The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, February 13, 1946
(Part 17 of 19)


I present to the Tribunal, under the same No. USSR 6(b) (Page 120 of the document book) the deposition of a French prisoner of war, Emile Leger, a soldier of the 43rd Colonial Infantry Regiment Serial No. 29.

In his deposition the camp at Ravva-Russkaya is called "the famous camp of lingering death," "Stalag 325."

[Page 333]

It appears to me that this phrase serves, as it were, as a supplement to the testimonies of witnesses Roser and Kochan. The Soviet prosecution has at its disposal a considerable quantity of material disclosing, as well, numerous crimes of the Hitlerite invaders perpetrated against prisoners of war in the territory of the Lvow district.

It seems to me sufficient to read into the record extracts from the evidence submitted by D. Sh. Manussyevitch, and I wish to state that this evidence is confirmed by the testimony of two other witnesses: F.G. Ash and G.Y. Khanaydess. I am presenting all three documents as Document USSR 6(b).

Witnesses Manussyevitch, Ash, and Khanaydess worked for some time in the detachment which cremated the dead bodies of men shot by the Germans in the region of Lvow, and particularly in the Lissenitzky camps. Witness Manussyevitch states (I quote, beginning with Line 20 at from bottom of Page 11 of our No. 6(b) and on Page 129 of your document book):

"When we had completed the cremation of the corpses, we were conveyed at night in cars (the Brigade of Death) to the Lissenitzky forest, opposite the yeast factory at Lvow. There were about 45 pits in this forest, containing the bodies of people previously shot in 1941- 42. There were between 500 and 3,500 bodies in the pits. These were not only the bodies of soldiers of the Italian, French, Belgian, and Russian armies, i.e., of prisoners of war, but of peaceful inhabitants as well. All the prisoners of war were buried in their clothes. Therefore, when digging them out of the pits, I could recognize the dead by their uniforms, insignia, buttons, medals and decorations, as well as by their spoons and mess-cups. All these were burnt once the corpses had been exhumed. As in the camp at Yanovsky, grass was sown on the site of the pits, and trees and dead tree trunks were planted so as to erase any trace of the crimes, which are certainly unprecedented in the history of mankind."
In addition to the testimony of the victims and of many Soviet citizens we have at our disposal the testimonies of members of the German Armed Forces. I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 62 a document which was signed by more than 60 persons, belonging to different units and branches of the German Army. We find their signature on written protests addressed to the International Red Cross in January, 1942. We also have a communication of the International Red Cross acknowledging the receipt of this document. In this letter they mentioned facts, relating to the criminal treatment of Soviet prisoners of war, of which they had personal knowledge. The persons who signed this protest were themselves prisoners of war at Soviet Camp No. 78. Their protest is the result of the comparison made by the authors of the document between the treatment meted out to Soviet prisoners, which they had seen for themselves, and the treatment they received at Camp No. 78.

I will quote a few excerpts from this documentthe text with the following words (Page 135 of the document book):

"We, the German prisoners of war of Camp No. 78, have read the note by the Peoples' Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Government, Mr. Molotov, concerning the treatment of prisoners of war in Germany: we might consider the cruelties described in that note as impossible had we not witnessed such atrocities for ourselves. In order that truth should prevail, we must confirm that prisoners of war, citizens of the Soviet Union, were often subjected to terrible ill-treatment by representatives of the German Army, and were even shot by them."
Concrete examples of crimes known to the authors are quoted further on in the text:
"Hans Drews, of Regenwalde, a soldier of Company 4 of the 6th Tank Regiment, stated:

[Page 334]

"I am acquainted with the order issued by Lieutenant- General Model to the 3rd Tank Division to the effect that prisoners should not be taken. A similar order was issued by Major-General Nehring, Commanding Officer of the 18th Tank Division. Two days prior to the attack on Russia we were told at the briefing session of 20th June that in the forthcoming campaign wounded Red Army men should not have their wounds dressed, since the German Army would have no time to bother with the wounded."
The fact of the preliminary issuance of this order also has confirmed by a soldier of the 18th Tank Division Headquarters Harry Marek, a native of the neighborhood of Breslau:
"On 21st June, a day before the beginning of the war against Russia, we received the following order from our officers: The Commissars of the Red Army are to be shot on the spot, since there is no need to stand upon any ceremony with them. Neither is there any necessity to bother ourselves unduly with the Russian wounded; they must be finished off immediately."
Wilhelm Metzick, a soldier of the 399th Infantry Regiment of the 170th Division, from Altona, Hamburg, quotes the following case:
"On 23rd June, when we entered Russia, we came to a small hamlet near Beltsa. There I saw with my own eyes how two German soldiers shot five Russian prisoners in the back with sub-machine guns."
Wolfgang Scharte, a soldier in Company 2 of the 3rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, a native of Gerhardtschagen, near Brunswick testified:
"On the day before we opened the campaign against the Soviet Union, the officers told us: 'If, on the way, you should happen to meet Russian Commissars -- they can always be recognized by the Soviet star on their sleeve -- or Russian women in uniform, they must be shot immediately. Anyone failing to comply with this order will be held responsible and punished.'

On 30th June I myself saw representatives of the German Army shoot wounded Red Army men lying in a field of grain, near the town of Dubno. After this they were run through with bayonets to make quite sure that they were dead. German officers stood nearby and laughed."

Joseph Berndsen of Oberhausen, a soldier of the 6th Tank Division, stated:
"Even before entering Russia we were told, at one of the briefing sessions, 'Commissars must be shot.'"
A German officer, a lieutenant of the 112th Engineer Battalion of the 112th Infantry Division, Jacob Korzillias, of Horforst, near Treves, certified:
"In a village near Bolva, 15 wounded Red Army men were thrown out of the hut where they were lying, stripped and bayonetted on the order of Lieutenant Kierick, Adjutant of the 112th Engineer Battalion. This was done with the knowledge of the division commander, Lieutenant-General Mitt."
Alois Goetz, from Hagenbach-am-Rhine, a soldier of Company 8 of the 427th Infantry Regiment, stated:
"On 27th June, in a forest near Augustovo, two Red Army Commissars were shot on the order of the Battalion Commander, Captain Wittmann."
On Page 3 of our Exhibit USSR 62 we find the following statement by Paul Sender of Koenigsberg, a soldier of the 4th Platoon of Company 13, Infantry Field Artillery, attached to the 2nd Infantry Regiment (Page 137 of the document book):

[Page 335]

"On 14th July, on the road between Porchov and Staraya Russa, Corporal Schneider, of Company 1 of the 2nd Infantry Regiment, shot twelve captured Red Army men in the gutter. When I questioned him on the matter, Schneider answered: 'Why should I bother with them? They are not even worth a bullet.' I also know of another case.

During the battles around Porchov, a Red Army man was captured. Shortly after he was shot by a corporal of Company 1. As soon as the Red Army soldier fell, the corporal took from his knapsack all the food in it."

To conclude the reading of excerpts from the protest of the German prisoners of war, I should like to quote two more depositions, by Fritz Rummler and Richard Gillig respectively. We find their depositions at the bottom of Page 4. Fritz Rummler, a native of Streilen in Silesia, and a corporal of Company 9, Battalion 3, of the 518th Regiment of the 295th Division, reported the following cases (this excerpt is on Page 138 of the document book):
"In August, in the town of Zlatopol, I saw how two officers of the S.S. units and two soldiers shot two captured Red Army soldiers after first taking their Army greatcoats from them. These officers and soldiers belonged to the armoured tank forces of General von Kleist. In September the crew of a German tank on the road to Krasnograd crushed two captured Red Army soldiers to death with their tank. This act was inspired purely by lust for blood and murder. The tank commander was a non-commissioned officer, Schneider, belonging to von Kleist's armoured forces. I saw how four captured Red Army soldiers were questioned in our battalion. This happened at Voroshilovsk. The Red Army soldiers refused to answer questions of a military nature asked by the battalion commander, Major Warnecke. He flew into a rage and with his own hands< beat the prisoners unconscious."
Corporal, of the 9th Transportation Platoon, of the 34th Division, Richard Gillig, stated:
"Many a time I witnessed the inhuman and cruel treatment of Russian prisoners of war. Before my own eyes and on the orders of their officers, German soldiers removed the boots from the captured Red Army soldiers and drove them on barefooted. I witnessed many such deeds at Tarutino. I was an eye-witness of the following incident: one prisoner refused to surrender his boots voluntarily. Soldiers of the escort beat him till he could no longer move. I saw other prisoners being stripped, not only of their boots, but of their uniform clothing, right down to their underwear."

I saw, during the retreat of our column, near the town of Medyn, German soldiers beating up captured Red Army soldiers. One prisoner was very tired and unsteady on his legs. A soldier of the escort raced up to the captive and started kicking and beating him with the butt of his rifle. Other soldiers followed his example and the prisoner dropped dead when we reached the town."

The statement reads on:
"It is no secret that in the front line of the German Army, at Division Headquarters, specialists existed whose work it was to torture Red Army soldiers and Soviet officers in order to force them, in this manner, to disclose military orders and information."
I submit to the Tribunal the photostat of this statement. You can see that there are 60 signatures appended to it by members of the German Armed Forces, with the indication of the regiments and smaller subdivisions to which they belonged.

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