The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I omit a whole number of facts, the majority of which,
strictly speaking, should have been specially reported to
the Tribunal. I pass on to the description of the last crime
mentioned in the statement of the Commission. I pay special
attention to it because it describes the brutal
extermination of a very large number of wounded Red Army
warriors. You will also find this excerpt on Page 99 of your
document book:

     "On 4th December, 1943, there arrived at the station of
     Sevastopol, from the city of Kerch, three transports of
     wounded prisoners of war belonging to the Kerch Landing
     Forces. Having loaded them on a 2,500-ton barge moored
     in the Southern bay near the landing-stage, the Germans
     set fire to it. The heartrending screams of the
     prisoners filled the air. Women who were not far from
     the barge could render no assistance to the wounded,
     since they were driven from the site of the fire by
     gendarmes. Not more than 15 men were saved. Thousands
     perished in the fire.
     On the following day the same barge was loaded with
     2,000 men from among the wounded brought from Kerch.
     The barge sailed from Sevastopol in an unknown
     direction, and all the wounded in it were drowned at
I repeat that I am omitting a considerable number of facts
established by the Commission.

There is but little difference in character between the
documentary evidence already read into thr record and the
data on the atrocities perpetrated by the German Fascist
invaders on Soviet prisoners of war in the region of
Stalino, submitted by a special Commission with, at its
head, the President of the Staliozavodsk Regional Council of
Workers' Deputies. I shall read into thr record that part of
the document which contains items of interest to us. The
official report begins in the left-hand column of Page 3 of
Document USSR 2(a)

                                                  [Page 328]
and the extracts which I am reading into thr record are
printed on Page 108 of your document book:

     "The circumstances of the case: In the Stalinozavodsk
     district of the town of Stalino, in the `Lenin Club,'
     the German Fascist invaders organised a camp for Soviet
     prisoners of war; at times there were up to 20,000 men
     in this camp; the Camp Commandant, a German officer
     named Gavbel, established an intolerable diet for the
     Soviet prisoners of war.
     Examined as witnesses, , former prisoners of war Ivan
     Vasilyetch Plakhoff and Konstantin Semyonovitch
     Shatzky, who had been interned in this camp and managed
     to escape, testified that prisoners of war were
     starved; a loaf of bread weighing 1,200 grams and made
     of poor quality, burnt flour was issued to 8 men; once
     a day one litre per head of hot liquid food was issued,
     consisting of a small quantity of burnt bran,
     occasionally mixed with sawdust. The premises in which
     the prisoners of war were housed had no glass in their
     windows; in summer and winter alike, even in the
     coldest weather, 5 kilograms of coal per day only were
     allowed for heating purposes. This amount could not, of
     course, heat the vast premises where up to a thousand
     prisoners lived in a perpetual draught. Mass cases of
     frostbite were observed. There were no steam baths.
     Generally speaking, people did not wash for 6 months
     and were overrun by enormous quantities of vermin. In
     the hot summer months the prisoners suffered from the
     heat. They were left without drinking water for 3 to 5
     days on end."
The regime in the camp organised in the region of
Stalinozavodsk was, as is clear from the extracts read into
thr record, precisely the same as the regime in other German
prisoner of war camps. This has been proved beyond all doubt
by the discovery of general directives.

The following excerpt shows that, over and above these
directives, camp commanders had opportunities for committing
atrocities themselves, each man according to his own
particular method without risk of punishment.

On Page 105 of your document book you will find the
following extract which I am now quoting:

     "Prisoners of war were beaten up with sticks and rifle
     butts on the slightest provocation, and a punishment of
     720 strokes with the lash was imposed for any attempt
     at escape; the strokes were administered over a period
     of 8 days -- 30 strokes of the lash at a time --
     morning, noon, and evening. At the same time, the
     culprits were deprived of their bread ration, while the
     liquid ration was halved."
Mortality in the camp following on this regime was very
high. In winter, up to 200 persons died every day. Epidemics
broke out in the camp. Numerous cases of oedema -- the
result of hunger and death by starvation -- were registered.
The guards derived much pleasure in degrading the prisoners
of war by setting one against the other.

Thus Shatzky testified that he was flogged by German
policemen, receiving 120 strokes with the lash and 15 with
sticks, for disobeying the order to flog his fellow
prisoners of war. The floggings were supervised by German

Provisions brought by civilians for handing to the prisoners
of war did not reach them. The Commission came to the
conclusion that no fewer than 25,000 Soviet prisoners of war
were buried in the grounds of the camp and of the central
polyclinic. This conclusion is based on the measurement and
number of graves and on the evidence of witnesses.

Mass killings and murders of prisoners of war were also
organised by the German Fascist invaders in another town in
the Don Basin, Artyemovsk. A special commission, consisting
of the Military Prosecutor of the town of

                                                  [Page 329]
Artyemovsk, of the priest of the Pokrovskaya Church, Ziumin,
of representatives of the intelligentsia, public
organisations, and Army units, drew up an official report on
the mass murders of Soviet prisoners of war organised by the
Fascist invaders. This official report is on Page 4 of
Exhibit USSR 2(a). It is also on Page 105 of your document
book. It is said in the report:

     "In November, 1941, soon after the occupation of the
     town of Artyemovsk by German Fascist invaders, a
     prisoner of war camp was established, in the territory
     of the small military town lying beyond the Northern
     Station, housing 1,000 captured Red Army prisoners of
I omit one paragraph and pass on to the question of living
conditions in the camp:

     "In the spring of 1942, prisoners of war, driven
     desperate by hunger, used to leave the camp and,
     creeping on all fours like animals, plucked and ate
     grass. In order to deprive the men even of this modicum
     of food, the Germans fenced off the camp building by a
     double row of barbed-wire, with a distance of 2 metres
     between the rows and bared-wire [sic] entanglements
     placed between them."
I omit one paragraph and am preparing to read the
conclusions into thr record:

     "Twenty-five graves were discovered near the camp -- 3
     of them mass graves. The first grave measured 20 by 15
     metres; it contained the remains of about 1,000
     corpses. The second grave measured 27 km. [sic] by 14
     metres and contained the remains of about 900 corpses;
     in the third grave, 20 metres by 1, the remains of up
     to 500 corpses were discovered; and there were from 25
     to 30 in each of the remaining graves, making up, all
     told, a total of some 3,000 corpses."

In the neighborhood of the small farm of Vertyatchy, in the
Goroditschtchensky region of the Stalingrad area, the
Hitlerites established a prisoner of war camp. Here, as in
other camps, and with their customary and characteristic
sadism, they exterminated the warrior prisoners of the Red

I present to you, as evidence, our Exhibit USSR 63/3/3,
which contains an official report of 21st June, 1943. It is
duly drawn up and certified and contains the following
information This is on Page 110 of the document book:

     "As a result of the atrocious regime, at least 1,500
     Soviet prisoners of war perished of starvation,
     torture, sickness and executions in the camp near
     Vertyatchy, during the three and a half months of its
     The Germans forced the prisoners to work from 14 to 16
     hours per day, and fed them once a day, the ration
     consisting of 3 to 4 spoonfuls of stewed rye or a
     ladleful of unsalted rye soup together with a piece of
     horse carrion.
     A few days before the arrival of the Red Army the
     Germans ceased to feed the prisoners altogether and
     condemned them to death by starvation. Nearly all the
     prisoners suffered from dysentery. Many had open
     wounds, but the prisoners received no medical
     assistance whatsoever."
I omit one paragraph and pass on to the next, which deals
with the humiliating treatment of prisoners of war:

     "Germans mocked the patriotism of the Soviet prisoners
     of war by forcing them to work on German military
     constructions, to dig trenches and dugouts, and to
     build mud-huts and shelters for military technical
     equipment. The Hitlerites systematically humiliated
     Soviet prisoners of war by making them kneel before the
It is noted in the official report that the Commission
examined material evidence -- tools used for the torture of
Soviet prisoners of war, a leather thong and dagger, picked
up among the disarmed bodies, with the well-known Hitlerite
slogan "Blood and Honor ("Blut und Ehre").

                                                  [Page 330]
The circumstances in which the dagger was discovered give
every possibility of understanding what was meant by "German
Honour" and for whose "Blood" the dagger was intended.

The documents of the Extraordinary State Commission of the
Soviet Union relating to the town of Kerch describe the
characteristic crimes of the Hitlerite invaders. I submit to
the Tribunal the documents of the Extraordinary State
Commission as Exhibit USSR 63/6 and I shall read several
extracts into thr records. In your copy they are all marked
so as to enable the Tribunal to follow the text quoted (Page

THE PRESIDENT: I think we might break off now.

                (A recess was taken.)

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