Here you can see Soviet soldiers taken as POWs by the Germans, resting at a prisoner of war collection center. These particular prisoners were collected after the Battle of Białystok-Minsk — a German strategic operation during the Axis penetration of the Soviet border region. The Battle of Białystok-Minsk was part of the opening stage of Operation Barbarossa and the Germans successfully destroyed the Soviet Army’s Western Front around the city of Minsk. Though the Soviets launched multiple counterattacks and breakthrough attempts, these ultimately failed. German troops were able to take thousands of Soviet soldiers as POWs and it was a huge moment for the breakthrough of German forces into the Soviet Union, marking a major turning point. In the photo, the state of the soldiers laying down shows the harrowing process that the battle must have been. The men look so exhausted that they almost resemble corpses, though they are just taking a moment to rest.

Białystok-Minsk

Minsk Region, Belarus, Soviet Union.

July 1941. 

Credit: Anti-Worlds