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Prisoners Of War

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many Ukrainian personnel of the former S.S. Division, Galizien, are being brought to this country; whether they have been screened to ensure that there are no war criminals among them; whether any demands for the extradition of these men have been made by Allied Governments; and what the status of these men will be in Britain.

Some 8,000 Ukrainians have been brought to this country from Italy. They were members of the 1st Ukrainian Division of the Wehrmacht. A cross-section of this Division was screened by a Soviet mission in August, 1945, and a further cross-section was screened by the Refugee Screening Commission in February of this year. No war criminals were discovered as a result of these processes. The Soviet Government have requested that the members of this Division be sent to the U.S.S.R., but since the overwhelming majority of the men concerned come from territory incorporated into the Soviet Union after 1st September, 1939, His Majesty's Government have not seen their way to comply with this request. Their status while in this country is the same as that of other prisoners of war.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether these men will be employed in this country?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that members of this Division were exceptionally brutal, that they murdered hundreds of people in cold blood? Will he take all the steps necessary to see that none of those who come to this country took part in any of these sadistic and vicious incidents?

Is it not a fact that the Ukrainians loath the Muscovites and hate the Germans, and that what they really want is to be independent of both?

I can assure my hon. Friend that we have taken the most extensive precautions to see that anyone guilty of crime is so treated, and I have no doubt that there will be further screening processes associated with these men.

Camps (German Civilians' Visits)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will encourage further visits to Wilton Park and other prisoner of war establishments by groups of German civilians representative of various trades and professions; if he will ensure that, during such visits, full opportunity is offered to the visitors to acquaint themselves at first hand with conditions in the trades and professions which they represent; and if he will endeavour to arrange that some women are included in each of such parties.

Plans have already been made for further such visits to take place and a number of women will be included in future parties to Wilton Park. The programmes of these German civilians are specially designed to enable them to study at first hand the trades and professions of interest to them and include also visits to other prisoner of war camps.



asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will circulate a statement in HANSARD or publish a White Paper summarising the results of the experiment in the reeducation of German prisoners at Wilton Park, Radwinter Youth Camp and elsewhere, and indicating the lines on which the experiment may be extended, both among those prisoners who are to remain here during 1947 and 1948 and, where possible, among those who have been repatriated, among Germans detained in civilian internment camps and among the civil population in Western Germany; and if, in the operation of such a scheme in Germany, he will make use of the services of suitable repatriated ex-prisoners.

I am indebted to my hon. Friend for his suggestion and for his help and interest in this subject. I fear, however, that it is not yet possible to assess the results of this experiment, although material is now being collected for a comprehensive study. When this has been completed I will certainly consider whether a suitable public report could be made. Meanwhile we shall continue with educational activities in the prisoner of war camps, including Wilton Park and Radwinter, and wherever possible shall extend to other camps at least some of the features of the latter. Particular attention will be devoted to young prisoners. The Control Commission is studying the possibility of extending re-educational activities in Germany, and of securing help from repatriated prisoners of war in this task.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that as repatriation proceeds, the main emphasis of this re-educational work will naturally move from this country to Germany?

That is plain, and that is why we have already started studies as to how the incidence of the process may be shifted to Germany.