The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The confession of Kunze, concerning the motives for which
the military authorities directed invalids to the camp for
treatment by "special regime," is of particular value. He
frankly states that the cause of it was their physical
condition, which had rendered them unfit for any kind of
work. In this connection I submit a series of documents to
the Tribunal. They show that only from the point of view of
obtaining slaves were the representatives of the German
Command and the German authorities occasionally interested
in the prisoners of war. You have in your possession a
circular of the High Command of the Armed Forces to the
effect that Soviet prisoners of war should be branded, and
that this branding would not be considered as a medical
measure. I am submitting to you another equally shameful
document. It bears the following identifying marks: "AS2F 2
482N Commander of Camps for Prisoners of War No. 3142/42
Berlin, Schoeneberg, 20.7.1942. 51 Badensche Strasse." This
document is Exhibit USSR 343. I will not read it in full. It
identically resembles those which I have already read into
the record.

But it is characteristic of the extent to which the
Hitlerite conspirators had abandoned the thesis "a State can
do everything which is necessary to hold prisoners of war in
their own safe-keeping, but it cannot do anything more."

A regime based on hard labour, on an unending stream of
insult and torture, drove Soviet people to manifestations of
stark despair, such as attacks on camp guards who were armed
to the teeth. We know of such truly heroic deeds.
Testimonies of eye-witnesses are in our hands. I am
submitting to you, as Exhibit USSR 314, the personally
written testimony of the witness Lamp (you interrogated him
a few days ago in this Court) together with the testimony of
the witness Rikal -- our Exhibit USSR 315. I will read out
such passages of the testimony as appear on Page 348 of your
document book. These witnesses reported that in the
beginning of February, 1945, in the extermination camp of
Mauthausen, 800 Red Army prisoners of war who were interned
there, had broken out of the fascist hell after first
disarming the guards and piercing the electrified barbed
wire. Lamp testifies how brutally the S.S. treated those
whom they were able to recapture. I am quoting a few lines:-

     "All those who returned to the Stalag were
     savagely tortured and then shot. I myself saw the
     escaped prisoners, who were being brought back to
     block No. 20." (I wish to interpolate that Block
     20 was the death block.) "They were beaten and the
     head of one of them was badly bleeding. They were
     followed by ten S.S. men, among whom were three or
     four officers. They carried whips and were
     laughing loudly, giving the impression of
     pleasurably anticipating the tortures they were
     going to inflict upon the three unfortunate
     prisoners. The courage of the insurgents and the
     cruelty of the repression have left an undying
     impression on all the internees of Mauthausen. "
The fascist conspirators behaved with equal hatred toward
all Soviet citizens. If any altercations ever arose among
them, they would only be in connection with the methods of
destruction to be inflicted on their victims. Some strove to
kill off the prisoners immediately; others deemed it wiser
to exploit their prisoners' blood

                                                    [Page 9]
and strength in the mills, factories, military workshops,
and in the construction of military undertakings.

Any long war is responsible for labour shortage in industry
and agriculture. Fascist Germany solved this problem by
importing white male and female slaves. The greatest No. of
them were prisoners of war. They were sent to heavy labour,
where masses perished from exhaustion, overwork, hunger, and
savage treatment by the guards.

I submit to the Tribunal Document No. 744-PS, and quote the
following three paragraphs:--

     "To carry out the augmented iron and steel
     industry programme, the Fuehrer ordered on 7th
     July that a sufficient coal supply be guaranteed
     and that prisoners of war be utilized for this
I am omitting several sentences from the documents dealing
with the technicalities of this question and quote Point 2
of this directive:

     "2. All Soviet prisoners of war, captured since
     5th July, 1943, are to be sent to the O.K.W. camps
     and from there directly, or by way of labour
     exchanges, put at the disposal of the General
     Plenipotentiary for the Utilization of Labour, for
     use in the coal mining industry."
The fourth point is of special interest. It contains a
definite directive on how to convert all men between the
ages of 16-55 into prisoners of war.

I quote Point 4:--

     "4. All male prisoners between the ages of sixteen
     and fifty-five, captured in battles with the
     partisans in the operational area of the Army, of
     the eastern Commissariats, of the Government
     General and of the Balkans, are to be regarded as
     prisoners of war. The same applies to men in newly
     conquered districts of the East. They must be sent
     to the prisoner of war camps and thence to work in
The second Document, 744-PS, issued by the Chief of the
O.K.W. on 8th July, 1943, duplicates this directive. The
document is signed by Keitel. There is a postscript to the
text of the document which was also signed by Keitel. It is
addressed to all the higher authorities of the S.S. and is
signed by Himmler. The text has already been read into the
record on 20th December, 1945; I shall therefore refer only
to the contents. It concerns the transportation of children,
old people, and of young women. Himmler indicates how and by
what methods they should be sent to Germany through
Sauckel's organisation. In this case, too, Himmler, Keitel,
and Sauckel act in perfect agreement, almost as a single

I consider Exhibit USSR 354 to be of primary importance. It
is a report on the prison camp in Minsk. The report was
compiled in Rosenberg's office on 10th July, 1941.

THE PRESIDENT: Has it been put in already?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: This document has not yet been read into
the record. Permit me, Your Honor, to read a few excerpts. I
quote Page 183:--

     "The prison camp in Minsk, covering a space about
     the size of the Wilhelmsplatz, accommodates about
     100,000 prisoners of war and 40,000 civilian
     prisoners. The prisoners, crowded together in this
     small space, can hardly move, and are therefore
     forced to relieve nature at the very place where
     they happen to be. The camp is guarded by a detail
     of soldiers on active duty, of company strength.
     Due to the small strength of the guard detailed,
     the watch over the camp can only be accomplished
     by the application of brute force."
I omit a paragraph and turn to the page which continues the
original idea:--

     "The only possible language for a small guard,
     which remains on duty both day and night, without
     being relieved, is the firearm, of which ruthless
     use is made."
Next, the authors of this document complain about the
impossibility of carrying

                                                   [Page 10]
out the selection of prisoners according to physical and
racial classification for various forms of labour. On the
second day after the beginning of this selection, the
measure was forbidden. I quote:--

     "Reference is being made to an order of General
     Field Marshal Kluge, according to which he alone
     had the right to release civilian prisoners."
I shall read into the record two documents demonstrating how
the Hitlerites, in their hatred of the Soviet people,
considered the regime of bestial cruelty and systematic
insults which they had set up for the Soviet prisoners of
war as being too mild, and demanded hat it be made still
more severe.

On 29th January, 1943, an order was issued on the "Rights of
Self Defence against the Prisoners of War," under the
signature of the Chief of the O.K.H. This order bears the
No. 3868/42-S, and is registered by the USA Delegation as
Document 696-PS. We submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit No.
USSR 355, since it has not been read into the record. I
shall read a few short extracts from this document. You will
find the passage quoted on Page 185 of your document book.
It starts as follows:--

     "The military organisations and the organisations
     of the National-Socialist Party have, on numerous
     occasions, raised the question of the treatment of
     the prisoners of war, and they are of the opinion
     that the punishments provided for by the 1929
     Agreement are inadequate."
This document explains that the previous agreement,
regarding the treatment of all prisoners of war, with the
exception of Soviet nationals, remains in force. The order
No. 389/42-S issued by the O.K.W. Section for Prisoners of
War Affairs, determines the treatment of the latter. This
order was issued on 24th March, 1942.

The second document is the circular of the Nazi Party
Bureau, submitted as No. 12/43-S. This circular, signed by
Bormann, was issued by the chief of the Party Bureau, at the
Fuehrer's main headquarters on 12th February, 1943.

The circular was sent out by the Reichsfuehrer to the
Gauleiter and to the commanding officers of military units.
It speaks of secret order No. 3868/42-S of the Chief of the
General Staff. It is therefore proved once more, and proved
beyond any manner of doubt, that the leaders of the Nazi
Party and the military command bear equal responsibility for
the atrocities perpetrated on the Soviet prisoners of war.

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