The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 10 of 22)



Having prepared and carried out the perfidious assault against the freedom-loving nations, Fascist Germany turned the war into a system of militarised banditry.

The murder of war prisoners, extermination of civilian populations, plunder of occupied territories and other war crimes were committed as part of a totalitarian lightning war program --"Blitzkrieg" --projected by the Fascists. In particular, the terrorism practiced by the Fascists on the temporarily occupied Soviet territories reached fabulous proportions and was carried out with an outspoken cruelty.

(a) Mass Execution of Peaceful Citizens

"We must," said Hitler to Rauschning, "pursue a policy of systematic depopulation. If you ask me what I mean by 'depopulation,' I mean removal of entire racial groups. And that is what I am going to do; such, roughly speaking, is my purpose. Nature is cruel, and so we also may be cruel. If I can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of war ... without any regret for the spilling of precious German blood, then surely I have the right to remove millions of an inferior race who multiply like flies!"

The Soviet prosecution has at its disposal numerous documents, collected by the Extraordinary State Commission for the Soviet Union for the Prosecution and Investigation of Crimes committed by the German Fascist aggressors and their accomplices, which constitute irrefutable evidence of countless crimes perpetrated by German authorities.

We have at our disposal a document, known as the "Appendix No. 2 to the Operational Order No. 8 of the Chief of the Sipo and S.D.," dated Berlin, 17th June, 1941, and signed by Heydrich, who, at that time held the office of Himmler's deputy. This document was worked out in collaboration with the High Command of the German Armed Forces. The appendices to Order No. 8, as well as Orders No. 9 and 14 and the appendices thereto, make it evident that the systematic extermination of Soviet people in Fascist concentration camps in the territories of U.S.S.R. and other countries occupied by the Fascist aggressors was carried out under the form of "filtration, cleansing measures, purges, extraordinary measures, special treatment, liquidation, execution," and so on.

[Page 183]

The perpetration of these crimes was entrusted to the "Sonderkommandos" especially formed for this purpose, by agreement between the Chief of Police and the S.D. and the High Command of the German Armed Forces.

The Appendix No. 1 to Order No. 14 shows that these "Sonderkommandos" acted independently on the basis of their special powers and in accordance with general directives given to them within the scope of camp regulations, maintaining close contact with the camp commanders and counter-intelligence officers.

It is to be noted that during the German offensive aimed at Moscow, the Fascists created a special "Sonderkommando Moscow," which was supposed to carry out the mass killings of the inhabitants of Moscow.

Hitler's Government and the German Military Command were afraid that these monstrous Orders No. 8 and No. 14 might fall into the hands of the Red Army and the Soviet Government, and they took all possible measures to keep these orders completely secret. In Order No. 14, Heydrich declared:

"I especially emphasise that Operational Orders No. 8 and No. 14, as well as the regulations pertaining thereto, must be immediately destroyed in case of imminent danger. Their destruction is to be reported to me."
Besides the above-mentioned orders, containing the program and plan for the Fascist annihilation of the Soviet population, numerous orders and regulations were issued to the civil "administration," as well as to the German military authorities, prescribing mass extermination, and mass execution of Soviet people. Keitel's order of 12th December, 1941, reads as follows:
"In the Fuehrer's opinion the punishment by imprisonment or even by hard labor for life would be considered a sign of weakness. Effective intimidation can be realised only by executions or measures which would leave the population in complete ignorance of the criminal's fate. This latter aim is reached through the deportation of criminals into Germany. The attached instructions for the prosecution of criminals are in accordance with the Fuehrer's opinion. It is approved by him. Keitel."
Among the means employed by the Hitlerites for the extermination of Soviet citizens were also intentional infection with spotted typhus and murdering by poison gas in gas vans et alia. Upon investigations by the Extraordinary State Commission of the Soviet Union, it was found that at the front, behind their main line of defence, the Hitlerites had systematically constructed special concentration camps where they kept tens of thousands of children, women who were unfit for work, and old men. The approaches to these camps were mined. No buildings or shelters of any kind existed within the areas of the camps, not even any barracks, and the internees had to camp on the bare ground. The internees were shot for the slightest attempt to infringe upon the established ruthless camp regulations.

Many thousands of typhus patients were found in these camps who, through contact with the population forcibly brought there from the surrounding villages, systematically infected them with the disease.

The document which will be presented by the Soviet prosecution describes in detail these heinous crimes perpetrated by the German Fascist occupants.

The prosecution possesses a document signed by Untersturmfuehrer Becker, dated 16th May, 1942. This document is a report to his superiors concerning the use of gas vans. This is what one reads in this monstrous document:

"The place of execution is located at about 10-15 kilometers from a thoroughfare and difficult to reach because of its location. In wet or damp weather it is entirely inaccessible.

Whether the people to be executed are led or brought in vehicles to this spot, they immediately realize what awaits them and become restless; this should be avoided by loading them into trucks at an assembly point, and driving them to the place of execution.

[Page 184]

I gave orders for the trucks of group D to be camouflaged as trailers and for a window to be inserted, on each side of the smaller vehicles, and in the larger trucks, two windows, all of the country peasant cottage type. However, these machines became so well known that not only the officials but even the population called them the "Death Machines" as soon as they saw them. In my opinion it is impossible to camouflage and keep them secret for any length of time. I also gave orders that during asphyxiation by gas the operating personnel should keep away from the machine so that their health would not be impaired by escaping gas.

In this connection I would like to call attention to the following: In certain units men are ordered to unload the machines after gassing. I have drawn the attention of the commanders of the corresponding "Sonderkommandos" to the immense physical and moral injury this kind of work could cause the men, if not immediately, then certainly later. The men complained of headaches after every unloading. Nevertheless, they do not want to change the procedure, for they are afraid that prisoners entrusted with the work may use it as an opportunity to escape. To protect the men from this injury, I would ask that appropriate orders be issued.

The procedure of poisoning by gas is not always carried out in a correct manner. So as to end the business as quickly as possible, the drivers always open the throttle wide. As a consequence of this measure the condemned die of asphyxiation rather than falling asleep as had been originally intended. As a result of my explanation of the correct way to set the lever, death follows more rapidly, and, in addition, the condemned people drop off peacefully to sleep. Distorted faces and defecations, two symptoms which formerly had been noticed, were no longer observed.

To-day I will proceed to Group B, whence I shall send a further report. Dr. Becker, Untersturmfuehrer."

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