The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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COLONEL POKROVSKY: Three of Hitler's high-ranking officers
have confirmed that already at the beginning of the war the
question of exterminating Soviet prisoners of war was
settled during a special conference. They (the witnesses)
differ slightly in detail, but the fact itself has been
quite definitely established.

The sentence which I quoted from the directive of Field
Marshal Reichenau also confirms that even the supply of food
to the soldiers of the Red Army taken prisoner by the
Germans was considered as "unnecessary humaneness."

It is useful perhaps to submit to you Document 884-PS, which
becomes Exhibit USSR 351. It bears the signature of
Warlimont and a postscript by the Defendant Jodl. The
document was drawn up at the Fuehrer's Headquarters on 12th
May, 1941. It said, "O.K.H. had submitted the draft of a
directive dealing with the treatment of responsible
political workers and similar persons." You have this
quotation on Page 35 in the document book, as well as the
two following excerpts which I am going to quote.

The draft foresaw the "removal" of persons of this category.
The decision whether a prisoner of war falls into the group
"to be removed" is up to the officer, and the document
states: "By an officer with authority to impose punishment
for breach of discipline."

                                                  [Page 316]
Thus, any junior officer was endowed with powers of life and
death over any captured Red Army soldier, regardless of his
rank or service.

Paragraph 3 of this document states:

     "Political Commissars of the Army are not recognized as
     prisoners of war and are to be liquidated, at the
     latest, in the prisoner of war transient camps. No
     evacuation to the rear areas."

The Defendant Jodl added the characteristic postscript --
you will find it on Page 37 of the document book:

     "We must reckon with possible reprisals against German
     airmen. It would, therefore, be better to consider all
     these measures in the nature of reprisals."
General Oesterreich's testimony concerning the existence of
the order to brand Soviet prisoners of war is fully

I submit to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 15,Order No. 14
802/42, given by the Chief of Gendarmerie of the Vice-
Governor in the Region of Styria. It is stated in the order
that it is a question of disclosing the order of the Chief
of Police. The first paragraph of the order of the chief of
the regular police states (the paragraph quoted is on Page
38 of the document book):

     "Soviet prisoners of war are to be branded with a
     special and lasting mark.
     (2) The brand is to consist of an acute angle of about
     45 degrees with a l cm. length of side, pointing
     downwards on the left buttock, at about a hand's width
     from the rectum. This brand is to be made with the
     lancets available in all military units. Chinese ink is
     to be used as colouring matter."
The third paragraph underlines that:

     "Branding is not a sanitary precaution."
It is stated in Paragraph 5 that, together with all Soviet
prisoners of war now entering the regions of the Baltic
States, the Ukraine, and the province of the Governor-
General commanded by the German Armed Forces, all the
remaining prisoners of war in the area of the Supreme Army
Command (O.K.W.) up to September, 1942 are to be subjected
to branding.

The same directive was issued to the Presidents of the
Regional Labour Administration and the Reich
Plenipotentiaries for Labour.

In this Document 1191-PS, Page 40 of the document book, it
is stated that the order of the O.K.W., dated 10th July,
1942, was brought to the attention of the Presidents of
Regional Labour Administrations and to the Reich
Plenipotentiaries for Labour.

Our documents numbered USSR 121, 122,123 and 124 are
excerpts taken from orders issued by the German military
authorities, such as regimental and divisional commanders,
and confirm that the prisoners of war -- in order to "spare
German blood" -- were forced to clear minefields and carry
on work which endangered their lives. Order No. 16641, of
the 60th German Infantry Division, states, in explanation of
the bestial treatment of the Soviet warriors:

     "Russian soldiers and officers are very brave in
     battle. Even a small isolated unit will always attack.
     In this connection a humane attitude towards the
     prisoners is not permissible."
This quotation is on Page 44 in the document book.

THE PRESIDENT: We have had that already, have we not, or an
almost identical one?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: You are right, Sir. I quoted this excerpt
as a part of the Note of the Commissar of Foreign Affairs,
Molotov, and now I quote

                                                  [Page 317]
it as part of a special German document. I consider that it
is an unprecedented event in history when, instead of
respecting an enemy for his military valour, the senior
officers of Hitler's army, in reply to such military valour,
ordered their subordinates to treat this same enemy
ruthlessly and inhumanly.

In the document submitted to you as No. 3257-PS (Exhibit
USSR 352) there is a sentence directly relating to my theme.
It has been read into thr record. Document 3257-PS is a
secret report of the Armament Inspector in the Ukraine,
dated 2nd December, 1941, and addressed to the Chief of
Armament Section of the O.K.W. It states (the excerpt quoted
is at the end of Page 45 and the beginning of Page 46 of
your document book):

     "Living conditions, food and clothing conditions and
     the health of the prisoners of war are bad; mortality
     is very high. We may reckon on the fact that during
     this winter people will perish at the rate of tens and
     even hundreds of thousands."
I submit Document D-339 as Exhibit USSR 350. The chief camp
and factory physician, Jaeger, having inspected the camp in
Naeggerath Street, informed the medical department of the
Central Administration of Camps, in a top-secret medical
report on 2nd September, 1944, as follows:

     "The prisoner-of-war camp in Naeggerath Street is in an
     atrocious condition. The men live in dustbins, in ovens
     no longer used, in huts made by themselves. Food is
     barely sufficient. Krupp is responsible for the food
     supply. Medicine and bandages were so scarce that in
     many cases medical treatment was completely impossible.
     The blame for this appalling state of affairs rests on
     the permanent camp."

In the files of the defendant Rosenberg was found, among
other documents, one numbered 081-PS, which becomes Exhibit
USSR 353. As far as we can understand, it is a letter from
Rosenberg to Keitel, dated 28th February, 1942, on the
subject of the prisoners of war. A copy found in Rosenberg's
files is unsigned, but there is no doubt that such a letter
was either addressed to Keitel or prepared for dispatch to
the chief of the Armed Forces.

The letter states that the fate of the Soviet prisoners of
war in Germany is a tragedy on an enormous scale.

I will now read into thr record the second sentence of the
fifth paragraph of the Russian text (you will find it on
Page 48 of the document book):

     "Out of 3,600,000 ..."

THE PRESIDENT: I think the United States read this letter,
did they not?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The document has been partially read, but
I would ask permission to read part of a short excerpt a
second time, since it is of importance to my further report.
It will, quite litreally, only take one and a half minutes
of our time.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, we have been preventing
other prosecuting counsel from reading documents which have
already been read and we are directed by the Charter to
conduct an expeditious trial; and I do not really see how it
can be expeditious if documents are read more than once.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: This document, which is already known to
the Tribunal, presents a very clear picture of what happened
in the camp. The author of this letter states that attempts
had been made by the population to supply the prisoners with
food, but that in most cases the attempts were foiled by the
energetic opposition of the camp commanders.

There is no reason to suspect the author of that letter of
piling on the agony, or of having any liking for the Soviet
people. On the contrary, there is every reason to state that
the question has not yet been fully elucidated. This
document, addressed by one defendant to another, enables us
to imagine the acts that took place in the camps for Soviet
prisoners of war.

                                                  [Page 318]
I began by presenting to you two documents of German origin,
and this with a definite aim in view. After you have been
informed of the attitude of the Hitlerites themselves
towards the Soviet prisoners of war, and as soon as you,
however briefly, have learned what the camps for the Soviet
prisoners looked like from the words of the Hitlerites
themselves, it will be easier for you to estimate the
probative value of the documents of non-German origin.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps that would be a convenient time to

                    (A recess was taken.)

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