The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Would you be kind enough to relate this to the Tribunal?

A. In June 1943, by order of Metropolitan Alexei, I went to
visit the districts of Old Peterhof and Oranienbaum. From
personal observations and from my conversations with the
members of the church I learned the following, which I know
to be true, and which has all been corroborated later on
when New Peterhof was freed from the German occupation. All
that I shall now relate can be verified.

In Old Peterhof soon after the Germans had destroyed New
Peterhof, within exactly ten days, all churches were
destroyed by the enemy's artillery fire and aircraft. At the
same time the Luftwaffe and German artillery timed their
bombardments so that not only would the churches be
demolished, but the worshippers at those churches who sought
refuge in them be killed as well.

All the churches in Old Peterhof, namely the Znamenska
Church, the Holy Trinity Cemetery Church and the small
Church of Lazarus attached to it, the church-museum at the
Villa of Empress Maria Feodorovna, the Serafimovskij Church
and the Church of the Military Cemetery - all these were
destroyed by the Germans. I can state with certainty that in
the vicinity of the Cemetery Church of the Holy Trinity and
the Lazarus Church, in their crypts, as well as in the
cemetery tombs and vaults of the Znamenska church, more than
5,000 persons perished. The Germans would not let the
survivors come outside. It is easy to picture the sanitary
conditions and the general state of the people, confined in
those church crypts. Air fouled by the crowded human beings,
human excreta, people frightened to death. They fainted,
they grew dizzy; but the slightest attempt on their part to
leave the dank crypts and come out into fresh air, was
punished by shots from the inhuman fascists.

Much time has already passed since then but I remember
especially well one instance, which a close relative of the
victim related to me. A little girl came out of the crypt of
Trinity Church for a breath of fresh air, she was
immediately shot by a German airman. The mother followed the
child wishing to pick her up, but

                                                   [Page 28]

she also fell down, bleeding, on top of the body of her
child. The citizen Pomasheva, who related this to me, is
still alive, and I have seen her many times - she recalls
this incident with horror.

And many were the incidents of that kind.

Q. Tell me, Witness, in the other districts of the Leningrad
Region, did you ever witness the desecration of shrines and
other sacred objects?

A. Yes, for example in Pskov. Pskov presented a horrible
picture of ruins and devastation. I feel that I must recall
to your Honours that Pskov is a museum city, a city of the
relies of the orthodox faith, ornamented by numerous
churches, and situated on the Velikaya river and its

In that city, there were no less than sixty churches of
various sizes and various denominations. Thirty-nine of
these were not only priceless monuments of church
architecture of high artistic value, with beautiful ikons
and frescoes, but also wonderful historical monuments,
reflecting all the greatness and age-long multiform history
of the Russian people. . . . A Kremlin (walled city). . . .
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

Q. Well, what happened to those churches?

A. That is just what I want to relate. Kremlin . . . . The
Holy Trinity Cathedral, with its remarkable altar screen
(Iconostas) . . . . The whole church was plundered by the
German soldiers. Everything was carried out of it, as well
as out of all the other churches in the city. You will find
not even a single tiny ikon left, not a single church
vestment or sacramental vessel - all has been taken away by
the Germans. I almost paid with my life for my visit to this
cathedral. Just half an hour before my arrival a mine
exploded right in front of the altar-gates. The gates were
destroyed: the communion table was spattered with blood.
Before my own eyes I saw three of our Soviet soldiers who
had perished in the explosion, right in front of the altar
screen. Mines were also laid in other places. I could give
other interesting details.

Pskov was liberated from the Germans in August 1944, but on
Epiphany Day in January 1946 another mine exploded, killing
two persons. The church of St. Vasili on the Hill was also
mined. There a mine was laid at the very entrance to the
church. In all the churches the abundance of all kinds of
refuse, dirt, bottles, tins, etc., was strikingly
noticeable. The Cathedral of St. John's Monastery was turned
into a stable by the Germans. In another church, the church
of the Epiphany, they set up a wine-cellar. In a third
church I saw a fuel depot - for coal, turf, etc. But why
speak of individual churches. Wherever we turn, our hearts
bleed at the spectacle of all the suffering, of all the
plunder, wrought by people, who boasted all over Europe
about their culture, who despised mankind while some
proclaimed their belief in God. What kind of faith is

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I have no more questions to
ask the witness.

WITNESS: I would like to ask your permission to say a few
more words about what happened in Leningrad.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: With regard to that, you must ask the

WITNESS: I am slightly diverging from the usual order. I beg
your permission, your Honours.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, go on.

WITNESS: The Church of Nicola Bogoiavlensky is the Cathedral
of Leningrad. The Metropolitan Alexei lived at this church
during the siege. Since I served there, from July 1942 to
the end of the war, I witnessed on numerous occasions,
artillery fire directed at the Cathedral. One wonders what
kind of military objective those 'heroic' warriors could
find in our holy church! On high feast days or ordinary
Sundays, immediately the artillery fire would begin. And

                                                   [Page 29]

fire! In the first week of Lent in 1943, from the early
morning until late at night, neither we the clergy nor the
worshippers praying in the church could possibly leave it.
Outside was death and destruction. With my own eyes, I saw
some fifty persons - I do not know exactly how many -
members of my congregation, killed near the church. They
tried to leave in haste before the "all-clear" signal, and
death met them. In this sacred cathedral I had to bury
thousands of persons torn to pieces, victims of the
predatory raids of the air force and artillery. An ocean of
tears was shed here during the memorial services.

During one of the bombardments, His Grace the Metropolitan
Alexei, escaped death by a hair's breadth, as several shell
fragments smashed his cell.

I would just like to add, not wishing to take up too much of
your time, that it is a remarkable thing that the most
intensive artillery fire always took place on feast days.
The Houses of God, tramway stops and hospitals seemed to be
the special target of the German air force and artillery.
The homes of peaceful citizens were bombed.

It would take too long, your Honours, to relate everything
which I saw during these grim days of blood and suffering.

But I just want to say in conclusion that the Russian people
and the people of Leningrad have fulfilled their duty to
their Fatherland. In spite of the heavy artillery fire and
raids of the Luftwaffe, there was great efficiency and
order, and the Orthodox Church shared in this suffering. By
prayer and preaching of God's word, she tried to bring
consolation and give courage to the faithful. She has laid
an unsparing sacrifice on the altars of the Fatherland.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have no more questions to ask the
witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other members of the
prosecution wish to ask any questions?

(The answer was in the negative.)

Do any of the defendants' counsel wish to ask any questions?

(The answer was in the negative.)

Then the witness can retire.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Your Honours, in his Note of 6th January,
1942, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR
declared that the Soviet Government considered it a duty of
conscience to inform the "entire civilised world and all
honest people throughout the world" of the monstrous crimes
committed by the Hitlerite bandits.

In the battles of this war, the greatest ever fought by men,
millions of honest people achieved victory over Fascist
Germany. The will of millions of honest people created this
International Tribunal for the purpose of judging the War
Criminals. Behind him each representative of the prosecution
feels the invisible support of these millions of honest
people, in whose name he accuses the leaders of the Fascist

The honour of concluding the presentation of the evidence
submitted by the Soviet prosecution has fallen to my lot.

I know that at this very moment millions of citizens of my
country and with them millions of honest persons throughout
the world await your just and speedy verdict. May I conclude
with this.

MR. DODD: May it please the Tribunal, I have a few matters
that will take just a very few minutes, with respect to the

In the course of the presentation of the 23rd day of
November, 1945, pertaining to the economic aspects of the
conspiracy, certain documents were read from, but they were
not formally offered in evidence. At the time the Tribunal

                                                   [Page 30]

that sufficient time had not been allowed counsel for the
defence to make an examination of these documents, and we
did not offer them, and said instead that we would make them
available in the defendants' Information Centre. We did so,
and they have been there ever since. They should be formally
offered and as the extracts were read, there is no necessity
for going through that again. They are as follows:

The first one referred to in the record was one bearing the
number EC-14, which we offer as Exhibit USA 758. Extracts
from this document were quoted on Page 137, Part I of the

The next one is EC-27, which we offer as Exhibit USA 759.
Extracts from this document were quoted on Page 129, Part I
of the record.

The third one isEC-28, which we offer as Exhibit USA 760;
extracts from this document were quoted on Page 127, Part I
of the record.

EC-174 was quoted from on Page 141, Part I of the record. We
offer that as Exhibit USA 761.

EC-252. Extracts from it were quoted on Page 140, Part I of
the record. We offer it as Exhibit USA 762.

EC-257. Extracts from this document were quoted on Page 140,
Part I of the record. We offer it as Exhibit USA 763

EC-404- We summarised and quoted from this document on Page
134, Part I of the record. We now offer it as Exhibit USA

D-157 was read from, on Page 133, Part I of the record, and
we now offer it as Exhibit USA 765.

D-167 was summarised, and also extracts were quoted from it
on Page 138 of the record, and we offer it as Exhibit USA

D-203. Extracts from it were quoted on Pages 131 to 132,
Part I of the record, and we offer it as Exhibit USA 767.

D-204, which was quoted from on Pages 132 and 133, Part I of
the record, is offered as Exhibit USA 768.

D-206. Extracts from this paper were quoted on Page 138,
Part I of the record, and it is offered as Exhibit USA 769.

Document D-317. Extracts were quoted from it on Pages 133
and 134, Part I of the record, and we offer it as Exhibit
USA 770.

In addition to these documents, Lieutenant Bryson, who
presented the case for the prosecution against the
individual defendant Schacht, offered in evidence Documents
EC-437 and 258 in their entirety, on the condition that the
French and Russian translations subsequently be filed with
the Tribunal. Now EC-437 was submitted as Exhibit USA 624,
and EC-258 was submitted as Exhibit USA 625, and the
Tribunal ruled on Page 178 (Part 4) of the record that the
documents would be received in their entirety only after the
translations had been completed. Copies of these documents
in all four languages have been filed with the Tribunal, and
in the defendants' Information Centre, and that was done a
few weeks ago and in accordance, therefore with the ruling
of the Tribunal, we now offer these documents in evidence in
their entirely, and we assume that they will retain the
numbers Exhibit USA 624, and Exhibit USA 625.

Also in the Trial Brief on the individual responsibility of
the defendant Schacht, which was recently submitted to the
Tribunal and to the defendants' counsel, reference is made
to a few documents which have not already, been offered in
evidence. I think there is no necessity for taking the time
of the Tribunal to read from these documents, and instead we
have had pertinent extracts made available in German and
French, Russian and English. Copies in all the four
languages have already been distributed to the Tribunal, and
placed in the defendants' Information Centre. They are these
documents, and we ask that they be received in evidence.
They are EC-384, which we offer as Exhibit USA 771, and EC-
406, offered as Exhibit USA 772. EC-456 offered as Exhibit
USA 773. EC-495 offered as Exhibit USA 774. EC-497 offered
as Exhibit USA 775 and in

                                                   [Page 31]

addition an interrogation of the defendant Schacht, dated
11th July, 1945, which is one of those referred to in the
Trial Brief, as Exhibit USA 776, and finally, with respect
to the economic aspect of this person, we respectfully ask
that the secret minutes of the meeting of the Ministers,
dated 30th May, 1936, which are included in the set of
Documents 1301-PS, and submitted as Exhibit USA 123, be
received in evidence in their entirety. These minutes have
been made available to the Tribunal, and the defendants'
counsel, in all four languages.

I also wish to refer to Document 1639-PS, which we offer as

PROF. KRAUS (for the defendant Schacht): the prosecution
have just asked that a number of documents concerning the
defendant Schacht be accepted in evidence, and they have to
offer them at this time. These documents are contained in a
supplementary volume which we received after the case
against the defendant Schacht had been finished, a
considerable time afterwards.

I do not intend to protest against this procedure; but in my
opinion if this procedure is approved by the Tribunal it
follows that defence counsel are also entitled to offer
evidentiary material on behalf of their clients, even after
this case has been concluded, and at the very end of the
presentation of evidence. Thus we feel that such evidentiary
material, i.e., in particular, documents can still be
submitted on behalf of our clients.

It is necessary, however, that we should be in a position to
present witnesses also later on, and I should like to ask
the Tribunal for instructions.

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