The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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A certain number of prisoners of war who had escaped
immediate annihilation were moved into special camps where
they were gradually killed off by hunger and by exhausting
labour. I will now read into the record the last paragraph
on Page 37 of the report of the Yugoslav Government, which
was previously mentioned by me and offered in evidence as
Exhibit USSR 36. It is on Page 340 of the document book.

     "One such camp was established in 1942 at Boten,
     near Rognan. Nearly 1,000 Yugoslav prisoners of
     war were brought into this camp and in the course
     of a few months all of them, to the last man, died
     of illness, hunger, physical torture, or execution
     by shooting. They were forced every day to do the
     very hardest work on a road and some dams. Their
     working hours lasted from dawn until 1800 hours,
     under the worst possible climatic conditions in
     this far northern part of Norway. During their
     work, the prisoners were beaten incessantly and in
     the camp itself, were exposed to terrible ill-
     Thus, for example, in August, 1942, the prisoners
     were ordered by the German staff of the camp to
     have all their hair removed from their armpits and
     around their genitals, as otherwise they would be
     shot. Not one prisoner received any razors from
     the Germans, though the Germans knew well that
     they had none. The prisoners spent the whole of
     the night plucking out their hair with their hands
     and assisting one another. However, in the morning
     the guards killed four prisoners and wounded three
     by rifle fire.
     On 26th November, 1943, German soldiers, in the
     middle of the night, broke into the hospital and
     dragged out into the courtyard eighty sick
     prisoners; after they had been forced to strip in
     the bitter cold, they were all shot. On 26th
     January, 1943, fifty more prisoners died in
     torment from the beatings received. Throughout the
     winter many prisoners were killed in the following
     manner: they would be buried up to their waist in
     the snow, and water poured over them, so that they
     formed statues of ice. It was established that 880
     Yugoslav prisoners of war were killed in the above-
     mentioned camp in various ways."
Further, on Page 38, Exhibit USSR 36, information is
contained of the shooting of Yugoslav prisoners of war in
the camp at Bajsfjord (Norway). After 10th July,

                                                   [Page 22]
1942, when an epidemic of typhus (spotted fever) broke out
in the camp and spread to six other camps, the Germans found
no other way of fighting this epidemic than by a wholesale
shooting of all the patients. This was done on 17th July,
1942. On the same page -- 38 -- there is a reference to a
Norwegian report of 22nd January, 1942, compiled on a basis
of statements made by Norwegian guards of this camp who had
fled. It is stated in this report that of 900 Yugoslav
prisoners of war, 320 were shot, while the remainder, with a
view to isolating them, were transferred to another camp,
Bjerfjel. I will read into the record Page 38 of Exhibit
USSR 36, beginning with the fifth paragraph from the bottom,
Page 341 of your document book.

     "When an epidemic of typhus broke out in the new
     camp, an average of 12 men a day were shot in the
     course of the following five to six weeks. By the
     end of August, 1942, 350 only of these prisoners
     were returned to Bajsfjord, where German S.S.
     troops continued to exterminate them. In the end
     only 200 men remained alive and were transferred
     to camp Osen."
I will now omit two paragraphs and pass to the last
paragraph of the same report:--

     "On 22nd June, 1943, a transport containing 900
     Yugoslav prisoners arrived in Norway. Most of them
     were intellectuals, workers and peasants,
     prisoners from the ranks of the former Yugoslav
     Army or else captured Partisans or men seized as
     so-called 'politically suspicious elements.' Some
     of them -- about 400 -- were placed in the still
     unfinished camp at Korgen, while the other group
     of about 500 was sent ten to twenty kilometers
     further on to Osen. The commandant of both camps,
     from June, 1942, until the end of March, 1943, was
     the S.S. Sturmbannfuehrer Dolps....
     Men were constantly dying of hunger. Forty-five
     were placed in a hut which normally accommodated
     six men only.... There was no medicine.... They
     worked under most difficult conditions on road
     building, in the bitter cold, without clothing or
     caps, in the wind and rain, twelve hours a day.
     The prisoners in the camp at Osen used to sleep in
     their shirts without any underpants, without any
     cover whatsoever, on the bare boards. Dolps
     personally visited the huts and carried out
     inspections. The prisoners who were caught
     sleeping in their underpants were killed on the
     spot by Dolps with his submachine gun. In the same
     manner he killed all those who appeared on parade,
     which he reviewed personally, in soiled
     underwear.... By the end of 1942, only ninety
     still remained alive of the first group of 400 in
     Korgen. Out of about 500 prisoners who were taken
     to the camp of Osen by the end of June, 1942 there
     were, in March, 1943, only thirty men left alive."
I will read into the record an excerpt from Page 39, Exhibit
USSR 36, beginning with the third paragraph from the bottom,
Page 342 of your document book:--

     "Besides this terrible treatment of the captured
     soldiers of the Yugoslav National Army of
     Liberation and the Partisan Detachments, the
     Germans also treated prisoners of war from the
     ranks of the old Yugoslav Army in complete
     contravention of International Law and contrary to
     the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of
     Prisoners of War, of 1929. In April 1941,
     immediately after the occupation of the Yugoslav
     territory, the Germans drove into captivity in
     Germany about 300,000 noncommissioned officers and
     men. The Yugoslav State Commission has at its
     disposal much evidence of the unlawful ill-
     treatment of these prisoners. We will give here a
     few examples only.
     On 14th July, 1943, in the officers' S.S. camp at
     Osnabrueck, 740 captured Yugoslav officers were
     separated from the remainder and placed in a
                                              [Page 23]
     penitentiary camp called camp D. Here they were
     all crowded together in four huts; all contact
     with the rest of the camp was prohibited. The
     treatment of these officers directly contravened
     the provisions of the Geneva Convention, even more
     so than the treatment of the other prisoners. In
     this penitentiary camp were placed all those whom
     the Germans considered as supporters of the
     National Liberation Movement and against whom they
     very frequently applied measures of mass

     The Germans gambled with the lives of the
     prisoners and frequently shot them from sheer
     caprice. Thus, for instance, at the aforesaid camp
     at Osnabrueck, on 11th January, 1942, a German
     guard fired at a group of prisoners, severely
     wounding Captain Peter Nozinic. On 22nd July,
     1942, a guard fired on a group of officers. On 2nd
     September, 1942, a guard fired on the Yugoslav
     Lieutenant, Vladislav Vajs, who was incapacitated
     by the wound he received for a very long time. On
     22nd September, 1942, a guard from the prison
     tower again fired on a group of officers. On 18th
     December, 1942, the guard fired on a group of
     officers because, from their huts, they were
     watching some English prisoners passing by. On
     20th February, 1943, a guard fired on an officer
     merely because this officer was smoking. On 11th
     March, 1943, a guard opened fire on the doors of a
     hut and killed General Dimitri Pavlovic. On 21st
     June, 1943, a guard fired at the Yugoslav
     Lieutenant-Colonel, Branko Popandic. On 26th
     April, 1944, a German non-commissioned officer,
     Richards, fired on Lieutenant Vladislav Gaider,
     who subsequently died of his wounds. On 26th June,
     1944, the German captain, Kunze, fired on two
     Yugoslav officers, severely wounding Lieutenant
     Djorjevic. All these shootings were carried out
     without any serious reason or pretext, and only as
     a result of brutal orders issued by the German
     camp commandants, who threatened that firearms
     would be used even in the case of the most
     insignificant offenses. All these incidents
     occurred in one single camp. But this was the
     treatment applied in all the remaining camps for
     Yugoslav officers and soldiers -- captives in the
     hands of the Germans."

A certain incident is described in the Czechoslovak
Government report which I should like to mention here. Its
importance lies not in the fact that it throws a new light
on the methods employed in fascist crimes, but that it took
place at the time when the Hitlerites clearly realised that
their days were numbered. This incident is described in
Appendix 4 to the Czechoslovak Government's report, and I
will describe it briefly and in my own words.

There was an airfield at Gavlichkov Brod at which various
military installations were located, while the former
lunatic asylum was used as an S.S. hospital. When the
question arose regarding the formalities for the surrender
of the German military units at the airfield (in 1945),
Staff Captain Sula with one of his fellow officers of the
Czechoslovak Army betook himself to the airfield. Neither of
them ever came back. Later the airfield and the hospital
were occupied by the Czech National Units and an
investigation was carried out. It showed that the
negotiators, together with six other persons who had
previously disappeared at Gavlichkov Brod, were taken by the
Germans to the S.S. hospital where they were subjected to
cruel tortures. In the case of Captain Sula the Germans cut
out his tongue, gouged out his eyes and cut his chest open.
The others suffered similar treatment. Most of them had been

I am in possession of photographic evidence in support of
this fact which I am submitting to the Tribunal. My
presentation has lasted several hours. But surely, neither
time nor any word of living human speech will ever suffice
to describe even a thousandth part of the sufferings borne
by the soldiers of my Motherland and of the other democratic
countries who had the misfortune of falling into the hands
of the fascist executioners.

                                                   [Page 24]
I have only been able to show the Tribunal, in a very
condensed form, the manner in which the monstrous fascist
directives regarding the ill-treatment of prisoners of war
and their mass extermination were carried out, an ill-
treatment before which the horrors of the Middle Ages pale.

We will here attempt, if only quite briefly, to fill in the
gaps. In tens of thousands the witnesses will pass before
your eyes. They have been called before the Tribunal to
testify in this case. I cannot summon them by name, no oath
will you ever administer to them and yet their evidence will
never be denied -- for the dead do not lie. Most of the
films pertaining to German atrocities, which will be
presented by the Soviet prosecution, pertain to crimes
against prisoners of war. The silent testimony of the
helpless prisoners burned alive in hospitals, of prisoners
mutilated beyond all recognition, of prisoners tortured and
starved to death will, I am certain, be far more eloquent
than any word of mine.

Blood drips from the hands of the accused -- the blood of
the victims of Rostov and Kharkov, the martyrs of Auschwitz
and all the extermination camps created by the Hitlerites.

Treacherously the enemy attacked our country. The people
rose in arms to defend their Motherland, her freedom and her
independence, the honour and lives of their families. They
joined the ranks of the fighting men. They fell into the
hands of the enemy. Now see how the enemy dishonoured them
when they stood helpless and unarmed.

So may these major criminals -- who bear the main
responsibility for the evil deeds of the fascists -- be
forced to answer to the martyrs to the full extent of the
law of international justice for the indescribable
atrocities which you will see with your own eyes, and for
the many other crimes which will forever remain unknown.

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