The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I do not want the Tribunal to think that we are either
unimaginative or unreasonable. We know, because we have seen
the other side of the shield, that there are certain
mechanical matters and matters of conclusion of preparation
which have to be dealt with before a case is put forward. We
quite appreciate that the defenders of Goering, of Hess, and
of Ribbentrop may require a day or two to put their tackle
in order, but I want to make clear that that, in our view,
is quite different from a three-weeks' adjournment.

I respectfully agree with every word that Professor Krauls
has said about the maintenance of the dignity of the trial,
but it is not essential, in my respectful submission, for
the maintenance of the dignity of the trial that the trial
should take place in slow time. That would not only be
wrong, but it would be directly contrary to the portion of
the Charter to which General Nikitshenko referred at Berlin.

With regard to the witnesses, there are, as the Tribunal
knows, certain difficulties, in that, to begin with, the
defendants asked for many witnesses who were very largely
repetitive, and they have, as I judge the application, begun
recently to get clear as to who are the essential witnesses,
and the Tribunal will rule on that finally, as it has

I take only one other example. Professor Kraus mentioned the
question of certain documents for which Dr. Kranzbuehler was
asking, which were, as I understand it, U-boat diaries. I
have arranged that Dr. Kranzbuchler's assistant will be
enabled to go to London and examine these documents at his
leisure in the Admiralty. That is on paper in our reply. I
respectfully submit that that sort of attitude is the best
and most helpful attitude for letting the defence get what
they wish.

                                                   [Page 82]

Mr. President, I have nearly exhausted my time, and I say
only this in conclusion: The prosecution has had to collate
and co-ordinate actions taking place over a long period,
certainly twelve years, in some cases twenty years. We have
collated and co-ordinated the evidence of these actions. We
have presented a case which is founded mainly on the written
statements or written records of statements made by the
defendants themselves. The task before the defence is to
give the explanation that what they say is the true colour
of words that have been proved - and not disputed - to have
come out of their own mouths.

They have had the time which I have stated, and which I
shall not repeat, but that being so, it is the attitude of
the prosecution, with, as I say, every desire to help in any
way that is possible in the actual work, whether it be
mechanical or preparing documents or otherwise, that the
defence cannot rightfully ask for further time for general
reflection and consideration on a case which has that basis.
We therefore respectfully but firmly object to any
adjournment other than a matter of a few days, not more than
a week, certainly - we should say less than that-for the
purpose of completing preparations and putting mechanical
tackle in order.

That, Mr. President, is the attitude of all my colleagues.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider its decision on
this matter and it will adjourn this afternoon at 4.00
o'clock in order to consider the other matters which are
raised in Dr. Stahmer's memorandum.


Before I sit down, I am asked by my colleagues to make this
clear. I, myself, did not tie myself in my argument to any
number of days because a week-end may intervene and
different considerations may arise, but my colleagues wish
it to be before the Tribunal that their view is that, taking
into account the time which will elapse before the Soviet
case is concluded, and the argument on the organisation for
which time has to be allowed, that two days is the figure
they have in mind, although, as I say, a week-end may
intervene which may add to that. I want to make it quite
clear that we are quite definite.

I am very grateful.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, will you continue-your

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I continue with the presentation of
evidence in regard to Yugoslavia.

In corroboration of the criminal system of hostages which
was fully developed in Yugoslavia, the Government of
Yugoslavia has submitted a series of originals and certified
photostatic copies of different documents. I shall not
submit my own comments on these documents which were
incorporated into the report of the Yugoslav Government: I
shall restrict myself to the presentation of the documents
themselves, since they are definite and do not call for
further comment.

I present as Exhibit USSR 256 the original of an
announcement dated 12 August, 1941, which mentioned the
shooting of ten hostages. The printed poster was signed by
the German Police Commissioner in Lasko, Hrabetzky.

Further, as Exhibit USSR 148 I present a certified
photographic copy of an announcement of the shooting of
fifty-seven persons. This poster was printed on 13 November,
1941, and was signed by Kutschera.

Further, as USSR 144, I present a certified copy of an
announcement of 21 January, 1942, relating to the shooting
of fifteen hostages. The poster was signed by Roesner.

Then, as USSR 145, I present a certified photographic copy
of a poster announcing the shooting of fifty-one hostages,
and the date is 1942, month unknown. The poster is signed by

                                                   [Page 83]

I present as USSR 146, an original announcement printed as a
poster, signed by Roesner, which announced that on 31 March,
1942, twenty-nine hostages were shot.

Finally, I present as USSR 147 a certified photographic copy
of the announcement, printed as a poster, which stated that
on 1 July, 1942, twenty-nine hostages were shot.

I consider that the sum total of these documents is
sufficient to prove that the system of hostages was widely
applied in Yugoslavia.

To conclude my presentation of evidence in this particular
field, I refer to Exhibit USSR 304, Report No. 6 of the
Yugoslav Extraordinary State Commission for the
Investigation of War Crimes. I read one paragraph of this
document into the record.

   "The group of hostages at Celje were strangled on hooks
   used by the butchers for hanging meat. In Maribor, the
   doomed, in groups of five, had to place the bodies of
   the hostages already executed in boxes and then load
   them into trucks. After that, they themselves were shot,
   while the next group of five, in their turn, continued
   with the loading. This went on continuously. The Sodna
   Street in Maribor was all soaked in blood pouring from
   the trucks."

I end my quotation here.

It seems to me that in submitting to the Tribunal a summary
of the terroristic regime established in the countries of
Western Europe, this summary would be incomplete without
some mention of a country like Greece, a country which also
was a victim of the terroristic regime which the German
fascists had established. Therefore I present to the
International Military Tribunal a report of the Government
of the Greek Republic. This report is duly certified with
the signature and seal of the Greek Ambassador in Great
Britain, as well as of a member of the British Foreign

This document is submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR
79 (UK 82), and I shall read into the record a few excerpts
from this report which concerns the setting up of the
fascist terror regime in Greece and which also deals with
the same criminal system of hostages.

War against Greece was declared by Germany on 6 April, 1941,
and already on 31 May the German commanding general in
Athens had published a frankly terroristic order directed
against the peaceful population of Greece. The direct
pretext for publishing this was the fact that on 30 May the
Greek patriots had torn down the swastika from the

I here quote this order of the commanding general of the
German Armed Forces in Greece, from the report of the Greek
Government, on Page 33 of the Russian translation. This
order threatened severe punishment for the following

   "(a) Because in the night of 30-31 May, the German flag
   flying over the Acropolis was torn down by persons
   unknown. Those guilty of this act, as well as their
   accomplices, will be punished by death.
   (b) Because Press and public opinion of all classes
   still express themselves with evident sympathy in favour
   of the English, now expelled from the Continent of

Therefore even sympathy for the English brought the same
terrible punishment.

   "(c) Because events in Crete were not only not
   condemned, but were even favourably commented on in many
   circles. (Here the commander of the German Armed Forces
   was evidently referring to the patriotic resistance of
   the inhabitants of the Island of Crete.)
   (d) Because although absolutely forbidden, repeated
   gestures of sympathy were made to British prisoners,
   such as gifts, flowers, fruit, cigarettes, etc.,
                                                   [Page 84]
   and these demonstrations were tolerated by the Greek
   police who did not intervene to stop them with the means
   at their disposal.
   (e) Because the behaviour of large numbers of Athenians
   towards the German Armed Forces has again become less

From that time onwards, the same regime of Nazi terror was
established in Greece that characterised the actions of the
Hitlerite criminals in all the territories they occupied. In
confirmation of that fact, I cite the report of the Greek
Government on Page 34 of the Russian translation. I quote,
beginning with line 4 from the top of the page:-

   "In violation of Article 50 of the Hague Convention they
   systematically punished the innocent, adhering to the
   principle that the community as a whole must bear the
   responsibility in full for acts committed by individual
   They used starvation as an instrument of pressure and
   for weakening the spirit of resistance in the Greek
   population. Very few people were tried by courts-
   martial, and these, when held, were a mere parody of
   justice. They instituted a policy of reprisals,
   including the seizure and killing of hostages, mass
   murders and the destruction and devastation of villages,
   for acts committed in their vicinity by individuals
   The great majority of those executed were taken at
   random from the prisons and camps, without any possible
   relation to the act, in reprisal for which they were
   executed. The life of every citizen depended on the
   arbitrary decision of the local commander."

It seems to me quite correct to consider the murder, in
Greece, of thousands of people by starvation, as one of the
most powerful factors of the terrorist regime established by
the German fascists in that country. In connection with this
subject, the following  statement is made on Page 6 of the
Russian text:

   "It is an incontestable fact that the great majority of
   the Greek population lived on the verge of starvation
   for nearly three years. Many thousands suffered from
   real starvation for several months before relief
   shipments could reach them. As a result, the death rate
   increased by 500 or 600 per cent in the capital and 800
   to 1,000 per cent in the Greek islands, as from
   September, 1941, to April, 1942. The infant mortality
   was 25 per cent, and the health of the survivors was
   greatly undermined."

The report of the Greek Government cites excerpts from
reports of neutral missions. I quote one of these excerpts,
which is on Page 38 of the Russian text of the Greek
Government report. I begin the quotation:-

   "During the winter of 1941-42, when famine reigned in
   the capital, conditions in the provinces were still
   tolerable. During the following winter, however, when
   Canadian relief for the larger towns had been swallowed
   up by the unrestricted market, the situation was very
   different. During our first tours of inspection, when
   investigating the situation in general, we met, in
   March, 1943, people literally weeping for bread. Many
   villages lived only on a substitute bread baked with
   'Ersatz' flour, wild pears and acorns - food ordinarily
   suitable only for pigs. In many districts, the
   population had seen no other bread since December.
   We were taken inside the houses and shown empty shelves
   and larders we saw people cooking grass without oil,
   only to fill their stomachs somehow or other.
   The inhabitants of the poorer villages were all
   emaciated. The children, in particular, were often in a
   pitiful condition, with skinny limbs and swollen
   stomachs. They had none of the vitality and happiness
   natural to children. It was quite usual for half the
   children to be unable to attend school. (Report of the
   Swedish Delegates to the Peloponnesian Islands, January,

                                                   [Page 85]

In order to describe the hostage system established by the
Hitler criminals in Greece, I shall also quote excerpts from
the Greek Government Report. From the text of this report it
is quite evident that shootings of hostages during the first
weeks of the German occupation of Greece were carried out on
a wide scale. I quote, for this reason, an excerpt from the
Greek report on Page 411 begin at the third line from the
top of the Russian text:-

   "Hostages were taken indiscriminately and from every
   class of the population: politicians, professors,
   scientists, lawyers, doctors, officers, civil servants,
   clergymen, manual workers, women, all those labelled as
   ' suspect' or 'Communist', were thrown into local
   prisons or concentration camps.
   Prisoners under interrogation were subjected to various
   ingenious forms of torture. Hostages were concentrated
   in places of confinement where the arrested persons were
   subjected to the most unbearable regime."

The report of the Greek Government (also on Page 41 of the
Russian text) states with regard to this matter:

   "The inmates were starved, beaten, and then tortured.
   They were made to live under perfectly inhuman
   conditions without medical help or sanitation. There
   they were subjected to the refined sadism of the S.S.
   guards. Many were shot or hanged. Others died from cruel
   treatment or starvation, and only a few were released
   and survived until the date of the liberation of the
   Hostages were also deported to concentration camps in
   Germany Buchenwald, Dachau, etc."

The report gives the total number of hostages murdered. The
same page contains the following

   "The number of hostages shot amounts to some 91,000."

In order fully to understand on what a tremendous scale the
Hitlerites committed their crimes in connection with the
physical extermination of the Soviet people in the territory
of the USSR, I ask the Tribunal to refer to Page 299 in
their document book.

THE PRESIDENT: You are now passing away from Greece, are
you, Colonel Smirnov ?


THE PRESIDENT: We will take a recess then.

(A recess was taken.)

COLONEL SMIRNOV: With your permission, Mr. President, and in
accordance with the instruction of the Tribunal, I shall
omit a number of items in my statement. These items, which I
shall exclude from the text, amount to a number of pages,
and I request your permission to tell the interpreters how
many pages I omit. I draw the attention of the Tribunal to a
document dealing with the large-scale extermination of
Soviet nationals in the temporarily occupied districts of
the USSR. In confirmation of this fact I refer to a document
which you, your Honours, will find on Page 291 of the
document book, at the end of the last paragraph. This deals
with the report of the Extraordinary State Commission
concerning the destruction, plundering and atrocities of the
German fascist invaders in the town of Rovno and the Rovno
Region. I submit this document as Exhibit USSR 45.

                                                   [Page 86]

I quote the results of the examination by medico-forensic
experts concerning the bodies of peaceful Soviet citizens
murdered by the Germans and subsequently exhumed:

   "In all investigated burial places in the city of Rovno
   and its surroundings, over 102,000 corpses of peaceful
   citizens, shot, or murdered by other methods were
   discovered, as well as the bodies of prisoners of war.
   Out of this figure:-
   (a) In the city of Rovno, near the lumber yard on Beleya
   Street, 49,000 corpses were discovered.
   (b) In the city of Rovno, on Beleya Street, in the
   vegetable gardens, 32,500.
   (c) In the village of Sossenki, 17,500,
   (d) In the stone quarries near the village of Vvdumka, 3,000.
   (e) In the area surrounding Rovno prison, 500."

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