The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, February 13, 1946
(Part 5 of 19)


I present to the Court these documents which were not available some time ago; they weigh heavily in the scales, on the side of the prosecution. On Page 17, Your Honours, you will find the document which has been cited by me. It bears the Document 225-D (Exhibit USSR 349:

"Supreme Command of the Army, of Army Equipment and the Commander- in-Chief of the Replacement Training Army,

"Berlin, 6th August, 1941.

"Subject: Food Ration of Soviet Prisoners of War.

"The Soviet Union did not subscribe to the agreement of 27th July, 1929, concerning the treatment of prisoners of war. Consequently we are not obliged to supply Soviet prisoners of war with food corresponding in quantity or quality to the requirements of this regulation. Taking the general food situation into consideration, the following rations for Soviet prisoners of war were established, which rations were considered adequate according to medical findings:

[Page 305]

"The ration in the camps for the prisoners of war (not employed on essential work) amounted to:

for 28 days
Bread Meat Fat Sugar
6 kg. 400 gr. 440 gr. 600 gr.

for 28 days
For prisoners doing special work:
Bread Meat Fat Sugar
9 kg. 600 gr. 520 gr. 900 gr.

A similar regulation, headed, "Food Ration for Soviet Prisoners of War," was sent as secret information by the Chancellery of the Nazi Party on 17th December, 1941.

I shall quote only one sentence from that Party directive, which you will find on Page 18 of the document book:

"An open discussion of the question regarding the food supply of the prisoners of war either orally or in writing is forbidden, because of the possibility of enemy propaganda."
Further, the authors of the document emphasise that there is no danger of any substantial deterioration of the food supply of "our German people." I consider that the hint is sufficiently clear. The document was distributed to the High Command of the Army, to the commands of corps areas, to the military authorities in Bohemia and Moravia, and to military commissioners in a number of cities.

The Fascist conspirators established particularly low rations for men of the Red Army. On the basis of their own estimates the monthly ration for Soviet prisoners of war was 42 per cent. in regard to fats, 66 per cent. in regard to sugar and bread and 0 per cent. in regard to meat, as compared with the amount of food provided for prisoners of war from other armies fighting against Germany.

Moreover, there was a special note in the directive itself. You will find the special note on Page 19 of the document book:

"If the ration for non-Soviet prisoners of war is reduced, the ration for Soviet prisoners of war must be lowered accordingly."
But even these starvation rations, which could not sustain the life of an adult person, more often than not existed only on paper.

I present another document to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 177.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, I do not think it matters very much, but when you said "0 per cent." in regard to meat, when you were dealing with the percentage, was that correct, because in setting out the amount of food which they were allowed, or were supposed to be allowed, there was 400 grams of meat for ordinary men and 600 grams of meat for other men doing special work, and I do not see how 400 grams can be 0 per cent. of the ration allowed to other non-Soviet prisoners.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: You are quite right, Sir. I have the same figures here, but there is no contradiction here at all. I am reporting to the Tribunal now that there were several directives, and the first one appears to be the best for the Soviet prisoners of war. It states that 400 grams of meat was the ration. The next directive, which established the percentage of food supply for the Soviet prisoners of war and others, shows 0 per cent.

As far as I understand it, if there was not meat for all of the prisoners of war, the Soviet prisoners would not receive any meat at all.

[Page 306]

THE PRESIDENT: I see. Then you say that the words "on the basis of their own estimates" are referring to some estimates other than the estimate which you give. It does not matter about that, but I understand you to say that there are other estimates which show they did not give them anything. Please proceed.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: You are quite right, Sir.

I present to the Tribunal one more document dealing with the same question. That is Exhibit USSR 177. You will find it on Page 21 of your document book. This is a record of a conference of the Reich Ministry of Food (R.E.M.) under the direction of State Secretary Backe and Ministerial Director Moritz. The document is dated 24th November, 1941, 16.30 hours. Among those who took part in the conference were representatives of various departments, in particular General Reineke -- probably the Tribunal will remember that it was Reineke who headed that particular phase of the work dealing with the prisoners of war -- and Ministerial Director Mansfeld. The subject under discussion was the supply of food to Russian prisoners of war and civilian workers. I quote (Page 21 of your document book):

(I) Types of Food.

Attempts to produce a special Russian bread have proved that a useful mixture consists of 50 per cent. rye bran, 20 per cent. residue of sugar beet, 20 per cent. cellulose flour and 10 per cent. flour made of straw or leaves. Meat not usually employed for human consumption can never sufficiently satisfy a demand for meat.

Russians must, therefore, be fed entirely on horse- flesh and on the meat of animals which had not been slaughtered and which, at present, is issued in double quantities on the ration cards.

With the present technique of fat production, inferior fats no longer exist; the Russian will, therefore, receive good edible fats."

These derisive words can scarcely pass unnoticed. Russian prisoners of war, who had been receiving "meat not usually employed for human consumption," were now receiving, on their starvation rations, only "meat which is to-day issued in double quantities on ration cards"; and instead of fats they were to get certain substances which can only be used for food because of "the present technique of the fat production." And these products are called "good edible fats."
"(II) Rations."
The second part of the document is entitled "Rations." I quote (the part being cited by me is on Pages 21 and 22 in your document book):
"Since there is a great discrepancy among the estimates of the present experts of the Health Administration, the Reich Office of Public Health, and the Army Medical Inspectorate as to the necessary caloric requirements, a final decision concerning the ration will be made in the course of the week by a smaller circle of experts. Seven days of flour soup as a transition diet and cancellation of the words 'without work' are from now on decreed for such Russians as are at present in German camps.

"III. The number of Russians whom the Reich Ministry of Supply can supply with food."

I should note here that this sentence means, "The number of Russians whom the Reich Ministry of Food (R.E.M.) can provide has now been established."
"State Secretary Backe was non-committal in answer to persistent questioning by General Reineke and Ministerial Director Mansfeld."

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