The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th February to 25th February, 1946

Fifty-Ninth Day: Thursday, 14th February 1946
(Part 4 of 15)


[Page 8]

The confession of Kunze, concerning the motives for which the military authorities directed invalids to the camp for treatment by "special regime," is of particular value. He frankly states that the cause of it was their physical condition, which had rendered them unfit for any kind of work. In this connection I submit a series of documents to the Tribunal. They show that only from the point of view of obtaining slaves were the representatives of the German Command and the German authorities occasionally interested in the prisoners of war. You have in your possession a circular of the High Command of the Armed Forces to the effect that Soviet prisoners of war should be branded, and that this branding would not be considered as a medical measure. I am submitting to you another equally shameful document. It bears the following identifying marks: "AS2F 2 482N Commander of Camps for Prisoners of War No. 3142/42 Berlin, Schoeneberg, 20.7.1942. 51 Badensche Strasse." This document is Exhibit USSR 343. I will not read it in full. It identically resembles those which I have already read into the record.

But it is characteristic of the extent to which the Hitlerite conspirators had abandoned the thesis "a State can do everything which is necessary to hold prisoners of war in their own safe-keeping, but it cannot do anything more."

A regime based on hard labour, on an unending stream of insult and torture, drove Soviet people to manifestations of stark despair, such as attacks on camp guards who were armed to the teeth. We know of such truly heroic deeds. Testimonies of eye-witnesses are in our hands. I am submitting to you, as Exhibit USSR 314, the personally written testimony of the witness Lamp (you interrogated him a few days ago in this Court) together with the testimony of the witness Rikal - our Exhibit USSR 315. I will read out such passages of the testimony as appear on Page 348 of your document book. These witnesses reported that in the beginning of February, 1945, in the extermination camp of Mauthausen, 800 Red Army prisoners of war who were interned there, had broken out of the fascist hell after first disarming the guards and piercing the electrified barbed wire. Lamp testifies how brutally the S.S. treated those whom they were able to recapture. I am quoting a few lines:-

"All those who returned to the Stalag were savagely tortured and then shot. I myself saw the escaped prisoners, who were being brought back to block No. 20." (I wish to interpolate that Block 20 was the death block.) "They were beaten and the head of one of them was badly bleeding. They were followed by ten S.S. men, among whom were three or four officers. They carried whips and were laughing loudly, giving the impression of pleasurably anticipating the tortures they were going to inflict upon the three unfortunate prisoners. The courage of the insurgents and the cruelty of the repression have left an undying impression on all the internees of Mauthausen. "
The fascist conspirators behaved with equal hatred toward all Soviet citizens. If any altercations ever arose among them, they would only be in connection with the methods of destruction to be inflicted on their victims. Some strove to kill off the prisoners immediately; others deemed it wiser to exploit their prisoners' blood

[Page 9]

and strength in the mills, factories, military workshops, and in the construction of military undertakings.

Any long war is responsible for labour shortage in industry and agriculture. Fascist Germany solved this problem by importing white male and female slaves. The greatest No. of them were prisoners of war. They were sent to heavy labour, where masses perished from exhaustion, overwork, hunger, and savage treatment by the guards.

I submit to the Tribunal Document No. 744-PS, and quote the following three paragraphs:-

"To carry out the augmented iron and steel industry programme, the Fuehrer ordered on 7th July that a sufficient coal supply be guaranteed and that prisoners of war be utilized for this purpose."
I am omitting several sentences from the documents dealing with the technicalities of this question and quote Point 2 of this directive:
"2. All Soviet prisoners of war, captured since 5th July, 1943, are to be sent to the O.K.W. camps and from there directly, or by way of labour exchanges, put at the disposal of the General Plenipotentiary for the Utilization of Labour, for use in the coal mining industry."
The fourth point is of special interest. It contains a definite directive on how to convert all men between the ages of 16-55 into prisoners of war.

I quote Point 4:-

"4. All male prisoners between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five, captured in battles with the partisans in the operational area of the Army, of the eastern Commissariats, of the Government General and of the Balkans, are to be regarded as prisoners of war. The same applies to men in newly conquered districts of the East. They must be sent to the prisoner of war camps and thence to work in Germany."
The second Document, 744-PS, issued by the Chief of the O.K.W. on 8th July, 1943, duplicates this directive. The document is signed by Keitel. There is a postscript to the text of the document which was also signed by Keitel. It is addressed to all the higher authorities of the S.S. and is signed by Himmler. The text has already been read into the record on 20th December, 1945; I shall therefore refer only to the contents. It concerns the transportation of children, old people, and of young women. Himmler indicates how and by what methods they should be sent to Germany through Sauckel's organisation. In this case, too, Himmler, Keitel, and Sauckel act in perfect agreement, almost as a single entity.

I consider Exhibit USSR 354 to be of primary importance. It is a report on the prison camp in Minsk. The report was compiled in Rosenberg's office on 10th July, 1941.

THE PRESIDENT: Has it been put in already?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: This document has not yet been read into the record. Permit me, Your Honor, to read a few excerpts. I quote Page 183:-

"The prison camp in Minsk, covering a space about the size of the Wilhelmsplatz, accommodates about 100,000 prisoners of war and 40,000 civilian prisoners. The prisoners, crowded together in this small space, can hardly move, and are therefore forced to relieve nature at the very place where they happen to be. The camp is guarded by a detail of soldiers on active duty, of company strength. Due to the small strength of the guard detailed, the watch over the camp can only be accomplished by the application of brute force."
I omit a paragraph and turn to the page which continues the original idea:-
"The only possible language for a small guard, which remains on duty both day and night, without being relieved, is the firearm, of which ruthless use is made."
Next, the authors of this document complain about the impossibility of carrying

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out the selection of prisoners according to physical and racial classification for various forms of labour. On the second day after the beginning of this selection, the measure was forbidden. I quote:-
"Reference is being made to an order of General Field Marshal Kluge, according to which he alone had the right to release civilian prisoners."
I shall read into the record two documents demonstrating how the Hitlerites, in their hatred of the Soviet people, considered the regime of bestial cruelty and systematic insults which they had set up for the Soviet prisoners of war as being too mild, and demanded hat it be made still more severe.

On 29th January, 1943, an order was issued on the "Rights of Self Defence against the Prisoners of War," under the signature of the Chief of the O.K.H. This order bears the No. 3868/42-S, and is registered by the USA Delegation as Document 696-PS. We submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit No. USSR 355, since it has not been read into the record. I shall read a few short extracts from this document. You will find the passage quoted on Page 185 of your document book. It starts as follows:-

"The military organisations and the organisations of the National-Socialist Party have, on numerous occasions, raised the question of the treatment of the prisoners of war, and they are of the opinion that the punishments provided for by the 1929 Agreement are inadequate."
This document explains that the previous agreement, regarding the treatment of all prisoners of war, with the exception of Soviet nationals, remains in force. The order No. 389/42-S issued by the O.K.W. Section for Prisoners of War Affairs, determines the treatment of the latter. This order was issued on 24th March, 1942.

The second document is the circular of the Nazi Party Bureau, submitted as No. 12/43-S. This circular, signed by Bormann, was issued by the chief of the Party Bureau, at the Fuehrer's main headquarters on 12th February, 1943.

The circular was sent out by the Reichsfuehrer to the Gauleiter and to the commanding officers of military units. It speaks of secret order No. 3868/42-S of the Chief of the General Staff. It is therefore proved once more, and proved beyond any manner of doubt, that the leaders of the Nazi Party and the military command bear equal responsibility for the atrocities perpetrated on the Soviet prisoners of war.

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