The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                        V. WAR CRIMES
Having prepared and carried out the perfidious assault
against the freedom-loving nations, Fascist Germany turned
the war into a system of militarised banditry.

The murder of war prisoners, extermination of civilian
populations, plunder of occupied territories and other war
crimes were committed as part of a totalitarian lightning
war program --"Blitzkrieg" --projected by the Fascists. In
particular, the terrorism practiced by the Fascists on the
temporarily occupied Soviet territories reached fabulous
proportions and was carried out with an outspoken cruelty.

           (a) Mass Execution of Peaceful Citizens
"We must," said Hitler to Rauschning, "pursue a policy of
systematic depopulation. If you ask me what I mean by
'depopulation,' I mean removal of entire racial groups. And
that is what I am going to do; such, roughly speaking, is my
purpose. Nature is cruel, and so we also may be cruel. If I
can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of
war ...  without any regret for the spilling of precious
German blood, then surely I have the right to remove
millions of an inferior race who multiply like flies!"

The Soviet prosecution has at its disposal numerous
documents, collected by the Extraordinary State Commission
for the Soviet Union for the Prosecution and Investigation
of Crimes committed by the German Fascist aggressors and
their accomplices, which constitute irrefutable evidence of
countless crimes perpetrated by German authorities.

We have at our disposal a document, known as the "Appendix
No. 2 to the Operational Order No. 8 of the Chief of the
Sipo and S.D.," dated Berlin, 17th June, 1941, and signed by
Heydrich, who, at that time held the office of Himmler's
deputy. This document was worked out in collaboration with
the High Command of the German Armed Forces. The appendices
to Order No. 8, as well as Orders No. 9 and 14 and the
appendices thereto, make it evident that the systematic
extermination of Soviet people in Fascist concentration
camps in the territories of U.S.S.R. and other countries
occupied by the Fascist aggressors was carried out under the
form of "filtration, cleansing measures, purges,
extraordinary measures, special treatment, liquidation,
execution," and so on.

                                                  [Page 183]

The perpetration of these crimes was entrusted to the
"Sonderkommandos" especially formed for this purpose, by
agreement between the Chief of Police and the S.D. and the
High Command of the German Armed Forces.

The Appendix No. 1 to Order No. 14 shows that these
"Sonderkommandos" acted independently on the basis of their
special powers and in accordance with general directives
given to them within the scope of camp regulations,
maintaining close contact with the camp commanders and
counter-intelligence officers.

It is to be noted that during the German offensive aimed at
Moscow, the Fascists created a special "Sonderkommando
Moscow," which was supposed to carry out the mass killings
of the inhabitants of Moscow.

Hitler's Government and the German Military Command were
afraid that these monstrous Orders No. 8 and No. 14 might
fall into the hands of the Red Army and the Soviet
Government, and they took all possible measures to keep
these orders completely secret. In Order No. 14, Heydrich

     "I especially emphasise that Operational Orders No. 8
     and No. 14, as well as the regulations pertaining
     thereto, must be immediately destroyed in case of
     imminent danger. Their destruction is to be reported to

Besides the above-mentioned orders, containing the program
and plan for the Fascist annihilation of the Soviet
population, numerous orders and regulations were issued to
the civil "administration," as well as to the German
military authorities, prescribing mass extermination, and
mass execution of Soviet people. Keitel's order of 12th
December, 1941, reads as follows:

     "In the Fuehrer's opinion the punishment by
     imprisonment or even by hard labor for life would be
     considered a sign of weakness. Effective intimidation
     can be realised only by executions or measures which
     would leave the population in complete ignorance of the
     criminal's fate. This latter aim is reached through the
     deportation of criminals into Germany. The attached
     instructions for the prosecution of criminals are in
     accordance with the Fuehrer's opinion. It is approved
     by him.  Keitel."

Among the means employed by the Hitlerites for the
extermination of Soviet citizens were also intentional
infection with spotted typhus and murdering by poison gas in
gas vans et alia. Upon investigations by the Extraordinary
State Commission of the Soviet Union, it was found that at
the front, behind their main line of defence, the Hitlerites
had systematically constructed special concentration camps
where they kept tens of thousands of children, women who
were unfit for work, and old men. The approaches to these
camps were mined. No buildings or shelters of any kind
existed within the areas of the camps, not even any
barracks, and the internees had to camp on the bare ground.
The internees were shot for the slightest attempt to
infringe upon the established ruthless camp regulations.
Many thousands of typhus patients were found in these camps
who, through contact with the population forcibly brought
there from the surrounding villages, systematically infected
them with the disease.

The document which will be presented by the Soviet
prosecution describes in detail these heinous crimes
perpetrated by the German Fascist occupants.

The prosecution possesses a document signed by
Untersturmfuehrer Becker, dated 16th May, 1942. This
document is a report to his superiors concerning the use of
gas vans. This is what one reads in this monstrous document:

     "The place of execution is located at about 10-15
     kilometers from a thoroughfare and difficult to reach
     because of its location. In wet or damp weather it is
     entirely inaccessible.
     Whether the people to be executed are led or brought in
     vehicles to this spot, they immediately realize what
     awaits them and become restless; this should be avoided
     by loading them into trucks at an assembly point, and
     driving them to the place of execution.
                                                  [Page 184]
     I gave orders for the trucks of group D to be
     camouflaged as trailers and for a window to be
     inserted, on each side of the smaller vehicles, and in
     the larger trucks, two windows, all of the country
     peasant cottage type. However, these machines became so
     well known that not only the officials but even the
     population called them the "Death Machines" as soon as
     they saw them. In my opinion it is impossible to
     camouflage and keep them secret for any length of time.
     I also gave orders that during asphyxiation by gas the
     operating personnel should keep away from the machine
     so that their health would not be impaired by escaping
     gas. In this connection I would like to call attention
     to the following: In certain units men are ordered to
     unload the machines after gassing. I have drawn the
     attention of the commanders of the corresponding
     "Sonderkommandos" to the immense physical and moral
     injury this kind of work could cause the men, if not
     immediately, then certainly later. The men complained
     of headaches after every unloading. Nevertheless, they
     do not want to change the procedure, for they are
     afraid that prisoners entrusted with the work may use
     it as an opportunity to escape. To protect the men from
     this injury, I would ask that appropriate orders be

     The procedure of poisoning by gas is not always carried
     out in a correct manner. So as to end the business as
     quickly as possible, the drivers always open the
     throttle wide. As a consequence of this measure the
     condemned die of asphyxiation rather than falling
     asleep as had been originally intended. As a result of
     my explanation of the correct way to set the lever,
     death follows more rapidly, and, in addition, the
     condemned people drop off peacefully to sleep.
     Distorted faces and defecations, two symptoms which
     formerly had been noticed, were no longer observed.
     To-day I will proceed to Group B, whence I shall send a
     further report. Dr. Becker, Untersturmfuehrer."

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