The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 17, 1945 to January 4, 1946

Twenty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, 2nd January, 1946
(Part 1 of 9)

[Page 199]

THE PRESIDENT: I call on the Counsel for the United States.

COLONEL STOREY : If the Tribunal please, when your Honours adjourned on 20th December we were presenting the Gestapo, and had referred to the use of the death vans by the Einsatz Groups in the Eastern Occupied Territories and had almost concluded that phase of the presentation. Your Honours will recall that we had referred to the use of some death vans made by the Saurer Works, and the final reference that I want to make in that connection is to a telegram attached to Document 501-PS, which it is not necessary to read, establishing the fact that the same make of truck or vans was the death van used by the Einsatz Groups.

The final document in connection with the Einsatz Groups in the Eastern Occupied Territories which we desire to offer is Document 2992-PS, and I believe it is in the second volume of the Document Book. This is an affidavit made by Hermann Graebe. Hermann Gratbe is at present employed by the United States Government in Frankfurt. The affidavit was made at Wiesbaden, and I offer excerpts from Document 2992-PS, Exhibit USA 494.

This witness was at the head of a construction firm that was doing some building in the Ukraine and he was an eye-witness of the anti-Jewish actions at the town of Rowno, Ukraine, on 13th July, 1942, and I refer to the part of the affidavit which is on Page 5 of the English translation. Beginning at the first paragraph :

"From September, 1941, until January, 1944, I was manager and engineer-in-charge of a branch office in Sdolbunow, Ukraine, of the Solingen building firm of Josef Jung. In this capacity it was my job to visit the building sites of the firm. The firm had, among others, a site in Rowno, Ukraine.

During the night of 13th July, 1942, all inhabitants of the Rowno Ghetto, where there were still about 5,000 Jews, were liquidated.

I should describe the circumstances of my being a witness of the dissolution of the Ghetto and the carrying out of the pogrom during the night and morning, as follows :

I employed for the firm, in Rowno, in addition to Poles, Germans and Ukrainians, about 100 Jews from Sdolbunow, Ostrog and Mysotch. The men were quartered in a building, 5 Bahnhofstrasse, inside the Ghetto, and the women in a house at the corner of Deutsche Strasse, 98.

On Saturday, mth July, 1942, my foreman, Fritz Einsporn, told me of a rumour that on Monday all Jews in Rowno were to be liquidated. Although the vast majority of the Jews employed by my firm in Rowno were not natives of this town, I still feared that they might be included in this pogrom which had been reported. I therefore ordered Einsporn at noon of the same day to march all the Jews employed by us - men

[Page 200]

as well as women - in the direction of Sdolbunow, about 12 km. from Rowno. This was done.

The senior Jew had learned of the departure of the Jewish workers of my firm. He went to see the Commanding Officer of the Rowne, Sipo and S.D., S.S. Major (S.S. Sturmbannfuehrer) Dr. Putz. as early as Saturday afternoon to find out whether the rumour of a forthcoming Jewish pogrom - which had gained further credence by reason of the departure of Jews of my firm - was true. Dr. Putz dismissed the rumour as a clumsy lie and, for the rest, had the Polish personnel of my firm in Rowno arrested. Einsporn avoided arrest by escaping to Sdolbunow. When I learned of this incident I gave orders that all Jews who had left Rowno were to report back to work in Rowno on Monday, 13th July, 1942. On Monday morning I myself went to see the Commanding Officer, Dr. Putz, in order to learn, for one thing, the truth about the rumoured Jewish pogrom and, for another, to obtain information on the arrest of the Polish office personnel. S.S. Major Putz stated to me that no pogrom whatever was planned. Moreover, such a pogrom would be stupid because the firms and the Reichsbahn would lose valuable workers.

An hour later I received a summons to appear before the Area Commissioner of Rowno. His deputy Stabsleiter and Cadet Officer Beck, subjected me to the same questions as I had undergone at the S.D. My explanation that I had sent the Jews home for urgent delousing appeared plausible to him. He then told me - making me promise to keep it a secret - that a pogrom would, in fact, take place in the evening of Monday, 13th July, 1945. After lengthy negotiation I managed to persuade him to give me permission to take my Jewish workers to Sdolbunow - but only after the pogrom had been carried out. During the night it would be up to me to protect the house in the Ghetto against the entry of Ukrainian Militia and S.S. As confirmation of the discussion he gave me a document, which stated that the Jewish employees of Messrs. Jung were not affected by the pogrom."

And this original which I hold in my hand, I will now pass to the translator for reading. I call the attention of your Honour to the fact that it has the letterhead of "Der Gebietskommissar in Rowno," and it is dated 13th July, 1942, and is signed by this area commissioner. I now read this document :
"The Area Commissioner " - which means Gebietskommissar - Rownno.

Addressed : Messrs. Jung, Rowno.

The Jewish workers employed by your firm are not affected by the pogrom " -- in parenthesis "Aktion."

As I understand, that means action.
"You must transfer them to their new place of work by Wednesday, 15th July, 1942, at the latest."
Signed by the Area Commissioner Beck. And then the stamp - the official stamp of the area commissioner at Rowno.

Now, just the following paragraph on the original, Page 5 or 6, I believe it is, one more paragraph 1 would like to read after the reference "Original attached ":

"On the evening of this day I drove to Rowno and posted myself with Fritz Einsporn in front of the house in the Bahnhoffstrasse in

[Page 201]

which the Jewish workers of my firm slept. Shortly after 22.00 hours the Ghetto was encircled by a large S.S. detachment and about three times as many members of the Ukrainian Militia. Then the electric arclights which had been erected in and around the Ghetto were switched on. S.S. and Militia squads of 4 to 6 men entered or at least tried to enter the house. Where the doors and windows were closed and the inhabitants did not open at the knocking, the S.S. men and Militia broke the windows, forced the doors with beams and crowbars and entered the houses. The people living there were driven into the street just as they were, regardless of whether they were dressed or in bed. Since the Jews in most cases refused to leave their houses and resisted, the S.S. and Militia applied force. They finally succeeded, with strokes of the whip, kicks and blows with rifle butts in clearing the houses. The people were driven out of their houses in such haste that in several instances, small children in bed had been left behind. In the streets women cried out for their children and children for their parents. That did not prevent the S.S. from driving the people along the road, at running pace, and hitting them, until they reached a waiting freight train. Car after car was filled, and the screaming of women and children, and the cracking of whips and rifle shots resounded unceasingly.

Since several families or groups had barricaded themselves in especially strong buildings and the doors could not be forced with crowbars or beams, these houses were now blown open with hand grenades. Since the Ghetto was near the railroad tracks in Rowno, the younger people tried to get across the tracks and over a small river, to get away from the Ghetto area. As this stretch of country was beyond the range of the electric lights, it was illuminated by signal rockets. All through the night these beaten, hounded and wounded people moved along the lighted streets. Women carried their dead children in their arms, children pulled and dragged their dead parents by their arms and legs down the road toward the train. Again and again the cries 'Open the door!' ' Open the door!' echoed through the Ghetto."

1 will not read any more of this affidavit. It is a very long one. There is also a second affidavit, but the part I wanted to emphasise is the fact that the original exemption was signed by the Area Commissioner, and that the S.D. and the S.S. participated in this action.

THE PRESIDENT: Ought you not to read the rest of that page, Colonel Storey?

COLONEL STOREY: All right, sir. I really had eliminated that because I thought it might be cumulative.

"About 6 o'clock in the morning I went away for a moment, leaving behind Einsporn and several other German workers who had returned in the meantime. I thought the greatest danger was past and that I could risk it. Shortly after I left, Ukrainian Militia men forced their way into 5 Bahnhoffstrasse and brought seven Jews out and took them to a collecting point inside the Ghetto. On my return I was able to prevent further Jews from being taken out. I went to the collecting point to save these seven men. I saw dozens of corpses of all ages and both sexes in the streets I had to walk along. The doors of the houses stood open, windows were smashed. Pieces of clothing, shoes, stockings, jackets, caps, hats, coats, etc., were lying in the street. At the

[Page 202]

corner of a house lay a baby, less than a year old, with his skull crushed. Blood and brains were spattered over the house wall and covered the area immediately around the child. The child was dressed only in a little shirt. The commander, S.S. Major Putz, was walking up and down a row of about 80 - 100 male Jews who were crouching on the ground. He had a heavy dog whip in his hand. I walked up to him, showed him the written permit of Stabsleiter Beck, and demanded the seven men whom I recognised among those who were crouching on the ground. Dr. Putz was furious about Beck's concession and nothing could persuade him to release the seven men. He made a motion with his hand encircling the square and said that anyone who was once here would not get away. Although he was very angry with Beck, he ordered me to take the people from 5 Bahnhofstrasse out of Rowno by 8 o'clock at the latest. When I left Dr. Putz, I noticed a Ukrainian farm cart with two horses. Dead people with stiff limbs were lying on the cart. Legs and arms projected over the side boards. The cart was making for the freight train. I took the remaining 74 Jews who had been locked in the house to Sdolbunow.

Several days after 13th July, 1942, the Area Commissioner of Sdolbunow, Georg Marschall, called a meeting of all firm managers, railroad superintendents, and leaders of the Organisation Todt and informed them that the firms etc. should prepare themselves for the 'resettlement' of the Jews which was to take place almost immediately. He referred to the pogrom in Rowno where all the Jews had been liquidated, i.e., had been shot near Kostolpol."

Finally, his signature is sworn to on 10th November, 1945.

THE PRESIDENT: What nationality is Graebe ?

COLONEL STOREY: He is German. Graebe is a German, and is now in the employ of the Military Government at Frankfurt - the United States Military Government.

Your Honour, in that connection there is another separate affidavit, which I will not attempt to read, attached to this, a part of the same document. But it has to do with the execution of some people in another area and is along the same line. I am not reading it because it would be cumulative, but it is a part of this same document.

I now pass from that subject to the next one.

The Gestapo and S.D. stationed special units in prisoner-of-war camps for the purpose of screening racial and political undesirables and executing those who were screened. The programme of mass murder of political and racial undesirables carried on against civilians was also applied against prisoners of war who were captured on the Eastern Front. In this connection I call the attention of the Tribunal to the testimony of General Lahousen, which your Honours will recall, of the 30th November, 1945. Lahousen testified to a conference which took place in the summer of 1941, shortly after the beginning of the campaign against the Soviet Union, which he attended ; and I want to emphasise this, because we will later have a document that emanated from this conference, attended by Lahousen himself, General Reinecke, Colonel Breuer, and Mueller, the Head of the Gestapo. At this conference the command to kill Soviet functionaries and Communists among the Soviet prisoners-of-war was discussed. The

[Page 203]

executions were to be carried out by Einsatz Commandos of the Sipo and the S.D.

Lahousen further recalled that Mueller, who was the head of the Gestapo, insisted on carrying out the programme, and that the only concession he made was that, in deference to the sensibilities of the German troops, the executions would not take place in their presence. Mueller also made some concessions as to the selection of the persons to be murdered ; but, according to Lahousen, the selection was left entirely to the commanders of these screening units. I refer to Page 281 of the transcript.

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