Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-18/tgmwc-18-169.01 Last-Modified: 2000/09/11 [Page 1] HUNDRED AND SIXTY-NINTH DAY TUESDAY, 2nd JULY, 1946 MARKO ANTONOVA MARKOV-Resumed DIRECT EXAMINATION - Continued BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Witness, when did you, together with the other members of the Commission, perform the autopsies of these eight corpses? What date was it exactly? A. It was on 30th April, early in the day. Q. And, on the basis of your personal observations, you decided that the corpses were in the ground one year or one year and a half at the most? A. That is correct. Q. Before putting the next question to you, I should like you to give me a brief answer to the following question: Is it correct that in the practice of Bulgarian forensic medicine the protocol about the autopsy contains two parts: a description and the deductions? A. Yes. In our practice, as well as in the practice of other countries so far as I know; it is done in the following way: First of all, we give a description and then the deduction. Q. Was a deduction contained in the record you made regarding the autopsy? A. My record regarding the corpses on which I performed the autopsy contained only a description without any conclusion. Q. Why? A. Because, from the papers which were given to us there, I understood that they wanted us to say that the corpses had been in the ground for three years. This could be deduced from the papers which were shown to us in the little peasant hut about which I have already spoken. Q. By the way, were these papers shown to you before or after the autopsy had been performed? A. On the day before the autopsy. Q. So you were - THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, you are interrupting the interpreter all the time. Before the interpreter has finished the answer, you have put another question. It is very difficult for us to hear the interpreter. COLONEL SMIRNOV: Thank you for your indication, Mr. President. THE WITNESS: Inasmuch as the objective deduction regarding the autopsy I performed was in contradiction with this version, I did not make any deductions. BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. Consequently you did not make any deduction because the objective data of the autopsy testified to the fact that the corpses had been in the ground, not three years, but only one year and a half? THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, you must remember that it is a double translation, and unless you pause more than you are pausing, your voice comes in upon the interpreter's and we cannot hear the interpreter. COLONEL SMIRNOV: Very well, Mr. President. [Page 2] THE WITNESS: Yes, that is quite correct. BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. Was there unanimity among the members of the Commission regarding the time the corpses had been in the graves? A. Most of the members of the delegation who performed the autopsies in the Katyn Moods made their deductions without answering the essential question regarding the time the corpses had been buried. Some of them, as for instance Professor Hajek, spoke about immaterial things; as for instance that one of the deceased had had pleurisy. Some of the others, as for instance Professor Birkl from Bucharest, cut off some hair from a corpse in order to determine the age o the corpse. In my opinion that was quite immaterial. Professor Palmieri, on the basis of the autopsy that he performed, said that the corpse had been in the ground over a year but he did not determine exactly how long. The only one who gave a definite statement in regard to the time the corpse had been in the ground was Professor Miloslavich from Zagreb, and he said it was three years. However, when the German Book regarding Katyn was published I read the result of his impartial statement regarding the corpse on which he had performed the autopsy. I had the impression that the corpse on which he had performed the autopsy did not differ in its stage of decomposition from the other corpses. This led me to think that his statement that the corpses had been in the ground for three years was not in accordance with his description. Q. I would like you to reply to the following question: Were there many skulls with signs of so-called "pseudo callus" which were submitted to the members of the Commission? By the way, inasmuch as this term is not known in the usual books on forensic medicine and in the general criminalistic language, I should like you to give us an exact explanation of what Professor Orsos, of Budapest, means by the term "pseudo callus." THE PRESIDENT: Would you repeat that question? BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. Were there many skulls with signs of so-called "pseudo callus" which were submitted to the members of the Commission? Inasmuch as this term is not known in the usual books on forensic medicine, I should like you to give us detailed explanation of what Professor Orsos means by the term "pseudo callus." THE PRESIDENT: What are you saying the skulls had? You asked if there were many skulls with something or other. COLONEL SMIRNOV: I see this term for the first time myself; Mr. President. It is "pseudo callus." It seems to be a Latin term far some sort of corn which is formed on the outer surface of the cerebral substance. THE PRESIDENT: Can you spell the word in Latin? COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President. (Colonel Smirnov submitted paper to the President.) THE PRESIDENT: What you have written here is p-s-e-r-d-o. Do you mean p-s-e-u-d-o, which means false? COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, that is right, "pseudo." THE PRESIDENT: Now, then, put your question again, and try to put it shortly. COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes. BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. Were there many skulls with signs of so-called "pseudo callus" which were submitted to the members of the Commission? Will you please give an exact explanation of this term of Professor Orsos. A. Professor Orsos spoke to us regarding "pseudo callus" at a general conference of the delegates. That took place on 30th April, in the afternoon, in the building where the field laboratory of Dr. Butz in Smolensk was located. [Page 3] Professor Orsos described the term "pseudo callus" as meaning some formation of indissoluble salt of calcium and other salts on the inside part of the skull. Professor Orsos stated that, according to his observations in Hungary, this happened if the corpses remained in the ground for at least three years. When Professor Orsos stated this at the scientific conference, none of the delegates said anything either for or against it. I deduced from that, that this term "pseudo callus" was also unknown to the other delegates, just as it was to me. At the same conference Professor Orsos showed us such a "pseudo callus" on one of the skulls. Q. I should like you to answer the following question: What number did the corpse have from which this skull, with signs of "pseudo callus," was taken? A. The corpse from which the skull was taken and which was noted in the book bore the number 526. From this I deduced that this corpse was exhumed from the grave before our arrival at Katyn, inasmuch as all the other corpses on which we performed autopsies on 30th April had numbers over 800. It was explained to us that as soon as a corpse was exhumed it received a corresponding number. Q. Tell me this, please. Did you notice any "pseudo callus" on the skulls of these corpses on which you, as well as your colleagues, performed autopsies? A. On the skull of the corpse on which I performed an autopsy, there was some sort of gruel-like mass instead of brain in the head, but I never noticed any sign of "pseudo callus." The other delegates - after the explanation of Professor Orsos - likewise did not state that they had found any "pseudo callus" in the other skulls. Even Butz and his co-workers, who had examined the corpses before our arrival, did not mention any sign of "pseudo callus." Later on, in a book which was published by the Germans and which contained the report of Butz, I noticed that Butz referred to "pseudo callus" in order to give more weight to his statement that the corpses had remained in the ground for three years. Q. So, of the 11,000 skulls only one was submitted to you which had "pseudo callus"? A. That is quite correct. Q. I should like you to describe to the Tribunal, in detail, the state of decomposition of the clothing which you found on the corpses. A. In general, the clothing was well preserved, but of course it was damp due to the decomposition of the corpses. When we pulled off the clothing to undress the corpses, or when we tried to take off the shoes, the clothing did not tear, nor did the shoes fall apart in the seams. I even had the impression that this clothing could have been used again, after having been cleaned. There were some papers contained in the pockets of the clothing of the corpse on which I performed the autopsy, and these papers were also impregnated with the dampness of the corpse. Some of the Germans who were present when I was performing the autopsy asked me to describe those papers and their contents; but I refused to do it, thinking that this was not the duty of a doctor. In fact I had already noticed the previous day that with the help of the dates contained in those papers, they were trying to make us think that the corpses had remained in the ground for three years. Therefore, I wanted to base my deductions only on the actual condition of the corpses. Some of the other delegates who performed the autopsy also found some papers in the clothing of the corpses. The papers which had been found in the clothing of the corpse on which I performed the autopsy were put into a cover which bore the same number as the corpse, No. 827. Later on, in the book which was published by the Germans, I noticed that some of the delegates described the contents of the papers which were found on the corpses. [Page 4] Q. I should like you to reply to the following question. On what impartial medico-forensic data did the Commission base the deduction that the corpses had remained in the earth not less than three years? THE PRESIDENT: Will you put the question again? I did not understand the question. COLONEL SMIRNOV: Very well, Mr. President. BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. I asked on what impartial medico-forensic data the deductions of the protocol of the International Medical Commission were based, which stated that the corpses had remained in the ground not less than three years? THE PRESIDENT: Has he said that that was the deduction he made? Not less than three years? THE TRIBUNAL (MR. JUSTICE BIDDLE): He has not said that. THE PRESIDENT: He has not said that at all. He never said that he made the deduction that the corpses remained in the ground not less than three years. COLONEL SMIRNOV: He did not make this deduction; but Professor Markov, together with the other members of the Commission, signed a report of the International Commission. THE PRESIDENT: I know; but that is why I ask you to repeat your question. The question that was translated to us was: on what grounds did you make your deduction that the corpses had remained in the ground not less than three years, which is the opposite of what he said. Now will you put the question again? COLONEL SMIRNOV: Very well. BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. I am not asking you about your personal minutes, witness, but about the general record of the entire Commission. I am asking you on what impartial medico-forensic data the deductions of the entire Commission were based, that the corpses had remained in the ground not less than three years. On the record of the deductions your signature figures among those of the other members of the Commission. THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Now, then, Colonel Smirnov, will you put the question again. COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President. BY COLONEL SMIRNOV: Q. I was asking you on what impartial medico-forensic data the deductions of the Commission were based - not the individual report of Dr. Markov, in which there are no deductions - but the deductions of the entire Commission, that the corpses had remained not less than three years in the ground? A. The collective protocol of the Commission which was signed by all the delegates was very brief as to the real medico-forensic data. Concerning the decomposition of the corpses, it was stated - there was only one sentence in the report on this matter - that the corpses were in various stages of decomposition, but there was no description of the real extent of decomposition. Thus, in my opinion, this deduction was based on papers and on testimony of the witnesses, but not on the actual medico- forensic data. As far as forensic medicine is concerned, they tried to support this deduction by the statement of Professor Orsos regarding the finding of "pseudo-callus" in the skull of corpse No. 526. But, according to my conviction, since this skull was the only one with signs of "pseudo-callus," it was wrong to arrive at a definite conclusion regarding the stage of decomposition of thousands of corpses which were contained in the Katyn [Page 5] graves. Furthermore, the observation of Professor Orsos regarding "pseudo-callus" was made in Hungary; that is to say, under quite different soil and climatic conditions, and withal in individual graves and not in mass graves, as was the case in Katyn. Q. You spoke about the testimony of witnesses. Did the members of the Commission have the opportunity personally to interrogate those witnesses, especially the Russian witnesses? A. We did not have the opportunity of having any contact with the local population. On the contrary, immediately upon our arrival at the hotel in Smolensk, Butz told us that we were in a military zone, and that we did not have the right to walk around in the city without being accompanied by a member of the German Army, or to speak with the inhabitants of the place, or to take photographs. In reality, during the time we were there, we did not have any contact with the inhabitants. On the first day of our arrival in the Katyn woods, that is to say, on 29th April, in the morning, several Russian civilians were brought under German escort into the locality where these graves had been found. Immediately upon our arrival at Smolensk, we were handed some of the depositions of the local witnesses. The depositions were typed. When these witnesses were brought to the Katyn woods, we were told that these witnesses were the ones who gave the testimonies which had been submitted to us. There was no regular interrogation of the witnesses which could have been recorded, or were recorded. Professor Orsos started the conversation with the witnesses and told us that he could speak Russian because he had been a prisoner of war in Russia during the First World War. He began to speak with a man, a quite elderly man, whose name, so far as I can remember, was Kiselov. Then he spoke to the second witness, whose last name, as far as I can remember, was Andreev. This entire conversation lasted a few minutes only. As our Bulgarian language is rather similar to the Russian, I tried also to speak to some of the witnesses. THE PRESIDENT: Do you not think that should be left to cross-examination? Cannot these details be left to cross-examination? COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President.
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