The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 17 of 22)

GENERAL RUDENKO: If it please your Honours, Colonel Karev will report on the order of submitting the documents to the Tribunal.

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COLONEL S.D. KAREV: The Soviet prosecution begins its presentation of evidence on all Counts of the Indictment.

The Tribunal is already familiar with the large number of important documents presented on behalf of the prosecution by our honourable colleagues. On its own part the Soviet prosecution has at its disposal numerous documents relating to the criminal activities of the Fascist conspirators.

In connection with Count I, dealing with the Crimes against Peace, we will submit the following types of documents: administrative regulations by the German authorities, orders and plans by the German military command, diaries and personal files of several of the leaders of the Fascist Party and the German Government, as well as other documents. These documents were in part found by units of the Red Army on German soldiers and officers, or were discovered in concentration camps and in offices of German authorities.

In connection with Counts II and III, that is, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, we shall offer in evidence, in the first place, the communiques and the official reports of the Extraordinary Government Commission for the Determination and Investigation of Crimes Committed by the German Fascist Invaders and their Accomplices.

This Commission was set up by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., dated 2nd November, 1942. For local work there were set up Republican, Regional and District Municipal Commissions to assist in the work of the Extraordinary Government Commission for the Determination and Investigation of the Crimes Committed by the German Fascist invaders. Both the central office, as well as the local offices of the Extraordinary State Commission, were composed of prominent statesmen and representatives of different public research and cultural organisations, as well as of religious denominations.

The Extraordinary State Commission, through its representatives, for whose assistance of representatives of local groups and local State authorities were called in, has collected and checked data and drawn up protocols on the atrocities of the German invaders and on the damage caused to the Soviet Union and its citizens.

Counting only the crimes committed by the German Fascist monsters against the peaceful citizens of the Soviet Union, 54,784 protocols were drawn up. In accordance with Article 21 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, these protocols unquestionably represent admissible evidence. Of all these protocols of the Extraordinary State Commission, only an insignificant number will at present be submitted to the Tribunal by the Soviet prosecution.

In the possession of the Soviet prosecution are also photographs showing the atrocities and destruction committed by the German invaders in the territories of the U.S.S.R. they had temporarily occupied. Part of these photographs will be submitted to the Tribunal. Several documentary films will be offered to the Tribunal in evidence by the Soviet prosecution.

In submitting evidence relating to war crimes committed by the conspirators, the Soviet prosecution will also use several German documents, photographs, and films which were captured from the Germans. The Soviet prosecution will also submit evidence relative to crimes committed by the defendants and their accomplices against Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia. Among this evidence special mention must be made of the official report by the Czechoslovakian Government entitled "German Crimes against Czechoslovakia."

This report was prepared on the direction of the Czechoslovakian Government by the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Dr. Bohuslav Ecer, the representative of Czechoslovakia in the United Nations Commission for Investigation of War Crimes.

There are documents appended to the official report regarding German crimes against Czechoslovakia. Among these documents there are laws,

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decrees, orders, et cetera, issued and officially published by the German Fascist authorities; documents from the archives of the Czechoslovak Government; and affidavits by persons who held prominent positions in Czechoslovakia during the occupation.

There will be shown a special film concerning the destruction of Lidice. It was, in its time, prepared by official German agencies. The film was found by officials of the Czechoslovakian Ministry of the Interior.

The official report on the German crimes against Czechoslovakia, as well as the documents appended thereto, on the strength of Article 21 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, represent unquestionable evidence and will be presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 60.

The Soviet prosecution will likewise present evidence regarding the crimes perpetrated by the conspirators in Poland. The basic document to be presented on this subject by the Soviet prosecution will be the report of the Polish Government dated 22nd January, 1946. The official documents of the Polish Government were the primary source of the report of the Polish Government on the German crimes committed in Poland. Both the official report of the Polish Government and the documents appended thereto, on the strength of Article 21 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal represent unquestionable evidence.

And finally, the Soviet Delegation will present to the Tribunal documents concerning the crimes of German invaders committed on Yugoslav territory.

The investigation of the criminal activity of the German Command and of the German occupational authorities in Yugoslavia was carried out by the Yugoslav State Commission for the investigation of Crimes committed by the German occupants. The Commission was created on 29th November, 1943, by a decision of the Yugoslav Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia. This commission which, from the beginning, has always been presided over by Dr. Douchan Nedelkovitsch, professor at Belgrade University, started its work when a part of Yugoslavia was still under the domination of the German, Italian, Hungarian and other occupants.

Besides the Yugoslav State Commission, the investigation of the crimes committed by the German Fascist invaders was carried out by eight specially created Federal Commissions, as well as by District and Regional Commissions. On the strength of the material collected, the Yugoslav State Commission has issued 53 communiques describing the atrocities committed by the German occupants, and submits a report of the Yugoslav State Commission dated the 26th December, 1945.

This report represents unquestionable evidence, and is submitted by us as Exhibit USSR 36.

It is my duty to mention that documentary evidence which has been already presented by our honourable American, British, and French colleagues will, to some extent, be used by the representatives of the Soviet prosecution.

May it please your Honours, in conclusion I would like to make known to the Tribunal the order in which the prosecutors from the U.S.S.R. will present their case.

The Count dealing with the Crimes against Peace (aggression against Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia) will be presented by Colonel Pokrovsky, the U.S.S.R. Deputy Chief Prosecutor.

The Count dealing with "The Aggression Against the U.S.S.R." will be presented by State Counsellor of Justice, Third Class, M. Zorya.

Thereupon, Colonel Pokrovsky will present to the Tribunal the crimes committed in violation of the laws and customs of war relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.

The Count "Crimes Against the Peaceful Population of the U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia" will be presented by Chief Counsellor of Justice Smirnov.

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Report on the subject of the "Plunder of Private, Public and State Property" will be made by General Shenin, State Counsellor of Justice of the Second Class.

Report on the "Plunder and Destruction of Cultural Treasures" and "Wanton Destruction and Annihilation of Towns and Villages" will be presented by M. Raginsky, State Counsellor of Justice of the Second Class.

State Counsellor of Justice of the Third Class, M. Zorya, will speak on the subject of "Forced Labour and Deportation into German Slavery."

Finally, the Senior Counsellor of Justice, Colonel Smirnov, will present the report on the last subject, "Crimes against Humanity."

I now end my statement.

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