The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/10/17

I present to the Court, as our Exhibit USSR 51, a Note
submitted by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People's
Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R., dated 25th
November, 1941, concerning the outrageous atrocities
committed by the German authorities against Soviet prisoners
of war; and I quote several extracts from this note, which
you will find on Page 5 of the document presented to you:

     "The Soviet Government is in possession of numerous
     facts testifying to the systematic outrages and
     atrocities committed by the German authorities against
     Red Army soldiers and against commanders of the Red
     Army. Lately these facts have become particularly
     numerous and have positively cried to high heaven,
     thereby revealing once again the German war machine and
     the German Government as a gang of bandits who utterly
     ignored all codes of International Law and all laws of
     human ethics.
     The Soviet Military Command is aware of numerous cases
     of the subjection of captured Red Army men, the
     majority of them wounded, to savage torture, ill-usage,
     and death at the hands of the German Military Command
     and German military units. Captured Red Army men are
     tortured with bars of red-hot iron; their eyes are
     gouged out, their feet, hands, fingers, ears and noses
     are hacked off, their stomachs ripped open, and they
     are tied to tanks and torn asunder. Enormities and
     shameful crimes of this sort are committed by German
     Fascist officers and men along the whole front,
     wherever they may be and wherever men and commanders of
     the Red Army fall into their hands.
     For example, in the Ukrainian S.S.R., on the Island of
     Khortitsa, on the Dnieper, after the German troops were
     forced to retreat by the Red Army, the bodies of
     captured Red Army soldiers who had been tortured by the
     Germans were found. The prisoners' hands had been cut
     off, their eyes gouged out, their stomachs ripped open.
     In a South-westerly direction, in the village of Repki
     in the Ukraine, after the Germans had retreated from
     the positions they had occupied, the bodies of
     Battalion Commander Bobrov, Political Officer
     Pyatigorsky, and two privates were found. Their arms
     and legs had been nailed to stakes, and on their bodies
     five-pointed stars had been cut with red-hot knives.
     The faces of the dead men were cut and burnt. Near
     these bodies was found the body of a Red Army man
                                                  [Page 303]
     whom the Germans had captured the previous day. His
     feet were burnt and his ears were cut off. When our
     units captured the village of Kholmy on the North-
     western front, the mutilated bodies of Red Army men
     were found. One of these had been thrown into a
     bonfire. This was Private Adrei Ossipov of the Kazak
     At Greigovo Station (Ukrainian S.S.R.), German units
     captured a small group of Red Army men and kept them
     without food or drink for several days. A number of the
     prisoners had their ears slashed off, eyes gouged out,
     and hands cut off, after which they had been run
     through with bayonets. In July of this year, at
     Schumilino Station, German units captured a group of
     severely wounded Red Army men and put them to death on
     the spot. In the same month, in the vicinity of the
     town of Borisov, (Byelorussian S.S.R.), the Hitlerites
     captured 70 severely wounded Red Army men and poisoned
     them all with arsenic. In August, near the township of
     Zabolotye, the Germans captured 17 severely wounded Red
     Army men on the battlefield. For three days they gave
     them no food. The 17 men, their wounds still bleeding,
     were then tied to telegraph posts, as a result of which
     three of them died. The remaining 14 were saved from
     certain death by the timely arrival of a Soviet tank
     unit commanded by Senior Lieutenant Rybin. In the
     village of Lagutino, in the vicinity of Bryansk, the
     Germans tied a Red Army man to two tanks and tore him
     to pieces. At a point west of Bryansk, not far from the
     Krasni Oktyabr Collective Farm, 11 charred bodies of
     men and officers of the Red Army captured by the
     Fascists were found. The arms and back of one of these
     Red Army men bore traces of torture with a red-hot iron
     There are a number of cases on record where the German
     Command has driven captured Red Army men in front of
     their advancing columns, during an attack, on pain of
     shooting. Such cases in particular have been registered
     in the vicinity of the Vybor State Farm, in the
     Leningrad region; in the vicinity of Yelna, in the
     Smolensk region; in the Gomel region of the
     Byelorussian S.S.R.; in the Poltava region of the
     Ukrainian S.S.R.,  and in a number of other places.
     Wounded and sick Red Army men in hospitals which fell
     into the hands of the German invaders were also
     systematically subjected to outrageous indignities,
     torture, and savage ill-usage. On innumerable occasions
     defenceless sick and wounded Red Army men in hospitals
     have been bayoneted or shot on the spot by the Fascist
     fiends. Thus, at Malaya Rudnya, in the Smolensk Region,
     Fascist-German units captured a Soviet field hospital
     and shot the wounded Red Army men, and the male and
     female hospital attendants. Among the victims were
     Privates Shalamov and Asimov and Lieutenant Dileyev,
     who were wounded, and Varya Boiko, a 17-year-old
     hospital attendant, and others.
     There have been numerous cases of the abuse and
     violation of woman's honour when female hospital nurses
     and hospital workers fell into the hands of the
     Hitlerite invaders."

There are many similar facts in the same note. Then it

     "Marauding is rife among the men and officers of the
     Hitler Army. When the cold winter weather set in,
     marauding assumed a mass character, the Hitlerite
     robbers stopping at nothing in their quest of war
     clothing. They not only strip warm clothes and boots
     from the dead bodies of Soviet soldiers; but divest
     wounded men of literally all their warm clothing --
     felt boots, boots, socks, jerseys, quilted jackets, and
     warm caps -- leaving them stark naked. They put on
     everything, even women's warm clothing taken from
     killed or wounded hospital nurses.
                                                  [Page 304]
     Red Army prisoners are starved to death; they were left
     without food for weeks or issued infinitesimal rations
     of mouldy bread or rotten potatoes. Depriving the
     Soviet prisoners of war of food, the Hitlerites compel
     them to rake the garbage cans for remnants of food
     which the German soldiers had thrown out or, as
     happened in a number of camps, including the camp at
     the hamlet of Malaya Korma (Byelorussian S.S.R.), they
     fling the carcasses of horses over the barbed-wire
     fence to the Soviet prisoners of war. In the Vitebsk
     Camp, in Byelorussia, the Red Army prisoners received
     almost no food at all for four months. When a group of
     Red Army prisoners sent to the German Command a written
     request for food to keep them alive, a German officer
     inquired as to who wrote the statement. Five Red Army
     men who affirmed that they had written it were shot on
     the spot.
     Similar cases of unbridled tyranny and brutality are to
     be observed in other camps, Zhitkiv, Demyan, and
     The German authorities and the German Government have
     established a savage regime in the camps for Soviet
     prisoners of war, with the object of exterminating the
     Soviet prisoners of war en masse. The German High
     Command and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture have
     issued a regulation establishing a food ration for
     Soviet prisoners of war far inferior in quantity and
     quality to that for prisoners of war of other
     countries. This ration consists of 6000 grams of bread
     and 400 grams of meat per month, which dooms the Soviet
     prisoners of war to a painful death from starvation.
     While enforcing this disgraceful and obviously unlawful
     regime for Soviet prisoners of war with inhuman
     cruelty, the German Government is doing its utmost to
     conceal from the public the regulation it issued on
     this question. Thus, in reply to an inquiry made by the
     Soviet Government, the Swedish Government stated that
     the information concerning the aforesaid regulation of
     the German Government published in the European and
     American Press was correct, but that the text of this
     regulation had not been published and was therefore not
The regulation which had not been available for the Swedish
Government in the autumn of 1941 has now become available
for the International Military Tribunal.

I assume that a very important circumstance is that these
regulations were distributed through two channels: The High
Command and the Nazi Party. In such a way, the extermination
by starvation of the Soviet prisoners of war captured by the
Germans had been planned and carried out both by the German
High Command and by the Nazi Party.

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