The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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THE MARSHAL: May it please the Court the defendant Fritzsche will be absent
until further notice on account of illness.GENERAL M. Y.
RAGINSKY (Assistant Prosecutor for the USSR):

May it please your Honours.

May I begin the submission of evidence to prove the charge
that the defendants are guilty of the destruction of cities
and towns and the perpetration of other kinds of
destruction. This charge is laid down in Section G of Count
III of the Indictment.

We shall present evidence proving that the destruction of
cities and towns was brought about neither by the hazards of
war nor by military expediency.

We shall submit evidence that this deliberate destruction
was carried out in accordance with the thoroughly prepared
plans of the Hitlerite Government and orders of the German
Military Command; that the destruction of towns and cities,
of industry and means of transportation was an integral part
of the conspiracy which aimed at enslaving the peoples of
Europe and other countries, and to establish a world
hegemony of Hitlerite Germany.

Wherever the German fascist invaders appeared, they brought
death and destruction. In the flames of the fires were lost
the most valuable machines devised by the genius of mankind;
factories and dwellings giving work and shelter, to millions
were blown up.

People themselves perished, especially old men, women and
children, left without a roof over their heads or any means
of existence.

With particular ruthlessness the Hitlerites plundered and
destroyed the towns and cities in the territories of the
Soviet  Union which they temporarily occupied, where, acting
on direct orders of the German High Command, they created a
"wasteland ".

As proof, I read into the record an excerpt from the
document which was submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR
51/2. This excerpt the members of the Tribunal will find on
page 3 of the document book.

I read:

  " ... An order recently seized near the town of
  Verkhovye, Orel Region, issued to the 512th German
  Infantry Regiment and signed by Colonel Schitnig stated
  with unparalleled shamelessness: 'A zone which in view of
  circumstances is to be evacuated, should, upon withdrawal
  of the troops, be left wasteland.... At points where
  complete destruction is to be carried out, all the houses
  shall be burned. To this end they should first be filled
  with straw, particularly if they are stone houses.
  Structures of stone are to be blown up, particularly
  cellars. Measures for the creation of wastelands are to
  be prepared beforehand and carried out ruthlessly and in
  their entirety.'"

So reads the order to the 512th German Infantry Regiment.

In razing our towns and villages, the German Command demands
of its troops that a "wasteland " be created in all Soviet
localities from which the invaders are successfully expelled
by the Red Army.

This order to the 512th Regiment, which is mentioned in the
document I just quoted, is submitted as Exhibit USSR 168.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you know the date of it?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: The date of this order is 10 December,
1941. From this document it is clear that the German
Military Command prepared a ruthless and complete
destruction of inhabited localities and that this
destruction was planned and prepared in advance.

                                                  [Page 210]

A large number of documents and facts concerning this
question are in the possession of the Soviet Prosecution. I
will limit myself to reading into the record an excerpt from
the verdict of the regional military court in the case of
the German war criminals Lieut.-General Bernhardt and Major
General Hamann. I submit this verdict to the Tribunal as
Exhibit USSR 90.

The military court established that the Generals Bernhardt
and Hamann had acted in accordance with  the common plans
and directives of the High Commands of the German Army and
that they - I quote a short excerpt from the verdict (this
excerpt your Honours will find on pages 24-25 of the
document book)

  " . . . had carried out a planned destruction of towns
  and inhabited localities, determined in advance, along
  with the destruction of industrial buildings, hospitals,
  sanatoria, educational institutions, museums, and other
  cultural and educational institutions, as well as
  dwellings. The latter were blown up without any warning
  being given to the Soviet citizens living in them, with
  the result that people perished as well."

As in the case of the destruction of inhabited localities,
plants, factories, power stations and mines were also
destroyed with premeditation and malice aforethought.

For confirmation of this statement I will draw the attention
of the Tribunal to the report of the Extraordinary State
Commission which was submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit
USSR 2. This document is on page 28 of the document book.

In this report is quoted the secret directive of the Leader
of the Department of Economics of the Army Group South of 2
September, 1943, under No. 1/313/43, which ordered army
leaders and leaders of the ordnance detachments to carry out
a thorough annihilation of industrial institutions,
emphasising particularly that: "The destruction must be
carried out not at the last moment when the troops may be
engaged in combat or in retreat, but ahead of time ".

The Note by V. M. Molotov, the People's Commissar of Foreign
Affairs of USSR, of 27 April, 1942, deals with the orders of
the German Supreme Command and with the manner in which
these orders were executed. This Note was submitted to the
Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 51/3.

I will now quote several excerpts from Part II of the Note
just mentioned, which is entitled "The Devastation of Cities
and Towns", excerpts which were not read into the record
before. These excerpts will be found on pages 6 and 7, the
reverse side of the document book which is in the hands of
the Tribunal. I read:

  "By direct order of its High Command the German fascist
  army has subjected Soviet towns and villages to
  unparalleled devastation upon seizure and in the course
  of the army's occupation."

I omit the end of page 4 and the beginning of page 5 of my

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you ought to omit the first
four lines on page 5.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I omitted it inasmuch as I read this
document into the record yesterday, but if you wish, I shall
gladly do it.

THE PRESIDENT: If you read it yesterday, do not read it
again. I do not remember. Was it read yesterday ?

GENERAL RAGINSKY : Yes, I read this into the record


(A short pause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I am told that - and I think - that you did
not read those lines, "from 10 October, 1941", at the top of
page 5 - I think you had better read them. I am referring to
the order of 10 October, 1941, which is set out in your
                                                  [Page 211]
GENERAL RAGINSKY: This is the excerpt from the order given
to the Sixth German Army, on 10th October, 1941, signed by
von Reichenau. This document is presented to the Tribunal as
Exhibit USSR 12. I quote:"The troops shall be interested in
extinguishing only those fires in buildings to be utilised
for billeting military units. Everything else, including
buildings, must be destroyed."At the end of 1941 and the
beginning of 1942 the German Command issued a number of
orders instructing Get-man army units to destroy, in the
course of their retreat under the pressure of the Red Army,
everything that had survived unscathed during the
occupation. Thousands of villages and hamlets, whole city
blocks and even entire cities were reduced to ashes, blown
up or razed to the ground by the retreating German fascist
army. The organised destruction of Soviet towns and villages
became a special branch of the criminal activity of the
German invaders on Soviet territory. Special instructions
and detailed orders of the German Command were devoted to
methods of devastating Soviet populated centres. Special
detachments, trained in this criminal profession, were set
up for this purpose. These are some of the facts which are
at the disposal of the Soviet Government.Once again I refer
to the order of the 512th Infantry Regiment already
presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 168.

This order is an exposition, consisting of seven typed
pages, of the most precisely detailed plan for the
methodical destruction of village after village, from to
December to 14 December inclusive, in the area where the
given regiment was stationed. This order, which follows a
model used throughout the German army, states:-

"Preparations for the destruction of populated centres must
be carried out in such a way that:(a) No suspicions whatever
be aroused among the civilian population prior to its
announcement.(b) The destruction should begin at once, and
be carried out at a single blow, at the appointed time....
On the day in question particularly strict watch must be
kept to see that no civilians leave this place, especially
after the destruction has been announced...."An order of the
Commander of the 98th German Infantry Division dated 24
December, 1941, after listing sixteen Soviet villages
designated to be burned down, states:"Available stocks of
hay, straw, foodstuffs, etc., are to be burned. All the
stoves in dwelling houses are to be wrecked by placing hand
grenades in them, thus making further use of them
impossible. Under no circumstance is this order to fall into
the hands of the enemy."The following order of 3rd January,
1942, issued by Hitler, is of the same nature. The order

"Cling to every populated centre; do not retreat a single
step; defend yourselves to the last soldier and to the last
grenade. That is the requirement of the present moment.
Every point occupied by us must be turned into a base, which
must not be surrendered under any circumstances, even if
outflanked by the enemy. If, however, the given point must
be abandoned on superior orders, it is imperative that
everything be razed to the ground, the stoves blown up
....(Signed) Adolf Hitler."Hitler felt no embarrassment
about publicly admitting that the devastation of Soviet
towns and villages was carried out by his army. In his
speech...THE PRESIDENT: That order of 3 January, 1942,
signed by Hitler, is that in the Official Soviet State
Report? Where did it come from?GENERAL RAGINSKY: This order
is incorporated in the Note of the People's
                                                  [Page 212]
Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, I quote an excerpt
from it. The document was presented to the Tribunal as
exhibit USSR 5I/3.

THE PRESIDENT: That is M. Molotov's report ?GENERAL
RAGINSKY: Yes, this is a Note of the Foreign Commissar,


GENERAL RAGINSKY: In his speech of 30th January, 1942,
Hitler stated:
"In those places where the Russians have succeeded in making
a breakthrough and where they thought that they would once
again be in possession of populated centres, these populated
centres no longer exist; they are but heaps of ruins."While
retreating from the Kuban under the thrust of the Red Army,
the German High Command worked out a detailed plan of
operations which bore the code name of "Movement Krimhilde",
and a considerable part of this plan, a whole section in
fact, is devoted to the demolition plan. I omit one
paragraph of my report.This plan is mentioned in a two-page
secret document transmitted by telegraph to the chiefs of
the higher staffs. The document is signed by Hitler and has
the following notation on the first page: "Secret /A 2371.
17 copies."The document which we submit to the Tribunal as
Exhibit USSR 115 is the seventeenth copy of Hitler's order.
This document is listed as Document 117 C; in your document
book it is contained on the pages 31-33.I will read into the
record the second paragraph of this document:

  "2. Demolitions in case of retreat.
  (a) All structures, quartering facilities, roads, special
  constructions, dams, etc., should be demolished.(b) All
  railroads and military roads should be either demolished
  or completely destroyed.(c) All corduroy-constructed
  roads must be torn up and rendered useless.(d) All oil
  wells in the Kuban bridgehead must be entirely destroyed.
  (e) The harbour of Novorossiysk will be so demolished and
  obstructed as to render it useless to the Russian Fleet
  for a long time.
  (f) Extensive sowing of mines, delayed action mines,
  etc., also come under the heading of destruction.
  (g) The enemy must take over a completely useless,
  uninhabitable wasteland where mine detonation will occur
  for months hence."

Many other documents bear witness of similar orders, but may
I draw the attention of the Tribunal to just two of them: I
refer to an entry in the diary of the defendant Frank which
dealt with this subject, in particular, as well as to a
directive issued by the general commanding the 118th German
Anti-tank Division which operated in Yugoslavia.In Frank's
diary, which had already been submitted to the Tribunal,
there is the following entry for 17 April, 1944, contained
in the volume which was started on 1 March, 1944, and ended
on 31 May, 1944, entitled " The Business Meeting at Cracow
on 12 April, 1944 ". Your Honours will find the quotation on
page 45 of the document book. I read:
 "It is important that the troops be given an order to
 leave only a wasteland to the Russians. In cases where it
 becomes necessary to withdraw from a certain area, no
 distinction should be made between the territory of the
 Government General and any other territory."
May I remind the Tribunal that Exhibit USSR 132, which is
the secret instruction issued to the 118th German Jager
Division over the signature of the German Major-General
Kubler? It was captured in June, 1944, by the units of the
Yugoslav People's Liberation Army. The troops were to treat
the population "ruthlessly with cruel firmness", and to
destroy the inhabited localities which were abandoned.
                                                  [Page 213]
May it please your Honours, in concluding this part of my
report I deem it necessary to draw your attention to another

The destruction of peaceful towns and villages was not only
planned, not only carried out deliberately and with
exceptional ruthlessness, but was executed by special
detachments created by the German High Command for that very
purpose.By way of evidence I will quote several excerpts not
yet read into the record, from official Soviet Government

In the Note of 27 April, 1942, is stated - I quote an
excerpt which is on page 9 of the document book: "The
special detachments set up by the German Command for the
purpose of setting fire to Soviet population centres, and
for the mass extermination of the civilian population,
during the retreat of the Hitlerite Army, are perpetrating
their bloodthirsty deeds with the cold-bloodedness of
professional criminals. Thus, for instance, before their
retreat from the village of Bolshekrepinskaya, Rostov
Region, the Germans sent special flame-throwing machines
down the streets of the village, which burned 1,167
buildings, one after the other. The large flourishing
village was turned into a flaming bonfire which consumed the
dwellings, the hospital, the school and various other public
buildings. At the same time machine gunners, without any
warning, shot inhabitants who approached their burning
houses. Some of the residents were bound, sprayed with
gasoline and thrown into the burning buildings."I omit part
of page 9 of my report and pass on to the next, to the last
paragraph of my report.The report of the Extraordinary State
Commission which was presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit
USSR 46, states:

"In their insane fury against the Soviet people, which was
caused by defeats suffered at the Front, the Commanding
General of the 2nd German Tank Army, General Schmidt, and
Commander of the Orel administrative Region, the Military
Commander of the city, Major General Hamann, had created
special demolition detachments for the destruction of towns,
villages and collective farms of the Orel Region. These
Kommandos, plunderers and arsonists destroyed everything in
the path of their retreat. They destroyed cultural monuments
and works of art of the Russian people, burned down cities,
towns and villages."In the document submitted to the
Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 279, the following facts are
described. I read:"In Viazma and Gjatsk, the Commanding
Generals: Major General Merker of the 35th Infantry
Division, Major General Schaefer of the 252nd Infantry
Division, and Major General Roppert, of the 7th Infantry
Division, organised special incendiary and demolition
detachments to set on fire and blow up dwellings, schools,
theatres, clubs, museums, libraries, hospitals, churches,
stores and industrial plants, so that only ashes and ruins
would be left in the wake of their retreat."In the document
which is presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 2, there
are several depositions of German prisoners of war. I shall
quote one of these depositions. I read at the foot of the

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