The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Towards the end of summer 1941, the Sonderkommando of the
Security Police in this camp exterminated Russian prisoners
of war daily for a whole month. Paul Ludwig Gottlieb
Waldmann testified (you will find the excerpt I am quoting
on Page 82) that:

     "The Russian prisoners of war had to walk about one
     kilometer from the station to the camp. In the camp
     they stayed one night without food. The next night they
     were led away for execution. The prisoners were
     constantly being transferred from the inner camp on
     three trucks, one
                                                  [Page 323]
     of which was driven by me. The inner camp was
     approximately 1 3/4 kilometres from the execution
     grounds. The execution itself took place in the
     barracks which had recently been constructed for this
     One room was reserved for undressing and another for
     waiting; in one of them a radio played rather loudly.
     It was done purposely so that the prisoners could not
     guess that death awaited them. From the second room
     they went, one by one, through a passage into a small
     fenced-in room with an iron grid let into the floor.
     Under the grid was a drain. As soon as a prisoner of
     war was killed, the corpse was carried out by two
     German prisoners while the blood was washed off the
     In this small room there was a slot in the wall,
     approximately 50 centimetres in length. The prisoner of
     war stood with the back of his head against the slot
     and a sniper shot at him from behind the slot. In
     practice this arrangement did not prove satisfactory,
     since the sniper often missed the prisoner. After 8
     days a new arrangement was made. The prisoner, as
     before, was placed against the wall; an iron plate was
     then slowly lowered onto his head. The prisoner was
     under the impression that he was being measured for
     height. The iron plate contained a ramrod which shot
     out suddenly and poleaxed the prisoner with a blow on
     the back of the head. He dropped down dead. The iron
     plate was operated by a foot lever in a corner of the
     room. The personnel working in the room belonged to the
     above-mentioned Sonderkommando.

     By request of the execution squad, I was also forced to
     work this apparatus. I shall refer to the subject
     later. The bodies of prisoners thus murdered were
     burned in four mobile crematoriums transported in
     trailers and attached to motor-cars. I had to ride
     constantly from the inner camp to the execution yard. I
     had to make 10 trips a night with 10 minutes' interval
     between trips. It was during these intervals that I
     witnessed the executions."
It is a long way from these individual murders to the death
factories of Tremblinck, Dachau and Auschwitz, but the
tendency, the line of action, are identical.

Methods and extent of the killings varied. The Nazis
endeavored to discover ways and means for the rapid mass
extermination of human beings. They spent much time on the
solution of this problem. To realise their ambition they
began to work on the solution even prior to their attack on
the Soviet Union, by inventing different implements and
instruments of murder, whilst peaceful inhabitants and
prisoners of war alike ended up as victims of Hitler's

I present to the Tribunal the report of the Extraordinary
Commission on the German Atrocities in the Lithuanian Soviet
Socialist Republic. This is Exhibit USSR 7. Here, as in
other places, the mass extermination of Soviet prisoners of
war formed part of the savage plan of the Fascist

I shall quote a few sentences from Page 6 of this document.
In your copy it is marked in red pencil, on Page 86 of the
document book:

     "In Kaunas, in Fort No. 6, there was a camp, No. 336,
     for Soviet prisoners of war. The prisoners in the camp
     were subjected to cruel torture and insult, in strict
     accordance with the inhuman 'directions to the
     supervisors and escorts attached to labour
     detachments.' The prisoners of war in Fort No. 6 were
     doomed to inanition and death from starvation.
     The witness, Medishevskaja, informed the Commission:
     'The prisoners of war were terribly starved; I saw them
     pluck grass and eat it."'
I omit a few sentences and read on:

     "At the entrance to Camp No. 336, there still exists a
     board with the following inscription in German,
     Lithuanian and Russian: 'All those who
                                                  [Page 324]
     maintain contact with prisoners of war, especially
     those who try to give them food, cigarettes, or
     civilian clothes, will be shot!'
     There was in the camp at Fort No. 6 a 'hospital' for
     prisoners of war which in reality served as a point of
     transfer from the camp to the grave. The prisoners of
     war thrown into this 'hospital' were doomed to death.
     According to monthly statistics of sickness among the
     prisoners of war in Fort No. 6, from September, 1941,
     to July, 1942, i.e., over a period of 11 months only,
     the number of dead Soviet prisoners amounted to
I shall abstain from reading the list of graves opened: I
shall merely quote the sentence indicating the sum total of
the graves.

     "All told, 35,000 prisoners of war were buried in these
     graves, according to the camp documents."
Besides Camp No. 336, in the same town of Kaunas, there
existed another unnumbered camp on the South-western border
of the airfield. It is stated, in connection with this camp,

     "As in Fort No. 6, starvation, the lash and the
     truncheon reigned in this camp. Exhausted prisoners of
     war, no longer able to move, were carried out every day
     beyond the precincts of the camp, placed alive in
     previously prepared pits, and covered with earth."
The last three lines of the left column, on Page 6 of the
Exhibit USSR 7 (Page 86 of your document book) state as

     "The records, documents, and testimonies of witnesses
     enabled the Commission to establish that here, within
     the precincts of the airfield, nearly 10,000 Soviet
     prisoners had been tortured to death and buried."
The report mentions one more camp, No. 133, near the town of
Alitus, and a few more which had been established in July,
1941, and existed up to April, 1943. In these camps the
prisoners froze to death. When unloaded from the railway
coaches, such prisoners of war who were unable to walk were
shot out of hand. The remaining prisoners were tortured
until they lost consciousness, hanged by their feet on
chains, brought back to consciousness by having cold water
dashed over them, then the whole process would be repeated
all over again.

Giving the sum total of prisoners murdered on the territory
of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic, the Commission writes
(the few lines which I am about to quote are likewise on the
same page, 86, of the document book):

     "It had been established that no less than 165,000
     Soviet prisoners of war were executed by the Germans in
     the abovementioned camps of the Lithuanian S.S.R."
The extermination of Soviet prisoners of war was, quite
literally, carried out in every camp. Thousands of Soviet
soldiers likewise perished in the extermination camp of
Majdanek. The second paragraph of Page 5 of the joint Polish
and Soviet communique of the Extraordinary Commission, which
is presented to you as Exhibit USSR 29 (corresponding to
your Page 92 of the document book), states that:

     "The entire bloodstained history of this camp begins
     with the mass shooting of Soviet prisoners of war,
     organised by the S.S. in November and December, 1941.
     Out of a group of 2,000 Soviet war prisoners, only 80
     remained alive. All the rest were shot except a few who
     were racked and tortured to death."
Between January and April, 1942, more transports of Soviet
prisoners of war were brought to the camp and shot.
Nedzeliak Jan, hired to work in the camp as a truck driver,

     'About 5,000 Russian prisoners of war were exterminated
     by the Germans in the winter of 1942 by the following
     method: they were taken
                                                  [Page 325]
     from their barracks in trucks and driven to the pits of
     a former stone quarry, and in these pits they were

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