The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th February to 26th February, 1946

Fifty-Ninth Day: Thursday, 14th February 1946
(Part 8 of 15)


[Page 18]

I think we can now pass on at once to the general conclusions and to read into the Record to this end Subparagraph g on Page 39 Page 287 of the document book:-
"The above-mentioned treatment of Polish prisoners of war by individuals as well as by the German military authorities, flagrantly violated the articles of the Geneva Convention of 1929, Pages 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 29, 30, 50 and 54. The Convention in question had been ratified by Germany on 21st February, 1934."

[Page 19]

Soldiers of the Yugoslav Army, captured by the German troops, were subjected to unbridled ill-treatment by the fascist invaders. Ill-treatment, torture, and torment, together with mass executions, were introduced as a part of the system. Here too, the Hitler criminals were perfectly aware of what they were doing. To white-wash themselves, if only a little, in the eyes of the world, they referred, in all documents concerning the destruction of Yugoslav prisoners of war, to the officers and men of the Yugoslav Army as "bandits."

The second paragraph from the bottom of Page 23 of the official Yugoslav report with regard to the above matter, reads as follows (I quote Page 23 of Exhibit USSR 305. This quotation begins on Page 326 of your document book):-

"...Everywhere where the Germans used the so- called actions against 'bands and bandits' as a pretext for the annihilation of the civilian population (women, children and old people), units of the Yugoslav National Army of liberation and partisan units had actually been involved....

Being under military command and wearing recognizable military emblems and insignia, they conducted an armed struggle against the fascist occupational forces and, moreover, they were fully recognized by all the Allies. Besides, we will see later on that in some of its documents, the German Command itself unmistakably recognized this fact, yet in its attitude towards the Yugoslav warriors it continued unrestrainedly to violate the principles of the International Law regarding conduct of war."

As an additional confirmation of the report, the form of which is in accordance with the requirements of Article 21 of the Charter concerning the admissibility of evidence, I also submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 305 (Yu-68). This is an excerpt from the report by the Yugoslav State Commission concerning the determination of crimes committed by the occupational forces and their accomplices. The State Commission reports that there is at its disposal a secret report by Lieutenant-General Hoesslin, the officer in command of the 188th Mountain Infantry Reserve Division, numbered 9070/44. The report is of great importance because of the following considerations which I will explain to the Tribunal in the terms of this document. I quote:-
"Although the report refers to our divisions, brigades, and artillery battalions under their proper names and proper numbers - in cases of military engagements - our whole army is called in this report by the general name of 'bandits,' and for the very simple reason that by so doing they are attempting to divest us of the rights of belligerents, they themselves assuming the right to shoot prisoners of war, to kill the wounded and to have a pretext for employing repressive measures against the peaceful non-combatant population, allegedly because of their assistance to the 'bandits.' Lieutenant-General Hoesslin admits that the combat group of Colonel Christel after 'a night engagement with weak bandit forces' - these are the precise words of the report - burnt down Laskovitz, Lazna, Lokva and Cepovan, and destroyed a hospital. In General Hoesslin's report it is further stated that the division, together with the 3rd Brandenburg Regiment and other German and Police units, participated in 'a free-for-all manhunt for bandits in the neighbourhood of Klan' (Operation 'Ernst')...."
I submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 132 (Yu-67), Page 363 of your document book. This represents an excerpt from the directives issued by Major-General Kuebler concerning the conduct of troops in action, an extract which was certified by the Yugoslav State Commission. I read these excerpts into the record:-

[Page 20]

118th Jaeger Division; ABT Ic
Br. B. No. 1418/43 secret
Div. Hqs., 12.5.1943
for the Conduct of Troops in Action.

2. Prisoners:

Anyone having participated openly in the fight against the German Armed Forces and having been taken prisoner is to be shot after interrogation."

I further submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 304 (Yu-56) the excerpt from Memorandum No. 6 of the Yugoslav State Commission for the determination of the crimes committed by the occupational forces and by their accomplices.

In the last paragraph of this excerpt (Page 2 of the Russian text) is stated as follows (your Page 365 of the document book):-

"On 3rd May, 1945, the Germans brought from one of the Partisan hospitals thirty-five manacled patients and hospital orderlies. Ten of the patients who were unable to walk were stood against the wall and shot. Their bodies were piled in a heap, covered with wood and set on fire."
As Exhibit USSR 307 (Yu-73), I submit another extract from statement Memorandum No. 6 of the same State Commission. This statement is found on Page 85 to 115 of the first book entitled "Memoranda on Crimes Committed by the Occupation Forces and their Accomplices." I shall now proceed to quote a part of this extract:-
"On 5th June, 1944, Hitler's criminals captured two soldiers of the Yugoslav Liberation Army and the Slovene Partisan Detachments. They brought them to Razori, where they cut off their noses and ears with bayonets, gouged out their eyes and then asked then [sic] if they could see their comrade Tito. Thereupon they assembled the peasants and beheaded the two victims in their presence.... They then placed both the heads on a table."
In accordance with their usual practice of photographing the bodies of their victims, the fascists then took photographs, and, as is further stated in the extract quoted by me:-
"Later, in the course of the fighting, the photographs were found on a fallen German. From this it can be seen that they confirm the incident at Razori which has been described above."
These pictures will be submitted to the Tribunal together with other Yugoslav photographic evidence.

Under Document USSR-65/a (Yu-69) I submit to the Tribunal an announcement signed by the Commander of the S.S. and Police Detachments of the 18th military district, S.S. Gruppenfuehrer and Lieutenant General of Police, Roesener. I shall now proceed to read into the record a part of this announcement. You will thus be able to see that the warriors of the Yugoslav Armed Forces who were taken prisoner were either hanged or shot. This document is on Page 367 of your document book.

"In view of various clashes between police detachments and Yugoslav units..."
I omit several sentences of this document concerning a description of the encounters between detachments of Polish and Yugoslav units:-
"Eighteen bandits were recently killed in action and a considerable number taken prisoner. The following bandits, who were among the prisoners, were publicly hanged at Stein on 30th June, 1942.... "
This statement is followed by the names of eight Yugoslav soldiers between the ages of twenty-one and forty years. I will not read this list into the record. On Page 36 of our Exhibit USSR 36 (your Page 339), the first paragraph from the bottom reads:-

[Page 21]

"We can find identical evidence in a collection of official notes on the staff conferences of Gauleiter Ueberreiter... Thus, for example, it is stated in the minutes of the conference held on 23rd March, 1942:

"Fifteen bandits were executed in Maribor today."

I omit some sentences from the minutes of the conference held on 27th July, 1942:-
"Many bandits have been shot recently."
The minutes of the conference of 1st December, 1942, contain a passage:-
"Since the bandits started their activities in July, 1941, 164 have been shot by the uniformed police and 1,043 by special procedure (Sonderverfahren)."
The minutes of 25th January, 1943, state:-
"The number of guerilla troops liquidated on 8th January, 1942, by the Security Police and the uniformed branch is eighty-six, including wounded and prisoners, seventy-seven of whom were killed."
Such notes can be found in almost every one of the minutes of these conferences held by Ueberreiter.

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