The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I read into the record Exhibit USSR 49, which includes a
statement of the Extraordinary State Commission dated 3
September, 1944. The excerpts, which I will quote, your
Honours, are on Pages 330-332 of the document book.

I omit the end of Page 43 and the whole of Page 44 of this
statement, and begin my quotation in the middle of Page 45.

  "At the time the German invaders broke into Petrodvoretz
  (in Peterhof) there still remained, after the evacuation,
  34,214 museum exhibits (pictures, works of art and
  sculptures), as well as 11,700 extremely valuable books
  from the palace libraries. The ground floor rooms of the
  Ekaterinsky and Alexandrovsky palaces in the town of
  Pushkin (Tzarskoe-Selo), contained various suites of
  furniture, of Russian and French workmanship, of the
  middle of the eighteenth century, 600 pieces of porcelain
  of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well
  as a large number of marble busts, small sculptures and
  about 35,000 volumes from the palace libraries.
                                                  [Page 191]
  On the basis of documentary material, the statements and
  testimony of eye witnesses, the evidence of German
  prisoners of war, and as a result of careful
  investigation, it has been established that: Breaking
  into Petrodvoretz on 23rd September, 1941, the German
  invaders immediately proceeded to loot the treasures of
  the palace-museums and in the course of several months
  removed the contents of these palaces.
  From the Big, Marly, Monplaisir and Cottage Palaces, they
  looted and removed to Germany some 34,000 museum
  exhibits, among them 4,950 unique pieces of furniture of
  Italian, English, French and Russian workmanship from the
  periods of Catherine the Great, Alexander I and Nicholas
  I, as well as many rare sets of porcelain, of foreign and
  Russian manufacture, of the eighteenth and nineteenth
  centuries. The German barbarians stripped the walls of
  the palace rooms of the silks, Gobelin tapestries and
  other decorative materials which adorned them.
  In November, 1941, the Germans removed the bronze statue
  of Samson, the work of the sculptor Kozlovoky, and sent
  it to Germany. Having looted the museum treasures, the
  Hitlerites set fire to the Big Palace, created by the
  famous and gifted architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
  "Upon their withdrawal from Petrodvoretz," I have omitted
  a paragraph, the Germans wrecked the Marly Palace by
  delayed action mines. This palace contained very delicate
  carvings and stucco mouldings, The Germans wrecked the
  Monplaisir Palace of Peter the Great. They destroyed all
  the wooden parts of the pavilion and galleries, the
  interior decorations of the study, the bedroom and the
  Chinese room. During their occupation, they turned the
  central parts of the palace, i.e., the most valuable from
  the historical and artistic viewpoint, into bunkers. They
  turned the Western pavilion of the palace into a stable
  and a latrine. In the premises of the Assembly Building
  the Germans tore up the floor, sawed through the beams,
  destroyed the doors and window-frames and stripped the
  panelling off the ceiling."

I omit one paragraph and quote the last one on this page.

  "In the Northern part of the park, in the so-called
  Alexander Park, they blew up the villa of Nicholas II,
  completely destroyed the frame cottage which served as
  billets for officers, the Alexander gates, the pavilions
  of the Adam fountain, the pylons of the main gates of the
  Upper Park and the Rose pavilion."

I omit one paragraph on Page 47.

  "The Germans wrecked the fountain system of the
  Petrodvoretz Parks. They damaged the entire pipeline
  system for feeding the fountains, a system extending from
  the dam of the Rose pavilion to the Upper Park ....
  After the occupation of New Petrodvoretz, units of the
  291st German Infantry Division, using heavy artillery
  fire, completely destroyed the famous English Palace at
  Old Petrodvoretz, built on the orders of Catherine II by
  the architect Quarengi. The Germans fired 9,000 rounds of
  heavy artillery shells; together with the palace they
  destroyed the picturesque English park and all the park

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has appreciated the successful
efforts which the other members of the Soviet Delegation
have made to shorten their addresses, and they would be glad
if you could possibly summarise some of the details with
which you have to deal in the matter of destruction and
spoliation and perhaps omit some of the details.

That is all for this morning.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL RAGINSKY: The looting and destruction of
historical and artistic palaces in the town of Pushkino
(Tzarskoe-Selo) was carried out with malice aforethought by
order of the highest German authorities.

                                                  [Page 192]
I omit the end of Page 47 and the beginning of Page 48:-

  "A considerable part of the Ekaterinsky Palace was burnt
  down by the Germans. The famous Ceremonial Hall, 300
  metres long and designed by Rastrelli, perished in the
  flames. The famous antechambers decorated by Rastrelli
  were likewise ruined."

I omit one paragraph and continue:-

  "The Great Hall - outstanding creation of the genius of
  Rastrelli - presented a terrible spectacle. The unique
  ceilings, work of Torelli, Giordano, Brullov and other
  famous Italian and Russian masters, were destroyed."

I omit another paragraph.

  "Equally ruined and pillaged was the Palace Church, one
  of Rastrelli's masterpieces, famous for the exquisite
  workmanship of the interior decorations."

I omit one more paragraph.

  "In January, 1944, the retreating German invaders
  prepared the complete destruction of all that was left of
  the Catherine Palace and adjoining buildings. For this
  purpose, on the ground floor of the remaining part of the
  palace, as well as under the Cameron Gallery, eleven
  large delayed-action aerial bombs were laid, weighing
  from one to three tons.
  In Pushkino the Hitlerite bandits destroyed the famous
  Alexandrovsky Palace, constructed at the end of the
  eighteenth century by the famous architect Giacomo

I omit a paragraph:

  "All the museum furniture, stored in the basements of the
  Ekaterinsky and Alexandrovsky palaces, porcelain pieces
  and books from the palace libraries were sent to Germany.
  The famous painted ceiling 'Feast of the Gods on Olympus'
  in the main hall of the 'Hermitage' pavilion was, removed
  and shipped to Germany."

I omit two paragraphs.

  "Great destruction was caused by the Hitlerites in the
  magnificent Pushkino Parks, where thousands of age-old
  trees were cut down.
  Destruction of the Pavlovsky Palace in the town of
  Ribbentrop's 'Special Purposes Battalion' and the
  commandos of 'Staff Rosenberg' shipped to Germany from
  the Pavlovsky Palace extremely valuable palace furniture,
  designed by Veronikhin and by the greatest masters of the
  eighteenth century."

I omit the end of Page 49 and the beginning of Page 50 of
the report:-

  "During their retreat the fascist invaders set fire to
  the Pavlovsky Palace. The greater part of the palace
  building was entirely burned down."

I omit the next two paragraphs and quote the last paragraph
which concludes this document.

  "The Extraordinary State Commission established that the
  destruction of art monuments in Petrodvoretz, Pushkino
  and Pavlovsk was carried out by the officers and soldiers
  of the German Army on the direct instructions of the
  German Government and the Military High Command."

Destruction of Historical Monuments in the Ancient Russian

Many large towns were destroyed by the German fascist
invaders in the occupied USSR territories. But they
destroyed with particular ruthlessness the ancient Russian
cities containing monuments of ancient Russian art.

I quote as an example the destruction of the cities of
Novgorod, Pskov and Smolensk.

  "Novgorod and Pskov belong to those historical centres
  where the Russian people laid the foundation of their
  State; here, in the course of centuries flourished a
  highly developed and individual culture. It left a rich
  heritage which constitutes a valuable possession of our
  people. Thanks to the survival of numerous monuments of
  ecclesiastic and civil architecture, murals, paintings,
                                                  [Page 193]
  sculpture and handicraft, Novgorod and Pskov were rightly
  considered the seat of Russian history."
The Hitlerite barbarians destroyed, in Novgorod City, many
valuable monuments of Russian and foreign art of the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. They not only destroyed the
monuments but they reduced the entire city to a heap of

By way of proof, I shall read into the record some excerpts
from the document presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR
50. You will, your Honours, find these excerpts on Pages 333
and 334 of the document book. I read:-

  ". . . . The ancient Russian city of Novgorod was reduced
  to a heap of ruins by the German fascist invaders. They
  destroyed the historical monuments and dismantled some of
  them for use in the construction of defence
  fortifications ...
  The German- fascist vandals destroyed and obliterated, in
  Novgorod, the greatest monuments of ancient Russian art.
  They destroyed the vaults, walls and towers of the St.
  George Cathedral of the Yuryev Monastery. This cathedral
  was built in the early part of the twelfth century, and
  was decorated by twelfth century frescoes.
  The Cathedral of St. Sophia, built in the eleventh
  century, was one of the oldest monuments of Russian
  architecture and an outstanding monument of world art.
  The Germans destroyed the cathedral building. . . . They
  robbed it entirely of all its interior decorations; they
  carried off all the icons from the iconostasis and the
  ancient incense burners, including one which belonged to
  Boris Godunov. . . .
  The Church of the Annunciation on the Arkage, of twelfth
  century foundation, was converted by the Germans into a
  fortified position and barracks."

I omit one paragraph:-
  "The Church of the Assumption on Volotov Field, a
  monument of Novgorod architecture of the fourteenth to
  fifteenth centuries, was turned by the Germans into a
  heap of stones and bricks."

I omit one paragraph:-

  "The Church of the Transfiguration of our Lord, in the
  Ifyin Street, was destroyed. It was one of the finest
  specimens of Novgorod architecture of the fourteenth
  century, particularly famed for its frescoes, painted in
  the same period by the great Byzantine master, Theofan
  the Greek."

I omit the rest of this page and pass on to Page 54 of the

  "Over two years of Hitlerite misrule in Novgorod brought
  about the ruin of many other wonderful ancient Russian
  By order of the commanding general of the 18th German
  Army, Lieut.-General Lindemann, the German barbarians
  dismantled and prepared for removal to Germany the
  monument to 'Thousand years of Russia'. This monument was
  erected in the Kremlin Square in 1862 and represented, in
  artistic images, the main stages of the development of
  our native land up to the sixties of the nineteenth
  century. . . .
  The Nazi barbarians dismantled the monument and smashed
  the statuary. They did not, however, succeed in shipping
  it off and melting down the metal."

Citizen Dimitriev, Youri Nikolaevich, in his affidavit,
gives a very detailed account of the barbarous destruction
by the Germans of the monuments of ancient Russian art in
the cities of Novgorod and Pskov. Dimitriev, since 1937, was
the custodian of the Ancient-Russian Art section of the
Russian State Museum in Leningrad.

He began the study of the historical monuments of Novgorod
and Pskov in 1926. As a great expert in this particular
sphere of art, he was asked by the Extraordinary State
Commission to participate in the investigation of the crimes
of the German fascist invaders.

                                                  [Page 194]

I submit to the Tribunal the original of Dimitriev's
depositions, duly certified, in accordance with legal
procedure in the USSR, as Exhibit USSR 312. You will find
it, your Honours, on Pages 335 and 347 in your document

In submitting his affidavit, I will omit facts already known
to the Tribunal from the report of the Extraordinary State
Commission previously read into the record. I quote only a
few short excerpts which will be found on Pages 336 and 339.
Dimitriev stated as follows (I read):-

  "The greater part of Novgorod is razed to the ground;
  only a few districts were left in existence by the
  Germans, and even these were in ruins. Pskov was also
  left in ruins by the Germans; during their retreat they
  blew up the buildings and monuments. Of eighty-eight
  buildings of historical and artistic value in Novgorod,
  two buildings alone are merely slightly damaged. . . .
  Only a few isolated monuments in Pskov were left
  undamaged.  In Novgorod and Pskov the Germans
  deliberately destroyed monuments of historical and
  artistic value."

And further:-

  "The German Army, while destroying and damaging monuments
  of historical and artistic value, plundered and carried
  off many works of art and valuable objects which formed
  part of, or were contained in, these monuments.
  At the same time the German troops profaned and
  desecrated many ecclesiastical monuments of historic and
  artistic value in Novgorod and Pskov."

Day by day, for twenty-six months, the Hitlerites
systematically destroyed one of the most ancient Russian

The Soviet prosecution has presented to the Tribunal a
document as Exhibit USSR 56, containing the Report of the
Extraordinary State Commission.

I shall not quote this document, but shall only refer to it
and endeavour, in my own words, to emphasise the fundamental
points of this document, dealing with the related theme now.

In Smolensk, the German fascist invaders plundered and
destroyed the most valuable collections in the museums They
desecrated and burned down ancient monuments. They destroyed
schools and institutes, libraries, and sanatoriums. The
report also mentions the fact that in April, 1943, the
Germans needed gravel and bricks to pave the roads. For this
purpose, they blew up the building of one of the high

The Germans burned down all the libraries of the city and
twenty-two schools. 646,000 volumes perished in the library

I now pass on to Page 57 of the report.

  "Prior to the German occupation, Smolensk contained four
  museums with extremely valuable collections.
  The museum of Art, built up since 1898, possessed one of
  the most extensive collections, primarily of Russian
  historo -artistic, historo -sociological, ethnographic
  and other valuables: paintings, icons, bronzes,
  porcelains, metal castings and textiles. These
  collections were of international value and had been
  exhibited in France. The invaders destroyed the museums
  and took the most valuable exhibits to Germany."

I shall quote only one last paragraph on page 57.

  "General Staff Rosenberg" for the confiscation and export
  of valuables from the occupied regions of the East, had a
  special branch in Smolensk, headed by Dr. Norling, the
  organiser for the plunder of museums and historical

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