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

Sixty-First Day: Monday, 18th February, 1946
(Part 6 of 7)

[COLONEL L. N. SMIRNOV continues]

[Page 101]

Permit me to make a further statement. In the first part of my accusation I spoke of the German mass terror and particularly of the massacre of the children. Terrorist methods applied to children are characteristic features of fascist cruelty.

Will you now permit me to submit further documentary evidence?

In the first part of my presentation I dealt with German mass terrorism, and spoke specifically about the extermination of children and the infamous methods used by the Germans with regard to them, since terror, applied to children, terror most savage, most brutal, is one of the characteristic features of fascist bestiality.

I now present to the Tribunal evidence of mass extermination of the population in various parts of Eastern Europe. I submit to the Tribunal brief excerpts from the report of the Polish Government, which your Honours will find on Page 127 of the Document Book in the second paragraph of the text. It describes the so-called Anin massacre. I quote:-

"At the end of December, 1939, a German policeman was shot in the vicinity of Warsaw by a bandit. Subsequent investigations showed that the murderer was in a restaurant in Vaver, near Warsaw. When the police entered the restaurant he opened fire, killing one policeman and wounding another.

In reply the German authorities, on 26 December, 1939, ordered mass reprisals, and a punitive expedition made its appearance in the village.

A detachment of 'Landesschutz,' under the command of an officer, was dispatched to Vaver and to the summer resort of Anin. Both of these localities were surrounded by a cordon of soldiers. The proprietor of the restaurant where the event had occurred was immediately hanged, and his body left hanging in front of his house for three days. At the same time men were dragged out from every house. Having thus rounded up about 170 persons, the Germans made them stand in the railway station, facing the wall and with their hands held above their heads, for several hours. Afterwards their documents were checked and a few were dismissed, but the vast majority were informed that they would be executed. They were then taken to a field, split up into groups of ten to fourteen, and executed by volleys from machine guns.

The number of individual graves discovered on the execution ground amounted to 107. Among those executed were: two doctors, thirty youths under sixteen years of age and twelve men over sixty. One was an American citizen of Polish origin. He was shot together with his son."

I shall omit the next paragraph of the report of the Polish Government dealing with the massacre in Piastoshyn and I quote only an announcement from a German paper, the "Weichseler Zeitung," of 23 October, 1939. This announcement was quoted in the Polish report.

[Page 102]

" In the Tuchel district, the farm of a Reich citizen, Fritze, in the vicinity of Pretzin, was burned, in the night of 21-22 October, by Polish bandits. The result was that citizen Fritze had a heart attack. By order of the Chief of the Civil Administration a punitive expedition was despatched to this locality in order to teach the guilty bandits a lesson which would show them that acts of this kind would be severely punished. As a reprisal, ten Poles, known for their hostile attitude towards Germany, were shot. In addition, an order was given to the Polish inhabitants of this locality to rebuild the burned buildings and to pay for the damage done."
I shall omit half of the following page, and I quote briefly the circumstances of the Jozefew massacre in Poland. Your Honours will find this quotation on page 128, paragraph 2, of the document book:-
"In the middle of January, 1940, a family of German colonists in the village of Jozefew was robbed and murdered by bandits, as the Germans themselves stated in the newspapers at a later date. A punitive expedition set out for Jozefew."
I omit the next paragraph, and then I continue:-
" All the men who were caught in Jozefew and the vicinity, even young boys, were arrested and shot on the spot. Altogether 300 people were murdered."
Mass extermination of the peaceful population in Yugoslavia were of an exceptionally cruel nature.

I quote the part of the report of the Yugoslav Government entitled "Mass Murder of the Civilian Population and the Destruction of Villages."

I beg the Tribunal to accept as evidence a photostat of the order of Lieutenant-General Neidholt, which is presented as exhibit USSR 188. I cite this order which was quoted in the report of the Yugoslav Government:-

"The settlements of Zagnizde and Udora must be destroyed, the male population of these settlements hanged and the women and children taken to Stoliac."
I omit the next page of the text and begin the quotation regarding the atrocities of the German fascist criminals in Kragujevac.

In confirmation of this report of the Yugoslav Government, we submit to the Tribunal a certified photostat copy of a communication from the German commander of the garrison at Kragujevac, in which he admitted the shooting of 2,300 people. This document is being submitted to the Tribunal, and I ask you to accept this as evidence under Exhibit USSR 74. I quote from the report of the Yugoslav Government on the mass murder in Kragujevac.

"This was mass murder committed on 21 October, 1941, in Kragujevac, by a German punitive expedition under the command of Major Konig. Besides Konig, the regional commander, Bischofshausen, and the commandant of the settlement, Dr. Zimmermann, participated in the organisation and execution of this crime.

Ten to fifteen days before the perpetration of the crime in Kragujevac, one battalion arrived to reinforce the German garrison. First of all the following villages were destroyed in the vicinity of Kragujevac: Mechkovac, Marsic and Groshnic. In Mechkovac the punitive expedition murdered 66 people; in Marsic 101, and in Groshnic 100. All the victims were peaceful citizens of the villages in question.

When, after the perpetration of these crimes, the punitive expedition arrived in Kragujevac, they began carrying out their plan to exterminate the citizens of Kragujevac, especially the Serbian intelligentsia. As early as the beginning of October the district commandant, Dr. Zimmermann,

[Page 103]

demanded of the headmasters in Kragujevac the regular attendance of the school children; otherwise they would be considered saboteurs and shot. After such a threat all the pupils attended school regularly. On 18 October, 1941, in conformity with a previously prepared list, all male Jews were arrested, as well as all persons who were considered communists. They were imprisoned in the barracks of the former Yugoslav Auto-Transport Kommandatur in Stanovlensko Field. They were kept without any food until 20 October and all were shot at about six o'clock in the evening; approximately 60 persons were killed. The same day, i.e., 20 October they began to round up the entire male population of Kragujevac. After every exit from the city had been blocked, the Germans went into every public building and drove out all the employees. After that all the professors, and pupils from the fifth grade upward, together with the teachers, were taken from the high schools and seminaries."
I omit the next two sentences and continue:-
"Together with the others, all the prisoners from the Kragujevac prison were taken off to the barracks. Then the order was given to them to go into the courtyard of the barracks. Here all their personal belongings were taken from them. The first to be shot were those originally incarcerated in the prison - approximately fifty persons. The rest were locked up in barracks. The next day, 21 October, as from seven o'clock in the morning, they were taken off in batches to Stanovlensko Field and there shot down with machine-gun fire. Those who did not die at once were finished off by the Germans with automatic pistols."
I conclude this quotation and continue after the next three paragraphs.
"The relatives of the victims of this mass slaughter were forbidden to visit the place of execution until the burial of the victims had been completed and all traces of the crime eliminated. They were also forbidden to hold any requiem masses or religious services for the victims. In the obituary notices in the papers it was forbidden to mention that the victims had met their death in the mass execution."
I omit the next five paragraphs and invite the attention of the Tribunal to a short part of the report of the Yugoslav Government dealing with the so-called "death march" or "march of blood," that march of dire fame to the camp of Yarak. I quote that particular part which deals with this atrocious crime of the Hitlerites.
"In the beginning of September, 1941, a large German punitive expedition rounded up all the male population between the ages of fourteen and seventy years and drove them from Shabatka across the Sava River into the settlement of Yarak in Sirinya. That was the so-called 'death march'. About 5,000 men had to run a distance of twenty-three kilometres and back again. Those who could not stand the pace and fell by the way were ruthlessly shot on the spot. Because many were old and weak, the number of victims was great, especially while crossing the bridge over the Sava."
I conclude this and I continue with the next paragraph:-
"On the way back they met another group of 800 peasants who had to cover the same distance, but the treatment of this group was still more brutal. They had to run with their arms raised over their heads. They were systematically murdered on the way. Only 300 men of the group reached Yarak alive."
I interrupt the quotation here, I omit this page and the next and concluding my presentation of the mass murders of the civilian population in Yugoslavia, I would ask the Tribunal to accept in evidence the public announcement of the Chief of the German Armed Forces in Serbia. This document is presented to the Tribunal

[Page 104]

as Exhibit USSR 200. Without making any comment at all, I simply quote this document, using the original text incorporated in the report of the Yugoslav Government. In the report the Commander-in-Chief in Serbia quotes the following facts:-
"In the village of Skela, a communist detachment opened fire at a German military truck. It was established that several of the inhabitants had been watching and saw the preparations for this attack. It was further established that these inhabitants could have warned the nearest station of the Serbian gendarmerie. It was also established that they could have secretly warned the German military trucks against the imminent attempt. The inhabitants did not profit by the opportunity and had thus placed themselves on the side of the criminals. The village of Skela was burned to the ground. Supplies of ammunition exploded in several houses during, the fire and this was accepted as a proof of complicity on the part of the inhabitants. All the male inhabitants of the village whose participation in the attack had been proved were shot, and 50 communists were hanged on the spot."
I now omit five pages of my presentation and I invite the attention of the Tribunal to the brief excerpts from the report of the Greek Government, on Pages 39 and 40 of the Russian text of this report, from which we can see that the same inhuman and criminal methods of mass shootings were used by the Hitler criminals in the temporarily occupied territory of Greece. I begin my quotation:-
"As soon as the island of Crete was occupied by the Germans, the Hitler Supreme Command proclaimed that, wherever German soldiers were attacked, all the villages would be burned down and all the inhabitants punished by death. In compliance with this announcement the first reprisals were made and several people, most of them absolutely innocent, were shot, and the villages of Skiki, Prassi and Kandanes" - and perhaps I am stressing the wrong syllables since I do not know how these words should be pronounced in Greek - "all these villages were burned down as a reprisal for an attack by partisans during the invasion of Crete. On the sites where these villages formerly existed, posts were erected with inscriptions in Greek and in German: 'Destroyed as a reprisal for the brutal murder of a detachment of paratroopers and half a platoon of sappers by armed men and women in the rear'.

Measures of reprisal, which at first were of a temporary nature, later grew in intensity, especially after the resistance begun by organised partisan detachments throughout the country in the beginning of 1943. The technique was always the same. The day after an act of sabotage or any other action committed by the partisans near a village, the German troops would appear in this village. The inhabitants would be rounded up in the central square or some other place suitable for the occasion, to listen to a public announcement, but in reality to be killed on the spot by machine-gun fire. After this the Germans either burned the village or else, in some cases, they would first plunder a village and then open fire on it. The inhabitants were killed openly in the streets, houses and fields, regardless of age and sex. There were cases when only the male population of the age of sixteen years and over, were executed. In other cases, when the men succeeded in hiding in the mountains, the Germans would execute the old men, women and children who had remained in the villages, hoping that their age and their sex would protect them. The villages of Arachoea, Kalovryta, Gestamon, Klissoura, Kommeno and Lissovouni, may be considered as typical examples. Some villages were destroyed for the sole reason that they were located in a region where partisans had been active."

I omit the next sentence since it has a direct bearing on another subject of the report. I continue my quotation:

[Page 105]

"The number of people murdered amounts to nearly 30,000."

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