Table of contents:
- Looting - no, and an article for atrocities
- Hitler's Mercedes for Zhukov and the impressive "Dora"
- Valuable canvases, Trojan gold and color films
- German bicycles, lighters, walters and sewing needles
After the surrender of Berlin, the Red Army brought back a lot of trophies from occupied Germany: from cars with armored vehicles to paintings with gold tiaras. This cannot be called robbery, because small trophies were corny bought by soldiers at flea markets, and historically significant acquisitions came to the USSR deservedly and centrally. Of course, individual cases of illegal seizure took place, but the most severe punishment was provided for in the Red Army.
Looting - no, and an article for atrocities
After the Red Army attacked Hitler’s territories, the USSR People's Commissar of Defense promulgated Order No. 0409, allowing all servicemen on the active fronts to send a personal parcel to the rear once a month. For privates and sergeants, the weight of the parcel should not exceed 5 kg, officers were allowed to send up to 10 kg, the general's limit was 16 kg. The size of the parcel in each of the three dimensions was limited to 70 cm, but of course, from time to time, a much larger luggage went home. For outright looting, a tribunal was relied on.
Having reached Berlin alive in 1945, few people wanted to go home not as a winner, but as a convicted Siberian prisoner. At flea markets that grew like mushrooms in every German town, you could buy everything. The Soviet military were welcome buyers in places of spontaneous trade. By that time, the Red Army men received a lot of money: they were given double allowances in rubles and stamps, and also paid the debt for previous years. And rations with tobacco in the defeated country were a valuable currency. So it was stupid and unreasonable to risk robbery.
Hitler's Mercedes for Zhukov and the impressive "Dora"
By the end of the war, Zhukov became the owner of a captured armored Mercedes, which was designed by personal order of Hitler himself. As the marshal's contemporaries said, he did not like the Willys, so the shortened sedan came to the court. Zhukov used this safe high-speed car very often. The only principal exception was the trip to accept the German surrender.
Valuable acquisitions awaited Soviet troops with a visit to the training ground in Hilbersleben. The military's special attention was drawn to the super-heavy 800-mm Dora, an artillery gun from the Krupp company. This cannon, named after the designer's wife, cost Germany 10 million Reichsmarks. The characteristics of the gigantic gun amazed Stalin himself: "Dora" was loaded with 7-ton shells, the barrel length exceeded 32 m, the range reached 45 km. The striking force was also impressive: armor of 1 m, 7-meter concrete and up to 30 m of solid ground.
Valuable canvases, Trojan gold and color films
After the Great Victory, the canvases of eminent European masters from the Dresden Gallery were delivered to Moscow. As one of the Berlin newspapers reported, the paintings were taken out as compensation for the destruction of Russian museums in Leningrad, Kiev and Novgorod. Most of the canvases were damaged, which was skillfully removed by Soviet restorers. In 1955, the exhibition of paintings by the Dresden Art Gallery in Moscow was attended by over a million people.In the same period, the first painting was handed over to the Germans, after which a total of over 1,200 restored canvases were returned to Dresden.
The most valuable Soviet trophy, according to experts, was the Gold of Troy. This treasure consisted of 9 thousand valuable items - silver clasps, gold tiaras, precious buttons, copper hatchets and other valuable items. Part of the collection, hidden by the Germans in the tower of the air defense system in Berlin, settled in the Union capital, and the second half of the exhibits went to the Hermitage.
A useful trophy for Soviet society was the color film on which the Victory Parade was filmed. Already in 1947, color films were presented to the Soviet audience. European films, most of which Stalin watched with a special translation for him, were brought from the zone of Soviet occupation.
German bicycles, lighters, walters and sewing needles
The command of the German army relied heavily on mobility. For this reason, by the beginning of World War II, more than a million bicycles were produced in Germany, which were considered an important means of transportation at the front. At least two million more bikes were confiscated from European citizens. (In the 1970s, at football matches between German and Dutch teams, fans chanted “Give me my bike back!”). In 1945, captured Soviet warehouses were filled to capacity with light German vehicles. The command decided to issue bicycles to soldiers in the form of incentives. So bike devices Truppenfahrrad and other brands went to travel along the most remote country roads of the USSR. In many villages, a whole generation of boys and girls learned to ride a bicycle on German machines.
During the war years, more than a million Walther P38 pistols were stamped. Despite such availability, these weapons were considered elite. Such pistols were issued to SS officers, and therefore went for a valuable trophy. The Soviet command staff appreciated the Walter for its light weight, comfortable grip and accuracy. A lighter was considered a desirable attribute of a soldier's duffel bag. The most reliable in use were the copies produced in Austrian factories under the order of the Wehrmacht. They were reliable and worked even in the strongest winds. After the war, the USSR even set up production in the likeness of souvenirs brought from the front.
Sewing needles were a wartime deficit in the USSR. The industry was busy with larger projects, and many soldiers stocked up with typewriter needles at German flea markets. Later, there was a story among the people about how one wise Soviet soldier bought a suitcase of high-quality sewing needles in Germany and, having sold them at home for a ruble apiece, became a millionaire.
Also controversial was the distribution of alcohol to soldiers and officers. So called "People's Commissars' 100 grams" were, in the opinion of historians, a weapon of victory or a "green serpent" that disorganized the army.