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Russia

Karelia Postcard: Germany's Forgotten Female Prisoners Of War

Towards the end of World War II, 800,000 German women and girls were deported to forced labor camps in the Soviet Union. A visit to the abandoned camps near the Russian-Finnish border.

Former war prisoners in a Berlin refugee camp. Many did not survive Russian gulags.
Former war prisoners in a Berlin refugee camp. Many did not survive Russian gulags.
Florian Stark

KARELIA — "They picked us up, sometimes they just dragged us off the street and forced us onto the truck. I am still wearing the same jacket I had on the day of my arrest. Although I am tightening it around my body, I am terribly cold. The cold is not only outside but also inside me."

Decades later, Martha Grüner wrote down her memories of the "women's camp 517/2" in Karelia. She was one of more than 800,000 women and girls who were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945 by the Red Army as war reparations, or "valid prisoners of war", as Germany put it. They slaved away and died in camps between Ukraine and the Arctic Ocean, Kazakhstan and Siberia.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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