The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/06

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal feels that if a document has
already been read, it should not be read again.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: It seems to me that this particular excerpt
was not read into the record. The document was submitted on
19 December, 1945, as 1919-PS. But this particular excerpt
which I wished to quote now, was not read into the record.
It contains only six lines.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, of course, if you have verified that
and can state that with certainty, then you can certainly
read it.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I perused the transcript and could not find
this excerpt. Therefore it seems to me that it was not read
into the record. I shall confine myself literally to six

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you had better go on and quote it then
because these interruptions take up a very long time.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: This is the quotation: "Whether other
nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me
only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture.
Otherwise I am not interested. I am not interested whether
10,000 Russian females die of exhaustion while digging an
anti-tank ditch, as long as the anti-tank ditch for Germany
is finished."

A document was already submitted to the Tribunal which
establishes that the legalisation of mass murders and
extermination of the peaceful population of the Soviet Union
carried out by the Army with a view to terrorising the
population was begun by Hitler and his clique as early as 13
May, 1941, that is, over a month before the beginning of the

In this case I refer to a directive already well known to
the Tribunal. This directive emanates from Keitel and is
entitled: "Application of military jurisdiction in the
Barbarossa Region and special army measures". This document
was already read into the record as Exhibit USA 50 by the
American prosecution on 7 January, 1946. I shall not quote
from it because I think that it is well known to the
Tribunal. I merely wish to remind the Tribunal that it
categorically denies the necessity for establishing guilt;
suspicion alone was sufficient for the application of a
death sentence. An official system of joint responsibility
and mass repressions was set up. Furthermore, it was stated
that the "suspect" should be exterminated in any case.

This is plainly said in paragraph 5 of the first section of
the directive.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1400 hours.)

COLONEL SMIRNOV: In accordance with your instructions, Mr.
President, I am omitting documents which have already been
submitted to the Tribunal and quote a document presented to
the Tribunal yesterday by my colleague, Colonel Pokrovsky,
as Exhibit USSR 3. It is the report of the Extraordinary
State Commission, entitled "Directives and orders of the
Hitlerite Government and the German Military Command
regarding the Extermination of the Soviet people".

My colleague read into the record yesterday a short excerpt
from the fourth edition of this document concerning the mass
executions, the so-called "executions" in camps, where both
peaceful citizens and prisoners of war were interned. As
this section has already been read into the record, I omit
it and proceed to the other sections of this report, dealing
with the organisation by the German fascist criminals, from
the very first days of the war with the Soviet Union, of the
so-called "Sonderkommandos", special commandos.

The document which I am quoting refers to the organisation
of Sonderkommandos in the camps, where prisoners of war and
peaceful citizens were interned.

                                                   [Page 57]

I quote this excerpt because the term "Sonderkommando"
acquired a terrible meaning for the civilian population of
the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union. It
was one of the most cruel and most brutal organisations ever
created by the German fascists for the wholesale slaughter
of human beings.

I request the Tribunal to refer to Page 207 of the document
book, column 1 of the text:

   "It is evident, from the documents discovered, that even
   before the attack on the USSR, Hitler's butchers had
   compiled lists and index files and collected the
   necessary information about such leading Soviet workers
   as their bloodthirsty plans had doomed to extermination.
   In this manner they prepared the following: 'Special
   Index Files for the USSR'; 'The German Index File';
   lists for establishing domiciles; and other index files
   and lists of the same kind which would facilitate the
   work of the Hitlerite murderers in the extermination of
   progressive circles within the.
   population of the USSR."

However, the document entitled "Appendix No. 2 to
Operational Order No. 8 of the Chiefs of the Sipo and S.D.,
Berlin," dated 17 July, 1941, and signed by Heydrich who
was, at that time, acting as Himmler's deputy, emphasises
the lack of such lists and index files and stresses the
importance of not hampering the initiative of those who
perpetrated the murders. The document states:-

   "There is no possibility of lending any assistance to
   the 'Kommandos' for the execution of your tasks. The
   'German Index File', 'Lists for Establishing Domiciles';
   and 'Special Index Files for the USSR' will only prove
   useful in a few cases. The 'Special Index Files for the
   USSR' are therefore insufficient, as only an
   insignificant number of Soviet Russian nationals,
   considered as dangerous, have been entered in these

I omit one paragraph and continue:
   "For the realisation of their criminal plans the German
   occupying authorities created 'Sonderkommandos', both in
   the transit and permanent camps for prisoners of war, on
   German territory, in the so-called Polish 'Government
   General' and in the temporarily occupied territory of
   the Soviet Union.

I omit the next seven paragraphs and continue the quotation
on Page 207 of the account book, paragraph 6, column 2 of
the text:-

   "The procedure in the formation of the 'Sonderkommando'
   is described in Appendix No. 1 to Operational Order No.
   14 of the Chief of the Sipo and S.D. (marked State Top
   Secret, copy No. 15).
   The formation of the 'Sonderkommandos' of the Sipo and
   S.D. is carried out in accordance with the agreement of
   7 October, 1941, reached between the Chief of the Sipo
   and S.D. on the one hand, and the O.K.W. on the other
   By virtue of special powers the 'Kommandos' will act
   independently in conformity with general directives,
   within the scope of the camp regulations. The
   'Kommandos', of course, maintain close contact with the
   camp commandants and the officers of the Intelligence

I omit the following text and continue the quotation as from
Page 208 of the document book, paragraph 1. The Tribunal
will observe how great was the importance attached by the
Reich Leadership to the creation of these highly dangerous
police organisations.  The "Sonderkommandos" were organised
all the way from the town of Krasnogvardeisk (a suburb of
Leningrad) to the town of Nikolaiev on the Black Sea. I now
continue with my quotation:-

   "The order of the Chief of the Sipo and S.D., of 29
   October, 1941 regarding the organisation of the
   'Sonderkommandos', was sent to the operational groups in
   Krasnogvardeisk, Smolensk, Kiev and Nikolaiev, and for
   information to Riga, Moghiliev and Krivoy Rog."

I would also point out that during their attack on Moscow,
the Hitlerites

                                                   [Page 58]

organised in Smolensk a special "Sonderkommando Moscow,"
entrusted with the mass murder of Moscow citizens.

Mention has previously been made of the wide range of
authoritative power granted to the "Sonderkommandos". In the
document which I am quoting it is said:-

  "The tasks of the 'Sonderkommandos' are outlined in the
  Appendix to Operational Order No. 8 directives attached
  to Decree No. 8 of the Chiefs of the Sipo and S.D. dated
  'Berlin, 17 July, 1941,' which, under the pretext of a
  'careful screening of civilians and prisoners of war
  captured in the Eastern Campaign' indicate that:-
     The special nature of the Eastern campaign calls for
     special measures, to be carried out on personal
     responsibility and beyond the range of any bureaucratic

I omit the next extract from this document since it is
merely a repetition of the basic rules which I have already
read into the record.

Having launched their criminal war, the Hitlerites directed
it towards a mass extermination of the peaceful citizens of
the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe. I have
already read into the record several documents depicting the
character of the Hitlerite murderers and the nature of their
crimes. These included the formation of large criminal
units, specially trained by the leaders of the Hitlerite
gang. It will, however, be clear to any criminologist that
it is not sufficient to create these foul and criminal gangs
- it is essential that once the crime has been perpetrated,
the criminal should feel that he has acted with complete
impunity. In order that the crimes envisaged by the major
criminals be committed in their monstrous entirety, it
became necessary to create, for the minor criminals, an
atmosphere of complete impunity. In accordance with your
wishes, Mr. President I shall not quote the document
previously read into the record as C-50 by the American
prosecution, entitled "Instructions Governing the
Application of Martial Law and Special Measures to be
adopted by the Army in the 'Barbarossa' Area". But it
appears to me that the content of this document should be
firmly borne in mind, for unless its meaning is clearly
understood it is quite impossible to envisage the series of
wholesale crimes perpetrated by the Hitlerite criminals on
the territory of the Soviet Union.

This order, signed by Keitel, though issued in Hitler's
name, was accepted by all the soldiers and all the officers
of the fascist Army as a personal order from Hitler. What
conclusions the German soldiery drew from this order of
Keitel's is confirmed by a communication of the
Extraordinary State Commission, to which I shall now refer;
it deals with the atrocities committed in the city of Minsk
by the German fascist invaders.

I submit this document to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 38.
It contains an excerpt from the testimony of the President
of the Military Tribunal of the 267th German Rifle Division,
Captain Julius Reich. I would ask the Tribunal to turn to
Page 215 of the document book.

I quote from the communication of the Extraordinary State
Commission on the subject of Julius Reich's testimony:-

   "According to an order issued by Hitler, German soldiers
   could not be committed to trial by court martial for
   acts committed against Soviet citizens. The soldier
   could be punished only by the commander of his own unit,
   should the latter deem the punishment necessary. This
   same order granted even more extensive rights to all
   German army officers. They could destroy the Russian
   population according to their own discretion.
   The commander had full right to apply punitive measures
   to the peaceful population: he was allowed to burn down
   whole villages and towns, rob the population of supplies
   and livestock and, on his own responsibility, deport
   Soviet citizens to Germany for slave labour. Hitler's
   order was brought to the
                                                   [Page 59]
   attention of every single soldier of the German Army on
   the eve of the attack on the Soviet Union ... In
   accordance with Hitler's order, the German soldiers
   under the leadership of their officers committed all
   sorts of atrocities."

But even this appeared insufficient to the Hitlerite
leaders. In 1942 they considered it necessary to reconfirm,
by a sharp directive brooking no exception, that any crime
perpetrated by the German fascist soldiery against the
peaceful citizens of the Soviet Union should go completely
unpunished. The Reich and military leaders particularly
emphasised the fact that atrocities committed should so
remain unpunished, even if the victims of these atrocities
happened to be women and children.

THEPRESIDENT: What was the reference to what you called
"sharp directive"?

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