The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/ukraine/byelaya-tserkov/massacre-of-children

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: The Massacre of the Children of Byelaya Tserkov 
Followup-To: alt.revisionism

"Byelaya Tserkov (Bialacerkiew) is a Ukranian village, 70 km from Kiev. 
In August 1941 the Feldkommodant of the Byelaya Tserkov requested the
intervention of Sonderkommando (SK) 4a (Einsatzgruppe) to kill its
Jewish inhabitants.  The extermination orders were received by a unit
(Teilkommando) of SK 4a which was under the command of
SS_Obersturmfuhrer August Hafner.  The unit consisted of regular members
of SK 4a and a platoon from 3rd Company, SS Special Operations Battalion
(Waffen-SS) under the command of SS-Oberscharfuhrer Jager.  Between 8
and 19 August the Waffe-SS Platoon--with the help of the Ukranian
militia--executed several hundred Jewish men and women by firing squad. 
Scene of the crime: a rifle-range near the barracks.

"The children of those murdered were initially locked up in a
building on the edge of the village. On the evening of 19 August some of
the children were transported in three full lorry-loads to the
rifle-range and killed there.  Some 90 children were kept back in
wretched conditions.  The following day, 20 August, the Catholic
Military Chaplain, Ernst Tewes and his Protestant colleague, Gerhardt
Wilczek, were having lunch together in the mess.  Both were  soldiers of
officer rank.  A distraught non-commissioned officer came and pleaded 
with Tewes (who was ordained a bishop after the war) to take 'remedial

"The military chaplains visited the children and informed the
divisional chaplain of 295th Infantry Division (ID) who was in the area
for a few days.  Then the Catholic divisional chaplain, Dr. Ruess (who
was ordained Bishop in Mainz after the war) and his Protestant colleague
Kornmann (presumed dead), together with Tewes and Wilczek, visited the
awful scene.  In the afternoon divisional chaplains Dr. Ruess and
Kornmann reported to the Generalstabsoffizier of the division, Lt.
Colonel Helmuth Groscurth (killed in action) on their visit." (Klee,

Report after report can be read: 

From Military Chaplain, Dr Ruess to Lieutenant-Colonel Groscurth, 1st
Generalstabsoffizier, 295th Infantry Division: ". . . In the courtyard
in front of the house the crying and whimpering of the children could be
heard very loudly.  Outside there were a Ukranian militiaman keeping
guard with a rifle, a number of German soldiers and several young
Ukranian girls.  We immediately entered the house unobstructed and in
two rooms found some ninety (I counted them) children aged form a few
months to five, six or seven years old. There was no kind of supervision
by the Wehrmacht of other German authorities." (Ibid., 142)

". . .The children lay or sat on the floor which was covered in their
feces...the stench was terrible.  The small children, especially those
that were only a few months old, were crying and whimpering
continuously. . .), (Ibid.)

From Wehrmachtoberpfarrer Kornmann: ". . . I went to the house in
question and saw the children lying and sitting about in two small
rooms.  They were partly lying in their own filth, there was not a
single drop of drinking water and the children were suffering greatly
due to the heat... [Klee, Dressen, Riess p. 144] . . . As I considered
it highly undesirable that such things should take place in full view of
the public eye, I hereby submit this report." (Ibid.)

From Groscurth to C-in-C Sixth Army, Field Marshall von Reichenau: "I
then requested that the area around the house be sealed off so that the
troops would have no possibility whatsoever of seeing what was happening
inside. . ." ) [Klee, Dressen, Riess p. 146}. . . When we discussed what
further measures should be taken the Standartenfuhrer declared that the
Herr Oberbefehlshaber recognized the necessity of eliminating the
children and wished to be informed once this had been carried out. . . "
Ibid., 149)
Report by military chaplains Tewes and Wilczek on how they tried
unsuccessfully to talk to the senior officer and why they did nothing to
feed the children (It was not that we wanted to protect our own lives. 
It was also not the case that if someone had refused to carry out and
order he would have immediately been put against the wall. . ." (Ibid.,

Memo by von Reichenau: ". . . It would have been better if the report
[by Groscruth] had never been written." (Ibid., 153)

Finally a statement by SS-Obersturmfuhrer August Hafner on the killing
of the children: "...Then Blobel [his superior] ordered me to have the
children executed ....The children were taken down from the tractor. 
They were lined up along the top of the grave and shot so that they fell
into it.  The wailing was indescribable. I shall never forget the scene
throughout my life. I find it very hard to bear.  I particularly
remember a small fair-haired girl who took me by the hand.  She too was
shot later... Many children were hit 4 or 5 times before they died."
(Ibid., 154)

                             Work Cited 

Klee, Ernst, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess editors. The Good Old Days: 
   The Holocaust as seen by its perpetrators and bystanders. New York: 
   The Free Press 1988. ISBN 0-72-917425-2 

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