The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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We shall submit now Documents 563-F and 564-F as Exhibit RF
308. It is a report concerning the atrocities committed by
the Gestapo in Bourges. We shall read from a part of this
report, Page 6 of the French text, Page 5 of the German

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, how do you establish what this
document is? It appears to be the report of M. Marc

M. DUBOST: That is correct, Mr. President. This report was
incorporated with the rest of the documents in the same
bundle, into the document presented by the French Commission
for the Investigation of War Crimes, as is evident from the
official signature of M. Zambeaux on the original, which is
in the hands of the Secretary of the Court. I shall read
from it, Page 5. This is the first page of the original:

   "I, the undersigned, Madame Bondeux, supervisor of the
   Prison in Bourges, certify that nine men, mostly youths,
   were subjected to heinous treatment. With their hands
   bound behind their backs and chains on their feet for 15-
   20 days, it was absolutely impossible for them to carry
   on the normal functions of life. They screamed with
   hunger. In the face of this situation several ordinary
   criminal prisoners showed their willingness to help
   these martyrs by making small packets from their own
   provisions, which I passed to them in the evening. A
   certain German supervisor, whom I knew under the first
   name of Michel, threw their bread in a corner of the
   cell and at night came to beat them. All these young men
   were shot on 20 November 1943.
   Moreover, a woman named Hartwig of Chavannes, I believe
   - told me that she had remained for four days bound to a
   chair. At all events, I can testify that her body was
   completely bruised."

On Page 6, Page 5 of the German text, we shall read the
statement of M. Labussiere, who is a captain on the reserve
and teacher at Marseille-les-Aubigny. Eighth line from the
bottom of the page:

   "On the 11th I was twice beaten with an oxhide whip,
   being forced to bend over a bench. The muscles of my
   thighs and my calves were stretched out. At first I
   received some 30 blows from a heavy whip, then the
   session was continued with another instrument which had
   a buckle at the end, I then was struck on the anus, on
   the thighs, and on the calves. To do this my torturer
   got up on a bench and made me spread my legs. Then with
   a very thin oxhide thong he finished by giving me some
   20 more biting lashes. When I picked myself up I was
   dizzy and I fell to the ground. I was always kicked up
   again. Needless to say, the handcuffs were never taken
   off my wrists."

I recoil from reading the remainder of this testimony. I
pass on to the bottom of Page 7, third line from the end.
The details which preceded are horrifying.

                                                  [Page 161]

   "At ten o'clock, on the 12th, after having beaten a
   woman, Paoli came to find me and said: 'Dog, you have no
   heart. It was your wife I have just beaten. I'll do it
   as long as you won't talk.' He wanted me to disclose the
   place of our hide-out and the names of my comrades.
   From 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock I was again, in the torture
   chamber. I could hardly crawl. Before he let me come in
   Paoli said 'I give you five minutes to tell me all that
   you know. If after these five minutes you've said
   nothing you'll be shot at 3 o'clock. Your wife will be
   shot at six, and your boy will be sent to Germany.'"

Page 9:

   "After signing the record of my interrogation the German
   said to me: 'Look at your face. See what we can make of
   a man in five days. You haven't seen the finish yet!'
   And he added: 'Now get out of here. You make me sick!'"
   And the witness concluded with: "I was, in fact, covered
   with ordure from head to foot. They put me in a cart and
   took me back to my cell. During these five days I
   certainly had received more than 700 blows with an
   oxhide whip."

A large hematosis (blood clot) appeared on both his
buttocks. A doctor had to operate. His comrades in custody
would not go near him because of the foul odour from the
abscesses covering his body as a result of the ill-
treatment. On 20 November, the date on which he was
interrogated, he had not yet recovered from his wounds.

Page 10. His testimony concludes with a general statement of
the methods of punishment:

   "(1) An oxhide thong
   (2) The bath: The victim was plunged headfirst into a
   tub of cold water until he was asphyxiated. Then they
   gave him artificial respiration. If he did not talk,
   they repeated the process several times. With soaking
   clothes he spent the night in a cold cell.
   (3) Electric current: The terminals were placed on the
   hands, then on the feet, and in the ears, then one in
   the anus and another on the end of the penis.
   (4) The crushing of the testicles in a press specially
   prepared for the purpose:
   Twisting of the testicles was frequent.
   (5) Hanging: The victim's hands were handcuffed together
   behind his back. A hook was slipped through his
   handcuffs, and the victim was lifted by a pulley. At
   first they jerked him up and down. Later, they left him
   suspended for varying, fairly long, periods. Often, arms
   were dislocated. I saw in the camp Lt. Lefevre, who,
   having remained suspended for more than four hours, had
   lost the use of both arms.
   (6) Burning with a soldering lamp or with matches.
   On 2 July my comrade Laloue, a teacher from Cher, who
   had been subjected to most of these tortures at Bourges
   came to the camp. One arm had been put out of joint and
   he was unable to move the fingers of his right hand as a
   result of the hanging. He had been subjected to whipping
   and electricity. He had been burned by sharp-pointed
   matches which had been driven under all the nails of his
   hands and feet. His wrists and ankles had been wrapped
   with rolls of wadding, and this had been set on fire.
   While it was burning, a German plunged a pointed knife
   into the soles of his feet several times and another
   lashed him with an oxhide whip. The phosphorus burns had
   eaten away several fingers as far as the second joint.
   Abscesses which had developed had burst, and this saved
   him from blood poisoning."

Page 13 of the same document, Page 14 in the German text; we
read, under

                                                  [Page 162]

the signature of one of the Chiefs of the General Staff of
the French Forces of the Interior who freed the Department
of Cher, M. Magnon - signature authenticated by the French
official authorities whom you know - the following:

   "Since the liberation of Bourges, 6 September, 1944, an
   inspection of the Gestapo cellars disclosed an
   instrument of torture, a ring composed of several balls
   of hardwood with steel spikes. There was a device for
   tightening the bracelet round the victim's wrist. This
   bracelet was seen by numerous soldiers and leaders of
   the Maquis of Menetou-Salon.
   It was in the hands of Adjutant Neuilly, now in the
   first battalion of the 34th Brigade.

A drawing is attached to this declaration.

   Commander Magnon, the undersigned, certifies having seen
   the instrument described above."

We now submit Document 565-F, from the Military Security
Service of the Department of Vaucluse, which becomes Exhibit
RF 309. It is a repetition of the same methods. We do not
consider it necessary to dwell upon them.

We will now turn to Document 567-F, which we submit as
Exhibit RF 310. It refers to the tortures practised by the
German police in Besancon. Page 1 of our French text and of
the German text is a deposition of M. Dommergues, Professor
at Besancon. This deposition was collected by the American
War Crimes Commission - under Captain Miller. We shall read
from the statement of M. Dommergues, Professor at Besancon:

   "Arrested on 11 February 1944. Violently struck with an
   oxhide thong during the interrogation. While a woman who
   was being tortured cried out, they made him believe that
   it was his own wife. He saw a comrade hung with a weight
   of 50 kilograms on each foot. Another had his eyes
   pierced with pins. A child lost its voice completely."

This is from the American War Crimes. Commission, summing up
M. Dommergues' deposition. This document includes a second
part, 567 F (b). We shall read some excerpts from Pages 3,
4, 5, 6 and 7of this document, Page 9 of the German text.

THE PRESIDENT: Whose statement is it?

M. DUBOST: Page 3, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but you see, one of the members has not
got his document marked, and I want to know whose statement
it is you are referring to Is it Dr. Gomet?

M. DUBOST: It is not a deposition, it is a letter sent by
Dr. Gomet, Secretary of the Council of the Departmental
College of Doubs and of the National Association of
Physicians. This letter is addressed by him to the Chief
Medical Officer of the Feldkommandantur in Besancon on 11
September, 1943. Here is it's text:

   "Doctor-in-Chief and Honourable Colleague:
   I have the honour to deliver to you the note which I
   have drafted at your request and addressed to our
   colleagues of the Department in our memorandum of 1
   In addition, my conscience compels me to take up another
   subject with you.
   Quite recently I had to treat a Frenchman who had wounds
   and widespread ecchymosis on his face and body, as a
   result of the torture apparatus employed by the German
   security service. He is a man of good standing, holding
   an important appointment under the French Government,
   and he was arrested because they thought he could
   furnish certain information. They could make no
   accusation against him, as is proved by the fact that he
   was released in a few days, when the interrogation to
   which they wanted to subject him was finished.

                                                  [Page 163]

   He was subjected to torture, not as a penalty or as the
   result of a trial, but for the sole purpose of forcing
   him to speak under stress of violence and pain.
   As for myself, as representative here of French Medical
   Corps, my conscience and a strict conception of my duty
   force me to inform you of what I have just observed in
   the exercise of my profession. I appeal to your
   conscience as a doctor, and, as we have accepted the
   task of protecting the physical health of our fellow
   human beings, which is the duty of every doctor, ask you
   if we should not intervene here."

Returning to Page 4. He must have had a reply from the
German doctor, for Dr. Gomet writes him a second letter, and
here is the text:

   "Doctor-in-Chief and Honourable Colleague:
   You were good enough to note the facts which I put
   before you in my letter of 11 September, 1943, regarding
   the torture apparatus used by the German Security
   Service during the interrogation of a French official
   for whom I had subsequently to prescribe treatment. You
   asked me, as was quite natural, if you could visit the
   person in question yourself. I replied, at our recent
   meeting, that the person concerned did not know of the
   step which I had taken ; and I did not know whether he
   would authorise me to give his name. I wish to
   emphasise, in fact, that I myself am solely responsible
   for this step. The person through whom I learned, by
   virtue of my profession, the facts which I have just
   related to you, had nothing to do with this report. The
   question is strictly professional. My conscience as a
   doctor has forced me to bring this matter to your
   attention. I reported only what I knew from absolutely
   reliable observation, and I guarantee the truth of my
   statement on my honour as a man, as a physician, and a
   My patient was interrogated twice by the German Security
   Service about the end of August, 1943. I had to examine
   him on 8 September 1943, that is to say, about ten days
   after he left prison, where he had in vain asked for
   medical attention, He had a palpebral ecchymosis on the
   left side and abrasions in the region of his right
   temple, which he said were made with a sort of disc
   which they had placed upon his head and which they
   struck with small clubs. He had ecchymosis on the backs
   of his hands, these having been placed, according to
   what he told me, in a squeezing apparatus. On the front
   of his legs there were still scars with scabs and small
   surface wounds - the result, he told me, of blows
   administered with flexible rods studded with short
   Obviously, I cannot swear to the means by which the
   ecchymosis and wounds were produced, but I note that
   their appearance is in complete agreement with the
   explanations given me.
   It will be easy for you, Sir, to learn if an apparatus
   of the kind to which I allude is really being used by
   the German Security Service."

I pass over the rest.

THE PRESIDENT: It may be convenient for counsel and others
to know that the Tribunal will not sit in open session
tomorrow, as it has many administrative matters to consider.
We will adjourn now until 2 o'clock.

(A recess was taken)

COURT CLERK (Captain Priceman): If your Honours please, the
defendants Kaltenbrunner and Streicher will continue to be
absent this afternoon.

M. DUBOST: We left off this morning at the enumeration of
the tortures that had been inflicted habitually by the
Gestapo in the various cities in France where inquiries had
been conducted, and I was proving to you by reading numerous
documents amongst them the last letter, that everywhere the

                                                  [Page 164]

accused, and frequently the witnesses themselves were
questioned with brutality and subjected to tortures that
were usually identical. This systematic repetition of the
same methods of torture leads us to believe that there was a
common plan, formulated by the heads of the police service
themselves and by the German government.

We still have a great many testimonies, all extracted from
the report of the American Services, which concern the
prison at Dreux, the prison at Morlaix, and the prison in
Metz. These testimonies are given in Documents 689-F, 690-F,
and 691-F, which we are now presenting to you as Exhibits RF
311, 312, and 313. With your permission, your Honour, I will
now abstain from further citing these documents. The same
acts were systematically repeated; this is also true of the
tortures inflicted in Metz, in Cahors, in Marseille and
Quimperle. The subject is dealt with in Documents 692, 693,
and 694-F, which we are presenting to you as Exhibits RF 314
and 315.

We now come to one of the most odious crimes committed by
the Gestapo, and it is not possible for us to keep silent
about it, in spite of our desire to shorten these
proceedings. This is the murder of a French officer by the
Gestapo at Clermont-Ferrand, in the Southern zone, and so in
a zone which was considered to be free according to the
terms of the Armistice - a murder which was committed under
extremely shameful conditions in contempt of all common
rights, since it was perpetrated in a region where,
according to the terms of the Armistice, the Gestapo had
nothing to do and had no right to be.

The name of this French officer was Major Henri Madeline.
His case is given in Document S-575, which we submit as
Exhibit RF 316. He was arrested on the 1st of October, 1943,
at Vichy. The interrogation began in January 1944, and he
was beaten in such a savage manner in the course of the
first interrogatory that when he was brought back to his
cell his hands were already slit. On 27 January he was
subjected to two other interrogations. You will find, sir,
this document in a bundle of papers contained in a pink file
in your document book, No. S-575.

On 27 January this officer was questioned again on two
occasions during which he was beaten so violently that when
he returned to his cell it was impossible to see the
manacles he had on, so swollen were his hands. The following
day German police came back and seized him in his cell,
where he had passed the whole night in agony. They took him
while he was still alive and threw him down on a road a
kilometre away from a small village in the Massif Central
Peringant-Les-Sarlieves, so that it should be thought that
he had been the victim of a road accident. His body was
found later, and a post mortem, showed that the throat was
completely crushed. He had multiple fractures of the ribs
and perforation of the lungs. There was also dislocation of
the spine, fracture of the lower jaw, and most of the
tissues of the head were loose.

We all know that a few French traitors did assist in the
arrests and in the misdeeds of the Gestapo in France under
the orders of German officers. One of these traitors, who
was arrested when our country was liberated, has described
the ill-treatment inflicted on Major Madeline. The name of
this traitor is Verniere, and we are going to read a passage
from his statement.

   "He was beaten with an oxhide whip and a bludgeon. He
   was beaten on his fingernails, and his fingers were
   crushed. He was obliged to walk barefooted on tacks. He
   was burned with cigarette ends. Finally, he was beaten
   unmercifully and taken back to his cell in a dying

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