In 1950, while releasing 17,538 German soldiers, the Soviet Union claimed it had completed repatriation of all WWII German POWs numbering 1,939,063.

Since the Russian TASS news agency had reported 3.5 million German POWs held in the USSR in 1945, West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer demanded to know what had happened to >1.5 million still missing.

The U.S. State Department described the Soviet claim as “fantastic and absurd” while estimating 200,000 German POWs were still in Soviet labor camps.

Source: German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union