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 3 of 7)

[COLONEL L. N. SMIRNOV continues]

[Page 314]

My colleague, Colonel Pokrovsky, has already denounced the absurdity of these so-called "special instructions" and I therefore do not consider it necessary to dwell on this passage. I continue:-
"It is therefore absolutely essential, when dealing with them, to exercise the greatest caution and prudence, and to nourish the deepest suspicions."
The following directives were issued to the guard over the Soviet prisoners :-

Firstly, ruthless action at the slightest sign of resistance or disobedience. Merciless use of firearms to break any resistance. Escaping soldiers to be shot immediately, without challenge, with firm intent to hit. "Without challenge", is characteristic.

I omit the two following paragraphs and quote the second part, sub-paragraph 3 of the memorandum, which your Honours will find on Page 153, paragraph 2 of the document book. From this sub-paragraph I quote 3 lines:-

"Kindness is out of place, even when dealing with assiduous and obedient prisoners of war. They will ascribe it to weakness and draw their own conclusions."
I omit sub-paragraph 4 and end my quotation from this document on sub-paragraph 5 of the memorandum. Your Honours will find this passage on Page 153, last paragraph of the document book.
"5. Never must the apparent inoffensiveness of the Bolshevik prisoner of war tempt you to deviate from the above-mentioned instructions."
A very short time ago, I quoted sub-paragraph 4 of the memorandum, regarding the utilisation of the labour of Soviet prisoners allotted to the industries. It stated that the requirements respecting billets for the Soviet prisoners should, from the viewpoint of comfort, be of "the lowest possible level". The meaning of this will be clear to your Honours from a report of the Chief of Supplies and Equipment of the Army, dated 17th October, 1941, addressed to the Acting Corps Commanders and to the Administrative Authorities of Military Districts.

I submit this document as Exhibit USSR 422. This, too, is presented in the original and I beg that it be entered as documentary evidence into the records. It was issued in Berlin and dated as far back as 17th October, 1941. I quote one paragraph of the text. Your Honours will find this paragraph on Page 154 of the document book. I quote:-

"Subject: Quarters for Soviet Prisoners of War.

At a conference held on 19 September, 1941, at the office of the Chief of Supplies and Equipment of the Army, it was decided that by the construction of several tiers of wooden bunks, in lieu of bedsteads, an R.A.D. (Reich Labour Service) barracks for 150 prisoners, could be converted according to specifications for Soviet Prisoners' mass-barracks, to hold 840 prisoners."

[Page 315]

I shall not quote the remainder of this document, since I consider this paragraph sufficiently clear in itself.

I request the Tribunal to accept in evidence two documents which are also presented in the original. They testify to the fact that the extermination, in the camp, of Soviet prisoners of war was practised for political reasons.

I shall first submit, as Exhibit USSR 462, an order addressed to Camp No. 60. The document is in the original and I request that it be added to the records as evidence. Your Honours will find the paragraph which I wish to quote on Page 155 of the document book.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I shall quote one passage only of the document already submitted. The passage which I ask the permission of the Tribunal to read is on Page 155, sub- paragraph 4 of the order:-

"Routine Procedure at the Shooting or Serious Wounding of a Prisoner of War.

Every case of shooting or serious wounding of a prisoner of war should be reported as a special casualty. If you are dealing with English, French, Belgian or American prisoners of war you should also act in accordance with instructions of the Supreme Command, Code No. " f "-24."

This order was dated 2nd August, 1943.

On 5 November, 1943, however, another order followed which changed even this procedure where the Soviet prisoners of war were concerned. I request the Tribunal to accept in evidence the document which I am submitting as No. 433, pertaining to Camp No. 86. From this document I quote one paragraph only, i.e., paragraph 12:-

"The Shooting of Soviet Prisoners of War (Judicial Investigator.)

The shooting of Soviet prisoners of war and other fatal accidents need no longer be reported to Prisoner of War Commander as an 'Unusual Casualty'."

In certain cases, the High Command of the German Armed Forces agreed to the payment of a miserably small sum for the work done by the prisoners of war, but here, too, the Soviet prisoners of war were treated twice as badly as the prisoners of other nationalities. To confirm this, I request the Tribunal to accept in evidence the directive of the High Command of the German Armed Forces dated 1 March, 1944. The document will be submitted as Exhibit USSR 4271 request that the Tribunal attach it to the documentation of the case as evidence. From this document I shall quote two sentences only. These sentences, your Honours will find on Page 274 of the document book:-
"Prisoners of war, working all day, will receive for one full working day the following basic pay:-

Non-Soviet Prisoners of War - RM 0,70.

Soviet Prisoners of War - RM 0,35."

(The second sentence is at the end of the document, on Page 275 of the document book, last paragraph):-
"The minimum daily pay, for non-Soviet prisoners, will be RM 0,20, and for Soviet prisoners of war RM 0,10."
Here I end my quotation from this document.

If other prisoners received from the German fascist murderers the right to a few breaths of fresh air per day, the Soviet people were deprived of even this privilege.

[Page 316]

I request the Tribunal to accept in evidence an original order, Exhibit USSR 424, referring to Camp No. 44. 1 request the permission of the Tribunal to quote one sentence from paragraph 7, entitled "Walks for Prisoners of War".
"In special cases, when prisoners of war, engaged on work, have their living quarters at the same place where they work and therefore have no access to the open air, they should be allowed out into the fresh air in order to maintain their working strength."
I further request the Tribunal to accept as evidence the original order addressed to Camp No. 46. This document is submitted as Exhibit USSR 425. I would remind the Tribunal that the preceding order "Walks for Prisoners of War" was listed under sub-paragraph 7. I cite one sentence from sub- paragraph 10 of Order No. 46. This sub-paragraph 10 is also entitled "Walks for Prisoners of War" and the basis for this sub-paragraph is order No. 1259, Part 5 of the Chief of the Section for Prisoner of War Affairs, dated 2 June, 1943. I quote one sentence:-
"Supplementary to sub-paragraph 7 of the order addressed to Camp No. 44, dated 8 June, 1943, it is pointed out that the order does not apply to Soviet Prisoners of War."
I further request the Tribunal to accept in evidence the original announcement of the Labour Administrator Marisch Schonberg. This announcement concerns prisoners of war in regard to their employment on agricultural work. I quote two sentences from this document. The passage which I have asked permission to quote is on Page 160 of the document book. I begin the quotation:-
"The replacement of 104 English prisoners of war from Labour Brigade for Prisoners of War E 351, currently employed in the Heinrichsthal Paper Mills, by 160 Soviet prisoners of war, has been rendered necessary by the recently arisen labour shortage. An additional allocation of English prisoners, to raise the number to the required figure of 160, is impossible, since after the last check- up on camp conditions, undertaken a few months ago by competent Wehrmacht authorities, it was decided that billets in the camp were only sufficient for 104 English prisoners of war, whereas the same space would accommodate 160 Russian prisoners of war without any difficulties whatsoever."
I request your Honour's permission to quote one more document, namely: "Directive No. 8 regarding this camp", dated 7 May, 1942. It is entitled "The Utilisation of Soviet Prisoners of War for Work".

I submit this document in the original as Exhibit USSR 126, and I request that it be added as evidence to the records of the Tribunal.

I quote the section entitled "Measures for the restoration of full working capacity:-

"The Soviet prisoners of war are, almost without exception, in a state of acute malnutrition, which currently renders them unfit for a normal output of work."
The General Staff of the German Armed Forces was particularly concerned with two questions: (1) blankets for Soviet prisoners of war and (2) in what form should the mercilessly murdered Soviet victims of the concentration camps be buried. Both questions found their solution in one document. I submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 429 and request that it be added as evidence to the

[Page 317]

records. Your Honours will find it on Page 162 of the document book. This is a directive of the 8th Military District, dated 28 October, 1941. I begin the quotation:-
"Re: Soviet-Russian Prisoners of War. The following arrangements were decided on during a conference of the O.K.W.:-

First - Blankets. The Soviet-Russians will receive paper blankets, which they will have to manufacture themselves, in the form of quilts, from paper tissue, fitted with light-weight paper and similar material. The material will be placed at the disposal of the O.K.W."

The second part, as your Honours already know, is as follows:-
The heading reads: "Burial of Soviet-Russians.

Soviet prisoners of war are to be buried naked, without a coffin, wrapped in packing paper. Coffins will only be used for transports. In the working gangs the burial will be attended to by the competent authorities. Burial expenses will be met by the competent Stalag for prisoners of war. The stripping of the bodies will be done by the camp guards. Signed by order of Grossekettler."

It was not only the administration of the military district that was concerned with the methods for burying Soviet prisoners of war; the Ministry of the Interior was also concerned with this question, and an urgent letter was addressed to the camp specially marked "Not for publication in the Press even in excerpts". I request the Tribunal to accept this document in evidence as Exhibit USSR 430. The members of the Tribunal can find this passage on Page 276 of the document book. I quote five sentences from this fairly voluminous document:-
"As regards the transport of the bodies and the provision of vehicles, the Wehrmacht should be contacted. For transport and burial a coffin is not necessary. The bodies should be completely wrapped up in paper, preferably in oiled paper, tarpaulin, corrugated paper or some other suitable material. Both transportation and burial should be done unostentatiously. When many corpses come in at the same time, burial should take place in a common grave. The corpses should be laid at the usual depth, side by side, not overlaying each other. As a site for the burial, a remote part of the cemetery should be chosen. Any burial service and any decoration of the graves should be disallowed."
Omitting the next sentence:-
"It is necessary to keep expenses as low as possible."
But even in the special organisations of German fascism, specially created for the extermination of human life, the criminals still continued in their policy of racial and political discrimination. Actually, this discrimination could mean one thing only, namely, that one part of the camp prisoners came to their inevitable end - death - more rapidly than the other part. The criminals even tried to make the inevitable end more terrible for those of their victims whom they - following the Nazi man-hating "theories" - called "sub-humans", or whom they considered to be capable of active resistance.

I request the permission of the Tribunal to read into the record one paragraph from a document already submitted as Exhibit USSR 415. This is a report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the "Crimes at Lamsdorf Camp" and the quotation will testify to the extent of the criminal Hitlerite activities. It concludes the presentation of evidence regarding this camp. Your Honours will find the passage in question on Page 146 of the document book, paragraph 5.

"According to the findings of the Special Commission, during the existence of the Lamsdorf camp the Germans tortured to death more than 100,000 Soviet prisoners of war. Most of these died in the mines, in the various,

[Page 318]

industrial enterprises, or during transportation back to the camp. Some were crushed to death in the dugouts, many were killed en route during the evacuation of the camp. Forty thousand prisoners of war died in the Lamsdorf Camp proper."
Mr. President, the Soviet Prosecution begs to present one more witness, Dr. Kivelisha - he is a physician and his evidence is particularly important in establishing that there existed a special regime in the camps for Soviet prisoners of war. The Soviet Prosecution requests your permission to question this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Colonel Smimov.

(Dr. Eugene Alexandrovich Kivelisha took the stand.)


Q. What is your name?

A. Kivelisha, Eugene Alexandrovich.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me?

I - and then state your name - a citizen of the Union of 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, if you wish.


Q. Will you spell your name? Will you spell your surname?

A. K-I-V-E-L-I-S-H-A.


Q. What was your position in the ranks of the Red Army at the time of the attack on the Soviet Union by Hitlerite Germany ?

A. At the time of the attack on the Soviet Union by Hitlerite Germany I was junior Physician in the 305th Regiment of the 44th Rifle Division.

Q. Did your unit of that regiment take part in battles against the Germans?

A. Yes, we participated in the battles from the first day of the war.

Q. On what date and under what circumstances were you captured by the Germans?

A. I was captured by the Germans on 9 August, 1941, in the district of the City of Uman, of the Kirovograd region. I was captured at the moment when our unit and two Russian armies, to which out unit belonged, were surrounded by the Germans after prolonged fighting.

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