The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/24

Q. I understand. To the question put to you by your defence
counsel regarding the participation of the Hitler Youth in
the atrocities committed in Lvov, you answered that the
testimony of the French citizen Ida Vasseau supplied by the
Extraordinary State Commission, is not true.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, the Soviet prosecution
has had occasion to interrogate the witness Ida Vasseau. The
defence counsel for the defendant Schirach also requested an
interrogation. I now submit to the Tribunal

                                                   [Page 23]

excerpts from the testimony of the witness Vasseau, dated
16th May, 1946, and I would like to submit it as Exhibit
USSR 455. I shall now read the excerpts into the record:

   "The atrocities against the Jewish and the Soviet
   population of Lvov were perpetrated not only by adult
   Germans and old Nazis, but also by the German youth of
   the fascist youth organisation in Lvov.These youngsters,
   dressed in uniforms,armed with heavy sticks, hunting
   knives and often with pistols, ran about the streets,
   broke into Jewish apartments and destroyed everything in
   them.They killed all the inhabitants of these a
   partments, including the children. Very often they
   stopped children who looked suspicious to them in the
   streets, shouted: 'Stop you damned Jew !' and shot them
   on the spot.This Hitlerite youth was often active in
   locating Jewish apartments, huntingJews in hiding,
   setting traps and assaulting innocent people on   the
   streets, killing them if they were Jews and dragging
   others away to the Gestapo.Often their victims were
   Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and people of other
   nationalities.This terror of adult and young Germans
   continued until the last day of the German occupation of
   Lvov. The intention of completely annihilating the Jews
   was especially apparent in the 'Ghetto actions,'  in
   which Jewish children of various ages were
   systematically killed. They were put into houses
   specially set up for Jewish children; and when
   sufficient children had been assembled, the Gestapo
   accompanied by the Hitler Youth broke in and killed

Thus, the Hitler Youth in the service of the German army, SS
and the Gestapo, took part in these atrocities. Do you admit

A. I do not believe a word of what is contained in this

Q. Well, that is your affair.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV:Mr. President, I am submitting to the
Tribunal another document, Exhibit USSR 454, excerpts from
the testimony of the German prisoner of war, Gert Bruno

Gert Bruno Knittel a hatter by trade, was born in 1924 in
Saxony. After 1938 he was a member of the Hitler Youth.
His sister, Ursula, was also a member of the National
Socialist League of German girls (BDM). In 1942 - when he
was 18 years old - he was called up to the German Army.
Thus, he is a typical representative of the Hitler Youth,
and his testimony is therefore of interest. This is what he
relates about his service in the German army. I quote:

  "Not less than twice a week, we were called upon to comb
  out the forests."

DR.SAUTER: Mr. President, I must object against the use of
this document of which we have just received a copy. It does
not appear from this copy whether the document was actually
signed, whether it was sworn or who drew up this document,
which seems to be a record. I must object to this document
until these questions have been clarified. Perhaps in this
connection, Mr. President, I might comment on the other
document which contains the testimony of Ida Vasseau;  the
writing is difficult to read.

I assume that this witness is identical with the French
national Ida Vasseau to whom a questionnaire was sent a long
time ago with the permission of the Tribunal.We have been
constantly waiting for the answers to this questionnaire,
and now to-day, we receive this record dated 16th May, 1946,
which apparently refers to the same witness. It is obvious
that -

THE PRESIDENT:I am not following quite what you are saying.
Are you saying that you have issued a questionnaire to the
person who is alleged to have made this statement?

DR.SAUTER: I assume that it is the same person. In the
record of 16th May, the name is spelled differently, but it
would be remarkable -

                                                   [Page 24]

THE PRESIDENT: I am not getting the translation. I am not
hearing what you are saying. Are you saying that you issued
a questionnaire to the person who made this document?

DR. SAUTER: The High Tribunal approved a questionnaire to a
French woman, Ida Vasseau; I will spell the name -
V-A-S-S-E-A-U. This is the French woman, Ida Vasseau, who
was working in an establishment in Lvov, and who is
mentioned in the Lvov Commission Report. Perhaps you
remember, Mr. President, that one of these reports says,
that children were taken from the ghetto and given to the
Hitler Youth, and that the Hitler Youth used these children
as live targets. That is the statement of the witness Ida
Vasseau, and I am sure that she is the same person who is
now mentioned in the record of 16th May, 1946. The,
remarkable thing is that in the report of 16th May, 1946,
she does not answer the questions which are set down in the
questionnaire, but makes further allegations which are
obviously not contained in the earlier Lvov Commission
Report. This is a very mysterious matter, and I believe it
would not be just to the defendant von Schirach if I did not
call your attention to these contradictions.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: May I give my explanation?

THE PRESIDENT: We would like to hear you in detail, General,
in answer to what Dr. Sauter has said.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Ida Vasseau, excerpts from whose
statement I have read, is certainly the person of whom Dr.
Sauter is speaking. I do not know to whom and through what
channels the interrogatory was sent; it was not sent through
our office. Ida Vasseau was interrogated on our own
initiative and we could do so only on 16th May. A special
interrogatory was not received by us, and we could not have
sent it because the evidence was given only -

THE PRESIDENT: I have only got this document here in German
and it does not appear to be a document signed or made by a
person called "Vasseau" at all. I do not know whether it is
dealing with something that Ida Vasseau is alleged to have

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: This document is signed.

THE PRESIDENT: I said it was not signed by Vasseau.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: This document is signed by Ida
Vasseau-Thom and also by the interrogating officials, namely
the Chief of the Investigation Branch, Public Prosecutor's
Department for the Lvov Region, Kryzanowsky, and the Public
Prosecutor for the Lvov Region, Kornetog. The interrogation
took place on 16th May, 1946.

THE PRESIDENT: Look at this document and see if it is the
right document.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Yes, these are excerpts from the
interrogation of Ida Vasseau.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that the same document?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Yes, yes, that is the same document
which we are now submitting to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that the original you have got before you?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: No, this is an excerpt from the record,
certified by the Chief of Documentation of the Soviet
Delegation, Colonel Karev. This is not the original record
of the interrogatory. These are excerpts from it.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you saying that it is a document which is
admissible under Article 21 or what are you saying about it?

                                                   [Page 25]

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: We are submitting it. If the Tribunal
considers that it is necessary to bring out the original of
the record, which at the present moment is at Lvov, we will
be able to do so in a short time. If the Tribunal is not
satisfied with these excerpts, we will very easily be able
to submit the record in full.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell us what the document is? Is it
an affidavit? Is it sworn to? Is it made before an official
of the Soviet Union?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: There is a note on the record referring
to the responsibility for false testimony, as set forth
under Article 89 of the Penal Code of the Ukrainian SSR.
This warning is in accordance with the requirements for
legal procedure in the Soviet Union, and this warning was
given to Ida Vasseau, as a special certification on the
record shows.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you saying that it is a document which
falls within Article 21 of the Charter?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Yes, but if the Tribunal considers it
necessary, we will later be able to submit the complete
original record. I am now asking the Tribunal to accept the
excerpts from this record which have been certified by the
chief of our documentation division.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, what is the date on which your
interrogatory was allowed by the Tribunal and what was the
date on which it was sent out to this person?

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, the interrogatory bears the date
of 11th April.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: The interrogatory could not be sent
because we did not know where the witness Vasseau was. We
only discovered it recently.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean that the interrogatory has not been
administered to the person who made this statement?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: This interrogatory could not have
reached its destination because, I repeat, until quite
recently the whereabouts of the witness Vasseau were

THE PRESIDENT: When you did find out where the witness was,
the interrogatory could have been administered.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Yes, yes, it can be sent to her. It can
be done now if it is necessary.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I point out the following:
This woman, Ida Vasseau, was in Lvov when this statement,
which is mentioned in the Commission Report, was made: that
is clear from the Report. (I believe it is USSR 6, but I am
not quite certain.) Now, on 16th May of this year, this
woman, Ida Vasseau, was also at Lvov; and her whereabouts
were not unknown, since she was interrogated on that day. I
had discussed the interrogatory, which was sent to Vasseau,
with the prosecution; it was at first said that the
questions were suggestive or that something was not in
order. But we came to terms and I altered the questions
which I submitted to the High Tribunal, according to the
wishes of the prosecution; so if the Soviet Delegation were
willing, Ida Vasseau could have been interrogated at any
time. It is remarkable that in this later statement, this
woman testified on something entirely different from what is
set forth in her previous statement, and something entirely
different from what she was asked in the interrogatory. I
think it would be useful if Ida Vasseau were examined here.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute, what previous statement do you
mean? What previous statements do you mean?

                                                   [Page 26]

DR. SAUTER: The statement in the Commission Report of the
City of Lvov. This Commission Report was read here once and
it says that the Hitler Youth committed these outages
against the children; my questionnaire, which the Tribunal
approved, deals with this point.

THE PRESIDENT: General, was the interrogatory submitted by
Dr. Sauter shown to the witness Vasseau?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: No, it was not sent to her. May I, to
clarify the matter, come back to the history of this
interrogatory? The Soviet prosecution submitted a document,
the Report of the Extraordinary State Commission on German
Atrocities in the Lvov Region, and this document contained a
statement by the witness Ida Vasseau - no one interrogated
her at that time. In this statement she said that she
witnessed how the Hitler Youth used small children as
targets. That was her statement in the Report of the
Extraordinary State Commission. This document was accepted
by the Tribunal. Then, on our own initiative - Dr. Sauter's
interrogatory did not come to us and we did not send it out
- the whereabouts of Ida Vasseau were established. She was
examined by interrogating officers and supplemented the
testimony which she had given before the Extraordinary State
Commission. I am now submitting to the Tribunal excerpts
from her interrogation on 16th May in which she dwelt on
certain details of the treatment of children by the Hitler

THE PRESIDENT: We all understand that, General, but the
question is: Why, if interrogatories had been allowed by the
Tribunal and had been seen by the prosecution and were dated
sometime in April, why was the witness interrogated in May
without having seen these interrogatories? This document is
dated the 16th of May, 1946, is it not, Dr. Sauter? - Dr.
Sauter tells us that interrogatories allowed by the Tribunal
were dated in April.

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I do not know where Dr. Sauter sent his
interrogatory. He did not send it through our office. I
repeat that we did not send this interrogatory and could not
have sent it on, for we did not know where Ida Vasseau
lived. On our initiative, steps were taken to establish her
whereabouts, and when we found her, she was interrogated,
namely on 16th May.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: General, the Tribunal will not admit - Can
you hear me?


THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will not admit this document at
the present time, but it would wish that you should present
the original document and at the same time the answers to
the interrogatories which the Tribunal has ordered; and the
Tribunal will call upon the General Secretary for a report
upon the whole matter.



GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Mr. President, during the recess I had a
chance to talk this over with Dr. Sauter, and he said that
he would send us the interrogatory, and we will take
measures to get the necessary answers from the witness -

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid it is not coming through to the
interpreter. Will you say what you said again?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: Very well. I repeat that during the
recess I had a chance to talk to Dr. Sauter. He will give me
the interrogatory and measures will be taken to get the
necessary replies from the witness in the shortest possible
time. Besides this the request of the Tribunal to get the
original of the document will be complied with as soon as

                                                   [Page 27]

May I continue now with my cross-examination?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, please.


Q. I stopped at the testimony of Gert Bruno Knittel. Here is
what he relates about his service in the German Army:

  "Not less than twice a week we were sent to comb the
  forest, to round up guerrillas and to look for discontent
  against the German regime, so that these people could be
  arrested and shot immediately. Our No. 3 Company, Field
  Depot Battalion 375 caught and shot five persons in the
  woods. Most possibly these persons were not even
  partisans or guerrillas, but merely citizens who went
  into the woods for personal matters. But we had orders to
  shoot all who crossed our path in the woods. I did this
  together with the other soldiers of my company.
  One day in June, 1943, in a round-up in the village of
  Lischaysk we surrounded the whole place with 3-4
  companies so that no one could leave or enter the
  village. Outside each house that had to be searched - "

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): You are cross-examining the
defendant von Schirach who was in Vienna. What has this
document got to do with him?

GENERAL. ALEXANDROV: This is the testimony of one of the
members of the Hitler Jugend regarding his participation in
atrocities during his service in the German Army in the
occupied territory. This document is translated into German.
I cannot read it. However, I would like the witness von
Schirach to familiarise himself with this document. Did you
read this document? I am asking you.


Q. Have you got that document, witness? I am asking you this
now, witness, have you read that document?

A. Yes, I have read the document. This man Knittel who is
testifying here was not a member of the Hitler Youth, but
belonged either to the Labour Service or to a unit of the
Army. Earlier in his life, just like all the other young
Germans, he had been a member of the Hitler Youth. He states
that, but in this case he was acting as a member of some
unit of the Armed Forces, not as a member of the Hitler
Youth. The entire testimony seems to be of little
credibility. For example he mentions a Hitler Youth Party -

Q. Have you read all of the testimony that is given there?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you read all this testimony?

A. Yes, yes.

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