The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, February 13, 1946
(Part 14 of 19)


Prisoners of war of the former Polish Army, captured as far back as 1939 and imprisoned in various German camps, were already concentrated, in 1940, in the Lublin camp on Lipovaya Street and were soon after transferred, in batches, to the "Extermination Camp of Majdanek," where they suffered the same fate: systematic torture, murder, mass shooting, hanging, etc....

The witness, Reznik, testified as follows:

"In January, 1941, we, a party of approximately 4,000 Jewish prisoners of war, were placed into railway coaches and sent to the East .... We were brought to Lublin, unloaded and handed over to the SS. About September or October, 1942, it was decided that only those people who were qualified as skilled plant and factory workers, and therefore needed in the town, were to be left in the camp on No. 7 Lipovaya Street, while all the rest, and I among them, were transferred to Majdanek Camp. All of us already knew, and knew far too well, that deportation to Majdanek meant death. Of this party of more than 4,000 prisoners of war only a few individuals, who had managed to escape while engaged in work outside the camp, remained alive.

In the summer of 1943, 300 Soviet officers, including two colonels, four majors, with the remainder consisting of captains and senior lieutenants, were brought to Majdanek. The officers in question were shot in the camp."'

Huge camps for the extermination of Soviet prisoners of war had been organised by German Fascists in the territory of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. The report of the Extraordinary State Commission for the investigation of crimes committed by the German invaders on the territory of this Republic (we present to the Tribunal this report as Exhibit USSR 41)contains the following data on the extermination of 327,000 Soviet prisoners of war.

I quote excerpts from Page 7, on the right-hand column of the above-mentioned report. You will, Sir, as well as the other members of the Tribunal, find the excerpt on Page 97 of the document book:

"In Riga, the Germans organised a camp, `Stalag 350,' for Soviet prisoners of war, on the premises of the former barracks on Pernovski and Rudolf Streets, which existed from July, 1941 to October, 1944. There Soviet prisoners of war were kept in inhuman conditions. The building where they were lodged had neither windows nor heating. In spite of heavy labour from 12 to 14 hours a day their rations consisted only of 150-200 grams of bread and so-called soup made of grass, rotten potatoes, leaves of trees, and other refuse."
In my opinion, it is necessary to stress the monotony of the rations issued to the prisoners of war. Testimonies given by witnesses coincide entirely with the official directive on the quantities of food allotted to the prisoners of war, which I have already read into thr record today.

A former prisoner of war, P. F. Yakovenko, who was imprisoned in Stalag 350, testified (this is on Page 97 in your document book):

"We were given 180 grams of bread, half of it consisting of sawdust and straw, one litre of unsalted soup made of unpeeled rotten potatoes. We slept on the bare ground and were eaten up by lice. Between December, 1941, and May, 1942, 30,000 prisoners of war perished in this camp from starvation, cold, floggings, typhus and shooting. The Germans daily shot prisoners of war who, owing to weakness or illness, were unable to go to work; they mocked at them and beat them without any reason at all."

[Page 326]

G. B. Novitzkaya, who had worked as senior nurse in the hospital for Soviet prisoners of war in No. 1, Gymnastitcheskaya Street, testified that she had repeatedly seen patients eat grass and tree leaves in order to quell the pangs of hunger.
"In sections of Stalag 350, on the territory of a former brewery, and in the Panzer barracks, over 19,000 persons perished between September, 1941, and April, 1942, alone, of starvation, torture, and epidemics. The Germans also shot wounded prisoners of war. In addition, Soviet prisoners of war perished en route to the camp, since the Germans left them without food or water."
A female witness, A.V. Taukuliss testified:
"In the fall of 1941 a transport of Soviet prisoners of war, consisting of 50-60 coaches, arrived at the station of Salaspils. When the cars were opened, the stench of corpses was noticable at a great distance. Half the men were dead; many were at the point of death. Men who were able to climb out of the coaches tried to get water, but the guards opened fire and shot a score or two of them."
I shall not enumerate other facts which took place in Stalag 350, I shall merely read into thr record the final sentence, referring to this camp. I fear that there is a misprint in this sentence in your document book. If I am not mistaken, it mentions the shooting of 120,000 Soviet prisoners. This figure is inaccurate; in the original document, which I shall now read into thr record, another figure is mentioned.
"In Stalag 350 and in its branches the Germans tortured to death and shot over 130,000 Soviet prisoners of war."
On Page 97 of your document book you can find the following part of this report:
"There was a camp for Soviet prisoners of war, Stalag 340, in Daugavpilis (Dvinsk), known among the internees and the town's inhabitants as the 'Death Camp,' where in 3 years, over 124,000 Soviet prisoners of war perished from starvation, torture and shooting.

The butchering of prisoners of war by German executioners usually began on the way to the camp. In the summer, prisoners of war were transported in tightly closed wagons, in winter in freight coaches and on platform trucks. Masses of prisoners perished from hunger and thirst. They suffocated in the summer, they froze in the winter."

Witness T.K. Ussenko stated:
"In November, 1941, I was on duty, as signalman, at the station of Most, and I saw a transport, consisting of more than 30 coaches, move into the '217 Kilometer' siding (this was the name given to that particular part of the track). Not a living soul was discovered in the coaches. No fewer than 15,500 [sic. The American translation uses the figure 1,500. At 50-80 persons per coach, the higher figure is clearly impossible. knm] dead bodies were unloaded from this transport. They were dressed in nothing but their underclothes. The corpses lay around the railway track for nearly a week."
The hospital attached to the camp was likewise dedicated to the extermination of prisoners of war. School teacher V. A. Efimova, who worked at the hospital, told the Commission:
"It was rarely that any one left this hospital alive. Five shifts of grave-diggers, selected from amongst the prisoners, carried the dead to the cemetery in hand- carts. It frequently happened that a man who was still alive would be thrown into the cart and 6 or 7 corpses or bodies of executed people piled on top of him. The living were buried with the

[Page 327]

dead. At the hospital sick people, tossing in delirium, were bludgeoned to death."
When an epidemic broke out in the camp, the Hitlerites drove to the airfield all the prisoners from any barrack where typhus patients had been discovered, and shot them. About 45,000 Soviet prisoners of war were thus exterminated.

Appalling facts are quoted in the documents of the Extraordinary State Commission, which investigated the crimes of the German Fascist invaders in the neighborhood of Sevastopol, Kerch and at the health resort of Teberda. I shall read into thr record some data from our Exhibit USSR 63/5. At the Sevastopol prison, the German Fascist Command organised a hospital for sick and wounded prisoners of war. Here the Soviet warriors perished in masses. I shall quote a few sentences, which you will find in your document book on Page 99:

"At the time the hospital was organised, the sick and wounded were not given any water or bread for 5 or 6 days by the Germans, who cynically said: 'This is the punishment for the specially stubborn defence of Sevastopol by the Russians.'"
The wounded brought in from the battlefield were given no medical aid. Soldiers and officers were thrown on the cement floor, where they lay bleeding for 7 and 8 days on end.
During the defence of Sevastopol, a military hospital and a medico-sanitary battalion, No. 47, were installed in the vaults of the champagne factory at Inkermann. After the retreat of the Red Army, a large number of wounded soldiers and officers were left behind in Vault Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13, since there had been no time to evacuate them. When the German savages captured the factory, they all became drunk and set fire to the vaults."

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