The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, February 13, 1946
(Part 7 of 19)


Order Number 109 to the 203rd Infantry Regiment states:

"General Field Marshal Rundstedt, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, has ordered that, apart from military operations, the search for mines and the clearing of mine fields be done by Russian prisoners, with a view to sparing German blood. This also refers to German mines."
The marauding mentioned in the previous note is regarded not only as something possible, but is proclaimed as obligatory to all the soldiers of the German Army.

[Page 309]

The Peoples' Commissar refers to the following documents issued by the German Command, in stressing the fact that this looting, done in winter-time, doomed the Red Army men to freeze to death:
"An order of the Staff of the 88th Regiment of the 34th German Infantry Division, headed 'Situation with Respect to Clothing,' imposed: 'Boots should be removed from Russian prisoners of war without hesitation.'
That this order is not an accidental one is seen from the fact that even before the perfidious attack on the U.S.S.R., the German Command provided for recourse to this system of supplying its troops.

Among the documents of the 234th Infantry Regiment of the 56th Division, a circular was found numbered 121/4 and dated 6th June, 1941, bearing the heading, "On the Principles of Supply in the Eastern Areas." This circular states on Page 8:

"You must not count on being furnished clothing. Therefore it is particularly important to remove serviceable boots from prisoners of war and to make immediate use of all suitable clothing, underwear, socks, etc."
As the note points out, the Germans, with a view to exterminating Soviet prisoners of war, deprived them of food, condemned them to slow starvation and in some cases used a bad quality food. Soviet authorities have in their possession Order Number 202 of the Staff of the above- mentioned 88th Regiment, which states:
"Carcasses of horses will serve as food for Russian prisoners of war. Such points where carcasses of horses have been dumped are designated by signs. They can be found along the highways in Malo-Yaroslavets and in the villages of Romanovo and Beloussovo."
Order Number 166/41 to the 60th Motorized Infantry Division is quite outspoken in demanding the mass murder of Soviet prisoners of war. This order states:
"Russian soldiers and non-commissioned officers are extremely courageous in battle. Even small isolated units are always ready to attack. Therefore no humane attitude towards the prisoners is permissible. The destruction of the enemy by fire or by cold steel must be continued until he is rendered completely harmless...."
The regulations issued by the German Command on the treatment of Soviet war prisoners, under Number 1/3058, contain the following instructions:
"At the slightest sign of insubordination energetic and direct action must be taken. Arms must be used ruthlessly. Bludgeons, canes, and whips must not be used. Leniency, even towards obedient and hard-working prisoners only indicates weakness and must not be indulged in." (From Point 2.)

"At work the distance to the prisoner must always be such as to permit of immediate recourse to arms." (From Point 3.)

All this proved to be insufficient. The order of the High Command of the German Army, dated 14th January, 1942 and issued in the name of Hitler as Commander-in-Chief, states - - Paragraph 2:
"All clemency or humaneness towards prisoners of war is strictly condemned. A German soldier must always make his prisoner feel his superiority. Every delay in resorting to arms against a war prisoner harbours danger. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army hopes that these directions will be fully carried out."

"The Soviet Government continues to receive reliable information on the condition of captive Red Army men in the German-occupied territories of the U.S.S.R. as well as in the German rear, and in the German-occupied

[Page 310]

European countries. This information testifies to the further deterioration of the regime instituted for captive Red Army men, and that they are particularly bad off in comparison with the war prisoners of other countries. It further testifies to the dying of Soviet prisoners of war from starvation and illness, from foul indignities and bloody cruelty systematically applied to the Red Army men by the Hitlerite authorities who have long since violated the most elementary requirements of International Law and human ethics."
The note specially stresses the fact that the inhuman atrocities and the cruelty perpetrated by the German Fascist gangsters against the Soviet war prisoners exceed the atrocities of Genghis Khan, Baty and Mamay.

In spite of that the note states -- you will find on Page 14 of the document book:

"The Soviet Government, true to the principles of humaneness and respect for its international obligations, has no intention, even in the given circumstances, of applying retaliatory repressive measures against German prisoners of war, and continues, as heretofore, to observe the obligations undertaken by the Soviet Union with regard to the regime for war prisoners specified by the Hague Convention of 1907, which was likewise signed but so perfidiously violated in every one of its points by Germany."
Later I shall quote an affidavit, written by a group of German prisoners of war. The authors of the document, on the one hand, by a series of new facts, have added to the number of atrocities committed by the conspirators against the Soviet war prisoners; and on the other hand, they have confirmed that the Soviet Command is true to the principle of humaneness in its attitude towards the German captives.

The military victory of the democratic Powers opened the innermost secrets of Hitler's archives. Along with a large number of documents that raise the curtain on the criminal plans of the conspirators, we have also obtained a wide opportunity of interrogating living witnesses. A whole series of questions become finally clear as and when the witnesses' depositions are being cross-checked with the documentary archives. Much new evidence has also been received by us on the subject of the crimes against the prisoners of war.

Some information with regard to the criminal Hitlerite practice of exterminating the Soviet prisoners of war appeared on 27th April, 1942, in the official communication of V. M. Molotov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in the U.S.S.R.

I shall here prove that this crime was part of the general conspiracy, and was planned in advance of the aggressive war against the Soviet Union. The Tribunal will see that the regime for war prisoners was really the sum total of diverse methods for their extermination. Let us turn to the testimony of the witnesses.

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