This photograph, released by the Russians in January 1942, shows the bodies of civilians shot by the Germans in a schoolyard at Rostov-on-Don.
German occupation was harsh and helped alienate national groups who had initially welcomed the Germans. This undated photograph, attributed by its original caption to a captured German soldier, shows a German officer hanging a prisoner.
Much of the city was reduced to rubble by the German forces who occupied it twice during the Great Patriotic War — in 1941 and 1942. The first occupation was in the autumn 1941. It lasted seven days. In the plans of Hitler's generals Rostov was a city of special importance, a strategic railway junction and a river port, a gateway to the Caucasus, rich in minerals, especially in oil. The city was badly damaged by bombing. The best units of the Nazi tank army were driven out of Rostov. But in summer the 1942, the Nazi army managed to occupy the city for the second time. The second occupation lasted seven months. It took ten years to raise the city from the ruins.