The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/11

I quote this document which the Tribunal will find on Page
318 of the document book:-

   "Subject : Atrocities perpetrated on the civilian
   population of the East. With regard to the news of mass
   executions in Russia, which we are receiving, I was at
   first convinced that they had been unduly exaggerated. I
   am forwarding herewith a report from Major Roesler which
   fully confirms these rumours."

The last sentence is also typical:-

   "If these things are done openly, they will become known
   in the Fatherland and give rise to criticism.
   (Signed) Schirwindt."

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, do you know who was the
Deputy Commander of the IX Army Corps and Commander of the
9th Military District, and do you know who was the Chief of
the Armament and Equipment Department in Berlin? Do you know
whether any reply was made to this report?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I can give an answer on this subject only
at a later date. I shall shortly clarify the position by
giving the Tribunal additional information and will submit
the documents dealing with this matter.

I beg to be allowed, in presenting this evidence, to submit
to the Tribunal a photostatic copy of a document. I present
two albums certified by the Extraordinary State Commission;
they will be submitted to each member of the Tribunal
(Exhibits USSR 387 and 391).

I beg the permission of the Tribunal to show certain
photographs of documents on the screen. I must admit these
documents have not been selected on the basis of the
impressiveness of the atrocities shown, for the Tribunal
will find reports of even more monstrous atrocities in the
document book. These photographs have, rather, been selected
because of their typical character.

Before presenting these documentary photographs I ask the
permission of the Tribunal to submit, as Exhibit USSR 297,
another German document. It is a certified photostatic copy
of one of the reports of the chief of the Security Police,
prohibiting the photographing of mass executions. It is very
typical that in many of these cases the photographs were
taken by the Germans themselves. This attracted the
attention of the Chief of Police and photographing was
prohibited in consequence.

I quote only a short excerpt from this report (Page 231 of
the Document Book):-

   "The Reichsfuehrer S.S. has forbidden the photographing
   of executions by an order of 12 November, 1941, Journal
   Number 1 1461/41 Ads., and has ordered that, in so far
   as such pictures are needed for official purposes, all
   the negatives be collected in archives."

                                                   [Page 92]

I omit the following paragraph and quote the third

   "The leader of the task force and special commandos or
   the company commander of the Waffen S.S. and the section
   leader of the war correspondents are charged with the
   responsibility that plates, film and prints of these
   photographs do not remain in the hands of individual
   members of these task force units."

I omit the following part of the document in its entirety as
I consider that the quotations which have been presented are
sufficient proof that the police authorities were uneasy
about the fact that frequent photographing of mass
executions by the German fascists furnished confirmation of
these executions.

I beg the Tribunal for permission to start the showing of
several of these photodocuments. Would you permit me to do
so, Mr. President?

(A very long pause, the lights are not switched off.)

THE PRESIDENT: What are you waiting for, Colonel Smirnov?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: The lights should be turned off but
apparently there are some technical difficulties which are
beyond me. Therefore I cannot start with the showing of the

THE PRESIDENT: Do you think you can go on with your
statement and do the photographs after the adjournment ? How
long do you think the photographs will take?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I fully agree with you, Mr. President. I
beg your permission to present evidence concerning the
second part of the statement, namely:-

   "The Mass Annihilation by the German fascists of the
   Citizens of the USSR, Poland, Yugoslavia and

The mass extermination of peaceful populations of the Soviet
Union and of the countries of Eastern Europe was carried out
by the German fascist criminals everywhere, as can be seen
from both the official orders and the directives with the
following objectives in mind:-

   1. Physical elimination of those sections of the
   population which were capable of resistance.
   2. For racial reasons, i.e., for the materialisation. of
   racial theories inculcating hatred of mankind.
   3. For purposes of retaliation.
   4. Supposedly "for the fight against the partisans" whom
   the German fascists could neither catch nor destroy. So
   the Germans vented the full force of their retaliatory
   measures on the peaceful population.

The execution of children was a particularly cruel method of
German terrorism. The use especially of torture-devices for
killing children was one of the prime and most despicable
characteristics of the Hitlerite terror regime in the
temporarily occupied territory of the USSR.

Immediately after the seizure of power by the fascists,
Hermann Goering began to issue laws against vivisection. He
pitied dogs, guinea pigs and rabbits subjected to scientific
experiments for the benefit of humanity. In confirmation I
refer to Goering's book "Speeches and Articles," published
in 1940 by Erich Grisbach (Exhibit USSR 377). On Page 80 of
this book we find Goering's speech, "The Fight Against
Vivisection". I shall not quote any lengthy extract from
this book and shall only mention one sentence which
testifies that for motives, so to speak, of love for
animals, Hermann Goering widely exercised his right to
intern in concentration camps those who continued to think
that animals could be considered suitable material for

                                                   [Page 93]

At a certain meeting of S.S. Gruppenfuehrer at Poznan, as
the Tribunal knows, Himmler stated, Document 1919-PS: "We
Germans are the only people who treat animals kindly."

But these criminals who sentimentally discussed the tortures
of animals, persistently instructed their subordinates to
exterminate children senselessly, inhumanly and cruelly. At
the meeting in question Himmler also stated - your Honours
will find this statement on Page 201, paragraph 2 of the
document book:-

   "If anyone would come to me and say, 'You cannot build
   anti-tank trenches with children and women, it is
   inhuman since they will die,' I should reply, 'You are
   the murderers of your own blood.'"

I take the liberty of referring to a very short excerpt from
an official document which has already been submitted to the
Tribunal, in order to prove that in the course of butchering
the Soviet people, the German fascists hurled children into
pits alive.

I invite the attention of the Tribunal to a document which
has already been submitted by my colleague, Colonel
Pokrovsky, as Exhibit USSR 46. It is a report of the
Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes of the German
fascist invaders in the city and region of Orel. The
Tribunal will find it on Page 334 of the document book; the
last three lines of the page, and on Page 335:-

   "Those shot in the city were collected and thrown into
   ditches, preferably in forest areas. In jail the
   executions took place as, follows: The men had to stand
   facing a wall while the gendarme fired his pistol into
   the nape of their necks. The shot penetrated the vital
   centres and death was instantaneous. In most cases women
   had to lie face downward on the ground and the gendarme
   shot them through the base of the neck. A second method
   was to herd people in groups into a ditch, with their
   faces turned to one side. Then they were killed likewise
   by shots in the nape of the neck. In the trenches
   corpses of children were discovered who, according to
   the testimony of witnesses, had been buried alive."

Furthermore, I refer to a document which has already been
submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 1, a report of the
Extraordinary State Commission on the Crimes of the German
fascist Occupants in the area of Stavropol. I quote from
Page 271 of the document book, paragraph 3, beginning as

   "During the inspection of a ravine in the vicinity of
   Koltso Hill and a distance of 250 metres from the High
   Road" - I omit the next sentence - "a discarded grave
   was discovered, ten metres in depth, from which
   protruded separate parts of human bodies. As from 29
   July, 1943, excavations were carried out at this spot
   and, as a result, 130 corpses were exhumed. The medico-
   forensic examination proved that the corpse of a four-
   months-old girl showed no traces of violence. The child
   had been thrown alive into the ditch where it perished
   from suffocation."

I omit the next phrase and quote from the next paragraph:-

   "The autopsy performed on bodies of dead infants by the
   medico-forensic investigation proved that they had been
   thrown into the ditch alive, together with their
   mothers, who had been shot. All the other corpses showed
   traces of torture."

I will now refer to the verdict of the Military Tribunal of
the 4th Ukrainian Front, which I have already submitted to
the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 32.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better break off.

(A recess was taken.)

                                                   [Page 94]

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Have I your permission to continue?


COLONEL SM1RNOV : Continuing the presentation of evidence on
atrocities of German fascist criminals against children, I
refer to the testimony of the witness Bespalov included in
the document previously presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit
USSR 32. The members of the Tribunal will find the place
which I refer to on Page 33, paragraph 5 of the document.
Bespalov testified-:

   "At the end of June last year I myself saw how up to 300
   girls and women were brought on 10-12 trucks to the
   forest clearing. The unfortunate women were throwing
   themselves this way and that, weeping, tearing their
   hair and rending their clothes. Many fainted, but the
   German fascists paid no attention to this. By kicks and
   beatings with rifle butts and sticks they forced them to
   get up; those who did do so, the executioners themselves
   stripped and threw into the pits. Several girls - among
   them children - tried to run away, but were killed.
   I saw how, after a burst of machine-gun fire, some of
   the women, swaying and helplessly flinging up their arms
   staggered toward the Germans with heartrending cries. At
   this time the Germans were shooting them with pistols.
   Maddened with terror and grief, mothers clutched their
   children to their breasts, running with terrible wails
   into the forest clearing, seeking for help.
   The Gestapo members snatched the children from them,
   seizing by the arms or legs and threw them alive into
   the pit; when the mothers ran after them to the pit,
   they were shot."

I quote one paragraph from Exhibit USSR 9, already presented
to the Tribunal. This is a report of the Extraordinary State
Commission on the Crimes of the German fascist Invaders in
the City of Kiev. The members of the Tribunal will find this
document on Page 238, paragraph six.

   "On 19 September, 1941, Hitler's bandits drove thousands
   of peaceful Soviet citizens to the corner of Melnik and
   Doktorovskaya Streets and from there to Babi-Yar, where
   they shot them, after taking all their valuables from
   Citizens Petrenko and Gorbacheva, who lived near Babi-
   Yar, stated that they had seen how the Germans threw
   babies at the breast into graves and buried them alive
   with their dead or wounded parents. 'One could see the
   surface of the ground moving over the buried people who
   were still alive.'"

These were not individual occurrences, but a systematic
plan. This inhuman terror was practised on children, since
the chiefs of German fascism understood that this form of
terrorism would be particularly frightful for the survivors.
Compassion for the weak and the defenceless is an
inalienable human trait. By applying their particularly
barbarous methods to children, the German fascist criminals
showed the rest of the population that there was no crime,
no cruelty at which they would stop, for the purpose of
"pacifying" the occupied territories.

Children did not simply share the fate of their parents. The
so-called "actions" were frequently directed against the
children themselves. They were taken forcibly from their
parents, concentrated in one place, then done away with.

I refer to a very brief report of the Extraordinary
Commission, already submitted to the Tribunal, entitled
"Concerning the Crimes of the German Conspirators in
Latvia". The members of the Tribunal will find the place I
refer to on Page 286, paragraph 5. Here it states:-

                                                   [Page 95]

   "In the main jail in Riga they murdered over 2,000
   children who had been torn from their parents, and in
   the Salaspil Camp more than 3,000."

From the report of the Extraordinary Commission on the
Crimes of the Hitlerites in Lithuania, the Tribunal will
learn of the brutal methods employed by the Germans to
separate children from their parents, incarcerated in
prisons, concentration camps or ghettos - these methods
usually preceded the murder of the children. - This document
has already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR
7. The members of the Tribunal will find the place referred
to on Page 295, paragraph six, of the document book. I omit
the first paragraph which mentions the organisation of the
camp. This has no direct relation to children, and I begin
with the second paragraph, which shows what was done with

   "In the beginning of 1944 the Germans in this camp
   forcibly took children from 6 to 12 years old and
   carried them off. An inhabitant of the city of Kovno,
   Vladislav Blum, testified: 'Heartrending scenes occurred
   under my eyes. The Germans took the children away from
   their mothers and sent them nobody knows where. Many
   children perished, having been shot with their mothers.'
   On the walls of the camp buildings inscriptions were
   discovered concerning the crimes of the Hitlerite
   monsters. Here are some of them:
   'Avenge us! Let the whole world know and understand how
   savagely our children were exterminated! Our days are
   already counted! Farewell! Let the whole world  know and
   let it not forget to avenge our innocent children! Women
   of all the world, remember and understand all the
   atrocities which befell our innocent children in the
   20th century! My child is already dead, I am indifferent
   to everything!"

Further I refer to the document which has already been
presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 63. This is an
official report on the torture and shooting of children in
the Domachev Children's Asylum of the Brest Region in the
Bielorussian S.S.R. The members of the Tribunal will find
this document on the reverse side of Page 223, fifth
paragraph. I shall quote three or four paragraphs of this
document, omitting the remainder.

   "By order of the German occupying authorities of the
   district, the Chief of the Prokonehuk District ordered
   the principal of the Children's Home, A. P. Pavliuk, to
   poison a sick 12-year-old child, Lena Renklach. After
   Pavliuk had refused to carry out the order, the child
   was shot by policemen in the vicinity of the Children's
   Home, allegedly 'while trying to escape'.
   In order to save the children from starvation and death,
   eleven of them were distributed among the local
   population in 1942, and 16 children were taken by their

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