The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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In our document submitted as Exhibit USSR 6(c), minutes are
quoted from the report of the medico-legal experts as well
as the findings of the Medical Board of Experts. We find
them on Pages 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the document. I shall set
forth, in brief, the contents of the minutes and shall quote
a few words from the findings. According to the minutes, the
Hitlerites had set up a large camp for prisoners of war in
the town of Ravva-Russkaya, 52 kilometres North-east from
the city of Lvow. In this camp a large number of Soviet and
French prisoners of war were interned and there they
perished; they were shot, died of infectious diseases or
starved to death. The Commission of medico-legal experts
opened up a large number of graves. Some of these graves had
been camouflaged by green shrubs and grass. A considerable
number of bodies were unearthed, dressed in military or semi-
military clothing. In some cases identity medallions of Red
Army Soldiers were discovered inside the clothes. The ages
of the prisoners, whose bodies were recovered from the
graves, ranged from 20 to 40 years.

It is said in the findings (the extract quoted is on Page 70
of the document book):

     "The data of the autopsies performed on the exhumed
     bodies justify the conclusion that bodies of Soviet
     prisoners of war had, in effect, been buried in the
     aforementioned graves. The burial was on a mass scale.
     The bodies were placed in each grave at a rate of 350-
     400 corpses (the grave measuring 7 by 4 metres) in
     layers, one layer on the other. The bodies were buried
     in the clothes they had worn at the time of death. The
     absence of footwear on all the corpses indicates that
     the Soviet prisoners, when alive, were kept unshod or
     else that their footwear was removed after death. The
     prisoners were interned in appallingly
                                                  [Page 321]
     unsanitary conditions, since all the clothing found was
     vermin-infested. Judging by the clothes, death, in the
     majority of cases, must have occurred during the cold
     season of the year. Nevertheless, practically no warm
     clothing was found on any of the bodies. To escape the
     cold, the prisoners of war had dressed in two or three
     sets of summer uniforms, had wrapped themselves up in
     sacking, towels, etc. ..."
I omit a few sentences from this statement and wish to read
into thr record the part dealing with the total number of
corpses (it is on Page 70 of your document book):

     "The number of graves (36), their size, and the number
     of bodies discovered justify us in believing that from
     10,000 to 12,000 bodies of Soviet prisoners of war were
     buried in this area. The degree of their decomposition
     points to the fact that the corpses had been buried
     underground for about three years, i.e., the time of
     burial must be placed somewhere in the late autumn or
     in the winter of 1941-42."
A special section of the report of the Extraordinary State
Commission for the Determination and Investigation of Crimes
committed by the German Fascist Invaders in the City and
Region of Orel (which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit
USSR 46) record the mass extermination of prisoners of war
carried out over a long period of time.

The prisoner-of-war camp was set up in the city jail of
Orel. After the Hitlerite invaders had been driven from
Orel, the Extraordinary Commission was able to secure the
testimony of doctors who had been in this camp and who had
fortunately escaped with their lives. Included in this
report are the personal observations of a member of the
Extraordinary State Committee, Academician Burdenko, who
personally examined people liberated by the Red Army from
the camp, from the camp premises and from the so-called camp
hospital. The general conclusion is that in the camp of Orel
and in others, the Hitlerites bodily exterminated the Soviet
people with characteristic German thoroughness.

The prisoners received 200 grams of bread and a litre of
soup made from rotten soy beans and mouldy flour. The bread
was baked with an admixture of sawdust. The camp
administration, doctors included treated the prisoners

I should like to quote a few excerpts from the report of the
Commission and I shall start from paragraph 5, Page 2 of the
document, which you will find on Page 72 of the document

     "The Camp Commander, Major Hoffmann, flogged the
     prisoners and forced persons exhausted by hunger to
     carry out heavy manual work in the local quarries and
     in the unloading of shells.
     Boots and shoes were taken from the prisoners and
     replaced by wooden clogs.
     In the winter these clogs became slippery and the
     prisoners when walking, and especially when going up to
     the second and third floors, would slip on the stairs
     and be lamed."
Dr. H. I. Tsvetkov, a former inmate of the prisoner-of-war
camp, testified as follows (I quote, and you will find the
excerpt quoted on Page 72 and at the beginning of Page 73):

     "I can only describe the attitude of the German Command
     towards the prisoners of war, during my stay in the
     camp at Orel, as one of deliberate extermination of
     manpower in the person of the prisoners. The food
     ration, which at best contained a maximum of 700
     calories only, led, when work was hard and beyond their
     strength, to complete exhaustion of the organism
     (cachexia) and to death.
                                                  [Page 322]
     Despite our categorical protests and our struggle
     against this mass murder of the Soviet people, the
     German camp doctors, Kuper and Beckel, maintained that
     the diet was perfectly satisfactory. Moreover, they
     denied that the oedema from which so many of the
     prisoners suffered were due to starvation and quite
     calmly ascribed the condition entirely to heart or
     kidney trouble. The very mention of the term 'hunger
     oedema' was forbidden in the diagnosis. Mortality in
     the camp assumed mass proportions. Of the total number
     of persons murdered, 3,000 died of starvation and of
     complications arising from malnutrition.
     The prisoners lived in indescribably appalling
     conditions. The overcrowding was incredible. Fuel and
     water were completely lacking. Everything was infested
     by vermin. From 50 to 80 people were crammed into a
     ward 15 to 20 square metres in size. Prisoners would
     die at the rate of five or six per ward, and the living
     would have to sleep on the dead."
It is further said that a particularly terrible regime
existed for those included in the category of
"recalcitrants." They were put into a special building,
named the "death block." The inmates of this block were shot
on schedule, five to six persons being taken to execution
every Tuesday and Friday. The German physician Kuper was one
of those present at the shootings.

Academician Burdenko established that in the so-called
"hospital," people were exterminated in the same manner as
in the rest of the camp.

In the penultimate paragraph, on Page 3, we read (members of
the Tribunal will find this passage on Page 73 of the
document book):

     "The scenes which I had to witness defy all
     imagination. My joy at the sight of the liberated
     people was marred by the fact that their faces bore an
     expression of utter stupor. This made me think, 'What
     is the matter here?' Evidently the sufferings they had
     undergone erased from their minds all distinction
     between life and death.
     I observed these people for three days and bandaged
     their wounds while moving them from the camp, but the
     mental stupor remained. Something similar could also be
     seen on the faces of the doctors during the first few
     People perished in the camp from disease, starvation,
     and floggings. In the so-called 'hospital' prison they
     died of wound-infection, sepsis, and starvation."
On 2nd May, 1945, there was captured in Berlin a member of
the S.S., Paul Ludwig Gottlieb Waldmann. The son of a
shopkeeper, Ludwig Waldmann, he was born in Berlin on 17th
October, 1914. From information received, his mother, up to
the time of his capture, was living in the city of
Brunswick, Donnerburweg 60.

He testified personally to facts known to him regarding the
mass extermination of Soviet prisoners of war. He witnessed
these exterminations while working as a driver in different
camps, and himself participated in the mass killings. His
testimony is on Page 9 of Exhibit USSR 52, entitled "Camp
Auschwitz." He provides more detailed information on the
murders in the camp at Sachsenhausen.

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