The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Sixty-Ninth Day: Wednesday, 27th February, 1946
(Part 6 of 9)

[Page 19]

(No response.)

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I would like to submit to the Tribunal a very short excerpt from a document which is submitted as an appendix to the Polish Government Report. I mean an affidavit . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got any more witnesses?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes; I still have a request to call one more witness on the last count of my statement. In connection with the presentation of evidence on this last count, I would request the Tribunal's permission to summon as witness, the Archdeacon of the Leningrad churches and Rector of the Leningrad Seminary, the Acting Dean of St. Nicola Boqoiavlensky Cathedral in Leningrad, the Very Rev. Nicolai Ivanovitch Lomakin.

[Page 20]

THE PRESIDENT : Very well, and you will be able to conclude his evidence today and conclude your statement; is that right?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I would like to read another short excerpt from this report of the Polish examining magistrate, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 340. I shall read only that excerpt which shows the scale of the crimes. The number of victims murdered at the Treblinka Camp, according to the Polish magistrate, is about 781,000 persons. At the same time he mentions that the witnesses interrogated by him testified to the fact that when the clothes of the internees were sorted out, they even found British passports and diplomas of Cambridge University. This means that the victims of Treblinka came from every European country.

I would further like to quote as proof of the existence of another secret extermination centre, the depositions of Wladislav Bedgarz, the District Examining Magistrate in the city of Lodz, made before the Chief Commission for the Investigation of German crimes in Poland; this testimony is also an official appendix to the Polish Government Report. I would like to read two excerpts from this statement, which give us an idea of the methods of extermination practised in the village of Helmno. The two paragraphs are on Page 223 of the document book:-

"In the village of Helmno there was an abandoned mansion surrounded by a large park - the property of the State. Nearby there was a pine forest with dense undergrowth. At this point the Germans built an extermination camp. The park was enclosed by a high wooden fence, and one could not see what was going on in the park nor in the house itself. The inhabitants of the village of Helmno were all evacuated...."
I interrupt the quotation and pass on to Page 226 of the document book, first paragraph:-
"The whole organisation set up for the extermination of people was so cunningly devised that right up to the last moment the next transport of doomed persons could not guess the fate of the group which had preceded them. The departure of transports - consisting of 1,000 to 2,000 persons - from the village of Sawadki to the extermination camp and the extermination of the arrivals lasted until 2 p.m.

The trucks, loaded with Jews, arrived in the camp and stopped before the mansion. A representative of the Sonderkommando made a short speech to the new arrivals. He assured them that they were going to work in the East. He promised them just treatment by the authorities and adequate food, and at the same time instructed them to take a bath before leaving while their clothing was disinfected. From the courtyard the Jews were then brought to a big warm room on the second floor of the mansion. There they had to undress, and clad in underclothes only they went downstairs, passed through a corridor with signs such as 'To the Medical Officer' and 'To the Bath' on the walls. The arrow which showed the way 'To the Bath' pointed towards the exit. The Germans told the Jews who came out into the yard that they would go to the bath in a closed van, and true enough a large van was brought up to this door so that the Jews coming out of the house found themselves on a ladder leading straight inside the van. The loading of the Jews into the van lasted a very short time. Police were on guard in the corridor and near the van. With blows and shouts they forced the Jews to enter the van, stunning them, so that they could not attempt any resistance. When all the Jews were piled inside the van, the doors were carefully locked and the driver switched on the motor, so that the Jews in the van were poisoned by the exhaust gas."

[Page 21]

I consider it unnecessary to quote that part of the report which testifies that the van in question was the "murder van" already well known to the court.

I will just quote one sentence from Page 10 of this document, paragraph 3:-

"Thus, at least 340,000 men, women, and children, from newborn babes to aged persons, were exterminated in Helmno."
I believe that I can end here that part of my statement which concerns the secret exterminating centres. And now I pass on to the last part of my statement, dealing with religious persecutions.

In the Soviet Union as well as in the occupied countries of Eastern Europe, the German fascist criminals brought shame upon themselves by their mockery of the religious feelings and faith of the people, by persecuting and murdering the priesthood of all religious creeds.

In proof of this I shall read a few excerpts from the corresponding report of the various governments: Czechoslovakia. On Page 70 of the Russian text, which corresponds to Page 80 of the document book, we find the description of the persecution of the Czech Orthodox Church by the German fascist criminals. I quote only one paragraph:-

"The hardest blow was directed against the Czech Orthodox Church. The orthodox parishes in Czechoslovakia were ordered by the Berlin Ministry for Church Affairs to leave the jurisdiction of the Belgrado-Constantinople diocese and to become subordinate to the Berlin Bishop. The Czech Bishop Gorazd was executed together with two other priests of the Orthodox Church. By a special order of the Protector Daluege issued in September 1942, the Orthodox Church of Serbian-Constantinople jurisdiction was dissolved on Czech territory; its religious activity forbidden, and its property confiscated."
On Page 69 of the same report, which corresponds to Page 79 of the document book, in the last paragraph there is a description of the persecution of the Czech national church, which was persecuted by the German fascists, according to the report: "just because of its name, because of its sympathy for the Huss movement, the democratic constitution and because of the role it played in founding the Czech Republic". The Czech national church in Slovakia was prohibited and its property confiscated by the Germans in 1940.

The Protestant Church in Czechoslovakia was also persecuted. The excerpt which I would like to read may be found on Page 80 of the document book, paragraph 2:-

"The Protestant Churches were deprived of the freedom to preach the Gospel. The German Secret State Police watched carefully to see that the clergy observed the restrictions imposed on it. Nazi censorship went so far as to prohibit the singing of hymns which praised God for liberating the nation from the enemy. Some passages from the Bible were not allowed to be read in public at all. The Nazis strongly opposed the promulgation of certain Christian doctrines, especially those which proclaimed the equality of all men before God, the universal character of Christ's Church, and the Hebraic origins of the Gospel, etc. Any reference to Huss, Schischka, the Hussites and their achievements, as well as to Masaryk and his Legions, were strictly forbidden. Even religious text books were confiscated. Church leaders were especially persecuted. Scores of ministers were thrown into German concentration camps, among them the General Secretary of the Student Christian Movement in Czechoslovakia. One of the assistants of its president was executed."
On Page 68 of this report we find information as to the persecution of the Catholic Church of Czechoslovakia. This excerpt is on Page 79 of the document book, second paragraph. I quote a short excerpt:-
"In the territory annexed to Germany after the Munich Pact a number of Czech priests were robbed of their property and expelled. Pilgrimages to national shrines were prohibited in 1939. At the outbreak of war, 437

[Page 22]

Catholic priests were among the thousands of Czech patriots arrested and sent to concentration camps as hostages. Venerable church dignitaries were dragged to concentration camps in Germany. On the road near the concentration camps it was a common thing to see a priest dressed in rags, exhausted, pulling a cart, and behind him a youth in SS uniform, whip in hand."
The believers and clergy in Poland also suffered most ruthless persecution. I quote short excerpts from the Polish Government Report, which the members of the Tribunal will find on Page 10 of the document book:-
"By January, 1941, about 700 priests were killed; 3,000 were in prisons or in concentration camps."
The persecution of the clergy began immediately after the capture of Polish territory by the Germans. According to Page 42 of the Polish Report:-
"The day after the occupation of Warsaw the Germans arrested some 330 priests. In Cracow the closest collaborators of Archbishop Monsignor Sapicha were arrested and sent to Germany. The Rev. Canon Czaplicki, 75 years of age, and his assistant, were executed in November, 1939."
The report of the Polish Government quotes the following words of Cardinal Hlond:-
"The clergy are persecuted very harshly. Those who have been permitted to stay are subjected to humiliation, are paralysed in the exercise of their pastoral duties, and are stripped of parochial benefices and of all their rights. They are entirely at the mercy of the Gestapo." It is like the Apocalyptic vision of the 'Fides Depopulata'" . . .
On the territory of the Soviet Union the persecution of religion and clergy took the form of desecration of churches, destruction of shrines connected with the patriotic feelings of the Russian people, and the murder of priests.

I beg the Tribunal to call the last witness of the Soviet Prosecution, the Dean of the Church of the City of Leningrad, the Very Reverend Nicolai Ivanovitch Lomakin.


THE PRESIDENT: Would you tell me your name?

THE WITNESS: Nicolai Ivanovitch Lomakin.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it the practice for you to take an oath before giving evidence or not?

THE WITNESS: I am an Orthodox priest.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you take the oath?

THE WITNESS: I belong to the Orthodox Church, and when I entered the priesthood in 1917 I took the oath to tell the truth all my life. This oath I remember even to the present day.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. You can sit if you wish.



Q. Please tell us, witness, are you the Dean of the Church of the City of Leningrad. Does that mean that all the churches in that city are subordinate to you?

A. Yes, all the churches are directly subordinate to me. I am obliged to visit them periodically to inspect their condition, and the condition of the parish. I must then make my report to His Grace, the Metropolitan.

[Page 23]

Q. The churches of the Leningrad region were also under your authority?

A. They are not subordinated to me at the present time, but during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans and the occupation of the Leningrad region, they were put under my authority.

Q. After the liberation of the Leningrad region from the German occupation did you visit and inspect the churches throughout the region at the request of the Patriarch?

A. No, not at the request of the Patriarch, but by the request of the Metropolitan Alexei, the Patriarch was then Sergei. At that period Metropolitan Alexei was the Archbishop of Leningrad and later he became the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russians.

Q. Please tell us, witness, where were you during the siege of Leningrad?

A. I was all the time in Leningrad.

Q. If I am not mistaken, you were decorated for the defence of Leningrad?

A. Yes, on my birthday I was awarded this medal for my participation in the heroic defence of Leningrad.

Q. Tell us, witness, at the beginning of the siege of Leningrad - at which church did you officiate?

A. At the beginning of the siege I was in charge of the Georgievsky Cemetery, I mean I was the Rector of the cemetery Church of St. Nicholas.

Q. It was, therefore, a cemetery church.

A. Yes.

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