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There appeared to have been a deep prejudice against German communities because many Soviet officials considered all German farmers kulaks, no doubt because they appeared better off and more enterprising and thus naturally counterrevolutionary than ordinary ethnic Russian or Ukrainian peasants.After Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, the Soviet leadership decided to evacuate all ethnic Germans from the western regions of the Soviet Union.Other parts of Southern Russian were also affected.Although the majority of the Black Sea Germans avoided deportation due to the rapid advance of the German Army, Stalin, nevertheless, had sufficient time to arrest and exile those living east of the Dnieper River.The German farmers were labelled kulaks (rich peasants) by the Communist regime, and those who did not voluntarily agree to give up their land to the Soviet farming collectives were expelled to Siberia and Central Asia.Although the mass deportation of the kulaks was based on social and not ethnic criteria, the German Russian settlements probably suffered more than any other communities.Included in this figure were many members of the Communist Party and the Komsomol (the student organization for Communist Party candidates).
Action to deport every ethnic German from the Crimea began on 15 August 1941.SS Head Heinrich Himmler made a decision to evacuate all ethnic Germans and bring them to the Reich.Evacuations began in scattered German communities in the North Caucasus, where in February 1943, 11,000 people were transferred.About 1.2 percent of the Soviet population was classified as kulak and deported to the Gulag (slave labour camps), based on a total Soviet population of 147 million, according to the 1926 census.The number of ethnic Germans sent to the camps as kulaks was about 50,000 out of a German population in the Soviet Union at the time of the same census of 1.239 million, that is, about 4 percent of the German population.
In October, 45,000 ethnic Germans from Volhynia (Western Ukraine) were also forced to leave, and, by February 1944, it became clear to the Germans in Southern Ukraine that the Red Army could not be stopped; thus, they began their hurried evacuation. Approximately 280,000 ethnic Germans were successfully brought out of the occupied Soviet Union, which represented almost 90 percent of the registered German population, according to the 1943 Reich census.