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-Second Day: Tuesday, 19th February, 1946
(Part 3 of 6)

[COLONEL L. N. SMIRNOV continues]

[Page 118]

Now, I pass over to the next section of my presentation:-
"Concentration Camps for the Peaceful Population."
As this subject has already been extensively treated by the members of the prosecution who presented their cases before mine, I shall try to be as brief as possible; I shall limit myself either to absolutely new information or to the text of the documents which serve as an explanation to the films which will be shown to-day before the Tribunal.

I beg to draw the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that at the end of 1941 and in 1942 the scale of German fascist crimes committed in concentration camps reached vast proportions. In particular, I refer to the report of the Polish Government in confirmation of this statement. On Page 138 of the document book the members of the Tribunal will find testimony to the effect that in 1942 one of the most terrifying extermination camps, the Treblinka Camp No. 2 was in rapid process of erection. The Germans called this "Treblinka-B". Further, I refer to the Report of the Extraordinary State Commission on Auschwitz. The members of the Tribunal will find the extract, which I am going to quote, on Page 353 in the document book, volume 2, paragraph 2. I quote a short excerpt from Page 257:-

"In 1941 a crematorium for burning the corpses of murdered people was built in the Auschwitz Camp. This crematorium had three ovens. Attached to the crematorium was a so-called 'special purpose bath-house'. That was a gas chamber for asphyxiating people".
I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the following sentence:-
"In the summer of 1942 the Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler inspected

[Page 119]

Auschwitz Camp and ordered it to be greatly enlarged and technically perfected."
I end my quotation here, and I call the attention of the Tribunal to Page 136 on the reverse side of the document book; this is from a report of the Polish Government, which shows that the Camp Sobibor was set up during the first and second liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto. But the extermination on a large scale in this camp really started at the beginning of 1943. In this same report, in the last paragraph on Page 136 of the document book, we may read that Camp Belsen was founded in 1940; but it was in 1942 that the special electrical appliances were built in for mass extermination of people. Under the pretext that the people were being led to the bath-house, the doomed were undressed and then driven to the building, where the floor was electrified in a special way; there they were killed.

Usually the concentration camps of German fascism are divided into two groups: the labour concentration camps and the extermination camps. It seems to me that such a differentiation is not quite correct, because the labour camps also served the purpose of extermination.

I omit two pages of the text and I pass on to Page 260. In confirmation of what I said just now, I refer to the report of the Extraordinary State Commission relative to Yanov Camp in the city of Lvov. The Tribunal will find this on Page 159 in the document book, paragraph 5. But at the same time, I ask the members of the Tribunal to refer to Page 6 of the album of documents relative to the Lvov Camp. One of them is a picture of "a trench in the valley of death". The ground is soaked with human blood to the depth of one and a half metres. On the next pages are shown the belongings taken from the executed persons. This picture was taken by the experts of forensic medicine about two months after the mass shootings.

From the Reports of the Extraordinary State Commission on Crimes in the Yanov Camp it can be seen that here, according to the findings of the legal experts, in what was officially an ordinary labour camp, over 200,000 Soviet citizens were exterminated. I now quote only the first paragraph on Page 261 of the Russian text:-

"In view of the total area of burial grounds as well as the area over which the ashes and bones were scattered, the expert commission concluded that in the Yanov Camp there were exterminated over 200,000 Soviet citizens."
I omit the next part of my presentation, which deals with the regime of starvation in concentration camps. This was very well presented by the representative of the British prosecution, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe.

This must now be quite clear to the Tribunal and I do not think it will be necessary to give any additional proofs. But I ask the Tribunal's permission to present evidence on an altogether different type of camp, which was created by the German fascists only during the last stage of the war. I refer to Page 265 of my presentation.

Maidanek and Auschwitz camps served as a means of extermination only of those who really were sent to this camp. These two camps were not a direct menace to those people who were outside the walls of the camp, but, in the course of the war, having already suffered grave defeats, German fascism began to practice new bestialities for exterminating peaceful citizens. Thus there were set up in Bielorussia camps of death, not only to exterminate the inmates of the camp itself but, first and foremost, to spread infectious diseases among the peaceful population and the ranks of the Red Army. There were no crematoria and gas chambers in these camps, but they should, in all justice, be considered as among the most brutal concentration camps which were created by Fascism for extermination of people.

I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 4 the Report of the Extraordinary State Commission for the investigation of the murder of people by means of

[Page 120]

spreading typhus epidemics. Such evidence has not been previously presented, and I shall therefore quote several excerpts from this report. I begin the quotation on Page 454 of the document book, first paragraph. Last paragraph on Page 266 of the Russian text:-
"On 19th March, 1944, advancing Red Army units discovered, near the settlement of Osaritchi in the Region of Polesskoy in the Bielorussian S.S.R., within the limits of German defence lines, three concentration camps in which there were over 33,000 children, women and old men incapable of work".
I interrupt my quotation, and I omit one paragraph.
"The camps were really open squares surrounded by barbed wire. The approaches were mined. There were no buildings whatever, even of the most insignificant type, in the camp grounds".
I call the Tribunal's attention to the fact that all this happened in March, in Bielorussia, when it is really very cold there.
"The inmates were sitting on the ground. Many of them had lost their ability to move and were lying unconscious in the mud. It was forbidden to the inmates to build fires, to gather brush or branches for bedding. The Hitlerites shot Soviet people for the slightest attempt to violate this order.

For concentration camps close to the front line, the Germans, in the first place, selected sites in places which they had little hope of holding. Secondly, they concentrated large masses of Soviet people in the camps, placing there primarily women, children and old men unable to work. Afterwards, they placed into these camps thousands of typhus patients who were especially brought from various, temporarily occupied, regions of the Bielorussian S.S.R., especially for this purpose. They were kept together with the starved, weak inmates who no longer could serve as labour.

Among those liberated from these camps were 15,960 children up to the age of thirteen; 13,072 women incapable of work, and 4,448 old men".

I omit the next page and read Page 269 of the Russian text. I quote only one paragraph which reveals the methods used by the criminals to drive into the camps peaceful citizens from various regions of Bielorussia.

Witness Mrs. L. Pikarski, who was liberated from the camp, testified before the Commission:-

"On 12th March, 1944, late in the afternoon, we, the inhabitants of the city of Jlobin, were forced to assemble within half an hour at the station Jlobin-South; here the Germans selected all the young ones and took them away. Having herded us into railroad cars, the Germans closed the doors tightly. Where we were going we didn't know, but we all anticipated some evil. . . .

As we found out later on, we were driven along the Rudobelkovsky railway and unloaded late in the afternoon on 15th March. During the night, knee deep in sticky mud, we were driven into a camp. From this camp we were driven into another one. On the way the Germans beat us, and those who lagged behind were shot. One woman is walking with three children. One of the children falls down, the Germans shoot at him. Horrified, the mother and the two other children look back; these monsters, the soldiers, shoot them down one by one. The mother cries out in agony, but her shriek is interrupted by a direct shot. Another mother and son, the Boddarews, walk side by side. The child can't stand the tiring journey and falls down. The mother bends over him, she wants to encourage him with a word, but neither the son nor the mother rose or saw the blue sky again: the Germans shot them".

I omit the next page of this document and I pass to the presentation of some evidence, testifying to the fact that the Germans on purpose concentrated in this camp the typhus- stricken people.

[Page 121]

I quote three paragraphs from Page 271 of this text.

A. S. Mitrachovich, liberated from the camp, who was a resident of the village of Novo-Belitza, testified:-

"We who were sick with typhus were driven to the village of Mikul-Gorodok into a camp surrounded by barbed wire".
An inhabitant of the hamlet of Novogorudok, Gavrilchik, Z.P., testified:-
"During three days typhus-stricken patients were brought in motor-cars into the camp with the result that many who were healthy also fell ill".
I omit the next two pages of the document and I pass over to what the members of the Tribunal will find on Page 254 on the reverse side, paragraph 6:-
"The German Army Command used to send their own agents to the camps near the front line to observe how the typhus was spreading among the inmates and also among the Red Army soldiers".
Next there is the testimony of one of such agents, the traitor Rastorguev. I omit this quotation.

To conclude the presentation of evidence relative to this matter, I shall quote a few excerpts from the findings of the medico-forensic experts. The Tribunal will find them on the back of Page 454. This is Page 274 of the Russian text:-

"The German authorities placed together in concentration camps both the healthy and the typhus-stricken Soviet citizens. In order to expedite the dissemination of typhus in the camps, the Germans used to transfer the typhus patients from one camp to another.

On many occasions when typhus patients refused to go into the camp, the German authorities used force.

German aggressors used to move typhus patients from hospitals into the camps and mixed them with the healthy camp inmates".

And the last paragraph:
"The infecting of the Soviet population with typhus began in the second half of February and was practised to the middle of March".
The result of it was mass infection of the people interned in the camp, and the members of the Tribunal will find proof of this in the next paragraph where it is said that the Red Army Command sent 4,052 Soviet citizens to the hospitals, among them 2,370 children below thirteen years of age, all liberated from the one hamlet of Ozarichi, in the Poless region.

I omit those sections of my presentation where I wanted to give concrete information as to the terrible conditions under which the inmates of these concentration camps had to live, and I pass to Page 277 of my statement where I deal with concentration camps of the "usual type".

I quote short excerpts only from the report of the Yugoslav Government dealing with Camp Banyitza, near Belgrade, from which it is evident that the camps in Yugoslavia, so far as bestial conditions are concerned, were quite identical with the camps in other countries of Eastern Europe.

The members of the Tribunal will find this passage on Page 263 of the document book, paragraph 2. I quote the third paragraph of this document:-

"Camp Banyitza, near Belgrade: this camp was established by the German occupying authorities as far back as June, 1941. From the captured documents of this camp it is evident that 23,673 inmates were registered there. However, from the testimony of the surviving witnesses, especially the employees of the Quisling authorities who worked in this camp, it was possible to establish that in reality a much greater number of victims passed through it".
I omit the next paragraph and continue my quotation:

[Page 122]

"The witness Monchilo Dernyanovich at the end of 1943 participated in burning corpses of the victims of Camp Banyitza".
I omit the remainder of the paragraph and continue my quotation:-
"At the interrogation on 7th February, 1945, he testified before the Yugoslav State Commission that during the period of his work there he counted 68,000 corpses".
I omit further five pages of the report, as the information contained therein is well known to the Tribunal. I pass to Page 283 of the Russian text. I present to the Tribunal, as Exhibit USSR 193, an excerpt from an official register of the hospital at Camp Saimyite, near Belgrade.

The Report of the Yugoslav Government states that this hospital reminds one more of a camp chapel, where the bodies of the dead were brought for the last rites.

On some days - I beg the Tribunal to refer to the entry number 1070 - were delivered the bodies of tens and hundreds of people who had died of starvation. For instance, under the entry note 1070 are listed 87 corpses delivered to the hospital. Under No. 1272, 122 bodies are noted, under No. 2041 112 bodies were delivered.

I do not consider that these figures need any comment to illustrate the camp regime, especially as far as living conditions of the inmates are concerned.

In the camps in the territory of the USSR temporarily occupied by Germans, the living conditions of the inmates were of extreme grimness.

I quote a short excerpt from the Report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the Crimes in the Lithuanian S.S.R.:-

"In the territories of the Lithuanian S.S.R., the Hitlerites exterminated in great numbers not only the local population but also people who were driven here from the Orlov, Smolensk, Vitebsk and Leningrad regions. From the summer of 1943 to June, 1944, 200,000 people passed through the camp established for the evacuated population near the town of Alitous - you will see this camp in the film, which will be presented to- day".
I omit the next part of the quotation and I read two paragraphs further down:-
"Due to the filthy living conditions, lack of water, starvation, disease and mass shootings, about 60,000 Soviet citizens perished in this camp".
I omit the two next pages of the text and I quote from Page 288 of the report. It is mentioned here that for the families of Red Army soldiers special concentration camps were set up in the territories of the Lithuanian S.S.R. The following order was posted in this camp:-
"For expressing dissatisfaction with German authorities and for violation of the camp regime the Soviet people shall be shot without trial, jailed or sent to forced labour for life to Germany".
I omit one paragraph and continue:-
"A German woman in command of four such camps, Elisabeth Zeeling, frequently announced to the inmates: 'You are my slaves; I shall punish you in whatever way I want '".

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