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Twelve monuments unveiled in 2019 in memory of Romanian troops dead in NKVD labour camps, special hospitals

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Twelve monuments placed in cemeteries positioned near former NKVD camps and special hospitals where thousands of Romanian troops are buried, were unveiled and sanctified in 2019, as a result of the steps taken in the last years by the Romanian Embassy in the Russian Federation to honour the memory of the Romanian military who fell on both the Eastern Front during WWII and in captivity, Ambassador Vasile Soare told AGERPRES.

"After 23 August 1944 included [when Romania turned arms against Nazi Germany, ed. n.], there were a lot of Romanian POWs. Based on research, we have a clear image of rd 230,000 Romanian troops who fell prisoners, out of whom rd 65,000-66,000 found their death there, in the NKVD camps and special hospitals all over Russia," the Romanian diplomat said.

Vasile Soare recalled that in the past years were inaugurated the first two cemeteries for the Romanian military fallen in the line of duty in the battles in Russia, from Stalingrad and the Don River's Elbow to Rossoshka, the Volgograd region, respectively for those who died in the battle in the Caucasus, at Apsheronsk, in the Krasnodar region, to honour the memory of those fallen on the Eastern Front.
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"In the past years, over 70 years since the end of WWII, together with the National Office for the Heroes Cult, I made approaches to look for and identify the earthly remains of those who were buried in various campaign cemeteries - and they are a lot, meaning to identify those remains and rebury them in the two new cemeteries," the Romanian ambassador said.

As for the troops who fell prisoners, from research conducted by the Embassy, they were being held in 288 camps all over today's Russia.

"So far, we have identified several thousands of names, and in the summer of 2019 we published a first list with 10,724 names of the POWs who are buried in 29 places. In all of those 29 locations, the Romanian state has erected so far 29 monuments under which lie the 10,724 POWs whose final resting place we know exactly," Vasile Soare stressed.

As many as 12 monuments were unveiled and sanctified in the Orthodox tradition in 2019, seven of which in June to mark the Heroes Day, and five in December, to thus celebrate the National Day of Romania, within some "missions - unique pilgrimage" conducted on routes of 10k kilometers, the diplomat asserted.

The seven cemeteries unveiled in June 2019 are placed in Sobakov, the Yaroslavl area, in Mihailovo, the Ivanovo region, in Usta, the Nizhegorod region, in Mozhga, the Udmurt Republic, in Magnitogorsk, the Chelyabinsk region, in Orsk, the Orenburg region and in Volsk, the Saratov Oblast area. In all of these locations are buried Romanian POWs who lost their lives in NKVD camps and special hospitals.

In December 2019 another five such locations were unveiled in Arsk, Tatarstan, with Romanian POWs alongside hundreds of foreign prisoners of war, in Riabova, the Udmurt Republic, in Nzhny Tagil, the Sverdlovsk region (Siberia), more precisely in the War Cemetery the small village of "San Donato", alongside over one thousand foreign POWs, of 11 nationalities, in Alapayevsk, Sverdlovsk, alongside hundreds of foreign POWs of eight nationalities, and in Verhnyaya Siniachikha and Khabarchikha, also in Sverdlovsk, in Morshansk, the Tambov region, where 6.400 POWs of 27 nationalities are buried.

In another small village of Morshansk, in Kocetovka, as many as rd 300 Romanian POWs are buried, and in a suburb of Tambov, at Rada, yet another 1,996 Romanian POWs are buried in a cemetery arranged by the Germans in 1998 for the ones deceased in the 188 NKVD camp and 5951 NKVD Special Hospital, many of whom due to typhus. All in all, in the Tambov region are buried according to the archives research as many as 2,647 Romanian POWs, of whom 2 civilian internees, the ambassador mentioned.

"I reiterated everywhere our ceaseless preoccupation to give back the identity and to honour the memory of the Romanian POWs who never came back from Russia, thus stressing our wish to convey to their successors in Romania that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, former POWs, were identified and remembered in a Christian way, following the Romanian tradition, even if after almost 80 years. We will continue to look for them, and we'll print a second list with rd 11,000 names of the Romanian troops who lost their lives in captivity," the Romanian diplomat said, concluding that his efforts are now focused on "never forgetting the Romanian soldiers who died far from their motherland."

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