The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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MARSHAL OF THE COURT: May it please the Court, I desire to
announce that the defendant Hess will be absent until
further notice on account of illness.

THE PRESIDENT: Would it be convenient to you and the Soviet
Delegation if the Tribunal sat in open session until 11.30
to-morrow morning, and then after that we would adjourn for
a closed session for administrative business? Would that be
convenient to the Soviet delegation?

GENERAL RUDENKO: We, that is the Soviet delegation, have no

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, then, that is what we will do. The
Tribunal will sit to-morrow from 10 until 11.30 in open
session and will then adjourn.

GENERAL RUDENKO: In these prisoner of war camps, as well as
in camps for the civilian population, extermination and
torture were practised, referred to by the Germans as
"filtering, execution, special regime." The "Grosslazarett"
set up by the Germans in the town of Slavuta has left grim
memories. The whole world is familiar with the atrocities
perpetrated by the Germans against Soviet prisoners of war
and those of other democratic States at Auschwitz, Maidanek,
and many other camps.

The directives of the German Security Police and of the SD -
- worked out in collaboration with the Staff of the Supreme
Command of the Armed Forces, whose chief was the Defendant
Keitel -- were applied here.

                                                  [Page 187]
Operational Order No. 8 stated:

     "Executions must not take place in the camp or in the
     immediate vicinity of the camp. If the camps in the
     Government General are situated in the immediate
     vicinity of the frontier, the prisoners intended for
     special treatment should, if possible, be transported
     to former Soviet districts. Should executions be
     necessary owing to violations of camp discipline, the
     chief of the operational detachment should in this case
     approach the camp commandant.
     "The activities of the Sonderkommandos sanctioned by
     the army Commanders of the rear areas (district
     commandants dealing with affairs connected with
     prisoners of war) must be conducted in such a way as to
     carry out `filtering' with as little notice as
     possible, while the liquidation must be carried out
     without delay and at such a distance from the transit
     camps themselves, and from populated places, as to
     remain unknown to the rest of the prisoners of war and
     to the population."
The following "form" for the carrying out of executions is
recommended in Appendix 1 to Operational Order No. 14 of the
Chief of the Security Police and S.D., dated "Berlin, 29th
October, 1941, No. 21 B/41 G.R.S.-IV A.I.Z.":

     "Chiefs of operational groups decide questions about
     execution on their own responsibility and give
     appropriate instructions to the Sonderkommandos. In
     order to carry out the measures laid down in the
     directives issued, the Kommandos are to demand from the
     commandants of the camp the handing over to them of the
     prisoners. The High Command of the Army has issued
     instructions to the commandants for meeting such
     Executions must take place unnoticed, in convenient
     places, and, in any event, not in the camp itself nor
     in its immediate vicinity. It is necessary to take care
     that the bodies are buried immediately and properly."
The report of the operational Kommando (Obersturmbannfuehrer
Lipper to Brigadefuehrer, Dr. Thomas) in Vinnitza, dated
December, 1941, speaks of the way in which all the above-
mentioned instructions were carried out. It is pointed out
in this report that, after the so-called "filtering" of the
camp, only 25 persons who could be classed as "suspects"
remained in the camp at Vinnitza.

"This limited number," the report states, "is explained by
the fact that the local organisations, in conjunction with
the commandants or with the appropriate counter-intelligence
officers, daily undertook the necessary measures, in
accordance with the rules of the Security Police, against
the undesirable elements in the permanent prisoner of war

Thus, apart from the mass executions conducted by
"Sonderkommandos" specially created for this purpose, the
systematic extermination of Soviet persons was widely
practised by commandants and their subordinates in camps for
Soviet prisoners of war.

Among the documents of the Extraordinary State Commission of
the Soviet Union for the Investigation of Crimes committed
by Germans in the temporarily seized territories of the
U.S.S.R. there are several notes of the People's Commissar
for Foreign Affairs V. M. Molotov, on the subject of the
extermination of prisoners of war and of their cruel
treatment, and in these notes numerous instances are given
of these monstrous crimes of the Hitlerite Government and of
the German Supreme Command.

The note of V. M. Molotov, the People's Commissar for
Foreign Affairs, dated 25th November, 1941, on the subject
of the revolting bestialities of the German authorities
against Soviet prisoners of war, addressed to all
Ambassadors and Ministers Plenipotentiary of the countries
with which the U.S.S.R. has diplomatic relations, points out
that the German High Command and the German military units
subjected the Red Army soldiers to brutal tortures and

                                                  [Page 187]
killings. The wild Fascist fanatics stabbed and shot on the
spot defenceless sick and wounded Red Army soldiers who were
in the camps; they raped hospital nurses, and brutally
murdered members of the medical personnel.

A special count of the victims of these executions was
conducted on instructions of the German Government and the
Supreme Command. Thus, the directive given in Appendix 2 to
Heydrich's Order No. 8, points out the necessity for keeping
an account of the executions performed, i.e., of the
extermination of prisoners of war, in the following form:
(1) serial number; (2) surname and first name; (3) date and
place of birth; (4) profession; (5) last place of domicile;
(6) grounds for execution; (7) date and place of execution.

A further specification of the tasks to be carried out by
the Sonderkommandos for the extermination of Soviet
prisoners of war was given in Operational Order No. 14, of
the Chief of the Security Police and S.D., dated 29th
October, 1941.

Among brutalities against Soviet prisoners of war must be
included branding with special identification marks, which
was laid down by a special order of the German Supreme
Command, dated 20th July, 1942. This order provides for the
following methods of branding:

     "The tightly drawn skin is to be cut superficially with
     a heated lancet dipped in india ink."
The Hague Convention of 1907, regarding prisoners of war,
prescribed not only humane treatment for prisoners of war,
but also respect for their patriotic feelings and forbids
their being used to fight against their own Fatherland.
Article 3 of the Convention, which refers to the laws and
customs of war, forbids the combatants to force enemy
subjects to participate in military operations directed
against their own country, even in cases where these
subjects had been in their service before the outbreak of
war. The Hitlerites trod underfoot even this elementary
principle of International Law. By beatings and threats of
shooting they forced prisoners to work as drivers of carts,
motor vehicles, and transports carrying supplies and other
equipment to the front, as ammunition bearers to the firing
line, as auxiliaries in anti-aircraft artillery, etc.

In the Leningrad district, in the Yelny region of the
Smolensk district, in the Gomel district of Byelorussian
S.S.R., in the Poltava district and in other places, cases
were recorded where the German command under threat of
shooting, drove captured Red Army soldiers forward, under
threat of shooting, in the van of their advancing columns
during attacks.

The mass extermination of Soviet prisoners of war,
established by special investigations of the Extraordinary
State Commission, is also confirmed by the documents of the
German police and of the Supreme Command, captured by the
Soviet and Allied armies on German territory.

In these documents it is stated that many Soviet prisoners
of war died of hunger, typhus and other diseases. The camp
commandants forbade the civil population to give food to the
prisoners and doomed them to death by starvation. In many
cases prisoners of war who were unable to keep in line on
the march, because of starvation and exhaustion, were shot
in full view of the civil population and their bodies left
unburied. In many camps no arrangements of any sort were
made for living quarters for the prisoners of war. They lay
in the open in rain and snow. They were not even given tools
to dig themselves pits or burrows in the ground. One could
hear the arguments of the Hitlerites: "The more prisoners
who die, the better for us."

On the basis of the above exposition, I declare, on behalf
of the Soviet Government and people, that the responsibility
for the bloody butchery, perpetrated on Soviet prisoners of
war in violation of all the universally accepted rules and
customs of war, rests with the criminal Hitlerite Government
and German

                                                  [Page 189]
Supreme Command, the representatives of which are now
sitting on the defendants' benches.

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