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Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

Article about: Smolensk (Russian: Смоленск). City in western Russia, it´s the administrative capital of the Smolensk Oblast, on the banks of the upper course of Dnieper River. Its population in 19

  1. #41

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  3. #42

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    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    Leaving the fortress. In the background Nikolai Kirche. Closer the crane to the reconstruction works of the central bridge

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    In the opposite direction, inside the fortress, the Cathedral.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    The grave of a German soldier
    Last edited by TABSTABS1964; 11-21-2020 at 09:48 AM.

  4. #43

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    Some views of the wall today

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

  5. #44

    Default The german map of the city

    The German map of the city.

    I think the time has come to pause a bit on a map of the city, so that as good visitors we can orient ourselves during the following chapters of this story.

    The German conquerors renamed the streets in their own way with familiar or easily identifiable names for their soldiers. And they published three plans of the city, one in 1941, another in 1942 and the last in 1943, apparently by the Luftwaffe.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    The map placed on the door of this office between two Luftwaffe soldiers.

    Next, I upload the 1942 map, which is also expandable by clicking it and without losing definition (at the end of this chapter I will upload the other two plans)

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    At a first glance, as we already know, we see that the city is divided from east to west by the Dnieper. In the northern district Zadneprovie, crossed by the railway tracks and the highway to Moscow, we have already seen that there was the railway station and the industrial zone of the city.

    Now you can see that the southern part is much larger. It is the historical part of Smolensk.
    We are going to take a visual reference in the city: the large square on orange that says: Hotel Platz.

    You will see that certain places are marked with a number, the meaning of which is explained in the box to the right of the map.

    So today we're going to take a quick look at some of those places marked with a number, and we'll talk more about some of them later.

  6. #45

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    Next, an image of the southernmost section of the city, which is the one on which we will make a first tour as an introduction.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    We see two orange roads leading south from the square: the Kiev highway (Kievskoe) on the left (now Gagarin Avenue) and the Roslavl highway (Roslavlskoe) on the right (currently Krupskaya and Tenisheva streets)

    These two avenues, being somewhat far from the center, suffered less damage during the bombings, and in them there were large buildings that we will talk about and that were used by the Germans. In this area were almost all the large hospitals in the city.

    At the lower end of the Roslavl highway, we see no. 7: The great bakery, a building from the 30s

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    A bit higher, the no. 6, there is the T-shaped building of the Smolensk Medical Institute. In the basements and in the courtyard of the Medical Institute Building was a prisoner of war camp, Dulag 240.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    And a little higher, no. 17, an infectious disease hospital for Russians.

  7. #46

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    Now let's move on to the Kiev highway. At the bottom there is an inscription. "Gefang Laz". This is Dulag 126 hospital, where tens of thousands of prisoners died.

    In general, the number 12 indicates military hospitals. On the Kiev highway that no. 12 indicates the Red Cross hospital (at that time it was a modern emergency hospital), before the war it was the administration of the Western Railroad.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    Kriegslazarett 2-591, Haus der Eisenbahnergewerkschaft, also known as Grunes Haus. Kiewer Chaussee

    Next to it, with the no. 11, there is a delousing facility (the South). By the way, in the northern part of the city (No. 9) at the train station, there was another: The North delousing facility.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    tabstabs collection

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    The flow of soldiers through the city on the Reich road was constant and typhus, transmitted by lice, was a serious health problem.

    But let's continue.

    On the other side of the street, another no. 12: the Technical School of Physical Education, this was the Hospital of the Medical Mission of the Swiss Red Cross.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    Technical school of physical education

    A few meters further north, another inscription: Gafangn. It was a city prison. And a little further north, on Catholic Street (Katolische Strasse), another no. 12: A hospital in a teaching institute.

    To finish with the lower part of the map, if we take the Krasninskoe highway (the one that leaves the city to the left, with number 20, the dental clinic (Zahnstation)

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

  8. #47

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    Well, now we come to the center: to the Kommandantur square. It was Smirnov Square (now Victory Square). The Germans popularly knew it as "Molotofplatz".

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Here's a view from the roof of the Smolensk Hotel. On the left the Roslavl highway, on the right - the street, which a little further down will divide into the Krasninskoe highway and the Kiev highway.

    This view from the roof of the hotel, corresponds to no. 2, also called Haus Ostland

    To the left of the photo you can see a piece of the fortress wall. In the center of the square is the famous T-26, probably the most photographed tank on the eastern front, turned by the Germans into a large traffic signal.

    On the map we see No. 21, the Luftwaffe dental office, which is opposite the building of the newspaper "Krasnoarmeiskaya Pravda." Pravda of the Red Army.

    A little to the left of no. 21 we see the “GPU Haus”. The building has survived to this day.

    From the Kommandantur square, to the right and left in thick black we see on the map, the pieces of the fortress wall that have lasted until today.

    The no. 2 is the "Smolensk" hotel, at that time Haus Ostland, which later, in the summer of 1942, was renamed the Wehrmacht Haus. The Germans themselves called it "Hotel Molotoff". It was photographed abundantly.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    According to one version, on March 13, 1943, Hitler came here.

    No. 1 is the building of the Smolensk Kommandantur, which was occupied by the military commander von Schwetz.
    This building has also survived, it is the headquarters of a bank.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    A little to the right of Kommandantur, there is no. 5 the Soldatenkino, a cinema for German soldiers, in the Synagogue building.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    The building survived the war, but in the 1950s it was demolished and rebuilt in a Stalinist style, today it is the Faculty of Communication.

    Number 12 to the right of the cinema was another hospital in a monastery. To the left a little higher is no. 3: the Bürgermeisterei, the municipal government building.

  9. #48

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    To finish this introductory look, I pull up the top of the city map.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    We still have the reference of the square of the kommandantur, now below.
    Now we see the river and its bridges and even the northern district of the city, with the railway station that we already know.

    Well, we had stopped at the point marked with the num. 3 which we said was the municipal government of the city (Bügermeisterei), and it was located in the Noble Assembly building.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    Is this building. On July 16, 1943, celebration of the 2nd anniversary of the "liberation" (obviously the german conquest).

    We continue to our left and cross the great Blonie park, with its statue to the composer Glinka

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    A German soldier poses in front of the Mikhail Glinka Monument

    Thus we come to no. 8 which was the Soldatenheim. Installation that existed in every city occupied by the Germans

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Well, just above the park, there are the last two important buildings that we will point out in this introduction, one next to the other, on the same street and forming a square (in the map they are right next to number 16. The state theater and the house of the Soviets. The first is preserved and the second was demolished after the war and the site rebuilt in a very impressive style. In due course, we will see them carefully.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Finally, take a look at that long avenue that goes down from the Kommandantur square to the river and its bridges to cross to the other side of the city. It was the main street in Smolensk and the Germans called it the Hauptstrasse. Notice that the cathedral and its hill are on your right. We will also see a few photos of this street.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    The hauptstrasse and one of its buildings. The red Army Haus.

    Well, this quick description of some points in the city will help us from now on to locate ourselves when we go stopping more calmly at the monuments and seeing the photos that the Germans took of them.
    Last edited by TABSTABS1964; 10-31-2020 at 01:01 PM.

  10. #49

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    And as we said, now I upload the three German plans of the city: 1941, 1942 and 1943.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    City map from 1941

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    City map from 1942

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    City map from 1943

  11. #50

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    Perhaps we should start our calmer tour in the nerve center of the city, Smirnov Square, which the Germans called Hotel Square.
    So we will go up to the upper terrace of the hotel and first see an overview.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    We already know that the two main avenues opening to the left and right are the Roslav and Kiev expressways, respectively.

    Although blurred in this photograph, there was a Soviet BT7 tank in the center of the square that was used to place indicative signs and signals in German. Of course there are many photographs of it.

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation

    Geography of the USSR. Smolensk under the german occupation
    Last edited by TABSTABS1964; 11-21-2020 at 12:56 AM.

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