The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Eighth Day: Wednesday, February 13, 1946
(Part 18 of 19)


[Page 336]

I submit to the Tribunal four photographs of German origin as Exhibit USSR 345. Each of these photographs was taken by Germans; time and place are indicated. One photograph shows the distribution of food; the third and fourth are pictures of the prisoner of war camp at Uman.

THE PRESIDENT: Where are the pictures?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: If I am not mistaken, you have been given the photostat of the statement, but not the photographs.

THE PRESIDENT: This is not a copy of the photographs; these are the signatures of the 60 German prisoners.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: The photographs will be submitted immediately. They have evidently, by an oversight, not been included in the document book.


COLONEL POKROVSKY: It is obvious from the first picture that the food distributed is insufficient. Men are practically fighting for the right of getting at it. The second photograph shows hungry Soviet prisoners of war wandering round an empty barn and eating the oil cakes stored for cattle food which they had discovered. As to the third and fourth photographs, I can submit to the Tribunal important testimony by the witness, Bingel. Excerpts from his testimony have a direct bearing on the question of the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war.

I interrogated Bingel, and I now submit the minutes of his interrogation to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 111, dated 27th December, 1945. Bingel, who formerly commanded a company in the German Army, testified (I quote an excerpt from Page 8 of the minutes of his interrogation) as follows:

"I have already made one statement concerning the regime inside the prisoner of war camp at Uman. This camp was guarded by a company of our sub-section of the 783rd Battalion, and I was therefore familiar with everything which occurred in the camp. It was the task of our battalion to guard the prisoners of war and to control the highways and railroads.

This camp was calculated to hold, under normal conditions, from 6,000 to 7,000 men; at that time, however, it housed 74,000 men.'

Q. Were there barracks?

A. No. It was formerly a brickyard and consisted exclusively of low sheds for drying bricks.

Q. Were the prisoners of war housed there?

A. It can scarcely be said that they were housed, since each shed, at the utmost, could not contain more than 200 to 300 men; the rest had to sleep in the open.

Q. What was the regime like at that camp?

A. The regime in that camp was definitely peculiar. The existing conditions gave one the impression that the Camp Commander, Captain Bekker, was quite unable to handle and feed so large a number of men. There were two kitchens in the camp, although they could hardly be called kitchens. Iron barrels had been placed on stone and concrete floors, and the food for the prisoners was prepared in these barrels. But the kitchens, even if operating for 24 hours on end, could only prepare food for approximately 2,000 people. The usual diet of the prisoner, the daily ration for 6 men, consisted of one loaf of bread which, again, could scarcely be described as bread. Disturbances frequently arose during the distribution of the hot food, for the prisoners -- and there were 70,000 of them in the camp -- struggled to get at the victuals. In cases like these the guards resorted to clubs -- a usual procedure in the camp. I obtained the general impression that in all the camps the club was inevitably the foundation of all things."

[Page 337]

Please forgive the digression, but I have been told, Your Honour, that two photographs are attached to the record and that their authenticity is certified. I am now submitting them to the Tribunal. The other two will be handed to you very shortly. I continue to quote from the record:
"Q. Do you know anything about the death rate at the camp?

A. 60 to 70 men died at the camp daily.

Q. From what causes?

A. Before the epidemics broke out one mostly spoke of people being killed.

Q. Killed during the distribution of food?

A. Both during the distribution of food and during working hours; generally speaking, people were being killed all day long."

Bingel was interrogated by us for the second time, and he was shown the photographs of the camp at Uman. He was then asked the following question:
"The camp shown here, is it the one you spoke about, or some other camp?"
After this he was shown photographs from two negatives of 14th August, 1941. Bingel replied:
"Yes, this is the camp of which I spoke.

As a matter of fact, this is not the camp proper but a clay pit belonging to the camp; here the prisoners were housed as soon as they arrived from the front. Later on they were assigned to various sections of the camp."

Q. What can you tell us about the second photograph?

A. The second one shows the camp photographed from another angle, i.e., from the right side. The buildings shown here were practically the only brick buildings in the camp. These brick buildings, though quite empty and undamaged, with excellent and spacious quarters, were not used for housing the prisoners of war."

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