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-Eighth Day: Tuesday, 26th February, 1946
(Part 5 of 7)

[The cross  examination of Dr. Eugene Alexandrovich Kivelisha by DR. LATERNSER continues]

[Page 323]

Q. You were a Red Army doctor and must have been quite aware that the feeding of armies is not so simple a matter.

A. Yes, but I could not imagine anything like what actually happened, especially as the Germans then had both the time and the means to supply the prisoners of war with food. I again say that, if the German authorities made no effort to provide the prisoners of war with food, the peaceful population did everything in their power to do so. However, it is apparent that neither the German Authorities, nor the German High Command issued any instructions on this matter.

As I have already reported, no opportunity was given for friendly relations between the prisoners of war and the peaceful citizens. On the contrary, any person who tried to bring food to the prisoners or any prisoner who accepted the food from the citizens was promptly shot.

Q. But you can certainly imagine that it must have presented immense difficulties if, as you have just testified, 100,000 prisoners had been taken at that time in the area of Uman?

A. Not all the prisoners of war were concentrated at Uman at one and the same time. There were several stationary and permanent camps, only there were more of them at Uman than elsewhere.

Q. I was not speaking about the food problem in Uman comp. We are still talking about the feeding of prisoners during the first days after their capture.

A. In captivity I was not singled out in any way from among the other prisoners of war. I was fed and I was supplied in exactly the same way as all the others. I was one of the general crowd and the general column of the prisoners of war. The German Command made no distinctions in the first days of captivity.

Q. But you will have to admit that there were certain difficulties connected with food supplies which would arise if quite unexpectedly a column, such as yours, 5,000 strong, had to be fed by rapidly advancing troops.

A. Even if the German Command had been faced with this particular difficulty, the problem could always have been solved by allowing the prisoners to accept the food which the peaceful population, the Soviet citizens, were offering them.

Q. We shall talk about that immediately. You say you were in a column 5,000 strong. Can you tell me how strong the guard was, the German guard, under whom this column of 5,000 matched?

A. I cannot state the exact figures. But there were a great many German machine gunners. The column was too drawn out in length and I am unable to state the figure.

Q. I realise that you cannot give the exact figures. But you can describe to the Tribunal how great the distance was between individual guards marching alongside the column?

[Page 324]

A. The distance would be as follows: two or three soldiers, walking in a row, would march approximately five or six steps behind a second row of the same number.

Q. Thus, every fifty or sixty metres, on either side of the column, or perhaps only on one side of the column, German troops marched in groups of two or three soldiers, as you say, or have I not understood you correctly?

A. Not fifty to sixty metres, five to six.

Q. Were the guards elderly men or were there younger soldiers among them?

A. They were soldiers of the German Army. They were of every age.

Q. Were the Russian prisoners-of-war columns informed, before they started, that they would be shot if they left the ranks?

A. I have already said, and I repeat once again, there were no warnings.

Q. Not even when the column set off?

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps it would be a good time to break off till 2.0 o'clock.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has made its decision upon the witnesses and documents to be called and produced on behalf of the first four defendants, and that decision will be communicated as soon as possible this afternoon to counsel for those defendants and will also be posted in the Defendants' Information Centre.

Secondly, an application was made some time ago by the Chief Prosecutor for France with reference to the calling of two additional witnesses. The Tribunal would wish that if it is desired to call any witnesses, after closing the case, on behalf of any of the Chief Prosecutors, a written application should be made to the Tribunal for the calling of such witnesses, and the Tribunal also desires me to draw the attention of counsel for the prosecution and counsel for the defence to the terms of Article 24, Sub-section (e), which refers to rebutting evidence. In the event of counsel for the prosecution or counsel for the defence wishing to call rebutting evidence, when the proper time comes after the case for the prosecution and the defence has been closed, such application to call rebutting evidence must be made to the Tribunal in writing.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I wonder if the Tribunal would allow me to say something on a matter on which I promised to get information yesterday.

Your Lordship will remember that Dr. Horn asked for a withdrawn edition of the Daily Telegraph of 31 August, 1939, and I promised the Tribunal that I would make inquiries. I had a telegram from the Daily Telegraph which I received this morning and it says :-

"No edition of the Daily Telegraph withdrawn on 31 August, 1939, or any other day thereabouts. The Telegraph of the 31st gave a brief paragraph saying 'Meeting Henderson-Ribbentrop had taken place' but without details.

On 1 September carried summary of German's sixteen points for Poland as broadcast by the German radio. Actual text of the note did not appear until 2 September, when extracted from the Foreign Office White Paper of all relevant documents."

I thought it was only right, as I had promised to get the information, that I should put it before the Tribunal and I propose to send a copy of that to Dr. Horn.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Sir David. I think that may necessitate a slight variation in the order which the Tribunal was proposing to make.

DR. NELTE (Counsel for defendant Keitel): Regarding the question of Generals Halder and Warlimont as witnesses, Mr. President, permit me to ask you one question: that is whether the Court has decided yet that the Generals Halder

[Page 325]

and Warlimont, whom I have named as witnesses, and whose relevancy has been admitted by the prosecution, will be approved as witnesses for Keitel, so that we can count with certainty on their appearing in the proceedings.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly. What I meant to state this morning was that the defence counsel should decide whether they wanted to have them for cross-examination now or to call them as witnesses on behalf of one or other of the defendants and therefore there was a decision that the defence counsel would be able to call them on behalf of one of the defendants if they determined to do so. They can, therefore, be called for Keitel, unless, of course, they are called before. If the defendant Goering wanted to call them, then they would have to be examined on behalf of Keitel when they were called for Goering, because of the fundamental rule that a witness is only to be called once.

DR. NELTE: Very well. I wish to state that the defence counsel who are interested in the examination of Generals Halder and Warlimont are agreed that these generals should be called in the course of the presentation of evidence by the defence.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well. I beg your pardon Dr. Laternser -

DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and the High Command): I have only a few more questions to ask this witness.

(Eugene Alexandrovich Kivelisha resumed the stand and testified further as follows):-


Q. Witness, you said this morning that the four to five thousand Russian prisoners were accommodated in a shed. Was this shed roofed?

A. It was the usual type of country cattle-shed and since the farm had previously been evacuated the shed had not been cleaned for a very long time and was in a state of complete neglect. When one adds that it had been pouring with rain all that day, it follows that it was half-swamped in liquid mud. It was quite impossible to settle down in the sheds and barns since they were filled with left over manure, so that the majority of the people stayed out of doors.

Q. Was it possible in this case to accommodate these prisoners in a better way?

A. It is very difficult for me to answer that question, for I am not at all acquainted with the locality where I was captured; besides we were brought to this village late at night and I do not know whether there were more convenient places where we could have been quartered.

Q. That is to say, on this evening when you entered this village, you yourself saw no possibility for better accommodation?

A. It is not because I did not see better quarters but because it was dark and I could not therefore estimate the possibilities, although it was a rather large village and it seems to me that there must have been some houses large enough to billet 5,000 to 6,000 people for the night.

Q. I still have one last question. You said that in the prison camp you were not employed in your capacity as a physician. Did the German prisoner-of-war administration ever place any medical supplies at your disposal so that you could treat your sick comrades?

A. In the first stages, when we were being evacuated on foot from one camp to another, we received no medical equipment at all from the Germans, but, subsequently, when I was in a stationary camp, Stalag 305, medical equipment was issued, though never in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of all the wounded.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions.

[Page 326]

DR. BABEL (Counsel for S.S.): I have only one question.


Q. The witness has stated that the shed was evacuated. What do you mean by that?

A. By that I mean that all the cattle in the shed had been driven off beyond the zone of military operations.

Q. By whom had this been done?

A. It had been done by the inhabitants of the village which we had entered, who had fled Eastwards, together with Red Army units who had not been surrounded as we had been.

Q. That is to say, the cattle had been brought to Russian territory?

A. From this village, yes.

DR. BABEL: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants' counsel wish to ask questions?


Q. Witness, were any S.S. units used for guarding the prisoners of war whilst you were one of them?

A. In the camp of Rakov in the district of the town of Proskurov, where I was interned most of the time, the escorting of working gangs was carried out by units which, at that time, were named the S.S.

Q. Was that a stationary camp?

A. Yes, it was a stationary camp.

Q. But S.S. units were not used to guard you until you got to that stationary camp?

A. I cannot say anything definite on the subject since I did not know the distinctive insignia of the German Army.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, do you want to ask anything in re-examination?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I have no further questions to ask the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: May I continue, Mr. President?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: I request the Tribunal to accept, as one of the proof of the Hitlerite crimes perpetrated in the prisoner of war camps, certain documents which I would like to submit to the Tribunal at the request of our British colleagues. The Soviet prosecution does this all the more readily in that it considers this documentation of the British prosecution of essential importance in establishing the criminal violation by the major war criminals of the laws and customs of war, accepted by all civilised nations for the treatment of prisoners of war. I would ask the Tribunal to add to the documentation the documents of the British Delegation which I have presented as Exhibit USSR 413 regarding the cruel murder of fifty prisoners of war, officers of the Royal Air Force, who were captured while attempting to escape from "Stalag Luft III" at Sagan, and shot after their capture by the German criminals in the night of 24th-25th March, 1944. These documents consist of an official record of the Hitlerite crimes, certified by Brigadier Chapcott, Representative of the British Armed Forces, and the attached minutes of the Court of Inquiry held in Sagan by order of the Senior British Officer in "Stalag Luft III" and forwarded by the Protecting Power.

Included with these documents are the statements of the following Allied witnesses:

[Page 327]

Wing Commander Day
Flight Lieutenant Tonder
Flight Lieutenant Dowse
Flight Lieutenant van Wymeersch
Flight Lieutenant Green
Flight Lieutenant Marshall Flight Lieutenant Nelson
Flight Lieutenant Churchill
Lieutenant Neely
P.S.M. Hicks.

The material evidence is also corroborated by statements taken from the following Germans:

Major General Westhoff
Oberregierungs- und Kriminalrat Wielen
Oberst von Lindeiner.
There is also a photostatic copy attached of the official list of those who perished, handed over by the German Foreign Office to the Swiss Diplomatic Mission in Berlin and the report of the representative of the Protecting Power during his visit to "Stalag Luft III" on 5 June, 1944.

I will briefly summarise the circumstances of this infamous crime of the Hitlerites by quoting from the report of Brigadier Chapcott. Your Honours will find the passage which I am about to quote on Page 163, paragraph 2 of the document book.

"On the night of 24/25 March, 1944, 76 Royal Air Force officers escaped from Stalag Luft III at Sagan, Silesia, where they had been confined as prisoners of war. Of these, 15 were recaptured and returned to the camp, 3 escaped altogether, 8 were detained by the Gestapo after recapture. Of the fate of the remaining 50 officers the following information was given by the German authorities:-"
The German authorities stated that these fifty officers were shot allegedly while attempting to escape. Actually this statement was the customary routine lie, since the very thorough investigation carried out by the British military authorities proved indubitably that the British R.A.F. officers had been vilely murdered after recapture by the German police.

It was ascertained that this crime was committed by order of Goering and Keitel.

The passage which I wish to submit to the Tribunal is on Page 168 of the document book, Russian text.

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