First analysis: Concrete trail to families in Uzbekistan

There is a real chance that in Uzbekistan relatives can be found of Soviet soldiers murdered in Amersfoort. This cautious conclusion is drawn by researcher Remco Reiding of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation after studying historic material.

The information on recently discovered notes of the murdered soldiers has been largely deciphered and analysed. “Two or three of them hail from Uzbekistan, one from Kazakhstan and one from Kalmykia”, says Reiding. “In four instances we possess a name, either of the soldier himself or of a relative.”

In at least one case Reiding also has a possible match with a missing soldier. “It looks promising. It’s a preliminary conclusion and we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but there is a real chance of identifying this soldier. In any event we have never come this close.”

Late last week photos of the notes were sent to the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation by the State Archives in Moscow. With the scanned documents there is also a sheet containing a handwritten poem in Uzbek.

The documents confirm what the foundation concluded from earlier research, namely that the 101 Soviet soldiers murdered in Amersfoort hail mainly from Uzbekistan. It has been conducting active research in that Central-Asian country, with the support of the Uzbek president who has instructed the authorities to lend every possible assistance.

The Soviet soldiers were offloaded on 27 September 1941 at a cattle ramp at Amersfoort railway station. The Nazis treated them brutally. “These apes are now your allies”, said deputy commandant Stöver after their arrival in Kamp Amersfoort to Dutch prisoners.

In the camp 24 Soviet soldiers died of starvation, disease and abuse. On 9 April 1942 the remaining 77 were shot. After the war 101 bodies were reburied at the Soviet Military Cemetery. Slowly but surely they sank into oblivion. Their names were never known.