In this chapter, Paul sees the Russian prisoners in the camp near to the training camp where he is training during his time away from the front. He sees the Russian prisoners and is shocked by how pathetic they are and how badly they are treated.
They are given very little food -- so little that they end up going through the Germans' garbage. They are big men with beards (many of them) but they look pathetic -- like dogs that have been abused.
When Paul looks at them, he is reminded of German peasants. He feels the prisoners should be out doing agricultural work, not stuck where they are because of some stupid war.