The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/18


THE PRESIDENT: Major Walsh, in the section that you are just
upon now, ought you not to read the opening paragraphs of
this document, which set out the amount of the losses of the
German troops?

MAJOR WALSH: I will do so, Sir. On Page 1 of the
translation, I quote. The title: "The Warsaw Ghetto is No
More".

   "For the Fuehrer and their country the following fell in
   the battle for the destruction of Jews and bandits in
   the former ghetto of Warsaw."

Fifteen names are thereafter listed.

   "Furthermore, the Polish Police Sergeant Julian
   Zielinski, born 13th November, 1891 8th Commissariat,
   fell on 19th April, 1943, while fulfilling his duty.
   They gave their utmost, their life. We shall never
   forget them. The following were wounded."

Then follow the names of 60 Waffen S.S. personnel; 11
watchmen from training camps, probably Lithuanians; 12
Security Police Officers in S.S. units; 5 men of the Polish
Police; and 2 regular army personnel, engineers.

Permit me to read some brief excerpts of the daily teletype
reports. Page 13 of the translation, from the teletype
message of 22nd April, 1943, I read:-

   "The result of our setting the block on fire was that
   during the night those Jews whom we had not been able to
   find despite all our search operations, left their hide-
   outs under the roofs, in the cellars, and elsewhere and
   appeared on the outside of the buildings, trying to
   escape the flames. Masses of them - entire families -
   were already aflame and jumped from the windows or tried
   to let themselves down by means of sheets tied together
   or the like. Steps had been taken so that these Jews as
   well as the remaining ones were liquidated at once."

And from Page 28 of the translation, the last part of the
first paragraph, I read:-

   "When the blocks of buildings mentioned above were
   destroyed, 120 Jews were caught and numerous Jews were
   killed when they jumped from the attics to the inner
   courtyards, trying to escape the flames. Many more Jews
   perished in the flames or were killed when the dug-outs
   and sewer entrances were blown up."

And on Page 30, second half of the second paragraph, I read:-

   "Not until the blocks of buildings were well aflame and
   were about to collapse did a further considerable number
   of Jews emerge, forced to do so by the flames and the
   smoke. Time and again the Jews tried to escape even
   through burning buildings. Innumerable Jews whom we saw
   on the roofs during the conflagration perished in the
   flames. Others emerged from the upper stories in the
   last possible moment

                                                  [Page 408]

   and were only able to escape death from the flames by
   jumping down. Today we caught a total Of 2,283 Jews of
   whom 204 were shot; and innumerable Jews were killed in
   dug-outs and in the flames."

And from Page 34, the second paragraph, I read, beginning
the second line:-

   "The Jews testify that they emerge at night to get fresh
   air, since it is unbearable to stay permanently within
   the dug-outs owing to the long duration of the
   operation. On the average the raiding parties shoot 30
   to 50 Jews each night. From these statements it was to
   be inferred that a considerable number of Jews are still
   underground in the ghetto. Today we blew up a concrete
   building which we had not been able to destroy by fire.
   In this operation we learned that the blowing up of a
   building is a very lengthy process and takes an enormous
   amount of explosives. The best and only method for
   destroying the Jews therefore still remains the setting
   of fires".

And from Page 35, the last part of the second paragraph, I
read

   "Some depositions speak of 3,000 to 4,000 Jews still
   remaining in underground holes, sewers and dug-outs. The
   undersigned is resolved not to end the large-scale
   operation until the last Jew has been exterminated."

And from the teletype message of 15th May, 1943 on Page 44,
we gather that the operation is in its last stage. I read
the end of the first paragraph on Page 44:-

   "A special unit once more searched the last block of
   buildings which was still intact in the ghetto, and
   subsequently destroyed it. In the evening the chapel,
   mortuary, and all other buildings in the Jewish cemetery
   were blown up or destroyed by fire."

On 24th May, 1943, the final figures have been compiled by
Major General Strupp. He reports on Page 45, last paragraph:-

   "Of the total of 56,065 caught, about 7,000 were killed
   in the former ghetto during large-scale operation. 6,929
   Jews were killed by transporting them to T. II" - which
   we believe to be Trablinka [sic], Camp No. 2, which will
   later be referred to - "the sum total of Jews killed is
   therefore 13,929. Beyond the number Of 56,065 an
   estimated number of 5,000 to 6,000 Jews were killed by
   being blown up or by perishing in the flames."

The Court has noted within the report 1061-PS a number of
photographs, and with the Court's permission I should like
to show a few of these photographs, still pictures, on the
screen, unless the Court believes that reference to the
original text will be sufficient for the Court's purpose.

THE PRESIDENT: No, if you want to put them on the screen you
may do so. Perhaps it would be convenient to adjourn now and
you can put them on the screen afterwards.

(A recess was taken.)

(Still pictures were projected on the screen in the
courtroom.)

MAJOR WALSH: This first picture is shown on Page 27 of the
photographs in Document 1061-PS. It is entitled "The
Destruction of a Block of Buildings". The Court will recall
those portions of the teletype messages that referred to the
setting of fires for the purpose of driving out the Jews.
This picture, taken from the record, portrays such a scene.

                                                  [Page 409]

This picture is from Page 21 of the photographs contained in
the exhibit, and the caption is "Smoking out of the Jews and
Bandits". Excerpts from the teletype messages read in the
record relate to the use of smoke as a means of forcing Jews
out of the hiding places.

This picture is from Page 36 of the photographs in the
exhibit and it is called "Fighting a Nest of Resistance". It
is obviously a picture of an explosive blast being used to
destroy one of the buildings, and the Court may recall the
message of 7th May, 1943, that related to the blowing up of
buildings as a lengthy process requiring an enormous amount
of explosive. The same message reported that the best method
for destroying the Jews was the setting of fires.

This picture is taken from Page 36 of the photographs. The
Court's attention is invited to the figure of a man in mid-
air who appears in the picture about half-way between the
centre and the upper right-hand corner. He has jumped from
one of the upper floors of the burning building. A close
examination of this picture by the Court, in the original
photograph, will disclose other figures in the upper floor
windows, who apparently are about to follow him. The
teletype message of 22nd April reported that entire families
jumped from burning buildings and were liquidated at once.

This picture is from Page 39 of the photographs. It is
entitled "The Leader of the Large-Scale Action". The Nazi-
appointed commander of this action was S.S. Major General
Strupp, who probably is the central figure. I cannot refrain
from commenting at this point on the smiling faces of the
group shown there, in the midst of the violence and
destruction.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you passing from that document now?

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell the Tribunal where the document
was found?

MAJOR WALSH: Where the document itself was found?

THE PRESIDENT: Found, yes.

MAJOR WALSH: It is a captured document, sir. I have not the
history, but I shall be very pleased to submit the
background and history to the Court at the beginning of the
afternoon session, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal, I think, would like to know
where it was found and to whom it was submitted.

MAJOR WALSH: I have it. I believe that is contained in the
document. The teletype messages, sir, that are contained in
this exhibit, were all addressed to the Higher S.S. and
Police Fuehrer, S.S. Obergruppenfeuhrer and General of the
Police Kruger or his deputy.

It was not always necessary, or perhaps desirable, to first
place the Jews within the ghettos to effect the elimination.
In the Baltic States a more direct course of action was
followed. I refer to Document L-180, now in evidence, which
is Exhibit USA 276. This is a report by S.S. Brigade Fuehrer
Stahlecker to Himmler, dated 15th October, 1941, entitled
"Action Group A", found in Himmler's private files. He
reported that 135,567 persons, nearly all Jews, were
murdered in accordance with basic orders directing the
complete annihilation of the Jews. This voluminous document
provides me with the following statement by the same S.S.
Brigade Fuehrer,

                                                  [Page 410]

and from the translation at the bottom of Page 6, the second
sentence of the last paragraph, I read:-

   "To our surprise it was not easy, at first, to set in
   motion an extensive pogrom against the Jews. Klimatis,
   the leader of the partisan unit, mentioned above, who
   was used for this purpose primarily, succeeded in
   starting a pogrom on the basis of advice given to him by
   a small advanced detachment acting in Kowne, and in such
   a way that no German order or German instigation was
   noticed from the outside. During the first pogrom in the
   night from 25th to 26th June the Lithuanian partisans
   did away with more than 1,500 Jews, setting fire to
   several synagogues or destroying them by other means and
   burning down a Jewish dwelling district consisting of
   about 60 houses. During the following nights about 2,300
   Jews were made harmless in a similar way.."

From the last part of Paragraph 3, Page 7, I read:-

   "It was possible, though, through similar influences on
   the Latvian auxiliary, to set in motion a pogrom against
   the Jews also in Riga. During this pogrom all synagogues
   were destroyed and about 400 Jews were killed."

Nazi ingenuity reached a new high mark with the construction
and operation of the gas van as a means of mass annihilation
of the Jews. A description of these vehicles of horror and
death, and the operation of them is fully set forth in
captured top secret document dated 16th May, 1942, addressed
to S.S. Obersturmbannfuehrer Rauff, 8 Prince Albrecht-
strasse, Berlin, from Dr. Becker, S.S. Untersturmfuehrer. I
offer this Document 501-PS as Exhibit USA 288. I quote:-

   "The overhauling of vans by groups D and C is finished.
   While the vans in the first series can also be put into
   action if the weather is not too bad, the vans of the
   second series (Saurer) stop completely in rainy weather.
   If it has rained for instance for only one half hour,
   the van cannot be used, because it simply skids away. It
   can only be used in absolutely dry weather. It is now
   merely a question of whether the van can be used only
   when it stands at the place of execution. First, the van
   has to be brought to that place, which is possible only
   in good weather. The place of execution is usually 10 to
   15 Km. away from the highway and is difficult of access
   because of its location; in damp or wet weather it is
   not accessible at all. If the persons to be executed are
   driven or led to that place, then they realise
   immediately what is going on and get restless, which is
   to be avoided as far as possible. There is only one way
   left; to load them at the collecting point and to drive
   them to the spot.
   
   I ordered the vans of group D to be camouflaged as house-
   trailers by putting one set of window shutters on each
   side of the small van and two on each side of the larger
   vans, such as one often sees on farmhouses in the
   country. The vans became so well known that not only the
   authorities but also the civilian population called the
   van 'death van' as soon as one of the vehicles appeared.
   It is my opinion the van cannot be kept secret for any
   length of time, not even camouflaged."

And then I read the fourth paragraph on this page:-

   "Because of the rough terrain and the indescribable road
   and highway conditions, the caulkings and rivets loosen
   in the course of time. I was asked if in such cases the
   vans should not be brought to Berlin for
   
                                                  [Page 411]
   
   repairs. Transportation to Berlin would be much too
   expensive and would demand too much fuel. In order to
   save these expenses I ordered them to have smaller leaks
   soldered and, if that should no longer be possible, to
   notify Berlin immediately by radio, that Pol Nr . is out
   of order. Besides that I ordered that during application
   of gas all the men were to be kept as far away from the
   vans as possible, so that they should not suffer damage
   to their health by the gas which eventually would
   escape. I should like to take this opportunity to bring
   the following to your attention: after the application
   of gas several commands have bad the unloading done by
   their own men. I brought to the attention of the
   commander of these S.K. concerned the immense
   psychological injuries, and damage to their health which
   that work can have for those men, even if not
   immediately, at least later on. The men complained to me
   about headaches which appeared after each unloading.
   Nevertheless they do not want to change the orders,
   because they are afraid prisoners called for that work
   could use an opportune moment to flee. To protect the
   men from those risks, I request orders be issued
   accordingly.
   
   The application of gas is not usually undertaken
   correctly. In order to come to an end as fast as
   possible, the driver presses the accelerator to the
   fullest extent. By doing that the persons to be executed
   suffer death from suffocation, and not death by dozing
   off as was planned. My directions now have proved that
   by correct adjustment of the levers death comes faster
   and the prisoners fall asleep peacefully. Distorted
   faces and excretions, such as could be seen before, are
   no longer noticed.
   
   Today I shall continue my journey to group B, where I
   can be reached with further news.
   
   Signed Doctor Becker, S.S. Untersturmfuehrer."

On Page 3 in Document 501-PS we find a letter signed by
Hauptsturmfuehrer Truehe on the subject of S-vans, addressed
to the Reich Security Main Office, Room 2-D-3-A, Berlin,
marked "Top Secret". This letter establishes that the vans
were used for the annihilation of the Jews. I read this "Top
Secret" message, subject: "S-vans".

   "A transport of Jews, which has to be treated in a
   special way, arrives weekly at the office of the
   commandant of the Security Police and the Security
   Service of White Ruthenia.
   
   The three S-vans which are there are not sufficient for
   that purpose. I request assignment of another S-van (5
   tons). At the same time I request the shipment of 20 gas
   hoses for the three S-vans on hand (two Diamond, one
   Saurer), since the ones we have are leaky already.
   
   Signed: the Commandant of the Security Police and the
   Security Service, Ostland."

It would appear from the documentary evidence that a certain
amount of discord existed between the officials of the
German Government as to the proper means and methods used in
connection with the programme of extermination. A secret
report dated 18th June, 1943, addressed to defendant
Rosenberg, complained that 5,000 Jews killed by the police
and S.S. might have been used for forced labour, and chided
them for failing to bury the bodies of those liquidated. I
offer in evidence this file, Document R-135, Exhibit USA 289

                                                  [Page 412]

THE PRESIDENT: Is it in these volumes, Major Walsh?

MAJOR WALSH: I think, sir, that will be found in the
assembly of the document book in our case that has been
placed in front of R-124.

I quote from the letter referred to addressed to the Reich
Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, the first
paragraph of the translation.

   "The fact that Jews receive special treatment requires
   no further discussion. However, it appears hardly
   believable that this was done in the way described in
   the report of the General Commissioner of 1st June,
   1943. Imagine only that these occurrences might become
   known to the other side and be exploited by them. Most
   likely such propaganda would have no effect, only
   because people who hear and read about it simply would
   not be ready to believe it."

The last part of Paragraph 3 on this page reads:

   "To lock men, women and children into barns and to set
   fire to them does not appear to be a suitable method for
   combating bands, even if it is desired to exterminate
   the population. This method is not worthy of the German
   cause and hurts our reputation severely."


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