The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2001/03/01

A confirmation of this fact can be found in the following
brief quotation from the Report No. 6 of the Yugoslav State
Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes:

  "A group of hostages was hanged in Celje (Zilli) on hooks
  used by butchers for suspending meat. In Maribor the
  condemned victims, working in groups of five, placed the
  bodies of the hostages shot into cases and then loaded
  them on to trucks. As each team of five finished its
  task, it was shot, and the next group of five replaced it
  in the loading job. This went on continuously. The Sodna
  Street in Maribor was soaked with blood from these
  lorries. The number given, of 50,000 victims, appears too
  small, as several hundred were shot each time; in Granz
  even as many as 500 being murdered at once."

Numerous documents have been submitted to the Tribunal
dealing with the mass shooting of hostages and signed by the
corresponding regional chiefs of the Gestapo in Yugoslavia.
I shall not dwell upon the details of these documents, since
I suppose that the Tribunal still bears them clearly in
mind.

(d) CRIMES OF THE GESTAPO IN THE TEMPORARILY OCCUPIED
TERRITORIES OF THE USSR

The legal proceedings have thoroughly revealed those
monstrous crimes which the Gestapo had committed in the
temporarily occupied territory of the USSR. There the
Gestapo personnel functioned either in the operational
units, i.e., the Einsatzgruppen, the Einsatzkommandos, and
the Sonderkommandos of the SD and of the Security Police, or
else it comprised the staff of the Secret Field Police
(GFP), which was usually complemented by employees both of
the Gestapo and the Criminal Police.

As a rule, it was the Gestapo official who on all these
occasions directly carried out the inhuman "executions" and
"mass actions," acting under the general political
leadership of members of the SD staff and with the
assistance of officials of other police organizations, as
well as units of the Waffen SS, widely used for these
purposes.

Numerous cases of mass murder and torture of peaceful Soviet
citizens by the Gestapo have been established at the
Tribunal. As an example I shall content myself with the
description of individual characteristic acts only. In the
small town of Vyasma alone, by order of the chief of the
Gestapo, several thousands of peaceful citizens were killed
or tortured to death. The Fascist monsters not only killed
their victims but made them dig their own graves.

In the village of Zaitchiki, in the Smolensk district, the
men of the Gestapo drove into one house 23 old men, women
and children, set the house on fire and burned alive all
those inside.

In the psychiatric hospitals of Riga the Gestapo men
exterminated all the inmates of these asylums.

As stated in the report of the Extraordinary State
Commission on the crimes of the German Fascist usurpers in
the town of Rovno, and in the Rovno district, men of the
Gestapo resorted to mass murder as a retaliation for each
act of resistance.

When a German judge was killed by an unknown person in
November, 1943, in Rovno, the Gestapo shot over 350
prisoners detained in the town prison.

It is known, from the report of the Extraordinary State
Commission on the crimes of the German Fascist usurpers,
that the Gestapo men used death vans for the extermination
of Soviet citizens. In the town of Krasnodar, and in the
Krasnodar region, the Gestapo people who formed part of
operational groups exterminated by carbon monoxide poisoning
over 6,700 Soviet citizens, including women, old men and
children who were under treatment in Krasnodar hospital, as
well as persons held in the Gestapo prison.

                                                  [Page 363]

In the outskirts of the town of Krasnodar, in a big anti-
tank trench, were buried several thousand bodies of Soviet
citizens who had been poisoned by gas and thrown there by
the Gestapo.

In the Stavropol region 54 children, who were seriously ill
and were being treated at the health resort of Tiberda, were
poisoned by gas in the death vans, as were 660 patients of
the Stavropol psychiatric hospital.

The evidence given by Kovaltchouk, who lived in the
Stavropol region, gives us an idea of the tortures practised
by the Gestapo. They interrogated only at night. These
interrogations were made in a special room, where special
torture devices had been set up, including chains with metal
bars fixed in the concrete floor, to which the prisoner's
arms and legs were fastened. The arrested person was first
of all stripped naked, then laid on the floor, his hands and
legs shackled, after which he was beaten with rubber sticks.
Sometimes a wooden board was placed on the victim's back and
sharp blows were then inflicted with heavy weights on the
board.

The torture chamber was so arranged that when an arrested
person was tortured, the other arrested people in an
adjoining ward awaiting torture were able to follow the
scene. After the tortures the unconscious prisoner was
temporarily thrown aside by the "modern inquisitors" and the
next victim, in most cases already in a half-unconscious
condition, was dragged into the room.

These unheard-of tortures were used by the Gestapo even on
women.

I shall mention one example only. Such tortures during
interrogation were most extensively used throughout the
occupied territories of the USSR.

Recourse to medieval tortures during interrogation followed
special orders emanating from the RSHA and Muller, chief of
the Gestapo. In one of those top secret orders the
authorities issued the following instructions: "Third degree
can include the following treatment: a very simple diet
(bread and water); a hard berth, a dark cell, deprival of
sleep, exhausting drill and beating with birch rods."

The intelligentsia, including distinguished men of science
and art who were in the Soviet territories temporarily
occupied by the Germans, were likewise subjected by the
Gestapo to unheard of ill-treatment and persecution.

Persecution by the Gestapo of representatives of the
intelligentsia was carried out according to a plan which had
been elaborated beforehand. For instance, before the German
troops had occupied Lwow, detachments of the Gestapo had in
their possession lists of the principal representatives of
the Lwow intelligentsia who were to be exterminated. The
occupation of Lwow by the Germans immediately marked the
beginning of mass arrests and shootings of professors,
physicians, lawyers, writers and artists. Paying no heed to
the human dignity of their victims, the Gestapo subjected
the arrested scientists to the mast refined tortures, after
which they shot them.

An investigation carried out by units of the Red Army, after
Lwow had been freed from the German occupants, showed that
over 70 prominent scientists, technicians and artists had
been killed by the Germans, their bodies being subsequently
burned by the Gestapo.

Fearing to be held responsible for these acts, the Fascist
jackals painstakingly endeavoured to conceal the fact of the
extermination of the Lwow intelligentsia.

The Gestapo also took part in the torturing and killing of
prisoners of war.

During the court proceedings we heard a directive of
Department IV of the Reich Security Main Office, dated 17th
June, 1941; it concerned the activities of detachments of
the Security Police and SD in the camps of the prisoners of
war.

Your Honours also know of the Muller directive dated 9th
November, 1941, addressed to all the departments of the
Gestapo, which dealt with the disposal of the bodies of such
people as had died on their way to the execution ground.

The written testimony of Kurt Lindorf, a former employee of
the Gestapo, is at the disposal of the Tribunal. This
document concerns the execution of

                                                  [Page 364]

Soviet political commissars and military employees of Jewish
origin, and also deals with an order of the chief of the
Security Police and SD, transmitted to the local organs of
the Gestapo, concerning the transfer of certain categories
of escaped officers from prisoner-of-war camps to the
Mauthausen concentration camp for the carrying out of the
"Kugel" (bullet) action.

The Tribunal is acquainted with the order of the commander
of the 6th Military District, dated 27th July, 1944, stating
that recaptured escaped prisoners of war lose their rights
and are to be turned over to the Gestapo, and also with
Keitel's order to the armed forces, dated 4th August, 1942,
which stated that the adoption of action against individual
paratroopers and groups of paratroopers falls under the
jurisdiction of the SD and the Gestapo.

The Gestapo actively co-operated in the deportation to
German slave labour of thousands of peaceful citizens from
the territories temporarily occupied by Germany and
inflicted cruel repressive measures upon these persons on
their arrival in Germany. In a like manner Muller, the chief
of the Gestapo, in his telegram of 16th December, 1942,
stated that the Gestapo could arrest some 45,000 Jews to
serve as workers in the concentration camps.

In a directive of 17th December, 1942, Muller writes about
this in connection with 35,000 Jews.

In the secret order of 18th July, 1941, Muller instructed
the Gestapo about the necessary measures to be taken in
order to prevent agitation among foreign workers.

The criminal activity of the Gestapo is of particular
importance in the extermination of the Jews.

The affidavit of Wilhelm Hoettl dated 7th November, 1945,
establishes the fact that the Gestapo exterminated some
6,000,000 Jews.

In the reports of the Extraordinary State Commission set up
for the investigation of German Fascist atrocities in the
territory of the USSR, and in other documents as well,
innumerable facts of torture, of various outrages and mass
murder of Jews by the Gestapo are brought forward.

The proceedings of the Court have fully confirmed the charge
submitted against the criminal activities of the Gestapo.

As an organization for bloody mass terror, the Gestapo must
be recognized as a criminal organization.

THE SECURITY SERVICE - "SD"

The Security: Service or "Sicherheitsdienst" was usually
referred to in official Hitlerite police documents under the
conventional abbreviation "SD." It originated as a
profoundly conspiratorial espionage organization of German
Fascism within the Party and the SS. The SD, as well as the
SS, was organized by Himmler.

The SD was that secret organization within the SS system
which, after the seizure of power by the Hitlerites, had
been the first to merge with the police agencies, and had
promptly been appointed to leading positions in the secret
police, created in the system of the SD and security
detachments, playing both before and after the organization
of the RSHA - the Reich Security Main Office - the decisive
role in the political intelligence system and "preventive
annihilation" of elements displeasing to the Hitlerites.

The SD stood in the closest possible proximity to the
Central Headquarters at the criminal Nazi conspirators,
i.e., the Hitlerite Party Leadership. And that is precisely
why the SD participated most actively in planning those
police activities which invariably accompanied all the
Hitlerite plans of aggression.

As will be shown below, it was the SD which created the
first Einsatzgruppen, stood at the head of these predatory
organizations of German Fascism, and organized the
preparation of those atrocities which were later committed
in the occupied territories of Poland, Yugoslavia, the
Soviet Union and other countries.

                                                  [Page 365]

In an attempt to exonerate this criminal organization from
the responsibilities with which it is charged, the defence
started an argument about the meaning of the very term SD.

We understand the reason why the defence started this
terminological discussion. The defence needs it in its
endeavour to support Kaltenbrunner's version of SD as an
organization with functions strictly limited to the "inter-
Reich information services," and entirely alien to all
police activities.

The defence, having admitted nothing but the more apparent
part of the criminal activities of the SD, began this
argument in order to conceal by the term "General
information concerning trends and tendencies in individual
circles" the remaining political and police functions
practised by the SD as the peak organization of the police
SS machinery.

In reality, however, the SD was a widely spread espionage
organization of German Fascism which actively contributed to
the realization of the criminal plans of aggression and
operated inside Germany, as well as in the occupied regions
and abroad.

Along with the Gestapo, it was the SD cadres who formed the
backbone of the Einsatzgruppen, where the SD personnel
always occupied the principal posts.

The functions of the SD can be subdivided as follows:

  (1) "General Information," which literally covered
  everything, as shown by the SD official documents - the
  "Lebensgebiete" or spheres vital to the Fascist "Reich,"
  all government offices, and social circles in Fascist
  Germany.
  
  (2) The "Special Functions" referring to the elaboration
  of special files and lists of persons (primarily in
  countries which were to be invaded). The filing cards and
  lists contained names of people who were to be subjected
  to the "special treatment," i.e., either to be physically
  destroyed or confined in concentration camps.
  
  (3) The function of supplying personnel for the special
  criminal organizations directly concerned with the
  realization of the Hitlerite plans for the annihilation
  of the politically undesirable elements and of the
  intellectuals in the occupied territories, and for
  conducting savage "executions" and "actions."

The entire staff of the SD consisted of SS men. This is
understandable, seeing that the SD was an offspring of the
SS and was referred to, up to the very last, as the SD of
the Reichsfuehrer SS.

The widespread system of the SD included the following:
Department III of the RSHA (i.e., Amt III, which consisted
of the Political Intelligence Service at home and in the
occupied regions); Department VI of the RSHA (Amt VI,
consisting of the Foreign Intelligence Services and headed
by one of Himmler's closest associates - Walter Schellenberg
- whose testimony is well known to the Tribunal); and
Department VII (Amt VII), sometimes called the "Department
for Ideological Warfare," which in addition included a
number of very important subsidiary institutions which
constituted the analytical machinery both for the foreign
and domestic espionage activities of the SD.

In order to rebut the statements of the defence, I should
like to refer to one of the documents showing the actual
position of the SD in the police and SS machinery of
Hitlerite Germany.

I am now speaking of the document entitled: "Employment of
the SD in the case of Czechoslovakia." The document is
marked: "Secret - Of State Importance" and is dated June,
1938, i.e., more than nine months before the actual seizure
of Czechoslovakia. It was found by the Red Army in the
Berlin files of the SD and has been submitted to the
Tribunal by the Soviet prosecution.

The contents of this document leave no doubt, first, as to
the facts of the active participation of the SD in the
preparation and realization of the criminal Hitlerite plans
of aggression, and second, in the fact that it was
specifically the SD that both initiated and organized the
Einsatzgruppen.

                                                  [Page 366]

I quote some excerpts from this document. It is stated there
that:

  "The SD should be held in readiness to act in case of
  complications between the German Reich and
  Czechoslovakia. The SD should follow, whenever possible,
  on the heels of the entering troops and take over duties
  similar to those it held in Germany, ensure the security
  of political life and, as far as possible, the security
  of all enterprises indispensable for the national as well
  as for the war economy."
 
The entire territory of Czechoslovakia, in accordance with
the territorial structure of the SD in Germany, was,
beforehand, separated into large (Oberabschnitt) and small
(Unterabschnitt) territorial units, and for each of these
units special Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos were
prepared and staffed. In the text of the document we can
read that a system of Oberabschnitte for Prague, Bohemia,
Moravia, Silesia, and others, was prepared and planned.

The staffing of the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos was
entirely a matter within the competence of the SD. In the
text of the document we can read in this connection:

  "The staffing of the SD agencies should be conducted with
  the following considerations in mind:
     1. Requirements of the SD per se.
     2. Requirements of an economy nature."
     

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