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

Sixty-Second Day: Tuesday, 19th February, 1946
(Part 5 of 6)

[COLONEL L. N. SMIRNOV continues]

[Page 127]

"To all commandants of the concentration camps:-

According to a statement received from the Central Security Administration, parcels of clothing were sent from the concentration camps mainly to the Gestapo Administration in Brno and in some there were bullet- holes and blood-stains on the articles. Some of the parcels were damaged, so that anyone could see what was inside them.

As the Central Security Administration will in the near future issue regulations concerning the disposal of articles belonging to the deceased inmates, the sending of these articles is to cease immediately until definite regulations have been issued as to the disposal of property belonging to internees who have been put to death.

Signed: Glucks, S.S. Brigadefuehrer and Major General of the S.S.".

I pass on to the presentation of evidence, depicting the scale of the crimes committed.

In two extermination camps alone the criminals exterminated five and a half million people. In proof of this I quote the conclusions of the Extraordinary State Commission for Auschwitz. I will quote only a short excerpt. It is preceded by a detailed calculation. The Tribunal will find this reference on Page 356 of the document book, fourth paragraph:-

"However, using rectified coefficients for the part time use of the crematorium ovens and for the periods when they stood empty, the technical expert commission has ascertained that during the time that the Auschwitz camp existed the German butchers exterminated in this camp not less than four million citizens of the USSR, Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Roumania, Hungary, Holland, Belgium and other countries".
I quote the corresponding passages from the Polish-Soviet Extraordinary State Commission's report on Maidanek. The Tribunal will find this quotation on Page 66, reverse side of the document book, paragraph 6:-
"The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary State Commission has ascertained that during the four years' existence of the extermination camp at Maidanek the Hitlerite hangmen, following the direct order of their criminal government, exterminated by mass shooting, and mass killing in gas chambers approximately one and a half million persons: Soviet prisoners of war, prisoners of war of the former Polish Army, and nationals of various countries: Poles, Frenchmen, Italians, Belgians, Dutch, Czechs, Serbs, Greeks, Croats and a great number of Jews".
With this document I conclude that section of my statement which concerns the concentration camps and pass on to the last section entitled "Concealment of Crimes".

During the period of their temporary military successes, the German fascist criminals did not take much trouble to conceal the traces of their crimes.

They did not even consider it necessary to camouflage the burial grounds into which they hurled the bodies of the murdered persons after the shootings.

But after the defeat suffered by the Hitlerite war-machine at Stalingrad, the situation changed. Fearing retaliation, the criminals began to take urgent measures to conceal the traces of their crimes. Wherever possible, they burned the corpses. Where this could not be done, the burial grounds were carefully camouflaged with moss or green foliage. The earth which covered the graves of those shot was smoothed out with special machines and with caterpillar tractors.

However, the main method adopted by the German fascist criminals for camouflaging their crimes was the burning of the corpses. The ashes from the burned

[Page 128]

bodies were strewn over the fields. The bones which had not been calcinated were crushed in special machines and mixed with manure for the preparation of fertilisers. In large camps the crushed bones of the victims were sold to the German firms to be transferred into hyperphosphate.

As proof of the enormous scale of the Hitlerites' criminal activity directed toward concealing the traces of their crimes, I shall submit to the Tribunal a series of documents. I will refer, first of all, to the communique of the Polish-Soviet Extraordinary State Commission on Maidanek. This document was submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 29. The part of the communique to which I refer will be found by the Tribunal on Page 65 of the document book, on the reverse side, last paragraph. In order to save time, I will merely summarise the contents:-

In the beginning of 1942, two ovens for the burning of corpses were built:-

"As there were a great many corpses, the Germans, in 1942, began, and by autumn of 1943 had finished, the building of powerful crematoria, consisting of five ovens. These ovens burned unceasingly. The temperature could reach 1,500 degrees Centigrade. In order to be able to put as many bodies as possible into the ovens, the corpses were dissected and the limbs hacked off ".
I omit the next paragraphs and beg the Tribunal to pay attention to the passage which is three paragraphs further down.

The ovens in the crematoria proved to be inadequate, so the Germans were compelled to resort to special primitive cremation installations, which had been made in the following way: I begin the quotation on Page 334 of the text:-

"On rails or frames, which served as grates, planks were placed. Corpses were laid on the planks, then more planks and again corpses. 500 to 1,000 corpses were piled on one pyre. All were covered with petrol and ignited."
I quote a short excerpt which shows the scale of criminal actions taken to conceal the traces of these crimes: Page 336, first paragraph:-
"The commission has ascertained that in the ovens of the crematoria alone more than 600,000 corpses were burned. More than 300,000 corpses were burned on the gigantic pyres in the Krimpetz woods; more than 80,000 corpses were burned in the two old ovens; not less than 400,000 corpses were burned on pyres in the camp itself, near the crematoria".
As a proof of this, that is to say, of the scale of the criminal activity of the Hitlerites in concealing the traces of their crimes, I refer now to the Report of the Extraordinary State Commission for the Town of Minsk. The members of the Tribunal will find this quotation on the back of Page 215, paragraph 4. I quote a short excerpt:-
"In the Blagovtchina woods, thirty-four ditch graves were discovered, camouflaged with evergreen branches. Some of the graves reached a length of 50 metres. During a partial excavation of five of these graves, corpses, and a layer of ashes 50 centimetres or 1 metre thick were discovered at a depth of 3 metres. Near the graves the commission discovered a great number of small human bones, hair, false teeth and numerous small personal articles. The investigation has ascertained that the fascists exterminated here up to 150,000 persons.

At a distance of 45o metres from the former hamlet of Petrashkevichi eight ditch graves have been discovered. Their size is 21 metres long, 4 metres wide, and 5 metres deep. Before every ditch grave there are enormous piles of the ashes of the burned corpses".

[Page 129]

I omit the next page, and as further proof of this crime I am now referring to the report of the Extraordinary State Commission concerning the "Crimes of the German Fascist Invaders in the Lvov Region". This document has already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 6. I quote a very short excerpt from it. The part which I will quote will be found by the members of the Tribunal on Page 164 on the reverse side, paragraph 5.
"Upon the order of Reich Minister Himmler and of Major General of Police S.S. Katzmann, special measures for exhuming and burning the corpses of murdered peaceful citizens, Soviet prisoners of war and citizens of foreign countries were carried out in June, 1943. In Lvov the Germans created a special Sonderkommando No. 1005 composed of 126 men. The chief of this Kommando was Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Scherlack; his assistant, Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Rauch. The duty of this Sonderkommando was to exhume and burn the corpses of the civilians and prisoners of war who had been liquidated".
I dwell on this extract, and I would beg the Tribunal to remember this number, "Sonderkommando No. 1005." This Kommando was the prototype of similar Sonderkommandos created by the Germans. Later, the Sonderkommandos created for this task received the numbers of 1005A, 1005B, etc.

I finish the quotation with the conclusion of the medico- forensic experts. I quote the last paragraph on Page 340 of the text:-

"Thus the Hitlerite murderers adopted on the territory of the Lvov Region the same methods for concealing their crimes which they employed earlier in connection with the murder of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest.

The expert commission found that methods used in camouflaging the graves in Lisenitz Forest were exactly the same as those used in camouflaging the graves of the Polish officers killed by the Germans at Katyn.

To extend the experiments in exterminating people, cremating corpses and camouflaging the crimes, the Germans set up in Lvov, in the Yanov Camp, a special school for the preparation of qualified cadres. The commandants of the camps of Lublin, Warsaw, Cracow and other cities attended this school. The chief of the Sonderkommando No. 1005, Scherlack, taught the commandants on the spot how to organise the exhumation of the corpses from the graves, how to pile them on stacks, burn them, how to scatter the ashes, to crush the bones, to fill up the ditches, and how to plant trees and brush wood on the graves as camouflage".

I now refer to a document which has already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 61, which is the report of the examination in the town of Lvov of the special machine for the crushing of bones. This record may be found by the members of the Tribunal on Page 473 of the document book. As I have very little time left at my disposal, I shall quote only very short excerpts. I quote paragraph 1, on Page 342:-
"The machine for crushing bones is mounted on a special carriage on the platform of a trailer. It is easily transportable without dismounting".
I omit the next paragraph, and shall read one more short extract :-
"The machine will function anywhere without special preparation, and can be transported by automobile or any other vehicle.

A machine of these dimensions can produce 3 cubic metres of calcinated bone powder".

I omit the next four pages of the report, and submit to the Tribunal as evidence the original record of the interrogation of Gerhard Adamitz (Exhibit USSR 80), taken by an American Army lieutenant, Patrick McMahon.

[Page 130]

Gerhard Adamitz was interrogated under oath.

I dwell especially on this document, which, kindly, has been put at our disposal by our American colleagues; because Adamitz's testimony, to use a legal term, in some points corroborates our own evidential material. The testimony is very lengthy, and I will limit myself to a few short quotations.

Gerhard Adamitz was a member of Sonderkommando 1005B. I draw the attention of the Tribunal again to the fact that the first Sonderkommando was simply 1005; this one is Sonderkommando 1005B. The excerpt which I shall quote from the testimony of Gerhard Adamitz will be found by the members of the Tribunal on Page 480 of the document book, beginning with the second paragraph.

Gerhard Adamitz said that, together with forty other members of the Schutzpolizei, he left Dniepro-Petrovsk and was sent to Kiev. I remind the Tribunal of the name of Babi-Yar, which it has already heard. I begin to quote the testimony of Adamitz, page 347:

"Our Lieutenant Winter reported about our column to Oberleutnant Hanisch, who was the Zugfuehrer of the Schutzpolizei of group 1005A. The place smelled of corpses. We felt faint, stopped our noses and tried not to breathe. Oberleutnant Hanisch addressed us. I remember the following excerpts:-
'You have come to the place where you are to serve and support your comrades. You already smell an odour coming from the kitchen behind us. We must all get used to this, and you must all carry out your duties. We will have to guard internees, and do so very strictly. Everything that takes place here is the secret affair of the Reich. Everyone of you answers with his head if ever an internee under his guard succeeds in escaping, and besides this, will be subjected to a special regime. The same fate awaits anyone who lets out anything or is careless in his correspondence'."
I omit the next sentence and continue the quotation -.
"After this speech of Hanisch, we were led out so as to acquaint ourselves with the place where we were to serve. We left the cemetery and were brought to an adjoining field - yes, I am right - the field was adjoining. The road which crossed this field was guarded on both sides by policemen, who chased away all those who tried to approach it. In the field we saw about 100 internees resting from work. The legs of each internee were in chains of about 35 centimetres long. They were dressed in civilian clothes".
I omit the next part of the paragraph and continue the quotation:-
"The work of the internees consisted, as we found out later, in exhuming corpses which had been buried here in two common graves, transporting them, piling them up in two enormous heaps and burning them. It is difficult to estimate the numbers, but I believe that on this spot were buried 40,000 to 45,000 corpses. One anti-tank ditch served as a grave and was partially filled with corpses. This ditch was 100 metres long, 10 metres wide, and 4 to 5 metres deep".
I interrupt my quotation, and continue with the last paragraph of the text:-
"On the day of our arrival, about the 10th September, 1943, there were three or four small piles of corpses on the field".
It is interesting to note what this fascist expert in the burning of corpses understood by the words "small piles". I continue the quotation:-
"Every such pile consisted of about 700 corpses. It was about 7 metres long, 4 metres wide, and 2 metres high".

[Page 131]

Continuing from the next page:-
"Here and in other places I observed the following methods of burning corpses:-

With the aid of iron hooks, the corpses were dragged to certain spots and then piled on a wooden platform. Then the whole pile of corpses was surrounded with logs, paraffin was poured on and ignited.

We, the policemen of Sonderkommando 1005 B, were then led back from the cemetery to the kitchen. However, not one of us could eat because of the terrible smell and because of all we had seen".

Although the rest of the text is very interesting, I have to leave it out in order to save time and continue the quotation from Page 351, second paragraph. I quote this excerpt, as in the Report of the Kiev Extraordinary State Commission I already had the honour to report to the Tribunal about the statements of internees who had fled from these Kommandos.

Adamitz's testimony gives full confirmation of this episode. I shall read only a short quotation:-

"About 29th October, 1943, at 4.45 a.m., during dense fog, thirty internees escaped. They tore off their foot chains, rushed out of their barracks with shouts, and ran away in different directions. Six of them were shot; because of the dense fog the others succeeded in escaping".
I beg the Tribunal to pay attention to the fact that as soon as the work of burning corpses was completed the internees were murdered. In proof of this I quote the following excerpt from Adamitz's statement, page 352:-
"In other places where I served as guard, the internees, after their work of exhuming and burning of corpses had been done, were murdered. They had been brought in groups or individually under the escort of the policemen chosen for this purpose, to a spot designated by the S.D. The policemen were afterwards sent back to bring along more internees. Then the members of the S.D. forced the internees to lie, face down, on a wooden platform, and immediately shot them in the nape of the neck. The internees in many cases obeyed this order without resistance, lying down next to their comrades who already had been shot".
I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the further career of the Sonderkommando. You will find information on this subject in the same record. This Sonderkommando served in Kryvoy Rog, in Nikolaiev, at Voznesensk and in Riga. That is to say, it crossed my country from the Black Sea to the Baltic countries; a distance of thousands of kilometres, Everywhere it carried out the same work. In confirmation of this I will quote only a short excerpt regarding the last stage on the Kommando's work in Riga. Page 357 of the statement.
"We members of Kommando 1005 B received an order to go to several newly-built barracks, which were situated about 250 metres from six or seven mass graves".

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