The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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It is difficult to say whether or not that what the
Hitlerites did to the Soviet prisoners of war at the so-
called "Grosslazarett" of the town of Slavuta, in the
Kamenetsk-Podolsk region, should be considered as the limit
of human vileness. Be that as it may, the extermination of
Soviet prisoners of war by the Hitlerites at the
"Grosslazarett" is one of the darkest pages in the annals of
Fascist crime.

I submit to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 5, the report of
the Extraordinary State Commission, and I shall read into
the record several excerpts from the report itself, as well
as from the appendices thereto.

On the expulsion of the Fascist hordes from the town of
Slavuta, units of the Red Army discovered, on the site of
the restricted military area, the establishment which the
Germans called the "Grosslazarett" for Soviet prisoners of
war. Over 500 emaciated, critically sick men were found in
the "Lazarett." The interrogation of these men and the
special investigation carried out by medico-forensic experts
and by experts of the Central Institute for Food, of the
People's Commissariat for Health in the U.S.S.R., led to a
detailed reconstruction of the extermination of an immense
number of Soviet prisoners of war in that appalling

You will find the passage I am about to quote on Page 153 of
the document book:

     "In the autumn of 1941, German Fascist invaders
     occupied the town of Slavuta, where they organised a
     "Lazarett" for wounded and sick officers and men of the
     Red Army, under the name of `Grosslazarett, Slavutu,'"
The "Lazarett" was located about 1 1/2 to 2 kilometres to
the South-east of Slavuta and occupied 10 three-storied
stone buildings. The Hitlerites surrounded all these
buildings by a strong barbed-wire fence. All along the

                                                  [Page 338]
barbed wire 10 metres apart, towers were built, in which
guns, searchlights and guards were placed.

The administrative staff, the German doctors and the guard
of the "Grosslazarett," the latter represented by the
Commanding Officer, Captain Plank (later replaced by Major
Pavlisk), the Deputy Commander, Captain Kronsdorfer, Captain
Noe, Staff-Surgeon Borbe, with his deputy, Dr. Sturm, Master-
Sergeant Ilseman and Technical-Sergeant Bekker, carried out
a mass extermination of Soviet prisoners of war by imposing
a special regime of hunger, overcrowding and unsanitary
conditions, by torture and direct murder, by depriving the
sick and wounded of all medical assistance, and by
subjecting utterly exhausted men to heavy labour.

The Extraordinary State Commission refers to the
"Grosslazarett" as the "Hospital of Death." I shall quote a
short excerpt from a section under the same name. It is on
Page 3 of the Russian original and on Page 153 of the
document book:

The German authorities, at the "Grosslazarett," concentrated
15,000 to 18,000 severely and slightly wounded Soviet
prisoners of war together with prisoners suffering from
various contagious and noncontagious diseases.

To replace the ranks of the dead, fresh batches of sick and
wounded prisoners of war were continually brought in. On the
journey the captives were tortured, starved and murdered.
The Hitlerites threw out hundreds of corpses from each car
of the incoming transports as they reached the "Lazarett."

According to data received from the Investigating
Commission, 800 to 900 dead bodies would be thrown out of
each train as it unloaded at a branch line. A further report
of the Commission states:

     "Thousands of Soviet prisoners on the march perished
     from hunger, thirst, lack of care and the savage club-
     law of the German guards... as a routine practice the
     Hitlerites would greet a group of prisoners at the
     "Lazarett" gates with blows from rifle butts and rubber
     truncheons, after which the new arrivals would be
     stripped of their leather footwear, warm clothing and
     personal belongings."
In the next section, on the same page, the State Commission
reports that infectious diseases were deliberately spread
among the prisoners of war by German medical officers in the

     "In the 'Grosslazarett' the German medical officers
     artificially created an incredible state of
     overcrowding. The prisoners were forced to stand close
     to each other; they succumbed to exhaustion, dropped
     down, and died."
The Fascists resorted to various methods for reducing the
living space in the "Lazarett". A former prisoner of war,
I.Y. Chuazhev, reported that:

     "The Germans, by firing off sub-machine guns, reduced
     the floor space in the 'Lazarett', since the prisoners,
     perforce, pressed more closely to each other; then the
     Hitlerites pushed in more sick and wounded and the door
     was closed."
The premeditated spreading of infectious diseases in this
death camp, derisively named a "Lazarett," was achieved by
extremely primitive means:

     "Patients suffering typhus, tuberculosis, or
     dysentery, severely and lightly wounded cases, were one
     and all put in the same block and the same ward."
In a ward intended, under normal conditions, to hold not
more than 400 patients, the number of typhus and
tuberculosis cases alone amounted to 1800.

     "The rooms were never cleaned. The sick remained, for
     months on end, in the same underlinen in which they
     were captured. They slept on the bare
                                                  [Page 339]
     boards. Many were half-dressed, others entirely naked.
     The buildings were unheated and the primitive stoves,
     constructed by the prisoners themselves, fell to
     pieces. There was no water for washing, not even for
     drinking. As a result of these unsanitary conditions,
     the "hospital" was, to a monstrous extent, overrun by
Annihilation by the premeditated spreading of diseases went
hand in hand with starvation. The daily food ration
consisted of 250 grams of "Ersatz" bread and two litres of
so-called "Balanda." The flour used for baking the bread for
sick and wounded prisoners of war was brought from Germany.
Fifteen tons of flour were discovered in one of the
"Lazarett" storerooms. The factory-packed paper bags
containing 40 kilos each, bore a label with the word
"Spelmehl." Samples of this "Ersatz" flour were sent for
analysis to the Central Food Institute of the People's
Commissariat for Public Health of the U.S.S.R.

I present the document dealing with the annihilation of
Soviet prisoners of war by the Hitlerites in the
"Grosslazarett" as Exhibit USSR 5(a). On Pages 9, 10 and 11
of this document the Tribunal can see the photostat of the
Central Food Institute's report.

This report was established on the one hand, on the basis of
an analysis made by the Field Military Labouratory and, on
the other hand, on the basis of an analysis carried out in
the Central Food Institute itself. Sample bakings of bread
were made from the "Ersatz" flour and from the "Ersatz"
flour mixed with a small addition of real flour. It seems
that it was impossible to bake a loaf with "Ersatz" flour
alone. The Institute's report states:

     "It is evident that the bread was made with the
     addition of a certain quantity of natural flour for
     binding the dough. A diet of this so-called 'bread,' in
     the absence of all other food and food products of a
     full dietetic value, inevitably led to starvation and
     acute inanition."
The analysis proved that the "flour" consisted of nothing
but straws chopped evenly though rather roughly. Some
particles were 2 and some 3 millimetres in length. Under the
microscope, in every optical field of vision (according to
the report) we discovered:

     "Together with food and vegetable fiber, minute
     quantities of grains of starch, resembling grains of
The Institute came to the conclusion that:

     "The use of this bread, owing to the irritant action of
     the soft crumb, resulted in diseases of the digestive
Anticipating a little, I should like to report the results
of the medico-forensic autopsies performed on 112 corpses
exhumed from Site No. 1 and of the external examination of
approximately 500 bodies. In the first instance, inanition
was proved to have caused the death of 96 victims. In the
second case, as stated in the findings (see Page 7)
mentioned in Exhibit USSR 5(a):

     "The fact that inanition was the fundamental cause of
     mortality in the prisoners' camp was likewise proved by
     the results of the external examinations of some 500
     corpses when it was disclosed that the proportion of
     victims, dead of acute inanition, had approached 100
     per cent. ."
A little further on, in the same report, in sub-paragraph
(g) of paragraph 5, the experts, supported by numerous
witnesses, state that the diet in the Slavuta
"Grosslazarett" can be characterized as completely useless
for human consumption. I quote:

     "Bread contained 64 per cent. of sawdust; 'Balanda' was
     made of rotten potatoes with the addition of refuse,
     rat-droppings, etc."
Such prisoners of war who had survived the tyranny of the
Hitler hangmen and had lived to see the liberation of
Slavuta declared (I quote an excerpt from Page 4 of Exhibit
USSR 5, Page 153 of the document book):

                                                  [Page 340]
     "In the 'Grosslazarett' we periodically observed
     outbreaks of a mysterious disease of an unknown nature,
     referred to as 'para-cholera' by the German doctors.
     The appearance of 'para-cholera' was the result of
     barbarous experiments by the German doctors. As
     suddenly as these outbreaks would appear,  as suddenly
     would they vanish. The mortality rate in 'para-cholera'
     rose to 60-80 per cent. German physicians performed
     autopsies on the bodies of some of the victims, and no
     captured Russian medical officers were admitted to
     these autopsies."
In conclusion, it is stated in sub-paragraph 8 of the medico-
forensic expert report (Page 7 of Exhibit USSR 5(a), Page
159 of the document book) that:

     "No objective circumstances can justify the conditions
     under which the prisoners of war were housed in the
     camp. All the more, since it has been revealed by
     thoroughgoing investigations that there were enormous
     food supplies in the German military depots at Slavuta
     and that both medical supplies and surgical bandages
     abounded in the military dispensaries."

The "Grosslazarett" staff included a considerable number of
medical personnel. Nevertheless, according to the statement
of the Government Commission, sick and wounded officers and
men of the Red Army did not receive even the most elementary
medical attention. And how could there be any talk of
medical attention when the entire object of the
"Grosslazarett" was directly opposed to such assistance? The
administration of the "Grosslazarett" not only strove to
destroy the prisoners of war physically, but they also
endeavored to fill the last days of the sick and wounded
with suffering and anguish.

One part of the Commission's statement is entitled "Torture
and shooting of Soviet prisoners of war." I shall read into
the record a passage taken from this part. It is on Page 4,
Exhibit USSR 5, Page 153 of the document book:

     "Soviet prisoners of war in the 'Grosslazarett' were
     subjected to torture and torment, beaten up when food
     was distributed and again when setting out to work.
     Even the dying were not spared by the Fascist
     murderers. The medico-forensic examination of the
     exhumed corpses revealed, among a number of other
     bodies of prisoners of war, the body of a prisoner who,
     in his death agony, had been wounded in the groin with
     a knife. He had been thrown into his grave while still
     alive, with the knife sticking in the wound, and was
     then covered over with earth.
     One method of mass torture in the 'Lazarett' consisted
     in locking the sick and wounded in a detention cell --
     a room without heat and with a concrete floor. The
     prisoners in this cell were left without food for days
     on end and many died there. In order to exhaust the
     prisoners still further, the Hitlerites forced the sick
     and enfeebled patients to run round the 'Lazarett'
     building; those who could not run were flogged almost
     to death. There were many cases where the German guards
     murdered the prisoners just for fun.

     A former prisoner of war, Buchtichyuk, reported how the
     Germans threw the intestines of dead horses on the
     barbed wire surrounding the interior of the camp. When
     the prisoners, maddened with hunger, ran up to the
     barbed wire, the guards opened fire on them with sub-
     machine guns. The witness, Kirsanov, saw one prisoner
     of war bayonetted for picking up a potato tuber. A
     former prisoner of war, Shatalov, was an eye-witness to
     the shooting of a prisoner by his escort merely for
     trying to obtain a second helping of 'Balanda.'

     In February, 1942, Shatalov saw a sentry wound a
     prisoner who was searching the garbage heap for
     remnants of food left over from the kitchen of the
     German personnel; the wounded man was immediately
     brought to the pit, stripped, and executed."

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 14th February, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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