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THE NANSEN COMMISSION AND THE ROMANIAN PRISONERS OF WAR’S REPATRIATION FROM THE RUSSIAN TERRITORIES

 

Ioana Ecaterina Cazacu

“Al. I. Cuza” University of Iassy, Faculty of History, E-mail: ioanacazacu@yahoo.com

 

Acknowledgments

This paper has been presented at the Second International Conference on Nordic and Baltic Studies in Romania: Black Sea and Baltic Sea Regions: confluences, influences and crosscurrents in the modern and contemporary ages hosted by the Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies, Târgoviste, May 20-22, 2011. This research for this paper was achieved with the support of the POSDRU/88/1.5/S/47646 project.

 

                Abstract:

The end of the Great War was the beginning of a long string of problems requiring immediate solutions, one of the most important of which being the repatriation of          former prisoners of war. Given the fact that there were a large number of prisoners as a result of the huge amount of troops engaged in the conflict, we can approximate a number of 6,637,000 prisoners at the end of the war. This situation did not remain without consequences in the international debate. At the Paris Peace Conference, the General Secretariat had organized a Special Committee on all matters relating to prisoners. The lead of the Commission was entrusted to Fridtjof Nansen, explorer, scientist and public figure of the period. However, there were a number of difficulties generated by the absence of Russia from the Peace Conference. This country did not obey any decisions of the Commission, having neither rights, nor duties. To solve the problems, the High Commissioner made use of the prestige given by the League of Nations in order to facilitate the carrying out of his duty, but in reality the effort to repatriate the prisoners was supported by humanitarian agencies and private organizations, for example the International Red Cross. Overall the Mission led by Dr. Nansen managed to repatriate 427,885 prisoners, 19,188 of whom were Romanians.

 

Rezumat:

Sfârsitul Marelui Razboi a fost începutul unui sir lung de probleme care necesitau solutii imediate, dintre care unul dintre cele mai importante a fost repatrierea fostilor prizonieri de razboi. Având în vedere faptul ca a existat un numar mare de prizonieri, ca urmare a magnitudinii trupelor angajate în conflict, putem aproxima un numar de 6.637.000 de prizonieri la sfârsitul razboiului. Aceasta situatie nu a ramas fara consecinte în cadrul dezbaterii internationale si la Conferinta de Pace de la Paris, Secretariatul General a organizat un comitet special cu privire la toate aspectele legate de prizonieri. Conducerea Comisiei i-a fost încredintata lui Fridtjof Nansen, explorator, om de stiinta si figura publica a perioadei. Cu toate acestea, au existat o serie de dificultati generate de absenta Rusiei de la Conferinta de Pace. Aceasta tara nu se supunea nici uneia din deciziile Comisiei, neavând nici drepturi, nici obligatii. Pentru a rezolva problemele, Înaltul Comisar a facut uz de prestigiul dat de catre Liga Natiunilor pentru  a facilita realizarea scopului sau, dar, în realitate, efortul de a repatria prizonierii a fost sustinut de catre agentiile umanitare si de organizatiile private, de exemplu de Crucea Rosie Internationala. În general, misiunea condusa de dr. Nansen a reusit sa repatrieze 427.885 de prizonieri, dintre care 19.188 au fost români.

 

Keywords: POWs, Russia, The International Red Cross, The International Relief Credit Commission, Nansen Commission.


10. Cazacu.pdf

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