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MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. A new project to search and digitize archival materials concerning Soviet and German prisoners of war and internees is designed to gather and make publicly available information on around 1 million Soviet and 2.2 million German citizens, Russian and German Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
"During WWII more than 5.7 million Soviet soldiers and officers ended up in German captivity," the document says. "In Nazi Germany that meant suffering and death for many citizens of the former Soviet Union. Over 3 million people died in German captivity. Between 1941 and 1945 3.15 million Wehrmacht soldiers were prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, 1.11 million of them died."
"Against the backdrop of such difficult shared history, preserving memories of WWII horrors is an integral and essential part of the process of genuine rapprochement and reconciliation between Russia and Germany," the statement says. "On this day when we remember Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, we would like to express our joint intention to identify Soviet and German prisoners of war and interned persons who are still unaccounted for and thus give their descendants an opportunity to pay homage to them."
"In our joint efforts, we see not only a tribute to those perished in the cruel war, but also the evidence that the Russian-German cooperation in aimed for the future," the document says. "The tragic past obliges us to cooperate for the sake of preserving peace and building a future without wars and violence. Our joint project should make its contribution to this."