This post is part of a mostly fictitious after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) . The document in question, however, is authentic. The Commissar Order detailing the execution of Soviet prisoners of war was given to the Wehrmacht in preparation for the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The translation from the German original is mine. The emphases in the original (underlined) have been preserved.
Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars
In the struggle against Bolshevism, it is not to be expected that the enemy conforms to the principles of humanity or international law. Especially the political commissars of all kinds as the real agents of resistance are to be expected to treat our prisoners hatefully, cruelly, and inhumanely.
The soldiers must know:
1. Clemency and considerateness according to international law in regard to these elements are wrong. They are a danger to our own safety and the rapid pacification of the conquered areas.
2. The perpetrators of barbaric Asian fighting methods are the political commissars. They are to be dealt with immediately and without further ado with all severeness. As a matter of principle, they are therefore to be executed immediately when seized in combat or resistance.
Additionally, the following instructions are to be applied:
[Political commissars] are to be isolated from the prisoners of war immediately, that is, while still on the battlefield. This is necessary to prevent them from influencing the captured soldiers. These commissars are not be taken for soldiers; the protections of international law regarding soldiers do not apply to them. They are to be executed after having been isolated.[…]
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