The camp for prisoners of war №188 was organized near Rada Station in Tambov suburbs during the World War II. Since soldiers from the countries occupied by Germany served in German army, people of more than 20 nationalities were kept behind the barbed wire in the camp: Czechs, Romanians, Poles, Hungarians, Italians, French, Belgians and others.
Little is known about the everyday life of the prisoners in the Soviet camps. Most likely, the living conditions of both Soviet and German prisoners of war didn’t differe much. The death rate among the prisoners was high because of hunger and diseases. The camp by Rada station could keep up to 60 000 people at a time. Nevertheless, the prisoners could move around the camp area unsupervised. In their free time, they sang songs, played the accordion and even took part in the amateur talent groups. The locals were quite humane to the prisoners – they shared their scant provisions.
The prisoners of war, frostbitten, sick with dystrophy, dysentery and tuberculosis, were brought here mainly from Stalingrad. Many of them died of wounds on their way to the camp, others passed away in Tambov land. They were buried in the campsite cemetery. According to the official sources, almost 24 000 prisoners of war died in the camp while it existed. The researchers of the camps for prisoners of war believe that almost 80 000 soldiers who fought at the fronts of the World War II repose in the camp cemetery. Many of them, especially the residents of Alsace-Lorraine, were recruited into the Nazi army by force and they surrended willingly.
Camp № 188 stopped functioning in spring, 1946. Any information about this camp had been kept secret for a long while. Only in the 1990s, the authorities declassified the locations of the mass graves of the captive soldiers and officers and allowed to install crosses at the nameless graves.
On August, 8th, 1998, Tambov-Rada international memorial cemetery of the prisoners of war was opened and consecrated. Nine official foreign delegations arrived to the opening ceremony – from Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany, Austria, the Ministry of Defense of Russia. The cemetery memorial complex is represented by huge metal crosses making an ensemble with the memorial plates. The main plate says: “In memory of the prisoners of war who passed away in Rada forest camp“. The similar text in other languages is engraved on the other plates. The opening of the monument to the French prisoners of war deceased in the camp took place at the French cemetery. The modest monument represents two plates facing one another at a slight angle. One plate bears the words of dedication, the other – the map of Alsace. The monument to the Luxemburgers was opened near Rada Station in 2012.
Is there a list of burried soldiers?
Do you have the names of Belgian soldiers?
Dear Mr. Gert Van Lancker!
Thank you for your interest in our portal and please accept our sincere apologies for the delayed response. Indeed in this cemetery are buried Belgian subjects from among Belgian soldiers, held in concentration camp No. 188. Unfortunately, the organization responsible for the cemetery does not have lists of names and surnames of the Belgians buried here. According to them, such data should be in the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Hi, is there any Italian crosses or signs that indicates burried Italian soldiers at this memorial ??
Dear Mr. Bruno Fanin!
According to our information, a cross with the name Ceccato Giuseppe (03/02/1943) is installed in the cemetery. After the Battle of Stalingrad, thousands of Wehrmacht soldiers and German allied armies were captured. They were mainly Italians and Romanians. The Italians were captured after the offensive near Voronezh. The prisoners entered the camp frostbite, sick, exhausted, so the winter of 1942-43 was the last for many of them. The mortality rate among Italians was especially great - it reached 68 percent. But unfortunately, we do not have a list of names of soldiers buried here. On your e-mail will be sent photographs, where you can view memorials with names of the soldiers buried here.