the battle of Stalingrad was in late 42, after Germany's defeat, they retreated west back to Germany. A last German offensive at Kursk failed in the summer of 1943. The Soviets pushed the Germans back to the banks of the Dnieper River in 1943 and then, by the summer of 1944, to the borders of East Prussia. In January 1945, a new offensive brought Soviet forces to the banks of the Oder, in eastern Germany. From their bridgehead across the Oder River, Soviet forces launched a massive final offensive toward Berlin in mid-April 1945. The German capital was encircled on April 25. That same day, Soviet forces linked up with their American counterparts attacking from the west at Torgau, on the Elbe River in central Germany.
My Grandfather had the wonderful pleasure(insert sarcasm) of having to serve as a German officer on the Eastern Front for the majority of 3 years. The funny thing is after Stalingrad the war shifted with the loss of the tanks and men at Kursk really hurting the Germans who could not shift around their troops because the Allies coordinated their offensives, leading to a poor man and especially equipment ratio with the allies. Parts of the German military held out until 1945 outside of German borders in such places as Hungary and Scandinavia. But Stalingrad was the high water mark for the Germans, much as Midway was the turning of the tide for the Japanese.
only the surrounded 6th surrendered. against Hitlers ordered none the less. Hitler promised 500 tons of suplies a day to the surrounded troops but the German air force couldn't even get 100 a day in there, and lost many aircraft. those who where not surrounded where divided by a no mans land of 60-100 miles. after the surrender all troops outside Stalingrad started the staged retreat i described above.
all over rural areas. i doubt you can find a war in history where all troops where immediately alerted to the finalization of the war and told to release captives. especially in the pacific. i have heard stories of pows and there captors conducting business as usual up into the 50's.
I have seen soviet documents that have German POWs still in gulags well into the mid to late 50's. Out of the 250k taken prisoner in the battle for Stalingrad, less than 10% made it home. My roomate's great uncle spent 5 years in a gulag after he was taken as a POW by the Soviets in 1945. He would have only spent 4, but mouthed off some to the camp director and got another year. The Russians were just as brutal as the Germans were on the eastern front, but the winner gets to write the history there and take the moral high ground. Hence we dont de- communistize Russia for killing all the Polish intellectuals and leaders from 1939-1941, or violating the Geneva convention, and so on. My Grandfather told me that he had never seen so many people switch sides as the Ukrainians did when the Germans came. I guess they were tired of purges, starving to death, and being used as tank and machine gun fodder. Thats why other groups such as the Cossacks got deported so that wouldn't help the Germans throw off the Soviets.
I have seen the copies that my Russian history professor translated when the archives were briefly opened in the 1990's. Since then many have been re- sealed under Putin, who is not eager to have the world see Russia's skeletons. I imagine that these were probably re- sealed, but to see them if they are available, you have to go to the archives in Moscow and be able to read Russian well. The only POW records access you can get without travel are involving US POWs, or Axis POWs held by America. But even then you have to pay the National Archives to look them up, xerox them, and ship them. Research can be a pain in the ass. I am working on the M16 right now and luckily those records are largely digitized thanks to Texas A&Ms Vietnam Archive division.