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 26th February, 1946

Sixtieth Day: Friday, 15th February, 1946
(Part 5 of 8)

[Page 59]

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I will at once submit to the Tribunal this directive as Exhibit USSR 16. It is a Photostat copy of the document certified by the Extraordinary State Commission. The Tribunal will find the text of this directive on Page 219 of the document book. This directive is signed by Keitel and entitled, "Anti-partisan warfare." The document is dated 16 December, 1942. I will quote this document almost in full, starting with the title:-
"Contents: Anti-partisan Warfare.

Top Secret.

The Fuehrer has been informed that certain members of the Wehrmacht who took part in fighting against bandits..."

My colleague, Colonel Pokrovsky, Mr. President, explained to the Tribunal yesterday that any resistance movement on the part of the peaceful population was termed "banditry". I will therefore not detain the Tribunal's attention any longer in an attempt to decode this German-fascist term - "were later called to account for their behaviour while so fighting."

In this connection the Fuehrer ordered:

"If the repression of the bandits in the East, as well as in the Balkans, is not pursued with the most brutal means, it will not be long before the forces at our disposal will prove insufficient to exterminate this plague.

The troops therefore have the right and the duty to use, in this fight, any means, even against women and children, provided they are conducive to success."

I emphasise that the directive mentions all possible means of retribution against women and children. I continue to quote:-
"Scruples, of any sort whatsoever, are a crime against the German people and against the front-line soldier who bears the consequences of attacks by bandits and who cannot understand why any regard should be shown to them or their associates.

These principles must serve as a basis for operations against bandits in the East.

2. No German participating in action against bandits or their associates is to be held responsible for acts of violence either from a disciplinary or a judicial point of view.

Commanders of troops engaged in action against the bandits are obliged to see to it that all officers of units under their command be immediately and thoroughly notified of this order, that their legal advisers be immediately acquainted therewith, and that no judgements be passed which are in contradiction thereto.


I hereby conclude the presentation of the documents referring to the first two sections of the list read into the record at the opening of the report. The documents which I have hitherto submitted to the Tribunal were to prove three facts:-
1. Direct instigation, by the major criminals, to the perpetration of appalling

[Page 60]

crimes, against wide circles of the peaceful population, by German Armed Forces.

2. Special education by the Hitler Leadership of criminal units for the practical realisation of its plans for the mass extermination of entire races.

3. General unleashing of the criminals' basest instincts in an atmosphere of complete impunity for the perpetrators of the crimes.

These purposes were fully achieved by the major war criminals. The Hitlerites committed crimes against the peaceful populations in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union and in the Eastern occupied countries which, in their extent, in the cruelty of the methods applied, as well as in the cynicism and brutality of purpose of the organisers and perpetrators of the crimes, are without precedent in the history of the world.


I should like to show exactly what Keitel's order for the "pacification" of the occupied territories meant in the life of the peaceful population.

The introduction of this regime of terror was the first sign of the arrival of the fascist authorities, whether military or civilian, in the territory of the USSR or of other Eastern European countries.

Moreover, this regime of terror was not exclusively confined to more savage forms of brutality. It also assumed the form of shameless outrages perpetrated against the honour and dignity of the victims of the German fascists. The terrorists first committed their crimes against such citizens whom they considered politically active and most capable of resisting them.

In confirmation of this fact I refer to a document which I have previously presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 6, which is a report of the Extraordinary State Commission on "Crimes Committed by the Germans on the Territory of the Lvov Region". The Tribunal will find the passage to which I am referring on Page 58 of the document book, in the last paragraph:-

"Even before the seizure of Lvov the Gestapo detachments had at their disposal, pursuant to an order by the German Government lists of the most prominent representatives of the intelligentsia doomed a priori to annihilation. Mass arrests and executions began immediately after the seizure of Lvov. The Gestapo arrested a member of the Union of Soviet Authors, an author of numerous literary works, Professor Thaddeus Boi-Yelensky; a Professor of the Medical Institute, Roman Renzky; the Principal of the University, Professor of Forensic Medicine, Vladimir Seradsky; Doctor of Jurisprudence, Roman Longsham-de-Berye, together with his three sons, Professor Thaddeus Ostrovsky, Professor Jan Grek, Professor of Surgery, Heinrich Hilrevich ..."
There follows a long list containing thirty-one names of outstanding intellectuals of the town of Lvov. I omit the enumeration of their names and continue quoting from the next paragraph:-
"F. B. Groer, Professor at the Medical Institute at Lvov, who fortunately escaped death, has told the Commission what follows:-
'When I was arrested at midnight of 5 July, 1941, and placed in a truck, I met Professors Grek, Boi- Yelensky and others. We were taken to the hostel of the "Abragamovitch Theological College". While we were led along the corridor the members of the Gestapo jeered at us, hitting us with rifle butts, pulling our hair and hitting us over the head. Later on I saw, from the hostel of the Abragamovitch Theological College, the Germans leading, under escort, five professors, four of whom were carrying the blood bespattered body of the son of the famous professor Rouff, murdered by the Germans during his interrogation. Young Rouff too had been a specialist. The entire group of professors,

[Page 61]

under escort, was taken to the Kadetsky Heights. Fifteen to twenty minutes later I heard rifle fire from the direction which the professors had been taken.'"
In order to outrage dignity, the Germans resorted to the most refined methods of torture and then shot their victims.

B. O. Galtsman, an inhabitant of Lvov, has testified before the Special Commission that he personally saw how, in July, 1941.

"Twenty people, including four professors, lawyers and physicians, were brought by the S.S. into the courtyard of House No. 8, in Artshevsky Street. One of them I knew by name, Doctor of Jurisprudence, Kreps. Among them were five or six women. The S.S. forced them to wash the stairs leading from the seven entrances to the four- storey house with their tongues, and after those stairways were washed, the same people were forced to collect garbage in the courtyard with their lips. All garbage had to be transferred to one place in the courtyard ..."
I omit the end of this paragraph and continue from the next paragraph-
"The fascist invaders carefully concealed the extermination of the intelligentsia. To repeated requests of their relatives and friends concerning the fate of these men of science, the Germans replied, 'Nothing is known.' In the autumn of 1943, on the order of Reichsminister Himmler, the Hitlerites burned the bodies of the murdered professors. Former internees of the Yanovsky Camp, Mendel and Corn, who dealt with the exhumation of the bodies, have told the Commission the following:
'During the night Of 5 October, 1943, acting on orders from the Gestapo, we opened a pit between Cadetskaya and Bouleskaya Streets by the light of searchlights and took from it thirty-five bodies. We burned all these corpses.

While lifting the corpses from the pit we found the documents of Professor Ostrovsky, of the Doctor of Natural Science, Otoshek, and of Professor of the Polytechnical Institute, Kasimir Bartel.

The investigation established that during the first few months of the occupation the Germans arrested or killed over seventy of the most prominent scientists, technologists and artists in the city of Lvov.'"

What I have just said must not in any way be taken to infer that the leaders of local organisations and representatives of the intelligentsia alone were victims of the fascist terror. I merely wanted to make it clear that the fascist terror was directed in the first instance against these people.

But one of the characteristic features of Hitlerite terrorism was the fact that it was decreed by the German fascist leaders and carried out by the executioners as a general reign of terror.

To confirm this I refer to a document previously submitted to the Tribunal but not read into the record. It is Exhibit USSR 63, which is a report of the Extraordinary State Commission for the Investigation of German Atrocities in the town of Kerch.

Kerch is a comparatively small town. It is distant from Lvov by many hundred kilometres. The German invaders arrived in Lvov in the beginning of July, 1941, but only reached Kerch in November. By January, 1942, they had already been driven out by Red Army units.

Thus the entire period of the first occupation of the town of Kerch by the Germans did not last more than two months. But here are the crimes perpetrated by the German fascists in this town. The Tribunal will find the passage in question on Page 227 of the document book, paragraph 5:-

"After capturing the city in November, 1941, the Hitlerites immediately issued an order to the following effect:-

[Page 62]

'All family food stocks must be delivered to the German Kommando. Owners of undelivered but discovered supplies will be shot.'

By the next order, No. 2, the Town-Council ordered the inhabitants to register immediately all hens, ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese, sheep, cows, calves and cattle. Poultry owners were strictly prohibited from using fowl and cattle for their own needs without special permission of the German Commandant. After the publication of these orders a wholesale search of all apartments and houses began.

The members of the Gestapo behaved outrageously. For each kilogram of beans or flour discovered in excess, the head of the family was shot.

The Germans initiated their monstrous atrocities by poisoning 245 children of school age."

Later on you will see the small bodies of these children in our documentary film. The infants' bodies were thrown into the city moat.
"According to instructions issued by the German Commandant, all the school children were ordered to appear at the school at a given time. On arrival, the 245 children, school books in hand, were sent to a factory school outside the town, allegedly for exercise. There the cold and hungry infants were offered coffee and poisoned pies. Since there was not enough coffee to go round, those who did not get any were sent to the infirmary where a German orderly smeared their lips with a quick-acting poison. In a few minutes all the children were dead. School children of the higher grades were carried off in trucks and shot down by machine-gun fire eight kilometres outside the town. The bodies of the first batch of murdered children were brought to the same spot - a very large, very long anti-tank trench."
I continue the quotation:-
"On the evening of 28 November, 1941, an order, No. 4, of the Gestapo was posted in the town. In compliance with this order the inhabitants who had previously been registered with the Gestapo were to present themselves on 29 November between o8oo hours and 1200 hours at the Sermaya Square, with a three-days' supply of food. All the men and women were to appear, regardless of their age or state of health. Those who did not present themselves were threatened with a public execution.

Those who arrived at the square on 29 November were persuaded that they had been summoned in order to be sent to work. At noon over 7,000 people assembled in the square. There were young boys, young girls, children of all ages, very old men and pregnant women. All were transferred to the city prison by the Gestapo.

A monstrous and treacherous extermination of the peaceful population in the prison was carried out by the Germans according to a previously formulated plan of the Gestapo. First of all, the prisoners were asked to hand over the keys of their apartments and to give their exact addresses to the prison commandant. Then all their valuables were taken from them, including watches, rings and other trinkets.

In spite of the cold, boots, underclothing, shoes, costumes and coats were removed from all the persons incarcerated. Many women and girls in their teens were separated from the rest of the internees by the fascist blackguards and locked in separate cells, where the unfortunate creatures were subjected to particularly outrageous forms of torture. They were raped, their breasts cut off, their stomachs ripped open, their feet and hands cut off and their eyes gouged out.

After the Germans had been thrown out of Kerch, on 30 December, 1941, Red Army soldiers discovered, in the prison yard, a formless mass of bodies of young girls, naked, mutilated and unrecognisable, who had been savagely and cynically tortured to death by the fascists.

[Page 63]

As a site for the mass execution, the Hitlerites selected an anti-tank ditch near the village of Baguerovo where for three days on end motor buses brought entire families who had been condemned to death.

When the Red Army entered Kerch, in January, 1942, the Baguerovo ditch was investigated. It was discovered that this ditch - 1 kilometre in length, 4 metres in width and 2 metres in depth - was filled to overflowing with bodies of women, children, old men, and boys and girls in their teens. Near the ditch were frozen pools of blood. Children's caps, toys, ribbons, torn-off buttons, gloves, milk bottles and rubber comforters, small shoes, golloshes together with torn-off hands, feet and other parts of human bodies were lying nearby. Everything was spattered with blood and brains.

The Fascist savages shot down the defenceless population with dum-dum bullets. Near the edge of the ditch lay the mutilated body of a young woman. In her arms was a baby carefully wrapped up in a white lace cover. Next to this woman lay an eight-year-old girl and a boy of five, killed with dum- dum bullets. Their small hands still gripped the mother's dress."

The circumstances of the executions are confirmed by the statements of numerous witnesses who were lucky enough to escape unharmed from the open grave. I am going to quote two statements:

Twenty-year-old Anatolyi Ignatievich Bondarenko, now a soldier in the Red Army, states:-

"When we were brought up to the anti-tank ditch and lined up alongside this fearful grave, we still believed that we had been fetched in order to fill in the ditch with earth or to dig new ones. We did not think we had been brought there to be shot, but when we heard the first shots from the automatic guns trained on us, I realised we were about to be murdered. I immediately hurled myself into the ditch and hid between two corpses. Thus, unharmed and half-fainting, I lay until nearly evening. While lying in the ditch I heard several of the wounded call to the gendarmes shooting them 'Finish me off, blackguard!' - 'You missed me, scoundrel! Shoot again!

Then, when the Germans went off to dinner, an inhabitant of my village called from the ditch: 'Get up, those of you who are still alive'. I got up and the two of us began to drag out the living from underneath the corpses. I was covered with blood. A light mist hung over the ditch - steam arising from the rapidly congealing mass of dead bodies, from the pools of blood and from the last breath of the dying. We dragged out Theodor Naoumenko and my father, but my father had been killed outright by a dum-dum bullet in the heart. Late at night I reached the house of some friends in the village of Baguerovo and stayed with them until the arrival of the Red Army."

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