the first time the Ostjuden in all his repulsive vileness and depravity.” This chronicle concludes with the typewritten note: “Completed on February 10, 1942, Dr. Haidinger, District Court Director.” The Chief President of the BGH Robert Fischer questioned Haidinger in September 1971 about the authorship of the resurfaced chronicle, but he denied it. Despite protestations to the contrary, however, Haidinger was proven to have participated in criminal judgments at least twice as an associate judge at the Special Court. Der Spiegel reported on this in issues 40 and 46 of 1971.

This is not the first time that the president of the Senate, who has come under fire, has been confronted with the past. On October 22, 1958, the East Berlin newspaper Neues Deutschland quoted SED chief propagandist Albert Norden, who accused Haidinger of involvement in two death sentences: against “motorist Stanislaw Jajewski for possession of an old inherited pistol” and against “Polish citizen Stephan Karski for insulting a German.”

POW German POW Russian Camp

The repatriation certificate states that Rohwedder was a POW, most likely a Russian POW from 8.5.1945 until 30.12.1953, which is more than 8.5 years. The medical condition of him is described with – emotional distress, Pneumonia, Periostitis (left knee), Rheumatism, and defect denture.

The Friedland border transit camp granted him 700 DM (“Welcome money”, special donation from the government and temporary aid). We can’t imagine how to survive for 8+ years in a Russian POW camp. He probably was even in the camp of the city he was born. German POW Russian Camp


“Chelyabinsk was a location within the Soviet Gulag system. The Chelyabinsk ITL (Correctional Labor Camp) operated from November 1941 to October 1951, housing up to 15,400 individuals who were employed in the construction of a steel plant, as well as in industrial, road, civil, and residential construction, as well as mining activities.

Additionally, Chelyabinsk housed Prisoner of War Camp 68 for German prisoners of war during World War II. Severely ill prisoners were cared for in Prisoner of War Hospital 5882. Approximately 12 km east of the city, there was a mass grave for prisoners of war.”

The Passport German POW Russian Camp

I can’t remember to ever have seen a German passport issued in Riga. The various Latvian visas and revenue stamps are excellent. Also, the entry visa for “The Reich” issued at the German Embassy in Riga and the USSR visas from 1939 and 1940 are quite special.

Glad to have this excellent document set in my collection.