Presiding Judge: How did you survive all this killing?
Attorney General: She will tell it all in her own words.
Presiding Judge: Very well, only please lead her somewhat.
Witness Yoselewska: We were lined up in fours. We stood
there naked. Our clothing was taken away. My father didn’t
want to undress completely and kept on his underwear. When
he was lined up for the shooting and was told to undress, he
refused; he was beaten. We begged him: “Take off your
clothes. Enough of suffering.” No. He insisted on dying in
Q. And then the Germans tore it off?
A. They tore his things off and shot him.
Q. And he fell into the pit?
A. I saw it. Then they took Mother. She didn’t want to go,
but wanted us to go first. Yet we made her go first. They
grabbed her and shot her. There was my father’s mother who
was 80 with two grandchildren in her arms. My father’s
sister was also there. She, too, was shot with children in
Q. Then your turn came?
A. Then my turn came. My younger sister also. She had
suffered so much in the ghetto, and yet at the last moment
she wanted to stay alive, and begged the German to let her
live. She was standing there naked holding on to her girl
friend. So he looked at her and shot them both. Both of
them fell, my sister and her girl friend. My other sister
was next. Then he got ready to shoot me.
Q. Did he ask for something?
A. We stood there facing the ditch. I turned my head. He
asked, “Whom do I shoot first?” I didn’t answer. He tore
the child away from me. I heard her last cry and he shot
her. Then he got ready to kill me, grabbed my hair and
turned my head about. I remained standing and heard a shot
but I didn’t move. He turned me around, loaded his pistol,
so that I could see what he was doing. Then he again turned
me around and shot me. I fell down.
Q. And then you fell into the pit?
A. I felt nothing. At that moment I felt that something was
weighing me down. I thought that I was dead, but that I
could feel something even though I was dead. I couldn’t
believe that I was alive. I felt I was suffocating,
bodies had fallen on me. I felt I was drowning. But still
I could move and felt I was alive and tried to get up. I
was choking, I heard shots, and again somebody falling down.
I twisted and turned, but I could not. I felt I was going
to suffocate. I had no strength left. But then I felt that
somehow I was crawling upwards. As I climbed up, people
grabbed me, hit me, dragged me downwards, but I pulled
myself up with the last bit of strength. When I reached the
top I looked around but I couldn’t recognize the place.
Corpses strewn all over, there was no end to the bodies.
You could hear people moaning in their death agony. Some
children were running around naked and screaming “Mama,
Papa.” I couldn’t get up.
Presiding Judge: The Germans were still there, at that time?
Witness Yoselewska: No. The Germans were not there. No one
Attorney General: You were naked and covered with blood.
Witness Yoselewska: I got out naked covered with blood from
the corpses whose bellies had burst.
Q. What did you have on your head?
A. When he shot me I was wounded in the head. I still have
a big scar on my head, where I was wounded by the Germans.
[The witness shows the scar.] I got to my feet to see that
horrible scene. The screaming was unbearable, the children
shouting Mama, Papa. I ran over to the children, maybe my
daughter was there. I called out “Markele.” I didn’t see
her. The children shouted “Mama,” “Papa.” I didn’t
recognize the children either. All of them were covered
Q. There were three other women?
A. Further off I saw two women standing up. I walked over
to them. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. We
asked each other for our names. Then they said: “You’re
alive, too. You also survived?” “What should we do?” At
the far end a woman shouted for help with outstretched arms
and asked to be saved, to be pulled out from the corpses,
she was suffocating.
Q. You pulled her out. She was Ita Rosenberg.
A. We walked up to her, Ita Rosenberg, and pulled her out of
the mass of corpses who were pulling and dragging her down
and biting her. She asked us to pull harder; we didn’t have
any strength left.
Q. Please let us be brief, Mrs. Yoselewska. It is difficult
to recount and difficult to listen to. Tell us, did you
A. We struggled all night long and all day screaming and
shouting. Looking around, we saw Germans again and people
with hoses and shovels. The Germans ordered the gentiles to
pile all the corpses together in one place. So they did. A
lot were still alive. The children were all running around
in the field. As I was walking I saw them and went over to
them. The children were running after me and wouldn’t
leave. I sat down in the field and remained there.
Q. The Germans came back and rounded up the children?
A. Germans came and helped round up the children. They left
me alone. I just sat and looked. There was no need for
much shooting at the children. They fired some shots and
children fell down. The Rosenberg girl begged the Germans
to let her live; they shot her, too.
The local people went away. The Germans drove away. They
left the truck with the belongings standing there overnight.
Q. Mrs. Yoselewska, after they had left the place, you
approached the grave and just sat there?
A. When I saw they were gone I dragged myself over to the
grave and wanted to jump in. I thought the grave would open
up and let me fall inside alive. I envied everyone for whom
it was already over, while I was still alive. Where should
I go? What should I do? Blood was spouting. Nowadays,
when I pass a water fountain I can still see the blood
spouting from the grave. The earth rose and heaved. I sat
there on the grave and tried to dig my way in with my hands.
I continued digging as hard as I could. The earth didn’t
open up. I shouted to Mother and Father, why I was left
alive. What did I do to deserve this. Where shall I go?
To whom can I turn? I have nobody. I saw everything; I saw
everybody killed. No one answered. I remained sprawled on
the grave three days and three nights.
Q. And then a shepherd passed by?
A. Three days and three nights I didn’t see anybody. None
of the peasants passed by. Three days later I saw men
driving their cattle along the road. They threw stones at
me. I remained lying there and didn’t move. Towards
evening they returned with the cattle. And again they threw
stones at me. They must have thought I was either a corpse
or insane. They wanted me to answer them, but I didn’t
move. Since they passed with the cattle day and night I had
to get out of that place.
Q. And then a peasant passed by and took pity on you?
A. I remained not far from the grave. A peasant saw me. I
had been wandering around there for several weeks. He saw
Q. He took pity on you and gave you food, and then you
joined a group of Jews in the forest and stayed with them
till the Soviets came?
A. Till the end I stayed with them.
Q. And now you are married and you have two children?
Presiding Judge: Do you have any questions to the witness,
Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.
Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Yoselewska, you have
completed your testimony.
Attorney General: By the Court’s leave, at this stage the
testimonies of witnesses on the extermination in the East
have been completed. I wish to submit some dozens of
documents as evidence of the connection of the Accused with
the acts committed in that region. First of all, a document
known as “Wetzel’s Letter.” This is a well-known document
cited in other court proceedings and addressed by the
official of this name in the Ministry for Occupied Eastern
Territories on the 25 October 1941 to the Reichskommissar
for the Eastern territory. This is our document No. 42.
Presiding Judge: Are these documents related to what
happened in the East?
Attorney General: All of it serves to complete the
submission of proof regarding the responsibility of the
Accused for activities in the East, both in their general
aspect and finally individual cases he himself dealt with.
The original is even signed by the Accused certifying that
the document has been shown to him and that he was asked to
respond to it, on page 2413 ff. of his statement. He indeed
admitted there that the details as described in the letter
Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/308.
Attorney General: In this letter Wetzel informs the
Reichskommissar that he has arranged with Brack of the
Fuehrer’s Chancellery the supply of appliances for execution
by gassing. In his letter he further draws attention to the
fact that Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, who is in charge of
matters concerning Jews in the Head Office for Reich
Security, has agreed to this proposal, and according to
information received from Eichmann the Jews will be
transported to camps to be established in Riga and Minsk.
Jews of the “Old Reich” could also be taken there. Towards
the end he says – so Wetzel concludes – I begin with the
words: “Auf diese Weise” (In this way).
Judge Halevi: It may be worthwhile to read out the
Attorney General: Very well. “According to circumstances
there are no longer any objections to Jews unfit for work to
be liquidated by means of Brack’s appliances. In this way
events like those that took place during the killing of Jews
by gunfire in Vilna will be avoided. But those fit for work
will be deported for labour in the East.” We have something
that was attached to it written by hand, if Your Honour will
look at the handwritten notes following the document. We
have deciphered these notes.
Presiding Judge: This is missing here.
Attorney General: I can give you mine.
Presiding Judge: It is missing in the original.
Attorney General: Actually I can submit the original signed
by the Accused. That will complete the document that Your
Honour has before you. It is a transcript of his
handwriting. Your Honour will see that the matter has been
settled and finalized.
Presiding Judge: The supplement will be marked Exhibit
Judge Halevi: The handwriting is difficult to decipher.
Attorney General: We have deciphered it and the typed
version is before the Presiding Judge.
Presiding Judge: Do you have another copy?
Attorney General: Unfortunately not. The Court may peruse
the transcribed copy in document T/37 (188) presented to the
Accused. His name is mentioned again in connection with the
scheme for the extermination of Jews by the use of gas,
because direct shooting ought to be avoided.
Judge Raveh: Whose handwriting is it?
Attorney General: I don’t know. The question concerned
killing by gas in motor vans. They are the same vans which
the Accused admitted having seen in which Jews were killed.
The Court may remember this part of the statement we played
Presiding Judge: Was this with Globocnik?
Attorney General: No, this was in the Chelmno region. He
stated that he saw naked Jews being loaded into these vans,
gas being pumped in, and then the vans moved off; he
described how the doors were opened and what the bodies
looked like. Apparently these vans didn’t always function
properly. There is a document containing criticism,
complaints, and requests for repairs and supply of spare
parts. This is our document No. 1099. It is from the
Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/309.
Attorney General: It refers to vans for special treatment
(Sonderbehandlung). The Court will see extensive
correspondence concerning their condition and their
disguise. On typed page 2 the subject is camouflage. They
painted the vans like small houses with windows so that
people could be duped and go in willingly. As mentioned
before, we do not possess the central archives of the
Gestapo. In this matter we rely on correspondence kept in
other archives. Here is a document dated 5 March 1943
addressed by IVB4 to Einsatzgruppen B and D, Commander of
the Sicherheitspolizei Kiev; at that time the Einsatzgruppen
already belonged to the Sicherheitspolizei, as the Court has
heard from one of the witnesses. This communication went to
Krakow, Riga, Mogilev and Kiev. Subject: Treatment of Jews
of foreign nationality in the Generalgouvernement and in the
occupied Eastern areas. At the end it says that the letter
is a follow-up of a previous directive dated 30 September
1942, also issued by IVB4. But we do not have the letter of
30 September, only this one. And what is the directive –
although it bears Kaltenbrunner’s signature – concerning the
treatment of Jews of foreign nationality in the occupied
areas of the East? “To remove any doubt on questions that
arose, I have to advise that Jews of nationality of the
following foreign countries [here follows a list of the
countries] and Jews without nationality are to be included
in measures generally applied, or about to be applied,
against them in that area.” Department IVB4 remarks at the
end: “I reserve the right to issue further instructions in
due course.” In other words, they issue instructions
concerning Jews to the Einsatzgruppen, to the
Generalgouvernement, to the Commanders of the
Sicherheitspolizei in the occupied areas of the East.
Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/310.
Attorney General: I turn to our document No. 1105, which
relates to the previous document.
The Foreign Ministry Representative in the Ostland dwells
again on the question of how to deal with Jews of foreign
nationality. He is against taking Jews of those countries
into consideration for an exchange with other foreign
nationals, because they are likely to spread news in foreign
countries which will serve as anti-German horror propaganda,
if indeed they would enter the countries of exchange.
Towards the end he states: “Since in the course of time many
local Jews and Jews from the Reich have been killed by
gunfire in the Riga zone, as is well known, it seems
doubtful whether any Jews could be taken into consideration
for exchange purposes. They would use the killings for the
purpose of propaganda against us abroad. The quota of such
Jews could not be filled from the Eastern territory.”
Judge Halevi: What is the name of the signatory?
Attorney General: This is from the Commander of the Security
Presiding Judge: The signature here is that of Windecker.
Judge Halevi: It says: Representative of the Foreign
Attorney General: Representative of the Foreign Ministry at
the Reichskommissar fuer das Ostland. Various ministries had
representatives to the Kommissars.
Presiding Judge: Liaison Officers. The document will be
Attorney General: Here is the testimony of Ohlendorf before
the International Military Court. Our No. 776. He also
mentions the killings by gas vans; he recounts that
Stahlecker was head of Operations Group A; Nebe, of the
Reichsicherheitshauptamt, Chief of Office V, was head of
Operations Group B; at first Rasch was Chief of Operations
Group C, and afterwards Thomas. Ohlendorf himself was Chief
of Operations Group D. He states plainly that Himmler had
declared that one of their important tasks was the
liquidation of Jews, men, women and children, and of
Communist Party officials. This instruction was given four
weeks before the attack against Russia. He describes how he
organized matters, how the victims were forced to hand over
their valuables, how they were made to undress and were
taken to places of execution. In his Group he was opposed
to killings being carried out by one man since he did not
want a particular person to bear direct responsibility. He,
therefore, issued orders for a whole squad to shoot
together. He had seen Stahlecker’s report on the killing of
135,000 Jews and Communists by Operations Group A during the
first four months. “I knew Stahlecker personally” –
Ohlendorf states – and I believe that the document is
authentic. Stahlecker’s report is before you, Your Honour,
it is Exhibit No. 302. And now to the reports of the
Operations Groups. Here I have to say something in advance.
There are dozens of such reports. We shall not submit all
of them, just some of them.