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Russians in Rommel's army



Russians in Rommel's army

For the construction of roads and fortifications, Rommel turned to Berlin with a request to send Soviet prisoners at his disposal. The field marshal's request was granted and more than 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war were transferred to North Africa. Among them were the "hiwi", prisoners of war who went over to the side of Germany.

These prisoners were engaged in the construction of fortified areas in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. After the defeat at El Alamein, Rommel retreated to Tunisia, but did not abandon the Russian prisoners of war. The Russians helped transport heavy army equipment across the desert.


After the defeat of the Axis troops in Tunisia, part of the Russians was captured by the Americans, and the other part fled into the desert to the Bedouins, as they were afraid to return back to the Russians. All those who were sheltered by the Bedouin tribes converted to Islam and took Arabic names for themselves.

Those who returned home were called Africans. These Africans lived in Vorkuta, they were not guarded, but without passes they could not freely walk around Vorkuta. The order on their fate never came, and they were simply forgotten.

On May 5, 2005, an official ceremony was held to open a memorial plaque in honor of Russian prisoners of war who died in Tunisia and Libya during the Second World War. T

he memorial plaque was installed on the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, located in the very center of the Tunisian capital.


Memorial plaque in honor of the dead Russian prisoners of war in Tunisia


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