Polish Prisoners of War - Documents (III)
Regulations concerning Prisoners of War
I. General Regulations
1. Prisoners of war shall be recognized as individuals belonging to the armed forces of states, found in a condition of war with the USSR, and captured in the course of military operations, as well as citizens of these states, who have been interned in the territory of the USSR.
By order of the Main Military Command, the following may also be recognized as prisoners of war:
a) individuals captured during military operations who have entered into armed detachments not belonging to the armed forces of the enemy, if these detachments have been raised on enemy territory not captured by units of the RKKA, show indications of a military organization, are openly armed and observe the statutes of customary international law and the rules of warfare;
b) civilian persons accompanying the army and fleet of the enemy with permission, for instance: correspondents, suppliers and other individuals captured during military operations.
2. It is prohibited:
a) to allow cruel treatment against prisoners of war, to subject them to abuse, threats and other acts.
b) to apply coercive measures against prisoners of war with the objective of obtaining from them information concerning the situation of their country in respect to military affairs and other matters;
c) to deprive prisoners of war of their uniforms, linen, shoes and other items of personal use, personal documents and signs of distinction.
Monies and valuables may be taken from prisoners of war for safekeeping with official receipt provided by authorized persons.
3. Instructions and rules issued by the NKVD USSR in development of the present "Regulations" shall be posted in places where they may be read by all prisoners of war. These instructions and rules, as well as orders and directives relating to prisoners of war, shall be provided to them in Russian and other languages known to them.
II. Evacuation of Prisoners of War
4. Upon their capture, prisoners of war shall be immediately directed to a camp for prisoners of war.
5. Upon their capture, prisoners of war shall be registered according to orders of the military unit or formation command.
Upon registration each prisoner of war shall be obliged to give his actual last name, given name, patronymic, age, place of birth and identification number.
This information shall be handed over simultaneously with the said prisoners of war to those centers responsible for their further movement.
6. Wounded or sick prisoners of war requiring medical assistance or hospitalization should be immediately directed by the military unit commander to the nearest hospitals
Following convalescence, prisoners of war are to be transferred by the hospital administration to a camp for prisoners of war.
7. Care and maintenance of prisoners of war (provisions, security, sanitation, medical and political services) shall take place:
a) under military authority up to the moment prisoners of war are received at collection centers;
b) under authority of the NKVD USSR after being received at collection centers.
8. Prisoners of war shall fall under the jurisdiction of the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the Union SSR upon being handed over to collection centers for the prisoner of war camps or upon their being received by these centers (or camps) following convalescence.
III. Terms of Maintenance of Prisoners of War and their Legal Rights
9. Collection centers for prisoners of war shall be deployed in the army rear according to the instructions of army command, while the camps shall be organized outside the zone of military operations by order of the NKVD in agreement with the People's Commissariat of Defense.
10. All prisoners of war shall be prescribed the same conditions of maintenance.
Prisoners of war who are officers and other individuals of an equivalent standing shall be accommodated separately from other prisoners of war.
11. Prisoners of war shall be provided with living quarters, linen, clothing, footwear, provisions and other items of primary necessity as well as a monetary allowance according to the standards set by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the Union of the SSR.
A list of items and food supplies for prisoners of war with an indication of their standards are to be posted in a visible place in barracks, hospitals and other locations where prisoners of war are accommodated.
Prisoners of war in receipt of provisions and other assistance from outside sources shall not have their supplies provided by the organs of the Union SSR diminished.
12. Prisoners of war shall be permitted to wear their uniforms, but without insignia, decorations, awarded ranks or appointments. The wearing and keeping of side arms shall be prohibited.
13. Prisoners under medical and related treatment shall be attended to on the same basis as service personnel of the rearward units of the Workers-Peasants Red Army.
Medical staff of a hostile army temporarily detained by the armed forces of the USSR may be recruited to provide medical and related services for prisoners of war in addition to the civilian staff of the camps.
14. Prisoners of war shall be granted the right:
a) to report to their home country their situation of confinement upon the first opportunity;
b) to acquire for themselves food, clothing, linen, footwear and other items of personal use and primary necessity;
c) to receive parcels containing foodstuffs, clothing and other items of primary necessity from their home country or from neutral countries without payment of duties or taxes.
d) to receive monetary transfers from their home country or from neutral countries.
15. In order to maintain internal order and contact with prisoners of war, the administration shall appoint representatives or senior members among the prisoners of war or establish rooms or barracks and so on (depending upon the nature of the accommodations provided for the prisoners of war) through which prisoners of war may address complaints, claims announcements and so on to the administration of the camps or to other organs, either verbally or in writing.
16. Postal correspondence (sealed or unsealed letters, monetary transfers and letters with declared valuables), sent and received by prisoners of war, shall remitted without payment in amounts determined by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs USSR.
17. Monies remitted to prisoners of war in foreign currency shall be converted into Soviet currency at the current exchange rate.
Prisoners of war shall be permitted to carry monies on their person in defined amounts, as established by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs USSR. Monies in excess of the stated amount shall be turned over to the administration of the camps to be placed in the State Labour Savings Bank. The issue of monies in excess of the stated amount shall take place upon permission of the administration of the camps.
The stated amount shall not extend to wages of prisoners of war, who are employed in industrial or agricultural enterprises and establishments.
18. Testaments and wills of prisoners of war shall be composed in the same manner as testaments and wills of service personnel during wartime. The same relates also to the procedure for certifying the death of prisoners of war.
19. The burial of deceased prisoners of war shall occur in the same manner as the burial of service personnel. The place of burial shall be devised in an appropriate manner.
Monies and documents of deceased prisoners of war shall be transferred to the Central Information Bureau of the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in order to be forwarded to their inheritors.
Parcels of foodstuffs, addressed to deceased prisoners of war, shall be turned over to the representatives or senior prisoners of war for distribution among the prisoners.
20. Prisoners of war shall be obligated to submit to the administration and obey all rules, indicated in the present Regulations, as well as rules pertaining to internal order, issued by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs USSR in conformity with the Service Regulations of the Interior Service of the Workers and Peasants' Red Army.
IV. Labour Employment of Prisoners of War
21. Rank and file prisoners of war as well as non-commissioned officers may be recruited for work outside the camp in industry and agriculture of the Union SSR on the basis of special rules to be determined by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs USSR.
Officers and individuals on an equivalent footing shall be recruited for work outside the camp according to special instructions of the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs USSR.
22. Prisoners of war from the moment of their arrival at work outside of camp are excluded from all allowances received at the expense of the State.
23. Prisoners of war, recruited for work outside of camp shall be provided with living quarters and communal services of those enterprises and organizations in which they are employed.
24. Prisoners of war recruited for work outside of camp shall be covered by the same Resolutions concerning the protection of labour and working hours as applied to citizens of the Union SSR in the given locality and employed in the same branch of labour.
25. Prisoners of war recruited for work in various branches of the national economy shall receive wages at a scale determined by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs.
Deductions shall be made against the wages of prisoners of war as compensation for maintenance expenses (payment for living quarters, communal services, food, if there is a general cooking allowance).
26. The use of prisoner of war labour is forbidden:
a) for work in an area of military operations;
b) for personal services for the administration of an enterprise as well as for personal services of other prisoners of war (monetary servitude).
V. Criminal and Disciplinary Responsibility of Prisoners of War
27. Prisoners of war who have committed crimes shall be subject to criminal responsibility in accordance with the laws of the Union SSR and the union republics.
Moreover, non-performance of commands given by persons of authority, resistance to these individuals or insults conducted against them during the performance of their service duties shall be treated as equivalent to corresponding military infractions. Having committed an infraction of this sort, a prisoner of war shall be subject to a Military Tribunal court.
28. For misdemeanors not entailing criminal responsibility according to judicial procedure, prisoners of war shall be subject to disciplinary punishments.
The nature of these punishments, their methods of imposition and appeal, as well as the procedure involved in serving disciplinary punishments shall be determined by the rules, issued by the Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War NKVD USSR in accordance with the disciplinary statutes of the RKKA.
29. Prisoners of war, finding themselves under investigation or being sentenced by a court to any sort of punishment, and also subject to disciplinary punishment, shall not be subject to additional restrictions above those which are connected with their condition of being under investigation or on trial, and also with their serving of disciplinary measures or sentences imposed by a court.
30. If a prisoner of war is facing an indictable offense, the appropriate court shall notify the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies no later than 20 days after pronouncement of the verdict. If a guilty verdict is pronounced, a copy of the sentence shall be attached to this report.
A sentence, condemning a prisoner of war to capital punishment, shall be reported to the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies immediately upon pronouncement and said punishment may be carried out no earlier than one month after the stated report.
VI. Concerning the Organization of Information and Assistance for Prisoners of War
31. The exchange of prisoner of war lists and communications with foreign and international Red Cross organizations and information bureaus involving the matter of prisoners of war shall be conducted through the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Pursuant to this, a Central Information Bureau concerning Prisoners of War shall be attached to the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and Red Cresent Societies and shall operate according to special regulations established by a committee, appointed in agreement between the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the Union SSR and the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.
33. The Administration of Affairs of Prisoners of War of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the Union of the SSR shall be organized upon the announcemnt of a state of war, the functions of the Administration, the structure and staff establishment shall be determined according to the Regulations concerning the Administration, approved by the Concil of Preople's Commissars USSR.
Note on the last page of this document: Article 33 of these regulations is rejected. The regulations concerning the Administration will be reviewed by the SNK [Council of People's Commissars] at the same time as these regulations, but in the capacity of a separate set of regulations. Com. Vyshinsky should review this. Chernishov. 20.9.