The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/19


Q. Witness, will you tell us, please, what position you

A. I was Director of the State Hermitage Museum.

Q. What is your scientific title?

A. I am a member of the Academy of Science of the Union of
the Soviet Socialist Republics; an active member of the
Academy of Architecture of the U.S.S.R.; an active member
and president of the Armenian Academy of Science ; an

                                                  [Page 223]

Honorary member of the Iranian Academy of Science; member of
the Society of Antiquarians in London; and a Consultant
Member of the American Institute of Art and Archaeology.

Q. Were you in Leningrad at the time of the German blockade?

A. Yes, I was.

Q: Do you know about the destruction of monuments of culture
and art in Leningrad?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us in your own words facts that are known to

A. Besides general observations which I was able to make
after the cessation of hostilities around Leningrad, I was
also an eye-witness of the measures undertaken by the enemy
for the destruction of the Hermitage Museum, and the
building of the Hermitage and the Winter Palace, where the
exhibits from the Hermitage Museum were displayed. During
many long months these buildings were under systematic air
bombardment and artillery shelling. Two aerial bombs and
about thirty artillery shells hit the Hermitage. The shells
caused considerable damage to the building, and the aerial
bombs destroyed the drainage system and water conduit system
of the Hermitage.

While observing the damage done to the Hermitage I could
also see, across the river, the buildings of the Academy of
Science, namely, the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography,
the Zoological Museum, and next to it the Naval Museum, in
the building of the former Stock Exchange. All these
buildings were under especially heavy bombardment with
incendiary bombs. I saw the effect of these hits from a
window in the Winter Palace.

Artillery shells caused considerable damage to the
Hermitage. I shall mention the most important. One shell
shattered the portico of the main building of the Hermitage,
facing the Millionaya Street, and damaged the piece of
sculpture "Atlanta".

The other shell went through the ceiling of one of the most
sumptuous halls in the Winter Palace and caused considerable
damage there. The former stabling of the Winter Palace was
hit by two shells. Among Court carriages of the seventeenth
and eighteenth century that were there displayed, four from
the eighteenth century of high artistic value, and one
nineteenth century gilt carriage, were shattered to pieces
by one of these shells. Furthermore, one shell went through
the ceiling of the Numismatic Hall, the Hall of Columns of
the main building of the Hermitage, and a balcony of this
hall was destroyed by it.

At the same time, an annexe of the Hermitage Museum in
Solyanoy Lane, the former Stieglitz Museum, was hit by a
bomb from the air which caused great damage to the building.
The building was quite unfit for use, and a large part of
the exhibits in this building suffered damage.

Q. Please tell me, witness, do I understand you correctly?
You have mentioned the destruction of the Hermitage and you
mentioned the Winter Palace. Is that only one building?
Where was the Hermitage Museum located, the one that you

A. Before the October Revolution, the Hermitage occupied a
special building of its own facing Millionaya Street, and
the other side facing the Palace Quay of the Neva. After the
Revolution, the Little Hermitage was made a part of the
Great Hermitage and also the building of the Hermitage
Theatre, the building which separated the Hermitage proper
from the Winter Palace, and later even the entire Winter

Therefore, at the present moment the series of buildings
comprising the Hermitage consist of the Winter Palace, the
Little Hermitage, and the Great Hermitage, which was
occupied by the museum prior to the Revolution, and also the
building of the Hermitage Theatre, which was built during
the reign of Catherine II by the architect Kvarengi, and
which was hit by the incendiary bomb which I mentioned.

                                                  [Page 224]

Q. Besides the destruction of the Winter Palace and the
Hermitage, do you know any other facts about the destruction
of other cultural monuments?

A. Yes, I observed a series of monuments in Leningrad which
suffered damage from artillery shelling and bombing from the
air. Among them damage was caused to the Kazan Cathedral,
which was built in 1814 by Architect Veronikhin, and the
Isaakiy Cathedral, whose pillars still bear the traces of
damage pitted in the stone. Within the city limits
considerable damage was done to the Rastrelli Wing near the
Smolniy Cathedral, which was built by Rastrelli. The middle
part of the gallery was blown up. Furthermore, considerable
damage by artillery fire was done to the surface of the
walls of the Fortress of Peter and Paul, which cannot now be
considered a military objective.

Q. Besides Leningrad proper do you know anything at all
about the destruction and devastation of the suburbs of

A. I had the chance to acquaint myself in detail with the
condition of the monuments of Peterhof, Tzarskoe-Selo and
Pavlovsk; in all those three towns I saw traces of the
monstrous damage to those monuments done by the Germans. And
all the damage which I saw, which is very hard to describe
in full, because it is too great, all of it showed traces of

To prove, for instance, that the shelling of the Winter
Palace was premeditated, I could mention that thirty

THE PRESIDENT: Professor, when you see the yellow light, you
will know that you speak too fast.

A. In Peterhof, besides the damage caused to the Great
Palace by fire which completely destroyed this monument, I
also saw gold sheetings torn from the roofs of the Great
Palace, the dome of Peterhof Cathedral, and the building at
the opposite end of this enormous Palace. It was obvious
that the gold sheetings could not fly off because of fire,
but were intentionally torn off.

In Monplaisir Palace, the oldest palace of Peterhof, built
by Peter the Great, the damage showed also signs of
prolonged ravage, and was not the result of a catastrophe.
The precious oak carvings covering the walls were torn off.
The antique Dutch stoves, of the time of Peter the Great,
disappeared without trace, and temporary, roughly built
stoves put in their place. The Great Palace, built by
Rastrelli in Tzarskoe Selo, was certainly wrecked
intentionally. For example, the parquet floors in numerous
halls were cut out and carried away, while the building
itself was destroyed by fire. In Catherine's Palace, an
auxiliary munition plant was installed, and the precious
carved 18th-century fireplace was used as a furnace and was
rendered absolutely worthless.

Pavlovsky Palace, which was also destroyed by fire, showed
many signs that the valuable property that once could be
found in its halls was carried out before the Palace had
been set on fire.

Q. Tell me, please, you said that the Winter Palace as well
as the other cultural monuments were intentionally
destroyed. Upon what facts do you base that statement?

A. The fact that the shelling of the Hermitage by artillery
fire during the siege was premeditated was quite clear to me
and to all my colleagues, because damage was caused not only
by artillery shelling during one or two raids, but
systematically, during the methodical shelling of the city,
which we witnessed for many months. The first shells did not
hit the Hermitage or the Winter Palace - they passed near
by; they were finding the range of the Palace and after this
they would fire in the same direction, with just a little
deviation from the straight line. Not more than one or two
shells during one particular shelling would actually hit the
Palace. Of course, it could not be accidental in character.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I have no more questions for the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other prosecuting counsel want
to ask any questions? Do any of the defence counsel want to
ask any questions?

                                                  [Page 225]

Staff and O.K.W.)

Q. Witness, you have just said that through artillery
shelling and also through aerial bombs, the Hermitage, the
Winter Palace, and also the Peterhof Palace were destroyed.
I would be very interested to know where these buildings are
located; that is, as seen from Leningrad.

A. The Winter Palace and the Hermitage, which stands next to
it, are in the centre of Leningrad on the banks of the Neva
on the Palace Quay, not far from the Palace Bridge, which
during all the shelling, was hit only once. On the other
side, facing the Neva - next to the Winter Palace and the
Hermitage, there are the Palace Square and Halturin Street.
Did I answer your question?

Q. I meant the question a little differently. In what part
of Leningrad were these buildings - in the south, the north,
the southwest or southeast section? Will you inform me on

A. The Winter Palace and the Hermitage are right in the
centre of Leningrad on the banks of the Neva, as I have
already mentioned before.

Q. And where is the Peterhof?

A. The Peterhof is on the shores of the Gulf of Finland,
southwest of the Hermitage, if you consider the Hermitage as
the starting point.

Q. Can you tell me whether near the Hermitage Palace and
Winter Palace there are any industries, particularly
armament industries?

A. So far as I know, in the vicinity of the Hermitage, there
are no military enterprises. If the question meant the
building of the General Staff, that is located on the other
side of the Palace Square, and it suffered much less from
shelling than the Winter Palace. The General Staff building,
which is on the other side of the Palace Square was, so far
as I know, hit only by two shells.

Q. Do you know whether there were artillery batteries,
perhaps, near the buildings which you

A. On the whole square around the Winter Palace and the
Hermitage there was not a single artillery battery, because
from the very beginning steps were taken to prevent any
unnecessary vibration near the buildings where such precious
museum pieces were.

Q. Did the factories, the armament factories, continue
production during the siege?

A. I do not understand the question. What factories are you
talking about - the factories of Leningrad in general?

Q. The Leningrad armament factories: Did they continue
production during the siege?

A. On the grounds of the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, and
in the immediate neighbourhood, there were no military
concerns. They never were there and during the blockade no
factories were built there. But I know that in Leningrad
munitions were being made, and were successfully used.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions.

BY DR. SERVATIUS (Counsel for Leadership Corps).

Q. Witness, the Winter Palace is on the Neva River. How far
from the Winter Palace is the nearest bridge across the Neva

A. The nearest bridge, the Palace Bridge, is about fifty
metres from the Palace, at a distance of the breadth of the
quay, but, as I have already said, only one shell hit the
bridge during the shellings; that is why I am sure that the
Winter Palace was deliberately shelled. I cannot admit that
while shelling the bridge, only one shell hit the bridge and
thirty hit the near-by building. The other bridge, the Stock
Exchange Bridge, between the Vasilievsky Island and
Petrogradskaya Storona, is on the opposite bank of the Great
Neva. Only a few incendiary bombs were dropped from planes
on this bridge. The fires which broke out on the Stock
Exchange Bridge were extinguished.

                                                  [Page 226]

Q. Witness, those are conclusions that you are drawing. Have
you any knowledge whatever of artillery from which you can
judge whether the target was he Palace or the bridge beside

A. I never was an artilleryman, but I suppose that if German
artillery was aiming only at the bridge then it could not
possibly hit the bridge only once and hit the Palace, which
is across the way, with thirty shells. Within these limits I
am an artilleryman.

(Commotion in the Court.)

Q. That is your conviction as a non-artilleryman. I have
another question. The Neva River was used by the Fleet. How
far from the Winter Palace were the ships of the Red Fleet?

A. In that part of the Neva River there were no battleships
which were firing or were used for such kind of service. The
ships were anchored on the other part of the Neva, far from
the Winter Palace.

Q. One last question. Were you in Leningrad during the
entire period of the siege?

A. I was in Leningrad from the first day of the war until 31
March, 1942. Then I returned to Leningrad when the German
troops were driven out of the suburbs of Leningrad, and had
a chance to inspect the Peterhof, Tzarskoe-Selo and

DR. SERVATIUS: Thank you. I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: General, do you want to ask the witness any
questions in re-examination?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: We have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire. (The witness leaves.)

MAJOR GENERAL ZORYA: May it please your Honours, I want to
begin to submit documentary evidence on the part of the
Soviet Prosecution with regard to the employment of
compulsory slave labour practised by the Hitlerite
conspirators on an enormous scale.

Fascism, with its plan for world domination, with its denial
of law, ethics, mercy and humane considerations, foresaw the
enslavement of the peaceful population of the temporarily
occupied territories, the deportation of millions of people
to fascist Germany, and the utilisation in a compulsory
manner of their labour power.

Fascism and slavery - these two concepts are inseparable
from each other. I will begin, your Honours, with the
presentation of the documents relating to this Count with
the Report of the Yugoslav Republic, which has already been
submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 36. I shall ask
you to look at page 40 of the report, which is on page 41 of
the document book at the disposal of the Tribunal. I read
into the record extracts from the Report of the Yugoslav
Republic, which is entitled, "Forced Labour of Civilians". I

  "The Nazi policy of the wholesale exploitation of the
  occupied territories has also been applied in Yugoslavia
  Immediately after the occupation, the Reich Government
  and the O.K.W. introduced forced labour for the
  population of the occupied territory. The exploitation of
  the manpower in Yugoslavia has been carried out within
  the framework of the general German plan. The defendant
  Goering, as the leader of the German Economic Plan,
  issued directives to his subordinates concerning the
  systematic exploitation of the manpower of the occupied
  In a report from Berlin, which was written by the Head of
  the Administration Service of the German Kommandantur in
  Belgrade, named Ranze, instructions by Goering are
  communicated, according to which the economic regulations
  in the occupied territories do not aim at the protection
  of the local population, but at the maximum exploitation
  of the manpower of the occupied countries for the benefit
  of the German war economy.
                                                  [Page 227]
  Immediately after the occupation of Yugoslavia, the
  Germans established offices for enlisting workers for
  'voluntary' labour in Germany. To their own organisation
  the Germans immediately added the organisations which
  already existed in Yugoslavia for employment of the
  workers and labour registration, and began to carry out
  their own plans through these organisations. Thus, for
  example, in Serbia they immediately incorporated into
  their own organisation the main and central office for
  labour registration, as well as the labour exchange.
  Through these organisations, until the end of February,
  1943, and from the territory of Serbia alone, the Germans
  sent 47,500 workers to Germany to work there. Later on
  this number considerably increased but, however, the data
  in this respect have not yet been fully examined. These
  workers have been employed in agriculture and various
  industries in Germany, regularly performing the heaviest
  types of work."

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