The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, February 13, 1946
(Part 4 of 19)


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 S.S.R.

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 rod.

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 continues:
"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.

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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 others.

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 available."

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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