The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/06

Witness A. Kamenev stated:-

   "The driver stopped the car behind the aerodrome and we
   saw Germans shooting people near the ditch. We were
   dragged out of the car and pushed toward the ditch in
   batches of ten. My son and I were among the first ten.
   We reached the ditch. We were lined up facing it and the
   Germans began their preparations to shoot us in the nape
   of the neck.
   My son turned to them and shouted: 'Why are you shooting
   the peaceful population?' But the shots rang out and my
   son instantly jumped into the ditch, I threw myself in
   after him. Dead bodies began to fall upon me in the
   About 3 p.m. an eleven-year-old boy stood up from among
   the pile of corpses and began to call, 'Little Fathers,
   those of you who are still alive, get up. The Germans
   have gone'. I was afraid to do so since - I thought that
   the boy was shouting by order of the policeman.
   The boy called out a second time and then my son
   answered him. He
                                                   [Page 64]

   stood up and asked: 'Dad, are you alive?' I could not
   answer anything and  merely nodded. My son and the other
   boy dragged me out from under the bodies. We saw some
   others who were still alive and who were shouting 'Help
   us'. Some were wounded. All the time, while I had been
   lying in the ditch, under the bodies of the dead, I
   could hear the shrieks and wails of the women and
   children. The Germans had started shooting old men,
   women and children after shooting us".

I here conclude this quotation. Although the subsequent text
does deal with many other appalling atrocities committed by
the Germans, it is, in substance, analogous to the passages
which I have already read into the record, relating to
crimes perpetrated by the Germans in the town of Kerch. I
would, however, invite the Tribunal's attention to the part
referring to the ill-treatment of children. On the whole,
these crimes are highly characteristic of the German fascist
terror. I quote:-

   "The German barbarians, in their atrocious ill-treatment
   of the Soviet people, did not even spare the children. A
   schoolteacher, M. N. Kolossnikova, stated that the
   Germans killed a thirteen-year-old boy for taking an old
   car tyre and trying to swim in it while bathing in the
   The following fact transpired from the testimony of E.
   N. Sabelnikova: Maria Bondarenko, who lived in the
   village of Adjimushkaya, in an attempt to save her three
   children from starvation, appealed to some Germans
   working in the kitchen, for a little food. They poured
   some thin gruel into a small bowl. The Bondarenko family
   ate it greedily. A few hours later the mother and all
   three children were dead. The fascist henchmen had
   poisoned them.
   It has been ascertained from the testimony of N. K.
   Shoumilova, that in July a German officer shot a six-
   year-old boy merely because he was singing a Soviet song
   in the streets of the town.
   Practically all summer long the dead body of a nine-year
   old boy dangled in the 'Sacco and Vanzetti' garden; the
   child had been hanged for picking some apricots from a

Here I end my quotation from the report on the town of

In my statement I have dwelt on the example of Kerch, not
because the atrocities committed by the Hitlerites in this
town were on a particularly large scale, or because they
stood out by reason of their cruelty among the other crimes
perpetrated by the Germans (the documents relevant to these
latter crimes are at our disposal). Certainly not. On the
contrary, I have quoted the report of the Extraordinary
State Commission only because it gives a detailed and
objective record of Hitlerite military crimes committed
against peaceful citizens of one of the many towns which, as
the result of a monstrous war unleashed by the German
fascist criminals, were doomed to become the victims of a
terrorist regime. Such atrocities were perpetrated by the
Hitlerites in all the temporarily occupied places of the
Soviet Union.

In confirmation of this statement I now turn to a document
of a general nature which has already been submitted to the
Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 51, but parts of which have not yet
been read into the record. I am referring to the Note of the
People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V. M. Molotov, of 27
April, 1942.

In their introduction to this note, the Soviet Government
made the following statement (I start my quotation from
paragraph 2, of the reverse side of the Russian text,
paragraph 3 after the heading of the document book). There
you will find the following remarks:-

   "Fresh information and documents are being submitted to
   the Soviet Government to the effect that the Hitlerite
   invaders are carrying on a wholesale looting of the
   Soviet population and do not shrink from any crimes, or
   acts of cruelty or violence on the territories which
   they temporarily occupied,
                                                   [Page 65]
   or which they still continue to occupy. The Soviet
   Government has already declared that these atrocities do
   not represent incidental excesses perpetrated by
   undisciplined military units or by individual German
   officers or men. The Soviet Government is now in
   possession of documents recently seized in the
   headquarters of routed German formations, which prove
   that the carnage and atrocities committed by the German
   Fascist army were perpetrated in accordance with
   carefully elaborated plans, issued by the German
   Government, and in pursuance of orders from the German
   High Command."

I omit the subsequent parts and continue with Section 5 of
the Note. The Tribunal will find the passage which I am
about to quote on Page 8 of the document book, paragraph 5.
I should like to add a few introductory words to the

It is quite evident from the text of this note how the
orders of the Reich leadership concerning the establishment
of a regime of terror were executed, in the occupied
territories, by the various "Commissars of the Occupied
Territories," by the Gauleiter and by the Commanders of
German military units. I quote the beginning of Section 5 of
this Note - Page 8 of your document book, paragraph 5:-

   "The inhuman cruelty which the Hitlerite clique - born
   in violence and against the will of the German people -
   displayed against the inhabitants of the European
   countries temporarily occupied by the German army, was
   multiplied a hundred-fold by the enemy forces after
   their invasion of the territory of the Soviet Union.
   The carnage to which the Hitlerites exposed the peaceful
   population of the Soviet Union has far overshadowed the
   most blood-stained pages of the annals of mankind, as
   well as of the current world war, and fully reveals the
   bloodthirsty and criminal plans of the fascists, aimed
   at the extermination of the Russian, Ukrainian,
   Bielorussian and other nationals of the Soviet Union.
   These monstrous fascist plans inspired the orders and
   instructions of the German High Command for the
   extermination of the peaceful Soviet citizens.
   Thus, for instance, the instructions of the German
   Supreme Command, entitled 'Treatment of the Civilian
   Population and of Enemy Prisoners of War' reads to the
   effect that: 'Officers are responsible that the
   treatment of the civilian population be absolutely
   merciless; and commands that 'force be used against the
   entire mass of the population'.
   The instructions issued by the German High Command as a
   directive for the occupying authorities on Bielorussian
   territory read as follows: 'All hostile behaviour on the
   part of the population toward the German Armed Forces
   and their organisations will be punished by death.
   Whosoever shelters Red Army soldiers or Partisans will
   be punished by death. If the Partisan cannot be found,
   hostages must be taken from among the population."

THE PRESIDENT: What is the exhibit number of what you are
reading now? What is the USSR number of what you are reading

COLONEL SMIRNOV: This document was submitted as Exhibit USSR
51. It is one of the Notes of the Commissar for Foreign
Affairs Molotov dated 27 April, 1942. Altogether four notes
have been submitted to the Tribunal under this number. The
beginning of the note which I am now quoting is on Page 4 of
your document book. The quotation which I am now reading
into the record is on Page 8 of your document book.

THE PRESIDENT: It is thought that this is part of the
document you read yesterday. Are you sure that it is not?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: No, Mr. President. Yesterday I read into
the record a note dated 6 January, 1942, and the note which
I am quoting now is dated 27 April. Have I your permission
to continue?


                                                   [Page 66]

COLONEL SMIRNOV: "These hostages must be hanged if the
guilty parties or their accomplices are  not found within 24
hours. During the following 24 hours, double the number of
hostages will be hanged on the same spot."

Point 7 of Order No. 431/41, of the German Commandant of the
town of Theodosia, Captain Eberhardt, states:-

   "During an alarm every citizen appearing on the street
   must be shot. Groups of citizens who appear must be
   surrounded and mercilessly shot. Leaders and inciters
   are to be publicly hanged".
   In a directive addressed to the 26oth German Infantry
   Division concerning the treatment of the civilian
   population it is pointed out to individual officers that
   "sufficient severity is not being applied everywhere".
   Orders posted by the occupants in the Soviet towns and
   villages announce the death penalty for the following
   various reasons: "for being in the streets after 17.00
   hours; for offering lodging for the night to strangers;
   for not handing over Red Army soldiers to the
   authorities; for failing to hand over property; for
   attempting to put out a fire in an inhabited spot
   intended to be burned down; for travelling from one
   inhabited spot to another; for refusing to do forced
   labour, and so on".

I continue this quotation on Page 8, paragraph 2:-

   "The German fascist High Command not only tolerates but
   actually orders the murder of women and children.
   Organised infanticide in some of the orders is suggested
   as a means for fighting the Partisan movement. Thus, an
   order of the Commander of the 254th German Division, Lt.-
   General von Beschnitz, dated 2 December, 1941, considers
   the fact that 'Old people, women and children of all
   ages' move about behind the German lines as proof of
   'careless good nature,' and orders to shoot without
   warning 'every civilian person regardless of age or sex
   approaching our front lines'.
   It also orders that the 'Mayors be made responsible for
   reporting immediately the appearance of any unknown
   persons, and especially of children, to the local
   Kommandantur' and to 'shoot immediately any person
   suspected of espionage'."

Some data regarding the directives received by the fascist
authorities in the temporarily occupied territories from the
Reich authorities are also contained in the Note. I quote
from Page 9 of your document book, paragraph 3:-

   "Some of the crimes of the German occupants committed by
   them during the very first weeks of their piratical
   attack on the USSR, and their savage extermination of
   the civilian population of Bielorussia, Ukraine and the
   Baltic Soviet Republics, have only now been
   documentarily established. Thus, when units of the Red
   Army in the district of the town of Toropetz, in
   January, 1942, smashed a German S.S. cavalry brigade,
   among the documents captured was found a report of the
   First Cavalry Regiment of this brigade concerning the
   'pacification' by this unit of the Starobinsk District
   in Byelorussia. The Commander of the regiment reports
   that besides 239 prisoners, a detachment of his regiment
   has also shot 6,504 civilians. The report also states
   that the detachment acted in pursuance of order No. 42
   issued to the regiment, dated 27 July, 1941. The
   Commander of the Second Regiment of this Brigade, von
   MacGill, states in his 'Report concerning the execution
   of repressive operations on the river Pripyat between 27
   July and 11 August, 1941' the following:-
      'We drove the women and children into the swamp, but
      that did not produce the desired result, since the
      swamp was not deep enough for them to drown. One can
      usually touch bottom at a depth of one metre'."

                                                   [Page 67]

In the same headquarters a telegram, No. 37, was found sent
by the Commander of the S.S. Cavalry Brigade.

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now for ten minutes?

(A recess was taken.)

THE MARSHAL: May it please the Court, regarding the
defendant Hess, he will be absent until further notice on
account of illness.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I continue the quotation:

   "In the same headquarters there was discovered a
   telegram, No. 37, from the Commander of the Cavalry
   Brigade, an S.S. Standartenfuehrer to a cavalry unit of
   the above-mentioned 2nd Cavalry Regiment, dated 2
   August, 1941. It mentioned that the Reichsfuehrer of the
   S.S. and Police, Himmler, considers the number of the
   exterminated civilians far too insignificant; and points
   out that 'it is necessary to take radical measures' and
   that 'the unit commanders conduct the operations too
   mildly'. He also orders a daily report on the number of
   people shot."

In this connection we cannot abstain from mentioning the
criminal activities of the defendant Rosenberg in carrying
out the general instructions of the Reich Leadership for
establishing a regime of terror in the Eastern Occupied
Territories, or rather if we wish to be more accurate, for
issuing, in his capacity as chief author of these
instructions, a series of laws in "Ostland" (this, as we
know, was the name given to the occupied regions of the
Baltic States), while similar orders and instructions of a
terroristic nature were also issued by high ranking
officials of the fascist administration set up by Rosenberg.

I submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 39, Report of the
Extraordinary State Commission on the atrocities of the
German-Fascist invaders in the territory of the Esthonian
SSR. I quote an excerpt which your Honours will find on Page
232 of the document book, paragraph 3. It begins as follows:-

  "On 17 July, 1941, Hitler issued a decree, turning over
  the legislative powers of the territory of Esthonia to
  Reichsminister Rosenberg, who later turned over this
  legislative power to the German district authorities.
  Despotism was introduced into Esthonia and the peace-
  loving population subjected to brutal terrorism.
  Reichsminister Rosenberg, Reichskommissar for the Baltic
  regions Lose, and Kommissar General of Esthonia, Litzmann
  completely deprived the Esthonian people of all political
  rights. On the basis of Hitler's decree of 17 July, 1941,
  Reichsminister Rosenberg promulgated, on 17 February,
  1942, a special law for people of non-Germanic
  nationality, providing capital punishment for the
  slightest resistance against Germanisation and for any
  act of violence against German nationals.
  For workers and employees of Esthonian origin the
  occupants introduced corporal punishment. On 20 February,
  1942, an official of the railroad administration, in
  Riga, Walk, sent the following telegram to the
  Administration of the Esthonian Railroads:
  'Every violation of discipline on the part of a native
  employee, especially absenteeism, being late for work,
  coming drunk to work, disobeying orders and so forth,
  shall from now on be punished with the utmost severity:
     (a)For the first offence-15 strokes with a lash on the
     bare body;
     (b) If the offence is repeated, 20 strokes with a lash
     on the bare body.'
  On 12 January, 1942, Reichsminister Rosenberg established
  'Special Courts' consisting of a police officer as
  president and two subordinate policemen. The procedural
  rules were determined by this court at its own
  discretion. These courts invariably pronounced death
  sentences with confiscation of property. No other
  'penalty' was ever imposed. No appeal against the
  sentences was admitted. In addition to the 'Courts'
  established by Rosenberg,
                                                   [Page 68]
  death sentences were pronounced by the German political
  police, and these sentences were carried out on the very
  same day.
  For the examination of criminal and civilian cases
  Kommissar General Litzmann introduced local courts.
  Judges, prosecutors, investigating magistrates, public
  notaries and lawyers were all, without exception,
  personally appointed by Litzmann.

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