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

Sixtieth Day: Friday, 15th February, 1946
(Part 7 of 8)

[COLONEL L. N. SMIRNOV continues]

[Page 68]

I further submit to the Tribunal as exhibit USSR 18, a photostat of a plain-spoken terroristic order of the German military authorities, and I beg your Honours to accept this document as a relevant part of the evidence. This is an order of the German Kommandantur of the City of Pskov. The Tribunal will find the text of this order on Page 235 of the document book. It is evident from this document that the peaceful civilian population was even forbidden to appear on the highways of their own locality. Any peaceful citizens seen there by the German soldiers were to be shot. I quote the text of the document, beginning with paragraph 3:-
"I order on the basis of the above-mentioned:

1. All members of the civilian population, regardless of age or sex, seen on or in the vicinity of railroad tracks are to be considered as bandits and shot as such. Excepted, of course, are the labour units under guard.

2. All people mentioned in paragraph one who cross the roads are to be shot.

3. All persons mentioned in paragraph one, who at night or at twilight are found on the roads are to be shot.

4. Persons mentioned in paragraph one, if found on the roads during day time, are subject to arrest and most detailed examination.

Such were the terroristic "decrees" and "orders" based upon the so-called Fuehrerprinzip that were issued by high- ranking officials and representatives of the military authorities of the German Fascist Reich. But the right of relentless reprisals against the peaceful populations was not confined to them only; any local Kommandantur, any commander of a small unit, and, finally, any soldier of Hitler's army acquired the right of reprisal against the peaceful population of the occupied regions.

I shall now submit to the Tribunal several documents which will reveal how the Hitlerite criminals invariably made the most of this right, introducing into the crimes perpetrated against the Soviet people the cruel devices of base and evil creatures who had been granted the right of mocking and murdering with impunity. I submit to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 9, a report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the atrocities perpetrated by the German fascist occupants in the city of Kiev. The Tribunal will find the passage in question on Page 238 of the document book, paragraph 5. I quote:-

"The German executioners, from the very first days of their occupation of Kiev, carried out a wholesale slaughter of the population by torture, shooting, hanging and poisoning by gas in the murder vans. People were seized in the streets, and shot either in large batches or singly. Announcements of the shootings were posted up in order to intimidate the population."
I shall interrupt my quotation at this point to ask the Tribunal to accept in evidence photostats of several of these posters. Partial mention has already been made of them in the report of the Extraordinary State Commission. From among their number I would request the Tribunal to accept in evidence the photostat of one such poster which I submit as Exhibit USSR 290. The text reads as follows (I ask the Tribunal to excuse me if the translation is, perhaps, slightly incorrect, since the original text is in Ukrainian. I am a Russian, I understand the meaning of the Ukrainian text, but the translation might possibly not be quite correct in every detail). Here is the text:-

[Page 69]

"As a reprisal for an act of sabotage 100 inhabitants of the city of Kiev were shot this day. Let this be a warning.

Every inhabitant of Kiev is responsible for every act of sabotage.

Kiev, 22 October 1941.

The Commandant."

Under Exhibit USSR 291 (the Tribunal will find the text on Page 243 of the document book) I submit a photostat of the following poster, signed by the commandant of the city of Kiev. I quote the text:
"Means of communication - telephone and telegraph wires- have been damaged in Kiev.

Since the saboteurs could not be found, 400 men have been shot in the city.

This should serve as a warning to the population, and once again, I demand that all suspects be immediately reported to the German troops or the German police in order that the criminals may be adequately punished.

Signed: Eberhard, Major General and City Commandant, Kiev,

29 November 1941."

As Exhibit USSR 333, I submit a photostat of the third and last poster in Kiev. The Tribunal will find the text of this poster on Page 242 of the document book.
"Repeated cases of arson and sabotage in Kiev, force me to resort to extreme measures.

Consequently 300 inhabitants of Kiev will be shot today.

For every new case of arson or sabotage several times this number will be shot.

Every inhabitant of Kiev is obliged to report any suspects to the German police.

I shall maintain order and calm in Kiev by all measures at my disposal and under any circumstances.

Kiev, 2 November 1941.

Eberhard, Major General and City Commandant."

I refer to another document which has been only partially read into the record. I refer to Exhibit USSR 63. It contains a report of the Commissar of the Dzerjinski District Council of the city of Stalingrad. I invite the Tribunal's attention to the fact that this official report, which was drawn up by the members of the local Soviet authorities and the community of the Ejerjinski District of Stalingrad city, was approved by the Extraordinary State Commission and that the authenticity of the cases listed therein was confirmed, You will find confirmation to this effect in the report of the Extraordinary State Commission, under the signature of a member of the Commission, the academician Trainin, and of other persons.

The members of the Tribunal will find the report in question on Page 222 of the document book.

I shall begin the quotation of the official report of the Commission which investigated the territory of the Djerjinski District of Stalingrad city after the rout of the Germans at Stalingrad. This report contains information regarding the announcements posted in the streets of Stalingrad by the German Kommandantur and concerning the meaning of these posters.

I begin my quotation on Page 222 of the document book, last paragraph.

"... The military Kommandantur sowed death everywhere.

It posted announcements in the streets, threatening death by shooting at every step. For instance, the following announcement was posted up in Aral Street: 'Death to him who passes here'. On the comer of the Nevskaya and Medvedevskaya: 'Right of way forbidden to Russians; for violation of this order - death'.

[Page 70]

As a matter of fact, the Germans shot the citizens at every step; hundreds of graves along the streets of Djerjinski District of the city of Stalingrad bear witness to the shooting. The bodies of those who were tortured, shot or hanged in the Kommandantur proper, were, at first, thrown into a pit near the building of the Kommandantur.

After the occupants had been thrown Out, 516 corpses of Soviet citizens were found in this grave, including the bodies Of 50 children who had been tortured to death, shot or hanged in the building of the Kommandantur and in other places. An examination of the bodies on 25 March, 1943, established that the Hitlerites had savagely tortured the Soviet people before murdering them. In addition to the bodies of the children, the corpses of 323 women, 69 old men and 74 younger men were discovered. 141 corpses bore traces of wounds inflicted by firearms in the head and on the chests; 92 corpses had marks on their necks which showed that they had been hanged. All the other bodies were mutilated and bore traces of torture. 130 victims, women and girls, had their arms twisted behind their backs, and tied with wire, and 18 of the corpses had their breasts cut off, some had their ears, fingers and toes chopped off, and the majority showed traces of burns on their bodies.

An examination of these corpses revealed that 21 women died of torture and wounds, and that the remainder had been first tortured and then shot.

Even the corpses of children were mutilated. Some had their small fingers cut off, their buttocks chopped up, their eyes gouged out."

I now cease to quote from this document and, in compliance with the wishes of the Tribunal to the effect that not details, but instances testifying to some new data in the system of the Hitler terror be reported, I omit three pages of the report and turn to the following section on the presentation of evidence: "On Tortures Inflicted by the Hitlerites in the Course of Interrogation."

In general, tortures were officially provided for and sanctioned by the Hitlerites. I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 11 one of the documents testifying to the fact that tortures were sanctioned officially. This document is an official guide for concentration camps, "The Concentration Camp Statutes", published in Berlin in 1941, You will find the excerpt I am quoting on Page 244 of your document book. Section 3 of the instructions, for instance, entitled "Corporal Punishment", states:

"Between 5 and 25 strokes are permitted on the loins and buttocks. The number of strokes is to be determined by the camp commandant and is to be entered in the corresponding column in the punishment order."
I should have liked to refer to one more document, but as it has already been presented to the Tribunal, I, in compliance with the Tribunal's instructions, will omit this document, and continue:

Official formulas to be used in "especially severe interrogations," or, rather, interrogations with application of torture, were issued by the competent German police departments. I submit to the Tribunal, and would request it to accept in evidence, an original formula of such an "especially severe interrogation".

I submit it as Exhibit USSR 254. It represents an appendix to the report of the Yugoslav Government. This formula, as is evident from the certificate attached to it, was seized from the German archives by units of the Yugoslav Army. I shall not describe it in my own words but shall quote the report of the Yugoslav Government on Page 21 of the document, from the last paragraph at the bottom of the page. The Tribunal will find this passage on Page 256 of the document book, in the last paragraph:

"In order to give a clearer description of the savage cruelty practised by the Germans in carrying out this plan of extermination, we submit to the Tribunal another original document which was seized in the German archives

[Page 71]

in Yugoslavia. It is a blank formula for the so-called 'especially severe interrogations' of the victims of the German criminals. Such interrogations were conducted in Slovenia by the German Security Police and the S.D.

On the first page of the 'formula', the Police organisation suggest submitting one particular person to an 'especially severe interrogation'. The answer to the question, what this special 'severe interrogation' consisted of, is found in the following instructions of this 'formula'.

The especially severe interrogation should consist of ... Minutes of the interrogation should be kept. A doctor may (or may not) be asked to be present.

The mention of the doctor and of his presence at the interrogation leaves no doubt at all that the person to be interrogated, was to be physically torture. The fact that printed instructions existed for these interrogations obviously suggests a wholesale resort to such criminal methods."

The Reichsfuehrer S.S. clearly foresaw cases of attempted suicide by persons under suspicion.

The S.S. Leader therefore not only permitted but even ordered the prisoners to be tied hand and foot or shackled in chains.

I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 298 a photostat of a directive of the Chief of the German Police No. 202/43 of 1 June, 1943. The document is certified by the Extraordinary State Commission, and I quote the text of the document:

" Subject, Prevention of Escape during Interrogations.

In all cases where, owing to circumstances or the importance of the prisoner, there exists a possibility of escape or of an attempt to commit suicide, I order the hands and feet of the arrested person to be tied in such a way that escape is impossible. Rings and chains if available should be used."

I have not submitted the official directives of the German Central Police Authorities to the Tribunal merely to prove that the German officials provided for the application of torture and torment during interrogations. This fact is well known and calls for no special evidence. But I am submitting a document, in the possession of the Soviet prosecution, which will show how far tortures, to which arrested persons were subjected in the police cells, exceeded even the instructions issued by the criminals and the officially sanctioned forms of torture.

I submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 1, which is a report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes of the German fascist aggressors in the region of Stavropol. An investigation of these crimes was conducted under the leadership of the eminent academician and Russian author, the late Alexei Nikolaievitch Tolstoy. The Tribunal will find this document on Page 272 of the document book. I begin my quotation from the first paragraph. Academician A. N. Tolstoi, as the Tribunal will doubtless remember, was a member of the Extraordinary State Commission.

" ... Tortures and torments, exceptional in their cruelty, were applied to the Soviet citizens on the premises of the Gestapo. Thus, for instance, citizen Phillip Akimovitch Kovaltchuk, born in 1891 and an inhabitant of the town of Pyatigorsk, was arrested on 27 October, 1942, in his own apartment, beaten unconscious taken to the Gestapo and thrown into one of the cells. Twenty-four hours later the Gestapo began to torture him; he was interrogated and beaten at night only. For the interrogation he was put in a separate torture chamber equipped with special devices for torture, such as chains with handcuffs for shackling both hands and feet. These chains were fastened to the cement floor of the chamber. To begin with, the prisoners were stripped to the skin and laid on the floor. Then their hands and feet were shackled. Citizen Kovaltchuk was subjected to this form of torture. When in chains

[Page 72]

he was completely unable to move. He lay on his stomach and in this position was lashed with rubber truncheons on 16 successive days.

Apart from these inhuman forms of torture, the Gestapo also resorted to the following: a wide board was placed on the back of the shackled prisoner and blows were struck on this board with heavy dumb-bells. As a result of these blows the prisoner bled from the nose, mouth and ears and lost consciousness.

The torture chamber of the Gestapo was so constructed that while one prisoner was being tortured, the prisoners awaiting their turn in the neighbouring cell could watch the torture and ill-treatment.

After the torture, the unconscious prisoner would be thrown on one side while the next victim of the Gestapo would be forcibly dragged in from the neighbouring call, shackled and tortured in the same fashion.

The torture chambers were always covered with blood. The board placed on the back of the prisoners was also soaked in it. The rubber cudgels used for beating the prisoners were red with blood.

The arrested Soviet people, doomed to be shot after unspeakable torture and beatings, were dragged into trucks, driven out of town and shot."

I omit two paragraphs and continue my quotation:
"Witness Varvara Ivanovna Tchaika, born in 1912, domiciled in No. 31, Djerjinksaya Street (apartment No 3) states that during her incarceration in the prison of the Gestapo she had been subjected to incredible torture by the Chief of the Gestapo, Captain Wintz. Witness V. I. Tchaika said on this subject: 'I was subjected to ill- treatment and torture by the Chief of the Gestapo, the German Captain Wintz. He summoned me once for interrogation to the torture chamber. There were four tables in the cell, wooden grills on the floor and two basins of water in which leather thongs had been placed. Two rings were attached to the ceiling with ropes drawn through them from which the prisoners were suspended during the time of their torment. By order of Captain Wintz I was laid on the table by the Gestapo men, stripped and severely beaten with leather thongs. I was beaten twice. On the whole I received 75 strokes of the lash, my kidneys were almost torn out and I lost eight of my teeth."

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