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 7 of 7)

[Page 332]

DR. KRAUS: Yes, I understand you, Mr. President, to say that in principle we may offer affidavits, whether certified by notary public or by a lawyer or whether bearing only the signature of the person who makes the statement. These are the three forms we have: The first is the simple letter written with the heading, "I declare under oath"; the second, that in which the signature has been certified by a lawyer; and the third is the one which has been declared before and certified by a notary public.

We have procured many documents of that kind, in order to expedite matters, and we would like to know whether or not we may expect to present them as evidence in order to avoid the calling of witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: I think that in all probability the matter will be considered when you present the applications for giving evidence by affidavit. We have, to-day, in dealing with the first four defendants, allowed, in a variety of instances, interrogatories to be administered to various witnesses where it appeared appropriate that that should be done, in order to save time. No doubt the same rule will apply when you come to submit your applications.

DR. KRAUS: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov; would it be more convenient to you to go on with your presentation now on this document which we have admitted, or do you wish to present a film?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I would like to finish the presentation of this proof, i.e., to read into the record the passages from the document I have quoted.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, but the Tribunal, I think, desire that these two witnesses, Major-General Westhoff and Wieland, whatever his rank may be, should be produced for examination as soon as possible afterwards. I do not mean this afternoon, because that wouldn't be possible, but, if possible, tomorrow.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: If you will allow me, I shall request the representative of the British Delegation to reply to this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, Colonel Smirnov was saying he would ask you to answer, because I was saying that the Tribunal would like to have the witnesses called as soon as possible after the report was read.

MR. ROBERTS: Westhoff we know about, so I heard, sir, and I am making enquiries now as to where Wieland is. If your Lordship will give me a few minutes I will try to find out where Wieland can be located.


MR. ROBERTS: But I shall have to leave the Court, then, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: One minute, please.

Colonel Smirnov, would it not be equally convenient to go on with the film now in order that the report, when it is presented, can be presented as close as possible to the evidence of the witnesses? Otherwise, supposing Mr. Roberts is unable to locate Wieland this afternoon, it might be that if you read the report now, there might be a week possibly - or even more - between the reading of the report and the evidence of the witness. Is it possible to go on with the film now?

[Page 333]

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Very well, Mr. President. What we are showing the Tribunal cannot be called a film in the full sense of the word. It is a series of photographs taken by the Germans themselves on the site where the crimes were committed, which were then re-photographed and transferred to a reel. It is not a film - it is a photo-document. We are presenting this photo-document as Exhibit YU 105 also USSR 442 and we are only presenting one part of it. The fact of the matter is that the Government of Yugoslavia presented photo-documents for every section of the report. We have excluded the part dealing with the other sections and only show that part which deals with Crimes Against Humanity. Thus, only a section is being shown to the Tribunal. May I show it?

(The photographic document referred to was shown on the screen.)

COLONEL SMIRNOV: May I continue with the presentation of the documentary evidence?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, in order to allow the British prosecution to settle the question as to when the two witnesses will be summoned before the Tribunal, I take the liberty of passing to the next part of my statement. Have I your permission to do so?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: I pass on to that part which deals with the persecution of the Jews, Page 37 of the text. The excessive anti-Semitism of the Hitlerite criminals, which pursued a perfectly logical course, is only too well known. I shall not quote from the so-called "Theoretical works" of the major war criminals - from Hitler or Goering, Papen or Streicher. In the Eastern European countries all the anti- Semitism of the Hitlerites was put into full effect and mostly in one way only - in the physical extermination of innocent people.

The American prosecution has, in its own time, submitted to the Tribunal one of the reports of a special German-fascist organisation, the so-called "Operational Group A" which was submitted as Exhibit USA L 180. Our American colleagues submitted this particular report covering the period up to 15th October, 1941. The Soviet prosecution possesses other reports of this criminal German fascist organisation, covering a further period of time and which might almost be considered as a continuation of the first document, namely, the report on "Einsatzgruppe A", from 10 October 1941, to 31 January, 1942. I submit to the Tribunal a photostatic copy of this report as Exhibit USSR 357. I request the permission of the Tribunal to read into the record a very brief excerpt from Chapter 3 of the report of "Operational Group A", entitled "The Jews", and I would invite the attention of the Tribunal to the fact that the data presented in this report refer exclusively to one organisation - "Einsatzgruppe A". I quote one paragraph from Page 70 of the document book:

"The systematic task of purging the East was, according to basic orders, the liquidation of the Jews to the fullest possible extent. This objective has been practically realised to the full. Excluding Bielorussia, 239,052 Jews have been executed. The surviving Jews in the Baltic Provinces are being mobilised for work, as and when their turn comes, and sent to live in the ghettos."
I interrupt the quotation and read two further excerpts from a sub-paragraph, "Esthonia", on Page 2 of the Russian text, which, in turn, corresponds to Page 171, paragraph 2 of the text of your document book.
"...The execution of the Jews, in so far as they were not indispensable for working purposes, was carried out gradually by forces of the Schutzpolizei and the SD. At present there are no Jews left in Esthonia."
I quote a few brief excerpts from the sub-paragraph entitled "Latvia". I

[Page 334]

quote one line from the last paragraph of the Russian text, Page 171 of the document book.
"When the German troops entered Latvia, there were still 70,000 Jews left there."
I break off the quotation and read one line on Page 3, paragraph 2 of the Russian text, Page 171, last paragraph of the document book:-
"By October, 1941, the Sonderkommandos had executed exactly 30,000 Jews ."
I again break off and continue with the following:-
"Further executions were frequently carried out. Thus, for instance, 11,084 Jews were executed on 9 November, 1941, in Bielsk. In the beginning of December, 1941, as a result of an operation carried out in Riga and following the order of the former chief of the SS and Police, 27,800 persons were executed, and in mid-December, 1941 in Libau, 2,350 Jews were executed. At present there are, rounded up in the ghetto, besides the Jews from Germany, exactly 2,500 persons in Riga, 950 in Dvinsk and 300 in Libau."
THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell me where these figures come from? Are they in an official report, or are they German figures?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: These are the data published by the Germans themselves This particular document was discovered in the Gestapo archives. It was brought out of Latvia by troops of the Red Army. I request your Honours to take note that this document only covers the period between 16 October, 1941, and 31 January, 1942. These are, therefore, not conclusive data but merely data connected with one German operational group during this particular period of time.

Have I your permission to proceed, Mr. President?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: I quote one line only from the sub- paragraph entitled "Lithuania," which is on Page 173 of the document book, paragraph 3:-

"As a result of numerous individual operations, 136,421 persons in all were liquidated."
I request the Tribunal to allow me to quote in greater detail from the next sub-paragraph of the "A" group report, entitled "Bielorussia". I quote the last paragraph, on Page 5 of the Russian text, Page 174, last paragraph, of the document book:-
"The problem of liquidating the Jews in toto, in the territory of Bielorussia after the arrival of the Germans, presented certain well-known difficulties. As a matter of fact, it was in this territory in particular that the Jews, for lack of other sources, constituted a high percentage of specialists and are therefore indispensable. Moreover, operational group "A" only took over the territory after the hard frosts had set in, a fact which hampered the carrying out of the mass executions very seriously indeed.

A further difficulty was that the Jews were scattered all over the territory. Bearing in mind the fact that distances were vast, road conditions bad, transportation and petrol lacking, and the forces of the Security Police insignificant the mass executions could only be carried out by a maximum effort. Nevertheless, 41,000 Jews have already been shot. This figure does not include the persons executed by former operational commands . . ."

I interrupt once more and proceed to read from the following paragraph. This corresponds to Page 175, paragraph 2, of the document book.

[Page 335]

"To the Chief of Police in Bielorussia, Despite the difficult situation, orders have been given to solve the Jewish question as soon as possible. None the less, this calls for two months' time and depends on the weather.

The distribution of the remaining Jews in the camp and ghettos of Bielorussia is nearing its end."

In order to show how the mass executions of the Jews by the Germans were carried out, I present to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 119-A, a photostatic copy, certified by the Extraordinary State Commission, of an original document. This is the conclusive report of the Commander of one of the companies of the 15th Regiment of Police, which carried out the mass extermination of the Jews assembled in the ghetto of the town of Pinsk. On 29 and 30 October, 1942, criminal elements from the 12th Regiment of Police murdered 26,200 Jews in Pinsk. This is how Company Commander Sauer described the crimes. I will not quote the document in toto since it is rather long, but I will quote a few excerpts. The passage I am about to read - and I ask the Tribunal's permission to read it into the record - is on Page 177 of your document book, paragraph 3:-
"The encirclement of the districts was fixed for 4.30 a.m.; it appears that owing to the personal investigations made by the commanders and to the admirable manner in which the secret was kept, the encirclement was carried out in the shortest time imaginable and it was impossible for the Jews to break through the surrounding ring.

The combing of the ghetto began at 6 a.m., but, owing to the darkness, was postponed for another half-hour. Such Jews as had noticed what was happening began to assemble voluntarily in all the streets. Under two Sergeants the Germans succeeded in bringing several thousand Jews to the assembly point within the very first hour. When the remaining Jews realised what all this meant, they too joined the column, so that the checking operations intended by the police guard at the assembly point could not be carried out in view of the enormous crowd which had collected.

On the first day of the comb-out only one to two thousand persons were checked. The first comb-out ended at 5 p.m. without any incident. About 10,000 persons were executed on this first day. That night the company stood by, ready for action, in a soldiers' club.

On 30 October, 1942, the ghetto was combed a second time, on 21 October a third time and on 1 November for the fourth time. Altogether 15,000 Jews were rounded up. Sick Jews and children left behind in the houses were executed on the spot in the yards of the ghetto. About 1,200 Jews, all told, were executed in the ghetto."

I request the permission of the Tribunal to allow me to continue quoting the second page of the document, which corresponds to Page 178 of the document book, paragraph 6:-
"Sub-paragraph 3. Where there are no cellars and a considerable number of persons are huddled together in small underground shelters, these shelters must be broken into from outside, or else police dogs sent in (one police dog, 'Asta' put up a remarkably good performance in Pinsk), otherwise hand grenades should be thrown in, after which the Jews invariably came out of their hiding places."
I further quote sub-paragraph 5:-
"We recommend persuading very young children to disclose these hiding places by promising to spare their lives. This method has fully justified its application."

[Page 336]

This example which have just read into the record, is typical of the Police Regiment and of the methods they applied for the extermination of Jews who had been rounded up in the ghetto. But the German fascists did not apply only this method when proceeding to the extermination of the peaceful Jewish population. Another, similarly criminal device was the assembling of Jews at a given spot under the pretext of transferring them to some other locality. The assembled Jews would then be shot. I submit to the Tribunal an original poster which had been put up in a Kislovodsk street by "Kommandantur No. 12". Your Honours will find the text quoted on Page 180. I shall quote some extracts from this poster, which is a comparatively long one. I start with the first part:-
"To all Jews!

For the purpose of colonising sparsely populated districts of the Ukraine, all Jews residing in Kislovodsk and all Jews who have no permanent abode, are ordered to report on Wednesday, 9 September, 31942, at 5 a.m., Berlin time (6 a.m. Moscow time), at the goods' station in Kislovodsk; the transport will leave at 6 a.m. (7 a.m. Moscow time). Every Jew to bring luggage not exceeding 20 kilograms in weight, including food for a minimum of two days. Further food will be supplied by the German Forces at the railway stations.'

I omit the next paragraph and only quote one line:-
"Also subject to transfer are the Jews who had been christened."
I break off the quotation at this point.

In order to ascertain what happened to the Jewish population in the town of Kislovodsk (the same happened to the Jews in many other towns) I would request the Tribunal to refer to the contents of a document which has already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 1. It is a report of the Extraordinary State Commission of the Stavropol region. The part which I wish to read, in brief, is on Page 185 of your document book. It states there that the 2,000 Jews who had assembled at the Kislovodsk station were sent to the station of Mineralniya Vody and shot in an anti-tank trench 21 kilometres distant from the town. Here, too, thousand of Jews, transferred from the towns of Essentuki and Piyatigorsk, were shot on the same site.

In order to show the extent of the criminal extermination of the Jewish population in Eastern Europe, I now refer to the contents of reports received from the Governments of the respective Eastern European countries, which have already been submitted to the Tribunal.

I quote a report of the Polish Government, on Page 136 of the Russian text of this document. I begin the quotation:

"The official statistical year-book of Poland, in 1931, estimates the number of Poles at 3,115,000."
According to unofficial figures collected in 1939, there were in Poland 3,500,000 Jews.

After the liberation of Poland, the Jews, in that country numbered less than 100,000, and 200,000 Polish Jews are still arriving in the USSR.

Thus, about 3,000,000 Jews perished in Poland.

In Czechoslovakia, as seen from the data published on Pages 82-83 of the Russian text of the report, the Jews numbered 118,000. To-day, in the entire country, they only number 6,000 all told. Of the total number of 15,000 Jewish children, only 28 have returned.

THE PRESIDENT: Can we leave off there?

(The Tribunal adjourned until 27th February, 1946, at 10.00 hours.)

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