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-Fifth Day: Friday, 22nd February, 1946
(Part 3 of 8)


[Page 218]

I present to the Tribunal a certified photostatic copy of this notice as Exhibit USSR 262, and I read into the record an excerpt from this document. (This excerpt is on Page 158.)
"The Commander of the German State Security Police in Latvia hereby announces the following:

. . .2. The inhabitants of the village of Audriny, in the Rezhetz District, concealed members of the Red Army for over one-quarter of a year, armed them, and assisted them in every way in their anti-government activities.

As punishment I ordered the following: That the village of Audriny be wiped from the face of the earth."

The Hitlerites practised punitive expeditions widely in the occupied districts of the Leningrad Region.

As can be seen from a verdict of the Military Tribunal of the Leningrad Military District, which is submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 91, the Hitlerites burned down, in February, 1944 ten inhabited localities in the Dedovitch, Pozherevitz, and Ostrov Districts.

[Page 219]

The Hitlerite punitive expeditions also burnt down the villages of Strashevo and Zapolye in the Plyuss District, and the villages of Bolshye Lyady, Ludoni and others.

Numerous punitive detachments, acting on the orders of the German Supreme Command, burnt down many hundreds of inhabited localities in the Yugoslav territory.

I refer, as evidence, to the third section of the Report of the Yugoslav State Commission for Establishment of the Crimes of the German Invaders which has been presented to the Tribunal as Document 36-USSR, and also to the special Memorandum of the Yugoslav State Commission, numbered 2697 (45) and signed by Professor Nedelkovich, which I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 309. This document is on Pages 165 and 167 of the document book.

In these documents we find a number of facts concerning the burning and destruction of villages and hamlets by the special punitive expeditions of the Hitlerites.

As examples the localities of Zagnezdye, Udora, Mechkovac, Marsic, Grasniza, Rudnika, Krupnya, Rastovach, Orakh, Grabovica, Drachic, Lozinda, and many others can be named. These districts of Yugoslavia were completely devastated after the Germans had been there.

I also present to the Tribunal the original copy of a notice by the so-called Commander-in-Chief of Serbia, which I beg the Tribunal to accept in evidence as Exhibit USSR 200. This notice was captured by troops of the Yugoslav Army of Liberation, which fact is duly certified by the Yugoslav State Commission in Belgrade.

I read into the record only one paragraph:

"The Commander-in-Chief of Serbia announces: the village of Skela has been burned and razed to the ground."
German punitive detachments also destroyed inhabited localities in Poland. As evidence I submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 368, which is an affidavit of the Plenipotentiary of the Polish Government, Dr. Stefan Kurovsky. This affidavit is an appendix to the official report of the Polish Government and is on page 169 of your document book.

This document indicates that in the spring of 1943 in the territory of Zamoisky, Bilgoraisky, Kbrubeshovsky and Krasnitzky, the Germans burned down a number of inhabited localities; and in February, 1944, five villages were destroyed in the Krasnitzky district, with the help of the Air Force.

The Germans burned and razed to the ground a considerable number of inhabited localities in Greece. As examples we will name the settlements Amelofito, Kliston, Kizonia, Ano- Kerzilion and Kato-Kerzilion in the Salonica district, and the settlements of Mesovunos and Selli in the Korzani district, and others.

I present to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 103, certified photostatic copies of three telegraphic reports of the 164th German Infantry Division to the Chief of Staff of the 12th Army. These reports, your Honours, are on Page 170 of your document book.

Each of these reports consists of nine to ten lines. They are uniform in type and standardised. But these short official documents reveal in essence the monstrous system generally employed by the Hitlerites in the territories occupied by them.

I will read into the record one of these reports. I read:

"18 October, 1941. To the Chief of Staff of the 12th Army, Athens.

Daily Report.

1. The villages of Ano-Kerzilion and Kato-Kerzilion, which had been ascertained to be the base of a considerable guerrilla band in this area, were razed to the ground by the troops of the Division on 17 October. The male inhabitants between 16 and 60 years of age - (totalling 207 persons) - were shot, and the women and children were evacuated to another district.

2. No other special important incidents.

[Page 220]

164th Infantry Division."
Surely, there is no need for comment regarding this document.

I should also like to refer to the official report of the Greek Government, which is presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 358. On Pages 39 and 40 of the report, which correspond to Page 207 of your document book, we find numerous facts concerning the burning and destruction of villages on the island of Crete. Thus, the villages of Skiki, Prassi and Kanados were completely burned down in retaliation for the murder of some German parachutists by the employees of the local police at the time of the attack on the island of Crete.

Certain villages were demolished by the Germans for the sole reason that they were in the partisans' zone of operations.

It is stated in the report that, out of 6,500 villages, 1,600 were completely or partially demolished. It should also be noted that the Germans intentionally shelled undefended towns and caused heavy damage to 23 Greek towns, among which the towns of Yanina, Arta, Preveza, Tukkala, Larissa and Canea were almost completely destroyed. This is mentioned on Page 21 of the report of the Greek Government. It is on Page 190 of your document book.

Your Honours, the whole world knows of the Hitlerites' crimes at Lidice. The 10 June, 1942, was the last day of Lidice and of its inhabitants. The fascist barbarians left irrefutable evidence of their monstrous crime. They made a film of the annihilation of Lidice, and we are able to show this evidence to the Tribunal. Following an order of the Czechoslovak Government, a special investigation was carried out. This investigation established that the filming of the tragedy of Lidice was entrusted by the so-called Protector to an adviser on photography in the N.S.D.A.P., Dr. Franz Treml, and was carried out by him in conjunction with Miroslav Wagner.

Among the documents which we present to the Tribunal are photographs of the operators who filmed the phases of the destruction of Lidice.

I present these documents to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 370. I would like to remark, your Honours, that this film, which is German, is a documentary film. It was filmed a few years ago. The technical state of this reel is not very satisfactory, and therefore when we present it, there may be a few defects.

I beg the indulgence of the Tribunal beforehand and request permission to show this film.

(The demonstration of the film is interrupted.)

GENERAL RAGINSKY: The film is not yet complete. This is the defective portion to which I drew the attention of the Tribunal.

(The demonstration of the film continues.)

What the Germans perpetrated in Lidice was repeated a short time later in another inhabited district of Czechoslovakia, in the village of Lezhaky.

I will refer as evidence to the Czechoslovak Government's report, Pages 126-127. This report is presented to the Court as Exhibit USSR 60.

This report states:

"Lezhaky, like Lidice, was totally destroyed and the ground where it stood is now covered over with mud."
I pass on to the next section of my report, the destruction of villages and towns, industry and transport on the territory of the USSR.

Your Honours, I have quoted above the general directives of the criminal German Government and the German Supreme Command concerning the destruction of inhabited centres, industry, and means of communications in the USSR. Now I pass on to the presentation of evidence of that destruction which was effected in execution of these directives by the Hitlerites everywhere on the territory of the Soviet Union which they temporarily occupied.

I omit the evidence regarding the destruction of single towns of the Soviet Union and pass on to the presentation of my report beginning on Page 42.

[Page 221]

There is a large number of documents at the disposal of the Soviet Prosecution which incriminate the Hitlerite criminals in premeditated and systematic, calculated and cruel annihilation and destruction of cities and towns, plants and factories railways and means of communication.

The presentation of all this documentation would seriously delay the trial. Therefore, I consider it proper to pass on to the presentation of the general conclusive data established by the Extraordinary State Commission instead of presenting separate documents.

From Exhibit USSR 35 I will read into the record only those sections and data, which have not been read into the record previously and only those which directly concern the subject of my report. These extracts, your Honours, are on Pages 223- 224 of your document book. I quote:

"The German fascist invaders totally or partially destroyed and burned 1710 towns and more than 70,000 villages and hamlets. They burned and destroyed more than 6,000,000 buildings and rendered some 25,000,000 persons homeless. Among the destroyed towns which suffered most are our greatest industrial and cultural centres; Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Smolensk, Novgorod, Pskov, Orel, Kharkov, Voronezh, Rostov-on-the- Don, and many others.

The German fascist invaders destroyed 31,850 industrial works which employed some 4,000,000 workers."

I omit the end of Page 43, 44 and 45 and the beginning of Page 46 of my report.
"The Hitlerites destroyed 36,000 postal and telegraphic offices, telephone centres and other communication centres. During their occupation of a part of the territory of the Soviet Union, and especially during their retreat, the German fascist invaders caused great damage to the railway system, waterways and river transport.

They used special machines for the destruction of means of communications. Thus were put out of action twenty- six, and partially destroyed, eight, main railway lines. They destroyed 65,000 kilometres of rails and 500,000 kilometres of cables for automatic control systems and railroad signals. They blew up 13,000 railway bridges, 4,100 railway stations and 1,600 water-pressure stations. They destroyed 317 locomotive depots and 129 locomotive and wagon repair shops, as well as railway machine works.

They destroyed, damaged or evacuated to Germany 15,800 locomotives, and diesel locomotives, and 428,000 railway carriages.

The enemy caused great damage to the buildings, enterprises and institutions and ships of the shipping lines operating in the Arctic Ocean, in the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black and Caspian Seas. They sank or partially damaged more than 1,400 passenger, cargo and special ships.

The seaports of Sebastopol, Mariupol, Kertch, Novorossisk, Odessa, Nikolayev, Leningrad, Murmansk, Lepaya, Tallinn, and others, equipped with modem technical installations, suffered greatly.

The invaders sank or captured 4,280 passenger and cargo ships and steam tug boats of the river shipping services, as well as 4,229 barges. They destroyed 479 harbour and wharf installations, as well as 89 dockyards and machine factories.

While retreating under the pressure of the Red Army, German troops blew up and destroyed 91,000 kilometres of highway and 90,000 road bridges, of a total length of 930 kilometres."

With this I conclude my statement, your Honours.

The documents which were read into the record and presented to the Tribunal clearly demonstrate how the Hitlerite conspirators in the territories seized by them in the USSR, Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Greece, trampled upon the laws and customs of war, the fundamental principles of criminal law and the specific provisions of Articles 46 and 50 of the Hague Convention of 1907.

[Page 222]

The documents submitted also prove that the German invaders contemplated complete destruction of cities and villages from which the Hitlerites were compelled to retreat under the blows of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union.

Finally these documents show what bestial cruelty and mercilessness the Hitlerites practised in carrying out their criminal plans and in reducing to dust and ashes the largest cultural and industrial centres.

Over a wide area from the White to the Black and the Aegean Seas, in the territory temporarily occupied by the German troops, the Hitlerites purposely and according to plan reduced to ruins densely populated and flourishing Russian, Bielorussian, Yugoslavian, Greek and Czechoslovakian cities, towns and villages.

All this was the result of the criminal activity of the Hitlerite Government and of the German High Command, the representatives of which are now in the dock.

In conclusion I would like, Mr. President, to present as evidence and as Exhibit USSR 401 a documentary film concerning the destruction perpetrated by the Germans on the territories of the Soviet Union. Documents certifying to the authenticity of this film are now being submitted to the Tribunal.

(Projection of the film.)

THE PRESIDENT (after the termination of the film): We will adjourn until 14.10 hours.

(A recess was taken.)

GENERAL RAGINSKY : Mr. President, in order to exhaust fully the presentation of evidence in regard to the subject matter of my report, I ask your permission to examine witness Joseph Abgarovitch Orbeli who has been brought to the Courthouse. Orbeli will testify in regard to the destruction of the monuments of culture and art in Leningrad.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any objections to make?

DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for the Leadership Corps): I would like to ask the Court, to decide whether the witness can be heard on this subject, whether this single piece of evidence is relevant. Leningrad was never in German hands. Leningrad was only fired upon with the regular combat weapons of the troops and also attacked from the air, as is done regularly by all the armies of the world. It must be established what is to be proved by this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal considers that there is no substance in the objection that has just been made, and we will hear the witness.

JOSEPH ABGAROVITCH ORBELI testified as follows:


Q. What is your name?

A. Joseph Abgarovitch Orbeli.

Q. Will you repeat the oath after me. State your name again.

A. Orbeli, Joseph.

Q. I - Orbeli, Joseph, a citizen of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Summoned as a witness in this trial, in the presence of the Court, promise and swear to tell the Court nothing but the truth about everything I know in regard to this case.

(Witness repeated the oath after the President.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit if you wish.

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