The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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What occurred in the torture chambers of Stavropol was no
exception at all. The same misdeeds were perpetrated
everywhere. In confirmation I will refer to the report of
the Extraordinary State Commission regarding the
"Depredations and Atrocities committed by the German Fascist
Aggressors in the City of Kiev". The Tribunal will find this
document on Page 238 of the document book, paragraph 2:-

   "Murders were often preceded by sadistic torture. The
   Archimandrite Valerian testified that the Fascists beat
   sick and feeble people till they were half dead, poured
   water over them when the temperature was below zero and
   finally shot them in the torture chamber of the German
   Police, established in the Kievo-Petchersk Abbey."

I invite the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that the
Kievo-Petchersk Abbey is one of the most ancient
architectural monuments in the Soviet Union it is a
specially cherished cultural treasure, very dear to the
heart of the Soviet citizens as a tangible memory of the far
distant past. The torture chamber of the police had been
purposely established in the Abbey. The Tribunal will learn
of its eventual fate from the subsequent reports of my

When the city of Odessa was under the rule of the fascist
invaders, interrogations were accompanied by tortures of an
exceptionally cruel nature.

I refer to one testimony contained in the Report of the
Extraordinary State Commission, entitled "On the Atrocities
committed by the German and

                                                   [Page 73]

Roumanian Invaders in the City of Odessa and on the
Territory of the Odessa Regions".

I submit this document to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 47and
request it be accepted as irrefutable evidence in accordance
with Article 21 of the Charter. I shall quote this document,
which is on Page 282 of your document book, paragraph 4,
line 10. It contains the testimony of Paul Krapyvny,
producer of News Reels. I quote this passage from the Report
of the Extraordinary State Commission, Page 282:-

   "The interrogator had a voltage control switch on the
   table and whenever the person interrogated did not
   answer the question as the examiner wished, the dial of
   the voltage control would be mercilessly turned to
   increase the voltage; the body of the person
   interrogated would begin to tremble and his eyes to
   protrude from their sockets."

Or else:

   "The person interrogated, with his hands tied behind his
   back, would be hoisted up to the ceiling ... where he
   would be spun round and round. After having been rotated
   200 times in one direction, the victim, still suspended
   on the cord, would begin to turn, at a mad speed in the
   opposite direction. At that particular moment the
   executioners would beat him on both sides with rubber
   truncheons. The man became unconscious both from the mad
   speed of the rotation and from the beating."

I refer to the document already presented by my colleague,
Colonel Pokrovsky, Exhibit USSR V, which is a report of the
Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes committed by
the German fascist invaders on the Territory of the Latvian
S.S.R. I shall quote from this document, beginning on Page
286 on the reverse side of the document book, paragraph 2:

   "In the camps and prisons, the German executioners
   subjected prisoners to ill-treatment, torture and
   shooting. In the central prison the internees were
   beaten and tortured. Day and night, shrieks and groans
   were heard in the torture chambers. Every day, from 30
   to 35 people died as a result of the tortures. Whoever
   survived the ill-treatment and torture would return to
   his cell absolutely unrecognisable: burned to the bone,
   with parts of his body torn to pieces. No medical aid
   was given to the tortured."

The Hitlerites subjected Soviet citizens to ill-treatment
and torture in every town of the Latvian S.S.R.

Your Honours will find analogous statements in the text of
every report of the Extraordinary State Commission. I shall
not delay the proceedings by quoting any further excerpts, I
consider the evidence already presented as sufficient.

I shall now proceed to the next section of my report.

Murder of Hostages.

I shall make a few introductory remarks.

One of the most shameful crimes perpetrated by the
Hitlerites in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia was the
use everywhere by the German fascists of the bestial system
of taking hostages.

This system was introduced by the Hitlerites into all the
countries that fell victim to their aggression.

The German criminals resorted to particularly ruthless
methods when murdering hostages in Eastern Europe, and
violated every law and custom of warfare.

However, it is difficult to speak of the murder of hostages
where the Soviet Union is concerned since the crimes
committed by the Hitlerites everywhere in the temporarily
occupied territories of the USSR go even further. The same
remarks, to a great extent, apply to Poland and particularly
to Yugoslavia.

                                                   [Page 74]

Here the Hitlerites, under the pretext of seizing hostages,
were really perpetrating immeasurably greater war crimes,
whose ultimate aim was the extermination of entire nations.

I shall now present some brief data from documents
concerning the different countries of Eastern Europe.

I submit an extract from the report of the government of the
Polish Republic The Tribunal will find the passage quoted on
Page 128 of the document book, paragraph 6.

   "(a) One of the most disgraceful features of the
   Hitlerite occupation of  Poland was the introduction of
   the taking of hostages. Collective responsibility,
   payment of collective fines, and the bartering of human
   life were considered to be the best methods for
   enslaving the Polish people.
   (b) Here are some typical cases of mass reprisals, they
   illustrate the methods employed by the German occupants.
   (c) In November, 1939, an unknown person set fire to a
   barn filled with grain on the outskirts of Nove Miasto
   Lubavske. The barn was the property of a German. As a
   result of this action a certain S.S. Standartenfuehrer,
   Sperling, received an order from the higher authorities
   to resort to reprisals. A number of Poles from among the
   most prominent citizens were arrested. Out of those, 15
   were selected and publicly shot by S.S. soldiers. Among
   the victims were: the two brothers Jankovsky, one a
   lawyer, the other a priest, the tailor Malkovsky, the
   blacksmith Zemny, major of the army reserve Vona, the
   son of an inn keeper, the publisher of a newspaper, and
   a priest - Bronislav Dembenovsky,
   (d) In October, 1939, the German authorities captured a
   certain number of Poles in the city of Inovrozlav, and
   imprisoned them as hostages. Then they were brought to
   the prison courtyard where they were unmercifully
   flogged and shot, one by one, Altogether, 70 men were
   killed, including the city mayor and his deputy. Among
   the victims were the most prominent citizens of
   the town."

I omit the next sentence. I quote further:

   "(e) On 7 March, 1941, the film star, Igo-Sym, who
   considered himself as being of German nationality
   (Volksdeutscher), and who was in charge of the German
   theatres in Warsaw, was murdered in his own apartment.
   Although the murderers were never found, the Governor of
   Warsaw, Fischer, said that Sym was murdered by the
   Poles, and ordered the arrest of a large number of
   hostages. He also closed the theatres, and imposed a
   curfew on the Polish population. About 200 people were
   arrested, including teachers, priests, physicians,
   lawyers and actors. The population of Warsaw was given
   three days to find Sym's murderers. After the expiration
   of the three days, these still remaining unknown, 17
   hostages were executed, among them Professor Kopetz, his
   son, and Professor Zakrzhevsky."

I conclude this quotation from the report of the Polish
Government and ask the Tribunal's permission to refer to a
short excerpt from the report of the Czechoslovakian
Government. There is one part I would like to read into the
record. Your Honours will find it on Page 141 of the
document book.

   "Even before the beginning of the war, thousands of
   Czech patriots and especially Catholic and Protestant
   clergymen, lawyers, doctors, teachers and others, were
   arrested. Furthermore, in every district lists of
   persons were drawn up who were subject to arrest as
   hostages at the first sign of any breach of 'public
   order and security'. At first these were only threats.
   In 1940, Karl Frank announced, in a speech to the
   leaders of the movement of National Unity, that 2,000
   Czech hostages, interned in concentration camps, would
   be shot if prominent Czech statesmen refused to sign the
   declaration of loyalty. Some time after the attempt on
   Heydrich's life, many of these hostages were executed.
                                                   [Page 75]
   Threats of reprisals against directors of factories in
   case of some hitch in the work at the factory were a
   typical method of Nazi terrorism. Thus, in 1939, the
   Gestapo summoned all the directors, as well as the
   managers of warehouses belonging to various industrial
   firms and informed them that they would be shot if there
   were a strike. On leaving they had to sign the following
   declaration: 'I am aware of the fact that I would be
   shot immediately should my factory cease working without
   a justifiable reason.'
   In the same way school teachers were held responsible
   for the loyal behaviour of their pupils. Many teachers
   were arrested only because the pupils in their schools
   were caught writing anti-German slogans or reading
   forbidden books."

I now interrupt the quotation from the report of the
Government of the Czechoslovak Republic and I begin to read
the section recording the killings of hostages in

I shall just say a few words by way of introduction. These
criminal murders of the peaceful population developed their
own particular lines in Yugoslavia. As a matter of fact, it
is impossible at this point to speak of the execution of
hostages, although the Hitlerites constantly make use of
this term in their official documents, which will be
presented to the Tribunal at a later date.

Truth to tell, under the alleged killing of hostages, the
Hitlerite criminals were carrying out, on an enormous scale,
the regime of terroristic extermination of the peaceful
citizens, not only for crimes which somebody or other had
committed, but also for crimes which, to Hitler's way of
thinking, might be committed.

I submit the document that confirms this fact. It contains
excerpts from the report of the Yugoslav Government which
your Honours will find on Page 259 in the document book
(paragraph 1):

   "The murder of hostages.
   The murder of hostages was one of those methods which
   were used by military authorities and the Reich
   Government, on an incredible scale, for the mass
   extermination of the Yugoslav population.
   The Yugoslav State Commission for the Investigation of
   War Crimes has at its disposal an innumerable quantity
   of concrete details and original evidence taken from the
   German archives. We submit only a very limited number of
   such details and evidence, which are, however,
   sufficient proof that the killing of hostages was merely
   one item in the common plan and in the systematic method
   of the Nazi crimes."

Further the report of the Yugoslav Government quotes an
order of the Commander of the so-called "Group West,"
General Brauner. I quote the following excerpt:

   "In regions captured by partisans, the seizure of
   hostages from all classes of the population remains in
   force as the only really successful means of

To confirm the vast scale of the crimes of the Hitlerites in
connection with the murder of hostages, the Yugoslav
Government presents to the Tribunal six documents which I
now submit to your Honours and I ask for them to be
incorporated into the record as evidence. I submit the
documents to the Tribunal:

Firstly, as Exhibit USSR 261, a certified photostat of a
poster of the Commanding General and the Commander-in-Chief
of Serbia, dated 25 December, 1942, in which he announces
the shooting of fifty hostages;

Secondly, as Exhibit USSR 319, a certified photostat of a
poster of the same Commanding General, dated 19 February,
1943, in which he announces the shooting of 400 hostages
which was carried out in Belgrade on the same day;

Thirdly, as Exhibit USSR 320, a certified photostat of a
poster of the Regional Commandantur in Pozarevatz, dated 3
April, 1943, announcing the shooting of 75 hostages
                                                   [Page 76]

Fourthly, as Exhibit USSR 321, a certified photostat of a
poster of the same Regional Commandantur of Pozarevatz,
dated 16 April, 1943, announcing the shooting of 30

Fifthly, a certified copy of a poster of the Military
Commandant of Belgrade, dated 14 October, 1943, in which he
announces the shooting of 100 hostages.

I submit this document as Exhibit USSR 322.

I continue my quotation from the report of the Yugoslav

   "Planned and systematic murder of hostages is revealed
   by the following testimonies, collected by the Yugoslav
   State Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes on
   the basis of confiscated German archives and data found
   in the archives. The testimonies refer to Serbia only.
   450 hostages were shot on 3 October, 1941, in Belgrade.
   200 hostages were shot on 17 October, 1941, in Belgrade.
   50 hostages were shot on 27 October, 1941, in Belgrade.
   100 hostages were shot on 3 November, 1941, in Belgrade.
   10 hostages shot on 12 December, 1942, in Kraguevatz.
   10 hostages shot on 12 December, 1942, in Krusevatz.
   30 hostages shot on 15 December, 1942, in Brush.
   50 hostages shot on 17 December, 1942, in Petrovatz.
   10 hostages shot on 20 December, 1942, in Brush.
   50 hostages shot on 25 December, 1942, in Petrovatz.
   10 hostages shot on 26 December, 1942, in Brush.
   250 hostages shot on 26 December, 1942, in Petrovatz.
   25 hostages shot on 27 December, 194z, in Krusevatz."

According to the statement of the Yugoslav Government such
figures could be cited ad infinitum. I continue my

   "The shooting of hostages was, as a rule, conducted in a
   most barbaric fashion. The victims were mostly forced to
   stand one behind the other in batches, waiting their
   turn and witnessing the execution of the preceding
   batch. In this manner the batches were one after another

I shall submit further to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 205,
the report of the Police Administration of the Quisling
Administration of Milan Nedich. It mentions the shooting, on
11 December, 1941, in Leskovatz, of 310 hostages, of whom
293 were gypsies.

I continue to quote the report of the Yugoslav Government:

   "By an examination of the site and an interrogation of
   the gypsies by the Regional Administration for the
   Investigation of War Crimes in Leskovatz, the methods
   were established by which this shooting was carried

Before reading the excerpt, I submit to the Tribunal the
document which was referred to by the Government of the
Yugoslav Republic, as Exhibit USSR 226 and request it be
incorporated as evidence. In the report of the Yugoslav
Government, the following lines of this document are quoted:-

   "On 11 December, 1941, from 0600 hours to 1600 hours the
   Germans transported the arrested hostages in their
   trucks in batches of about 20 persons each. All of them
   had their hands bound. They were taken to the foot of
   Hisar Mountain. From there they were driven on foot
   across the mountain and then made to stand in ranks near
   recently dug graves, were shot and then thrown into the

THE PRESIDENT: I think this will be a good time to break

Colonel Smirnov, the Tribunal appreciates the efforts that
you have made to leave out unnecessary detail and to cut
down the length of your address and it hopes that during the
adjournment you will continue your efforts in that

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Certainly, Mr. President.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 18th February, 1946, at 1000

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