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 8 of 8)


[Page 240]

Paragraph 12 of the memorandum states that:
"Germans must not share a room with the Eastern woman worker."
Paragraph 14 states that:
"Clothing as a rule cannot be supplied to Eastern women workers."
These two documents just mentioned by me, "Instructions for the Treatment of Foreign Workers" and "Memorandum of the Employment of Eastern Female Workers" - reflect the inhuman conditions of work for the forcibly mobilised Soviet citizens.

The Soviet Prosecution has at its disposal numerous documents, the testimonies of persons who themselves experienced the terror of Nazi slavery; the mere enumeration of all these documents would take too much time.

The Soviet Government already had at its disposal, in the early phases of the war against Nazi Germany, many proofs of the crimes of the Nazi conspirators in this field.

The first document of this kind published by the Soviet Government is the Note of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, dated 6th January, 1942, which was presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet Prosecution as Exhibit USSR 51/2, and this note stated that:

"The peaceful citizens forcibly deported for compulsory labour were proclaimed 'prisoners of war' by the German authorities and treated as such. It has been established, according to reports of Staffs of the German Army, that peasants and other peaceful citizens seized by the Germans and deported for compulsory labour were automatically put on the list as prisoners of war. Thus the number of prisoners of war was artificially and unlawfully increased.

After the occupation of Kiev, the Germans drove into slave labour all the civilian population from eleven to sixty years of age, irrespective of their profession, their sex, state of health or nationality.

In the vicinity of the town of Plausk, in the region of Tula, a camp was established where Soviet war prisoners and the civilian population from neighbouring villages were interned at the same time. The Soviet citizens

[Page 241]

were there subjected to inhuman tortures and sufferings, There were young boys and girls, women and old men among them. Their only food consisted of two potatoes per day. The death-rate reached 25 to 30 persons daily.

People who were too ill to stand on their feet were fined by the Germans for every day of work they missed.

In Kharkov the German invaders decided to make the local Ukrainian intellectuals a subject of their mockery. On 5 November, 1941, all actors were ordered to appear at the Schevtschenko Theatre for registration. When they had gathered, they were surrounded by German soldiers who harnessed them to carts and drove them along the most frequented streets to the river for water."

The second document of the Soviet Government was the Foreign Commissar's Note, dated 27 April, 1942. This Note is submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 51. Section 3 of this Note is entitled: "The Inhuman Sufferings and Death of Soviet Citizens under German fascist slavery".

This Note stated that:

"In the Ukraine and Bielorussia the Germans introduced a fourteen and sixteen hours workday, in many cases without any compensation and in some cases with ridiculously low wages."
In the secret instructions entitled "On the Current Tasks in the Eastern Regions", captured by Red Army troops at the beginning of March 1942, the chief of the Military Economic Inspectorate, Lieutenant General Weigang, admits that:
"It has proved impossible to maintain industrial production with the labour of semi-starved and semi-clad people"; that the devaluation of money and the commodity crisis coincide with a dangerous lack of confidence in the German authorities on the part of the local population, and that this constitutes a danger to the peace in the occupied regions, which cannot be permitted in the rear of the combat troops." The German general points out in this document that these occupied regions should be called "our new Eastern colonial possession".
Acknowledging that the complete collapse of industrial production in the occupied districts has led to mass unemployment, the German General Weigang issued the following orders for speeding up the forcible dispatch of the Russian, Ukrainian and other workers to Germany.
"Only the shipping to Germany of some millions of Russian workers and only the inexhaustible reserves in the occupied Eastern territories can meet the unparalleled manpower shortage in Germany."
In the order seized by the units of the Red Army, it was decreed that "the entire civilian population of the occupied districts should be mobilised for all kinds of heavy labour, and it was stated that this forced labour was not to be paid for, and it was insolently declared that by this unpaid labour the population would atone for its guilt for the acts of sabotage already committed, as well as for the acts of sabotage which could be committed by them in the future."

In Kaluga, on 20 November, 1941, an "Announcement" was posted signed by the German Commandant, Major Portazius, which ran as follows:

"1. Citizens who do poor work or do not work the specified number of hours will be subject to a monetary fine. In the event of non-payment, delinquents will be subjected to corporal punishment.

2. Citizens who have received a work assignment and who have not reported for work will be subject to corporal punishment and will receive no food rations.

3. Citizens evading work in general will, in addition, be expelled from Kaluga. Citizens afraid of work will be attached to labour detachments and columns and billeted in barracks. They will be used for heavy labour.

[Page 242]

This note indicated also that the land would be transferred into the ownership of German landowners. This was established by a Land Law which was promulgated at the end of April, 1942, by the Hitlerite Gauleiter Alfred Rosenberg."
I pass on to the next Note of People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, which was published a year after the Note dated 27 April, 1942.

On 11 May, 1943, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, sent to all Ambassadors and Ministers Plenipotentiary of all the countries with which the USSR bad diplomatic relations, a note "Concerning the Wholesale Forcible Deportation of Soviet Citizens to German Fascist Slavery, and Concerning the Responsibility Borne for this Crime by the German Authorities". This note is submitted to the Tribunal in evidence as Exhibit USSR 51/4.

I consider it necessary to read a few quotations from this Note. On Page 165 of the document book, with the proofs, there is a reference to a declaration of Goering from 7 November, 1941, which has already been mentioned by me. I will not repeat again all that Goering said at that conference. I will only stress that Goering issued a blood- thirsty order not to spare the Soviet people deported into Germany, and to handle them in the, most cruel manner under any excuse. This order is included in section 4 and "A" of the above-mentioned Note. It reads as follows:

"In applying measures for the maintenance of order, the main principle must be swiftness and severity. Only the following forms of punishment must be employed, without intermediary grades: deprivation of food, and death by sentence of field court martial."
On the 31st March, 1942, Sauckel issued the following order by telegraph:-
"The recruiting, for which you are responsible, must be speeded up by every available means, including the stern application of the principle of forced labour."
The Soviet Government is in possession of the complete text of a report by the Chief of the Political Police and Security Service under the Chief of the S.S. in Kharkov, headed "The Situation in the City of Kharkov from 23rd July to 9th September, 1942".
"The recruiting of labour power," states this document, " is causing the competent bodies disquietude, for the population is displaying extreme reluctance to go to work in Germany. The situation at present is that everybody does his utmost to evade enlistment. Voluntary departure to Germany has long been entirely out of the question."
Your Honours, I must stress that the defendant Sauckel, as General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Manpower, actively pursued criminal activity, as it is pointed out in People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov's Note which I just presented. On 31 March, 1942, Sauckel sent to his subordinate departments a telegraphic instruction regarding the utilisation and the work of the mobilisation commissions of Russians. I submit this telegram of Sauckel's to the Tribunal in evidence as Exhibit USSR 382. In this telegram Sauckel writes:
"The rate of mobilisation must be increased immediately and under all circumstances to ensure in the shortest possible time, that is to say, by April, that a three- fold increase in the number of workers shall have been sent off."
Sauckel's efforts were appreciated by the defendant Goering at the time when he was Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan. I refer now to the conference which Goering held on the 6th August, 1942. This document has been submitted by the Soviet prosecution to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 170. I beg you to refer to pages 12 and 13 of this document. Page 184 of the document book, Goering came forth with the following words :
"I have to add to this. I do not wish to praise the Gauleiter Sauckel, he does not need it . . ."

[Page 243]

THE PRESIDENT : (interposing) All this was read the other day. The actual words were read yesterday.

GENERAL ZORYA: I am quite sure, Mr. President, that my colleague, who read into the record this document, did not read into the record this particular passage.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but I still think that he read this excerpt which you have got set out in your document: " I do not wish to praise Gauleiter Sauckel; he does not need it. . . ." He certainly referred to the excerpt which you have just summarised about Lohse.

GENERAL ZORYA : I do not wish to argue but I had the information that this excerpt had not been read into the record. If you like, I will not read this passage into the record.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps you are right. I do not know.

GENERAL ZORYA: Then, I will read it into the record very briefly:

"I do not wish to praise Gauleiter Sauckel; he does not need it. But what he has done in a short time, to collect workers quickly from the whole of Europe and supply them to our undertakings, is a unique achievement of its kind. I must tell all these gentlemen that if each of you used in your sphere of activity a tenth of the energy used by Gauleiter Sauckel, the tasks laid upon you would indeed be easily carried out. This is my sincere conviction and in no way fine words."
I return to the Note of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, dated 11 May, 1943. This Note further gives data concerning the number of Soviet people who were deported to Germany. This Note states that the deportation of Soviet people to German slavery was accompanied nearly everywhere by bloody repressive measures of the invader against Soviet citizens, seeking refuge from the slave merchants who were hunting for them. It has been established that in Gzhatsk seventy-five peaceful inhabitants of the town were shot, and that in Poltava sixty-five railroad men were hanged. The same thing occurred in other towns, and also executions, shootings and hangings were carried out on the same scale.

THE PRESIDENT: I understood from you at the beginning of your speech that you were going to finish your presentation this afternoon. It is now five minutes past five. Is there any chance of your finishing to-day ?

GENERAL ZORYA : If I had not been interrupted by defence counsel for ten minutes in connection with a discussion about the order of the German occupational authorities I would not have needed more than ten minutes to finish the statement.

THE PRESIDENT: How long do you think it will take you now ?

GENERAL ZORYA: A maximum of ten minutes.


GENERAL ZORYA : The Note states The Soviet citizens in the territories captured by the Germans are with growing frequency and organisation offering courageous resistance to the German slave-owners. . . . The growth of the partisan movement, as a consequence of the resistance the Soviet citizens are offering to forcible transportation to German slavery, is admitted with alarm in a number of secret reports from German army and police administrations."

This Note quotes further a number of testimonies of Soviet people who had escaped from German slavery. I will only quote one of these testimonies of Kolkhos member Varvara Bakhtina of the village of Nikolayevka, Kursk region, who stated:

"In Kursk we were pushed in cattle wagons, fifty to sixty persons in each wagon. Nobody was permitted to leave. Every now and then the German sentry hustled and punched us. In Lvov we had to get out and be examined

[Page 244]

by a special commission there. In the presence of the soldiers we were compelled to undress completely and have our bodies examined. The nearer we got to Germany, the fewer were the people left in the train. From Kursk they took three thousand persons, but at nearly every station the sick and those dying from hunger were thrown out. In Germany we were put into a camp with Soviet prisoners of war. This was in a front section surrounded by a high barbed-wire fence. Four days later we were taken to different places. I, my sister Valentina, and thirteen other girls were sent to a munitions factory."
The third section of this report describes further the regime under which the Soviet workers lived in German slavery. This part of the report also mentions the statement made by Goering concerning Russian workers. Goering states in the above-mentioned directives:-
"The Russian is not fastidious and, therefore, it is easy to feed him without affecting our food stocks to any appreciable degree. He must not be spoiled or allowed to get accustomed to German food."
Finally, the Note quotes a number of letters from home to the German soldiers on the Eastern Front, which describe the humiliation to which the Soviet workers were subjected. I will quote a passage from one of such letters. A letter from his mother in Chemnitz was found on the dead body of Wilhelm Bock, a German private, of 221st German Infantry Division. This letter reads:-
"Many Russian women and girls are working at the 'Astra' factories. They are compelled to work fourteen and more hours a day. Of course, they receive no pay whatever. They go to and from the factory under escort. The Russians literally drop from exhaustion. The guards often whip them. They have no right to complain about the bad food or ill treatment. The other day my neighbour obtained a servant. She paid some money at an office and was given the opportunity to choose any woman she pleased from a number here from Russia."
Letters also mention many cases of suicide of Russian women and men.

This note ends with the declaration of the Soviet Government, which states that it places responsibility for atrocities in this domain on the leading Hitlerite clique and the High Command of the German Nazi Army.

"The Soviet Government also places full responsibility for the above enumerated crimes upon the Hitlerite officials who are engaged in recruiting, abducting, transporting to camps, selling into slavery and inhumanly exploiting Soviet civilians who have been forcibly transported from their native land to Germany ... The Soviet Government holds that stern responsibility should be borne by such already exposed criminals as Fritz Sauckel and Alfred Rosenberg."
And finally the note points out:
"The Soviet Government expresses the conviction that all the governments concerned are unanimous on the point that the Nazi Government and its agents must bear full responsibility and receive stern punishment for the monstrous crimes they have committed, for the privation and suffering they have inflicted upon millions of peaceful citizens who have been forcibly deported to German slavery."
This is the end of the Note of the People's Commissar Molotov. Kindly allow me to close my statement also with these words.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 23rd February, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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