The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/10/21

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I take the liberty of starting from the
point where I broke off. We now present to the Tribunal
Exhibit USSR 263(a), consisting of the minutes of the
interrogation, under oath, of the witness, Warlimont, given
to Lieutenant-Colonel Hinkle of the American Army. I do not
intend to read this document into thr record in full.
Warlimont, in many cases, repeats Halder. The important
thing is that he confirms two facts in their entirety:

     (1) That it was Hitler who conducted the meeting of
     which we were informed by Halder's testimony.
     (2) That, even before the war, Hitler had issued a
     directive to shoot prisoners of war; pointing out that
     special units were to be created for this purpose and
     that the SD would follow the Army.
Warlimont further testified -- I quote from Page 26:

     "Hitler then added that he did not at all expect his
     officers to understand his orders. The only thing
     required of them was absolute obedience."
We have some more testimonies, those of Lieutenant-General
of the German Army, Kurt von Oesterreich. He was the former
Chief of the P.O.W. Section of the Danzig Military District.
He personally handed his testimonies to the representatives
of the Red Army on 29th December, 1945. His testimonies,
registered as Exhibit USSR 151, are contained in your
document book. I shall read certain excerpts into thr

     "I began my work as Chief of the P.O.W. Section at the
     Headquarters of Danzig Military District on 1st
     February, 1941.
     Prior to that I was the commanding officer of the 207th
     Infantry Division, located in France.
     It was towards March, 1941, that I was summoned to
     Berlin to attend a secret meeting at the Headquarters
     of the Commander-in-Chief. This conference was
     conducted by Lieutenant-General Reinecke, then Chief of
     Headquarters' P.O.W. Section.
                                                  [Page 314]
     Over twenty chiefs of the District P.O.W. sections from
     various regions attended this conference, as well as
     several staff officers. I cannot, at present, remember
     the names of these officers.
     General Reinecke told us, as a great secret, that a
     tentative invasion of the Soviet territory had been
     planned for the beginning of summer 1941 and that in
     this connection the High Command had elabourated
     essential measures, including the preparation of camps
     for Russian prisoners of war expected after the
     beginning of operations on the Eastern front."
I omit 3 paragraphs and shall go on to several details of
greater importance:

     "On this occasion he ordered us to construct open-air
     camps surrounded only by barbed wire in such cases
     where there would be no time to construct roofed-in
     barracks for the Russian prisoners.
     Moreover, Reinecke gave us instructions as to the
     treatment of Russian prisoners of war, directing us to
     shoot without any warning those prisoners who might
     attempt to escape..."
In my opinion, the next two long paragraphs can be omitted
in order to save time.

     ... "After some time" (I pass on to Page 28 of your
     document book) "I received a directive from the
     Headquarters of the Supreme Command confirming
     Reinecke's instructions to shoot without any warning
     all Russian prisoners attempting to escape. I do not
     now remember who signed this directive."
The witness further testifies how he was called, either
towards the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942, to a
conference in Berlin of the military district chiefs on
P.O.W. affairs. The conference was conducted by Major-
General von Graevenitz. The question under discussion was
what to do with those Russian prisoners of war who were
unable to work as the result of wounds or exhaustion.

I think it might be useful to quote a few lines. They are on
Page 29 in your document book.

     ... "On the proposal of General von Graevenitz this
     question was discussed by several officers present,
     including doctors, who stated that such prisoners of
     war unable to work should be concentrated in one place
     -- either in camp or in hospital -- and killed by
     poisoning. As a result of this discussion Graevenitz
     ordered us to murder war prisoners incapable of work,
     using for this purpose the camp medical personnel."
The witness asserts that when he arrived on duty in the
Ukraine in the summer of 1942, he learned there, as he says
(you will find these two lines on Page 29):

     "A method of murdering Russian prisoners of war by
     poisoning is already adopted there."

The witness quotes actual figures, actual facts connected
with this crime. I think it important to note a reference to
this fact quoted on the fourth page of the Russian text,
third paragraph from the top, on Page 29 of your document

     ..."When I was in the Ukraine I received from
     headquarters a top-secret order signed by Himmler,
     directing that, as from August, 1942, Russian war
     prisoners must be branded with a special mark. Russian
     war prisoners were kept in concentration camps under
     severe conditions, were poorly fed, subjected to moral
     outrages and died of hunger and disease."
Oesterreich names facts which confirm this testimony. The
following episode is revealingly characteristic. I quote the
second paragraph of the fifth page; it is on Page 31 in your
document book:

                                                  [Page 315]
     "In the beginning of 1942, when an echelon of Russian
     war prisoners was being moved from the Ukraine to the
     city of Torn, approximately 75 people died there; their
     corpses were not taken away but left in the railway car
     together with the living. About 100 prisoners of war,
     who could not bear these conditions and tried to
     escape, were shot."
These and similar cases are known to the witness. He
enumerates them, but I do not think it is necessary to cite
all of them to the Tribunal. They are all alike.

Oesterreich also speaks about directives which provide for
the shooting of all political workers of the Red Army,
Communists, and Jews.

Such an arrangement practically opened the way for the
extermination of any Soviet prisoner of war under the
pretext that he was suspected of belonging to the Communist
Party or if he looked like a Jew.

To complete General Oesterreich's testimony, it is necessary
to quote a sentence mentioned, as I believe, by the
Commander-in-Chief General Field Marshal von Reichenau in
"The Conduct of the Army in the East." I submit this
document to the Tribunal as our Exhibit USSR 12. This
quotation is on Page 33 in your document book:

     "Supplying the civilian population and the prisoners of
     war with food is an unnecessary humanitarian act."
I submit to the Military Tribunal this despicable directive
of Hitler's Field Marshal and request it be accepted as

Three of Hitler's high-ranking officers confirmed that even
at the beginning of the war, at a special conference...

THE PRESIDENT: Could you tell us if this order was issued by
Field Marshal von Reichenau? By the General himself?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The order is signed by General Field
Marshal von Reichenau.

THE PRESIDENT: Was it captured or what?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: This document was one of the trophies

captured by the Russian Army.

THE PRESIDENT: By the Russian Army?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: By the Russian Army.


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