The very last WWII prisoner of war was found in a Russian mental institution

The war was not over for him…

A POW was released from captivity in Russia in 2000. He wasn’t taken prisoner in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Russia’s most recent war at that time.

No, he had been held in captivity in a Soviet/Russian psychiatric hospital since World War II. His name was Andras Toma, and he was the last POW of WWII.

(Hungarian soldiers in the Carpathian Mountains)

One of the weapons that the Soviet Union used against its enemies was putting them in “psychiatric hospitals” or asylums. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, the regime put dissidents into these places for a number of reasons.

(German POWs marching through the Ukrainian city of Kiev under Soviet guard)

First, to punish them. There were legitimately disturbed inmates there who could make a person’s life a living hell – especially for extra rations or privileges. Second, the regime could say to the public, “This person is insane. Nothing they say can be trusted. They are not well.” This was thought to de-legitimize any opinion a dissident had. Third, many dissidents were subject to gross “psychological” experiments involving drugs, electric shock, and other unethical treatments.

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