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-Eighth Day: Tuesday, 26th February, 1946
(Part 2 of 7)

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THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

Jacob Grigoriev takes the stand.

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

A. Jacob Grigoriev.

Q. Will you take this oath?

I, Jacob Grigoriev, citizen of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, summoned as witness in this trial, do promise and swear, in the presence of the Court, to tell the Court nothing but the truth about everything I know in regard to this case.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.


Q. Please tell us, witness, in which village you lived before the war?

A. In the village of Kusnezovo, Porkhov Region, district of Pskov.

Q. In which village were you overtaken by the outbreak of war ?

A. In the village of Kusnezovo.

Q. Does this village exist to-day?

A. It does not.

Q. Please tell the Tribunal what happened.

A. On the memorable day of 28 October, 1943, German soldiers suddenly raided our village and started murdering the peaceful citizens, shooting them, chasing them into the houses. On that day I was working by the stream with my

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two sons, Alexei and Nikolai. Suddenly a German soldier came up to us and ordered us to follow him.

THE PRESIDENT: You said you were working with your two sons in the field.

THE WITNESS: Yes. My own two sons.


A. We were led through the village to the last house at the outskirts. There were 19 of us, all told, in that house. So there we sat in that house. I sat close to the window and looked out of it. I saw my wife and my nine-year-old boy. They were chased right up to the house and then led back again - where I do not know.

A little later three German machine gunners came in, accompanied by a fourth carrying a heavy revolver. We were ordered into another room. We went, all 19 of us, and were lined up against a wall, including my two sons, and they began shooting us with their machine guns. I stood right up to the wall, bending slightly. After the first volley I fell to the floor, where I lay, too frightened to move. When I came to, I looked round and saw my son Nikolai who had been shot and had fallen, face downwards. Then, when some time had passed, I began to wonder how I could escape. I straightened my legs out from under the man who had fallen on me and began to think out a way of escape. Instead of that, instead of planning my escape, I lost my head and called out, at the top of my voice: "Can I really go now?" At that moment my small son, who had remained alive, recognised me.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: That would be your second son?

A. The second. The first had been killed and was lying by my side My little son called out, "Daddy, are you still alive?"

Q. He was wounded?

A. He was wounded in the leg. I calmed him down: "Do not fear, my small son. I shall not leave you here. Somehow or other, we shall get away from here. I shall carry you out." A little later the house began to burn. Then I opened the window and threw myself out of it, carrying my little boy who had been wounded in the leg. So we began to creep out of the house, hiding so that the Germans could not see us, but on our way from the house we suddenly saw a high hedge. We could not move the hedge apart so we began to break it up. At that moment we were noticed by the German soldiers and they began to shoot at us. Then I whispered to my little son to hide while I would run away. I was unable to carry him, and he ran a short distance and hid in the undergrowth, while I ran off. I ran a short distance and then jumped into a building near the burning house. There I sat for a while and then decided to run further on. So I escaped into a nearby forest, not far from our village, where I spent the night. In the morning I met Alexeiev N. from the neighbouring village, who said: "Your son Alexei is alive, he managed to crawl to the next village." Then, on the second day, I met Vitya Kuznetzov, a little boy from the same village who had escaped from Leningrad and was living in our village during the time of the occupation.

He told me what had happened in the second hut where my wife and son had been taken. The German soldiers, having driven the people into the hut, opened the door and began shooting with their machine guns. According to Vitya's story, people who were still half alive were burning, including my little boy, Petya, who was only nine years old. When he ran out of the hut he saw that Petya was still alive: he was sitting under a bench having covered his ears with his little hands.

Q. How old was the oldest inhabitant of this village destroyed by the Germans?

A. The oldest inhabitant was Ustinia Artemieva, who was 108 years old.

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Q. Tell me, witness, how old was the youngest victim murdered by the Germans?

A. Four months.

Q. How many villagers were killed altogether?

A. 47.

Q. Why did the Germans exterminate the population of your village?

A. The reason was not known.

Q. What did the Germans themselves say?

A. When the German soldier came to our threshing floor we asked him "Why are you killing us? " He replied: "Do you know the village of Maximovo ? (This is the village next to our community village.) I said, "Yes." Then he told me This village of Maximovo is ' Kaput' - the inhabitants are 'kaput,' and you, too, will be 'kaput'."

Q. And why " kaput"?

A. "Because," said he, "you harboured partisans in your village." But his words were untruthful because we had no partisans in the village and nobody took part in any partisan activities, since there was nobody left. Only old people and small children were left in the village, the village had never seen any partisans and did not know who these partisans were.

Q. Were there many adult men in your village?

A. There was one man, 27 years old, but he was a sick man, half-witted and paralysed. We only had old men and small children. All the rest were in the Army.

Q. Please tell us, witness, were the inhabitants of your village alone in suffering this fate?

A. No, they were not alone. The German soldiers shot 43 persons in Kuryshevo, 47 in Vshivovo, and in the village of Pavlovo, where I now live, they burned 23 persons alive. In a whole row of villages where, in our village community, there were some 400 inhabitants, they shot all the peaceful citizens, both young and old.

Q. Please repeat that figure: how many persons were destroyed in your village community?

A. About 400 people in our village community alone.

Q. Please tell us, who remained alive of your family?

A. Of my family only I and one of my sons remained alive. They shot my wife, in her sixth month of pregnancy, my son Nikolai, aged sixteen years, my youngest boy, Petya, aged nine years, and my sister-in-law - my brother's wife - with her two infants, Sasha and Tonya.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have no further questions to ask this witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other prosecutors wish to ask the witness any questions? Do any of the defendants' counsel wish to ask the witness any questions? The witness may retire.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I pass on to the next count of my statement, the "Discrimination against the Soviet people".

Discrimination against the Soviet population was the usual method of the Hitlerite criminals. It was carried out by the criminals continuously and everywhere.

In this part of my statement I shall refer to the documents of the German

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criminals themselves, which have only now been obtained and placed at the disposal of the Soviet prosecution. They were seized by the Extraordinary State Commission in the Prisoner- of-War Camp at Lamsdorf.

I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 415 a communication of the Extraordinary State Commission on "The Crimes committed by the German Government and the German High Command against Soviet Prisoners of War in the Camp of Lamsdorf". A number of original documents of the German fascist criminals, discovered in the camp archives, are attached to the report.

I shall be able to submit some of these reports to your Honours. Their value consists in the fact that they prove that even under the murderous regime established in one of the largest and most cruel of the German concentration camps, the criminals, true to the cannibalistic principles of their "theories," shamelessly discriminated against the Soviet nationals. I shall quote a few brief excerpts from the report in question of the Extraordinary State Commission. The passage, your Honours, to which I refer, you will find on Page 123 of the document book, paragraph 4. It sets forth the general characteristics of the camp:-

"As a result of investigations made, the Extraordinary State Commission found that in Lamsdorf, in the district of the town of Oppeln, there existed, from 1941 to May, 1945, a German stationary camp, No. 344.

In 1940-1941 this camp contained Polish prisoners of war; from the end of 1941 Soviet, English and French prisoners of war began to come in."

I omit the next two sentences and continue the quotation:-
"The prisoners of war were deprived of their outer clothing and boots. Even in winter they had to go barefoot. No fewer than 300,000 prisoners of war passed through the camp during the years of its existence, including 200,000 Soviet and 100,000 Polish, English, French, Belgian and Greek prisoners.

The usual method for the extermination of Soviet prisoners in Lamsdorf camp was the sale of the captives to German undertakings for work in the various German firms where they were mercilessly exploited until, their strength completely lost, they died of exhaustion.

In contrast to the numerous German labour exchanges, where Sauckel's representatives sold enslaved Soviet citizens singly to German housewives, a wholesale business in internees was organised in Lamsdorf camp where the captives were formed into working gangs. There were 1,011 such working gangs in the camp."

When presenting the subsequent documents, I should like to ask the Tribunal to understand correctly the statements in corroboration of which I am submitting evidence.

I do not in the least wish to say that the regime established by the Germans for British, French or other prisoners of war was at all distinguished for humanity or kindness and that it was only the Soviet prisoners of war who were exterminated by the camp administration by various criminal methods.

Not at all. Lamsdorf Camp definitely pursued its object, which was the extermination of prisoners of war, regardless of their nationality or citizenship. Nevertheless, even in this "Death Camp", where the conditions of prisoners of war of all nationalities were most terrible, the German fascists, committing Crimes Against Humanity and faithful to the principles of their theories, created particularly appalling conditions for the people of the Soviet.

I shall submit to the Tribunal, in a few brief excerpts, a series of documents taken from the archives of this camp and presented to the Tribunal in the original version. All these documents point to the manifest discrimination against Soviet

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prisoners of war carried out by the camp administration, pursuant to orders of the Reich Government and of the High Command.

I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 421 a memoranda on the "Utilisation of the Labour of Soviet Prisoners of War", addressed by the Chief of the Prisoner of War Department for the 8th Military District to the Administration of Industrial Concerns to which the prisoners of war were sent. I request the Tribunal to accept this document as evidence. It is submitted in the original. I quote point 10 of this memoranda, and your Honours will find the passage quoted in the last paragraph of Page 150 of the document book:-

"The following directives have been issued for the treatment of Russian prisoners of war.

The Russian prisoners of war have passed through the school of Bolshevism, they must be looked upon as Bolsheviks and treated as Bolsheviks. According to Soviet instructions they must, even in captivity, resist actively the State which has captured them. Therefore, we must from the very beginning treat all Russian prisoners of war with merciless severity, if they give us the slightest pretext for so doing.

Civilians attempting, by any means, to approach the Russian prisoners of war, to exchange ideas with them, to hand them money, food, etc., will be arrested, questioned, and handed over to the Police."

In addition, I quote the introduction to this memoranda. Your Honours will find it on Page 149 of the document book, paragraph 2.
"The General Staff of the Armed Forces has issued an order regulating the utilisation of Soviet prisoner-of- war labour. According to this order the utilisation of Russian prisoners of war could be tolerated only if carried out under far harsher conditions than those applied to prisoners of war of other nationalities."
Thus the instructions for a specially cruel regime, to be applied to Soviet prisoners of war merely because they were Soviet prisoners, were not the result of any arbitrary action on the part of the Lamsdorf Camp Administration. They were dictated by the General Staff of the Armed Forces. In drafting this memorandum, the Lamsdorf Camp Administration was only carrying out direct orders from the Supreme Command.

I quote two more rather characteristic points from the memorandum. First, sub-paragraph 4, which your Honours will find on Page 149 of the document book, last paragraph. It is very brief:-

"Requirements for the Russian billets - from the viewpoint of comfort - must be reduced to the lowest possible level."
I shall attempt to explain later on what this means.

The second characteristic point is found in sub-paragraph 7, which your Honours will find on Page 170 of the document book, paragraph 3. I quote as follows:-

"The food rations for Russian prisoners of war at work will differ from the rations allocated to prisoners of other nationalities. More detailed information on this subject will be given later."
Such was the memorandum addressed to the industrialists to whose concern the Russian prisoners of war were sent to work as slaves.

I submit to the Tribunal Exhibit USSR 431, which is another memorandum, addressed this time to the soldiers guarding the Soviet prisoners of war. The document is submitted in the original and I request the Tribunal to accept it as evidence into the records. I ask the permission of the Tribunal to quote a few brief excerpts from this document. The first page of the text states that it is

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an appendix to a "Directive from the General Staff of the Wehrmacht". Next follow number and document, which are not so important.

I now read the introduction to this memorandum, which is on Page 152 of the document book:-

"For the first time in this war the German soldier is faced with an adversary who is educated both in a military and in a political sense, whose ideal is Communism and who sees in National Socialism his very worst enemy.
" I omit the next paragraph and continue:-
"Even in captivity, the Soviet soldier - however harmless he may appear outwardly - will seize every opportunity to show his hatred for all that is German. We must reckon with the fact that the prisoners will have received special instructions on their behaviour if captured and interned."

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