The motorcyclist Kiesewetter reports on serious mistreatment and the attempted extortion of information as well as the shooting of approximately thirty German soldiers of all ranks in the courtyard of a prison near Smolensk, as follows:
“In the late afternoon of 8 July 1941 I was instructed to bring the daily orders of the division from the divisional command post to the 52nd Rifle Regiment. This was said to be bivouacked in a location near Orscha. My way there led through a forest, which I considered free of enemy forces, because German troops were overrun. Shortly before a place, where the Rifle Regiment was said to be bivouacked, two trucks crewed by Russians had placed themselves on the paved taxiway, into which I drove into them. The Russians took me prisoner. They first took away all the personal articles I had with me, such as my watch, photos, money and my letters. Then my hands were tied and I was placed on the truck on my stomach, on the bed of the truck, while one or two Russians kneeled on top of me. This is how I was brought out of the command post. There I had to get down from the vehicle and take off my uniform. At this point, they made me get into a rifle pit, where I lay in the dark in my shirt under guard. During the night, I was transported further away again. My arms were also tied to my legs, so I was tied up like a bundle. In this condition, I was thrown onto a truck. I was also blindfolded. In the early morning I came to another command post, where I was interrogated three times during the day. I was questioned about all kinds of military details. Since I made no statement, I as once again transported away during the following night, in the same manner. At the new command post, they offered me something to eat. As I tried to take it, a soldier kicked me in the body and I got nothing to eat. As the interrogation continued that evening once again without success, I was tied hand and foot and laid in a latrine. My further transport took place in the same manner as above. On this trip, I was struck several times and struck with a rifle butt. On the fifth day of my captivity, I was beaten after an unsuccessful interrogation and put in a dark room. There I was subjected to blinding bright lights and interrogated by two women. During interrogation I was threatened with a pistol, beaten with a riding crop, and received blows with a cudgel on the soles of the feet and blow to the back of the neck. These brutalities were carried out by Russian soldiers. After this interrogation, I was once again taken away during the night and on the sixth day of my captivity I came to a bigger command post located in a suburb of Smolensk. There I was not interrogated. A lieutenant from the tank squadron Mölders was loaded on my truck during the further transport. After about one or two hours, I was taken down off the truck and put into a car. The lieutenant was tied to the spare tire and I had to sit in the middle of the car between two soldiers. After rather lengthy period of time driving around, we stopped in front of a prison or penitentiary and the lieutenant and I were thrown into a cell. We were tied up as before. I was not allowed to talk to the lieutenant, and therefore did not learn his name. We were closely guarded.
“While the lieutenant and I were being brought into the cell, we saw about 30 soldiers of all ranks enter the courtyard of the prison, mostly tank crews and fliers. After we had been in the cell for a short time, we heard shooting in the courtyard, which lasted about half an hour. I assumed that the soldiers who had entered the courtyard had been shot. I did not see these shootings.
“On the next day, the cells were broken open by the Russian civilian population, and we were let out of jail. While we were hurrying out I saw that the big hole in the courtyard, which had previously been open, had been filled in. Everywhere in the courtyard lay spent cartridges and there traces of fresh blood.
“As we reached the street outside the prison, a German tank came up to us, and the lieutenant called to it. Since the tank shot at us, however, we were only wearing shirts, we got separated. I then ran into riflemen from the 29th (Motorized) Infantry Division and made a report. I lost sight of the lieutenant when we took cover during the shooting from the tank.
“I had nothing to eat or drink during my captivity.”
The Russian defector Beliczenko reports in the record of 14 August 1941 on the shooting of the German fliers and another German POW as follows:
“At the same time as I came to the staff, two two-motored German bombers appeared. Flak artillery set up in the vicinity of the staff, shot one of them down. The downed aircraft burned, but succeeded in making an emergency landing. Russian soldiers told me that four fliers had been in the plane. After the emergency landing the fliers had defended themselves, one of them had been killed there, the other was said to have been severely wounded. What they did with the wounded man I cannot say. Two fliers were brought into the staff, of them was wounded on the left lower arm. At the staff was still another German POW.
“The fliers were interrogated by a Russian major from the General Staff. Then the Russian ordered four Russian soldiers to take the two German fliers into the forest and shoot them. I myself was not present at the shooting, since I had to stay at the staff with the other German POW (he wore a gray uniform).
“A Russian officer order the German soldiers to dig a grave. When the German soldier stood in the grave, he was shot from behind by the Russian officer. Who filled in the grave, I don’t know, since I was taken away.”
The exact medical record taken down by First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Linder on 11 October 1941 proves the cruel murder of the German Obergefreiter T. on 13 or 14 July 1941, near Kurace.
Text document to Case 045
Court of the 121st Infantry Division Local Bivouac, 11 October 1941
Judge Advocate Dr. Stock
Officer Fischer, Recording Secretary, generally obligated.
There appeared First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Linder, known personally, and declared after being informed as to the seriousness of the oath:
“As to my person: My name is Dr. Werner Linder, I am 31 years old, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) with the 407th Infantry Regiment.
“As to the facts of the case:
I. During an armed attack by the Russians near Kurace on 23 or 14 July 1941, I took care of the wounded Obergefreiter Class T. 10th Company, 407th Infantry Regiment. He had a through-and-through bullet wound through the left upper arm, right below the shoulder joint, through which the bones protruded. Since the Russians were breaking through and getting increasingly closer, and T was exposed to heavy fire at the location where he was wounded, I carried him on his back approximately 250 meters back, and laid him in a hollow, where he was protected against fire and out of sight. I left a solder behind with the wounded man and went to the troop collection point, to get a stretcher. I ordered two stretcher-bearers to go and fetch the wounded man. They were however unable to penetrate to T’s position, since the Russians had already established themselves there, in front and behind and directed heavy fire at the stretcher bearers. After the return of the stretcher bearers I went back to T.’s position, with several soldiers, to bring him back Upon my arrival, the Russians had already withdrawn and T had already died. The soldier I left behind with the wounded man had had to withdraw before the quickly advancing Russians. T. was fully conscious at that time.
“Exterior autopsy findings: Apart from the above described bullet wound on the left upper arm, T exhibited a ragged triangular wound on the left costal arch about the size of a man’s hand. The
wound must have been inflicted with an instrument like a knife, a bayonet or the like, the lower ribs partially protruded from the wound. Several large pieces of the man’s liver, severely torn and picked to pieces, protruded from the right abdominal wall. They could only have been pulled out by hand after the destruction of the liver; they hung only loosely connected to the other parts of the liver on the interior.
“T also had a dent approximately 5 cm long on the left side of his forehead, which must have been inflicted with a blunt instrument, and which had destroyed the bones of the skull. This dent was not suffused with blood.
“T’s death is to be attributed with almost completely certainty to the bestial injuries deliberately inflicted by the Russians.
“II. The Third Battalion, 407th Infantry Regiment was informed, on 12 or 13 July 1941, that Stabsfeldwebel S. of the 14th Company, 407th Infantry Regiment, had been found dead and mutilated in a ravine north of Kurace.
“Upon examining the corpse, I noted the following injuries:
Read personally, approved and signed. Signed: Dr Linder, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps).
Dr. Linder was then sworn.
Signed: D. Stock. Signed: Fischer. Certified: Ministerial Recorder.
A German Obergefreiter was sadistically tortured by Russian soldiers on 14 July 1941 near Tudsora Werchen, in that he was put head down into an empty barrel. His desperate attempts to free himself, were followed with mocking laughter. He owed his life only to the fact that his Company, attacked the position again.
Text document to Case 046
Eyewitness testimony of Russian defector Beliczenko on the shooting of two German fliers and an another German POW.
On 18 July 1941, near Korodonka, five wounded men from a German assault detachment were murdered by the Russians although they had already been bandaged by German medics, and were clearly recognizable as wounded. On 10 August 1941, near Luga, at least eight dead men from a reconnaissance division were found with their eyes gouged out and their skulls smashed in.
O n 18 July 1941, between Kiosno and Rudnia, at least ten wounded members of German reconnaissance division 35, who had had to be left behind temporarily, were killed and plundered by the Russians. The sworn statement of Wachmeister Prinz zu Wittgenstein as well as Rittmeister Grimm and other witnesses, are back up by the detailed medical expert opinions of First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Krueger.
At the Byki railway station, just west of the Gorokok-Newel road, on 20 July 1941, a German aircraft was found with two dead German fliers nearby. The aircraft, damaged by several anti-aircraft batteries, had obviously made an emergency landing in which the pilot was seriously injured on the right leg. Both crew members, according to the statements of the witness, Captain Walter Kalweit, lay dead next to the aircraft. The pilot’s left leg had been ligatured with a cable end. The second flier, who had obviously succeeded in landing safely, had had his skull crushed in several places. Both eyes had been gouged out. His boots and socks were missing. Blows to both feet were clearly perceptible, obviously inflicted with a bayonet. The pilot’s boots had been stolen. He exhibited head injuries, apparently inflicted by blows. The pockets of both fliers had been emptied. From all the circumstances it appears that both fliers survived the successful emergency landing and were captured and murdered by Red Army men afterwards.
A high-ranking Russian POW, in a report dated 5 August 1941, reports that, on 25 July 1941, a German soldier was taken out by a Second Lieutenant at about two in the afternoon into the courtyard of the so-called regional committee in Mogilew. The prisoner was wounded in the thigh. The witness clearly saw that the prisoner’s trousers were torn and bleeding and that the soldier was wearing a bandage underneath. About half an hour
after the arrival of the German prisoner, he was interrogated by a Russian Jewess. After abut another half hour, the witness saw that the second lieutenant and a Russian captain went over to the left side of the courtyard with the prisoner. After about two minutes, he heard two shots. In the view of the witness, the two officers had murdered the prisoner. Both officers wore pistols on their belts, the captain also had a machine pistol. The witness assumed that the German soldier was buried in a ditch previously prepared in the courtyard. The assumption is confirmed by the autopsy performed on the same day, i.e. 5 August 1941.
The Russian POW also had the following to say:
“It is further known to me that – in saying this I must base my statements on conversations with Russian officers – that eleven German fliers were held prisoner in Mogilew, in the house of the “Special Division of the N.K.V.D.” of the 161st Infantry Division in Lenin Street, next to the State Bank. They were said to have been the crews of several German bombers who had bailed out after being shot down by the Russians. I can say nothing about their whereabouts now. I assume that they were shot as well, since there was no possibility of transport.”
“The proof of the correctness of the information given by the Russian POW is provided in full by further investigations: the bodies of the eleven murdered German soldiers were found in a common grave on the terrain at 72 Lenin Street and furthermore, four more dead soldiers were found also in a garbage ditch on the same piece of land. All the circumstances indicate that these POWs were horribly tortured before being murdered.”
Documents on Case 050
Local Bivouac, 9 August 1941
Report on the scene of the crime in Mogilew
Based on the information obtained from the [above mentioned] intelligence officer, the building of the O.O.N.K.V.D. of the 161st Division, at 72 Lenin Street, was subjected to a through search by the undersigned and Gefreiter Törgler. The upper rooms of the house are office areas. In the cellar, there are cells, used for the reception of sentenced military personnel. In the right-hand wall of one of these cells, used for the serving of more severe sentences, near the window, the following three names had been scratched with a sharp object, perhaps a nail: ‘Endress’, ‘Hertle’, ‘Steche’. It must be assumed for these reasons that these arrest cells were used as the place of detention for German prisoners. The cell is approximately 2.5 x 4 meters in size, and approximately 2.5 meters high. The street side of the cell has a small barred, cellar window, divided into several smaller windows by means of the bars. Apart from a stool embedded in the cement, located in about the middle of the cell, so that a person sitting on it are unable to lean against it, there are not other objects of furniture in the cell. The prisoners were forced to lie on the bare cement floor. It should be noted that on all sides of the stool, all the screw heads holding the seat had been unscrewed to a distance of approximately 2 cm, so that it was almost impossible to sit on it without discomfort. In the other cells, no observations were made to indicate that German prisoners had been housed there. All the rooms in the prison looked very dirty and run-down.
“In conclusion, the courtyard and adjacent terrain was thoroughly searched. We found 4 locations indicating recent digging. The first two contained trash and garbage, while a horse was buried in the third place. The fourth place, located about 75-100 meters northwest of the house at 72 Lenin Street, had dirt piled up about half a meter high, and we could see that
German soldiers were buried here. Due to time, the work was interrupted and resumed on the following day, 9 August 1941.
“In order to achieve an exact determination of the situation of the buried men, the ditch was excavated in an area measuring 3 x 3 meters. The dead men were buried in one hole about half the size of this room. They were piled indiscriminately on top of each other, so that heads, buttocks, arms and legs were all tangled up. In this confusion, it was impossible to tell at first how many men had been buried in this burial site. The number of the bodies could only be determined after they had all been dug up. A total of 11 German soldiers had been buried in this ditch. The following observations were made in this regard:
-First Lieutenant, Regiment Gross-Deutschland (established through stripes and shoulder pieces). Age approximately 22-27 years, height about 178 cm, dark blond hair. Stab wound in the breast, damage to the genitals, and marks on the wrists, indicating that he had been bound. Only a gold wedding ring was found on him (stamped 900) with the letters “L.O. 11 August 34-26 August 35”.
-Gunner (established by piping of the epaulets, riding trousers and riding boots). Age mid-20s, height about 172 cm, dark-blonde wavy hair, old wound on right arm, bandaged with German bandages, stab wound in breast. Only a iron ring with brass-copper plate without monogram.
-Corporal (established through collar insignia and epaulets, the last bearing a stitched (pink) “p”. Age mid-20s, height about 167 cm, blonde hair. Stab wound in breast. Nothing found with body.
-Corporal, Signals (established by collar insignia, piping and epaulets. Age 25-35 years, height about 167 cm, hair chestnut brown. Rather old wounds on left foot bandage of German origin. Protruding tongue, presumably as a result of hanging or strangulation. Wedding right double/union, engraved “EP February 1940” found on body.
-Flier in flight suit without uniform. Flight suit bore stitched in name “P”. of the supplier firm, only “Magdeburg” was legible. Laundry number written with ink, 415. Age mid-20s, about 173 cm high, blonde hair. He wore bandages on his head, both arms and both feet, probably as a result of burns, since the flight suit also exhibited traces of burning on the back. No perceptible injuries which could have caused his death. The man appeared to have been buried alive in a weakened condition. Nothing found with the body.
-Soldier, signal squad (established by piping of epaulets), laundry symbol “W.P.”. Age 30 years, height about 166 cm, hair dark blond. Injuries: rather old injury on left upper arm, bandaged. Stab wound in breast and large, unbandaged wound on left lower arm, presumably suffered while defending himself against the bayonet thrust to the breast. Nothing found with the body.
-Air Force Technical Sergeant (established by collar insignia, yellow collar insignia and epaulets). Age about 28-30, height about 164 cm. Hair dark blond. Both hands bandaged, probably, burns. Signs of strangulation and stab wound in back. Nothing found with body.
-Soldier, infantry (established by stripe and piping of epaulets). Age impossible to determine, height about 165 cm, dark blond hair, rather old wound on right thigh, bandaged. Stab wound in breast. Stab wound in the breast. Identification tag 3/inf. Ist Battalion 9-646-A/B-“.
-Gefreiter, Engineers (established by stripe and piping of epaulets). Age impossible to determine. Height about 165 cm, wound on left thigh, bandaged, stab wound in back, lower jaw smashed with blunt instrument. No personal effects found with body.
-Presumably a flier; wearing gray flier trousers, field jacket was missing. In the trousers “Hugo W. Cologne” written on inside of trousers with indelible ink. Age impossible to determine, height about 166 cm, dark blond hair, both lower arms bandaged, presumably burns. Signs of strangulation. Bullet wound, entry wound in back, exit wound in breast. Gold ring found with body, stamped 333, inscribed “UV, 19 April 38”.
-Gefreiter, Signal Corps (established through stripe and piping on epaulets). Age impossible to determine. Height about 161 cm, reddish blond hair, rather dark complexion, special characteristics: very small feet. Skull smashed and through and through and through bullet wound: entry wound in back, exit wound in breast, intestines protruding, indicating use of dum-dum bullet or explosive bullet
“Double ring found with body, quality insignia: A.M. Charnier, inscription: “J. Sch.1939”
“During a repeated search of the terrain, another 4 bodies of German soldiers were found in a concrete-lined trash ditch. Since these were only covered with a thin layer of dirt mixed with garbage, decomposition had already set it to a serious extent. Only the skeleton of one of them was found. Membership to a formation could only be established for 2 bodies. One soldier, an Obergefreiter in the infantry (established by the stripe and piping of epaulets) was wearing the Iron Cross Second Class. The second soldier, a Gefreiter, belonged to the Smoke Shell Mortar Squad (established by the stripe and purple piping on the epaulets, which also bore an “8” stitched on in purple thread. He was wearing 2 rings, one of them of French manufacture, bearing the inscription of “Chambre de Commerce de France”, of a brass alloy, and another presumably of tinplate. The rings bore no other markings. No more information could be gathered from the other bodies. Apparently, the bodies were buried without their uniforms. A total of 3 field caps, 3 with the branch of service color of the infantry and one with the color of the smoke shell mortar squad, and a German steel helmet was found in the ditch.
“A tree was noticed on the terrain approximately half way from the cells of the prison to the graves of the German soldiers. A canvas belt, about 3 cm wide, gray-brown, apparently of Russian army stock, hung from a strong branch of the same, abut 3 meters from the ground.
“The belt was knotted together (at both ends) and hung about 1 meter above the ground. No doubt this had been used to perform strangulations.
“Captain (Medical Corps), Dr. Bertram and Dr. Borgolte, and Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Weddige were called upon to establish the exact cause of death. The expert opinion this regard has been made available to the court.
Signed signature: Field Police Secretary. Certified: Secretary.
581st Ambulance Battalion Local Bivouac 10 August 1941
Chief of Staff file number 4, journal number 2429/41
On order of the Divisional Commander, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Decker, upon the order of the Secret Field Police on 9 August 1941, we made the following observations of the 15 bodies of members of the German armed forces found buried in ditches:
Bodies nos. 12-15 were later examined in an a garbage ditch after being exposed. An exact investigation could no longer be performed due to the advanced state of decomposition.
II detailed description
No. 1: Estimated age, about 20-27 years. Good state of nutrition. Muscular. Rigor mortis already broken. Right half of skull appears deformed. The scalp shows no wounds. On the bones of the skull no visible changes. The parts of the face are distorted. No certain signs of strangulation on neck.
Under the 12th rib to the right, in the vicinity of the sternum, is a oval [stab wound] running in the region of the heart, obviously caused by a stab wound. Size of the wound approximately 3-4 cm. No signs of bleeding in the area. The genitals are severely distended and swollen, penis unrecognizable. This is probably a change brought about by violence with a blunt object.
On the right wrist, probably as the result of binding and gagging, severely reddish brown coloration.
No. 2: Estimated age 25-30 years. Slim build. Rigor mortis broken. Strong signs of decomposition. Bulbi in eye sockets deeply depressed and dried, can be withdrawn as dry sacks. Otherwise nothing to be determined from details of head and neck due to decomposition. On the right elbow, minor abrasion, obviously treated with a first-aid pack. Right next to the right nipple is a wound 3 cm long, a cm wide with sharp edges, which may have been caused by a bayonet. In the region no signs of bleeding, torso and legs nothing to remark.
No. 3: estimate age early 20s. Slim. Similar findings on head and neck as with body no. 2. Right of sternum at the beginning of the 4-5th rib clearly recognizable stab wound in the region of the heart, measuring 3 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. In the region no signs of bleeding. Body and limbs without peculiarity.
No. 4: estimated age 25-35 years. Powerful build. Rigor mortis broken. Bulbi deeply depressed. Tongue protruding from mouth. In the left side of the face and right lower law extensive superficially deep reddish colored parts, attributable to result of blood flowing into the subcutaneous cell tissue. Deep furrows on the neck, above and below the larynx, next to each other, the region of which, in contrast to the right trunk, is dark red. Similarly, swelling and reddening above the sternum. These are obviously symptoms of strangulation. The external genital organs are severely swollen. Result of exterior violence? A blow? Kick? Jab?
On the extensor aspect of the lower third of the left lower leg there are 3 rather small wounds, apparently grenade shrapnel wounds, bandaged using a first-aid pack.
No. 5: Estimated age early 20s. Medium build. Rigor mortis broken. Bandage on lower leg, right hand and head. Presumably slight burns, head and neck severely affected by decomposition, so that no certain determination can be made, and the cause of death cannot be determined. The other parts of the body exhibit no exterior wounds such as stab wounds, bullet entry wounds etc.
No. 6: Estimated age 30 years. Medium build. Rigor mortis broken. As a result of the severe decomposition on the head and neck, certain peculiarities cannot be established. Beneath the left clavicle in the exterior third is a small stab wound in the region ofthe heart. The region of the stab wound, which looks like it might have been caused by a bayonet, shows no signs of bleeding. On the left lower arm is a deep wound almost the size of a man’s hand, with overlapping sharply ragged edges against the region with a clearly perceptible loss of substance. No signs of bleeding. On the left upper arm is a long gauze bandage, without any recognizable wound.
No. 7: Age difficult to estimate. Powerful build. Rigor mortis broken. Face and neck, insofar as recognizable, are colored a deep red, especially on the right side. Tongue protrude from mouth. Swelling in the region of the neck, with formation of strong furrows. On the back between the spine and the right shoulder blade, a ragged, oval wound opening, measuring ¾ cm, leading leftwards, in the region ofthe heart. No indication of bleeding.
Bandages on both hands, probably due to burns, probably first to second degree.
Details and extent, due to strong decomposition cannot be determined.
No. 8: Age hard to estimate, serious signs of decomposition, especially on the neck and head, which are strongly encrusted with clayey earth. Following removal of the clayey earth, findings could hardly be made due to severe decomposition.
On the breast, 4 cm beneath the left nipple is a narrow stab wound, leading in the region of the heart, with hot signs of bleeding in the area. On the right thigh is a bandage, probably a first-aid pack, wound no longer recognizable, probably superficial skin injury or burn, no longer recognizable due to decomposition.
No. 9: Age difficult to estimate. Slim build. Rigor mortis no longer apparent. Bulbi dried out, severely depressed. Head and neck reddish-brown colored as against the torso parts. The facial skull is strongly deformed on the right side and smashed. On the upper day many teeth are loose in a smashed mass of bone. The lower jaw appears mashed. The center of the jaw can be detached. No signs of sever bleeding.
In the back between spine and left shoulder blade, a stab wound 3 cm long and 1 ½ cm wide. Signs of bleeding can not be proven.
On the extremities 5 cm beneath the left groin superficial wound with a smooth wound edges, presumably a bullet wound, improvised bandage.
No. 10: Age difficult to estimate. Medium build. Rigor mortis broken. Bulbi dried out, severely depressed. No ascertainable changes to the face and neck. Protruding tongue. Otherwise, no further perceptible signs of strangulation.
In the back, very near the 10th 12th chest vertebra, is a round hole, approximately 4 cm in circumference, with blackish-green edges.
The hole must be considered a bullet entry wound.
Pictorial document to Case050
A total of 15 bodies were found in the courtyard of the regional committee of the N.K.V.D. in Mogilew, most of them indicating the most brutal torture as cause of death.
Pictorial document to Case050
N.K.V.D. Building, 72 Lenin Street, Mogilew
The exhumed bodies of murdered German soldiers in front of the N.K.V.D. building.
Pictorial document to Case050
Belt of Russian army stock, with which strangulations were performed
Concrete-lined garbage ditch, in which four more bodies were found
Pictorial document to Case050
Pictorial document to Case050
The bodies were thrown indiscriminately into the ditch
Pictorial document to Case050
The Russians were brutal even to the dead
Pictorial document to Case050
Cell for aggravated arrest in the cellar of the N.K.V.D. building
Names (presumably those of German prisoners) scratched into the wall of the cell
On the breast side, 6 cm from the right nipple, an irregular, ragged 2 x 3 cm lengthwise wound with parts of the skin protruding outwards. Probably a bullet exit wound. The surrounding area of the wound shows the remains of a strong bleeding and blood clot.
Abdomen and limbs without peculiarity.
No. 11: Age estimated at 20-30 years. Medium build. Rigor mortis not yet set in. The skull was strongly deformed, obviously as the result of extreme violence. The forehead and parts of the face appear shortened. The nose is pressed in, the bone of the nose protruded visibly through the skin.
At the left corner of the mouth is a very ragged wound extending over one third of the cheek. No perceptible signs of bleeding. On the other hand, the face and upper part of the neck colored reddish brown. No signs of strangulation on neck. On the back left of the 12th breast vertebrae is a circular hole about 6 mm with a fine grayish black edge around it, probably a bullet entry wound. On the front side, approximately at the height of the 6th rib in the midline on the xiphoid process is a lengthy oval opening 4 cm in size, leading into the free abdominal cavity, probably the bullet exit wound. From this opening, parts of intestine protrude. No signs of ableeding or blood clot in the surrounding area.
The right thorax is visibly depressed on the front side.
Nos. 12-15: The 4 further bodies found in a garbage ditch showed even clearer shows of decomposition. Details of the injuries can no longer be established. Bones and sinews are in some cases entirely exposed. At the same time, on one skull, the scalp of which had already had largely decomposed; on the bony roof of the skull, the left parietal bone showed a crack,similar to a tear, and behind the left mastoid process crushing of the bony skull is recognized.
The signs of decomposition were already very far advanced for the presumed time of 3-4 weeks. This is explained by the fact that the bodies were only covered with a thin layer of earth and were particularly exposed as a result of the exterior influences of decomposition. It was therefore hard to recognize details.
We have however the unanimous impression that all had been violently killed, an assumption which was backed up by signs of strangulation in cases 4 and 7, while in the other cases up to case 11 also a strangulation was to be assumed, if this was not very clearly proven due to the advanced state of decomposition.
The assumption must furthermore appear indisputable that the stab, shooting and bearing injuries established with the exception of no. 10, as a result of failure to appear of blood clots or traces as having been inflicted after death.
Signed: Dr. Harmann Borgolte, Surgeon Major. Signed: Dr. Heinrich Bertarm. Surgeon Major .
Signed: Dr. Oskar Weddiger, Assistant Physician [?] with Adjutant, approved (L.S)
Signed: Dr. Decker, Major (Medical Corps) and Divisional Commander. Certified: Secretary.
Concluding report Local Bivouac, 10 August 1941
On 8 and 9 August 1941, a total of 15 bodies of German soldiers were found and exposed by the Einsatzkommando of the undersigned on the terrain of 72 Lenin Street, in Mogilew. These were some of the seriously wounded German soldiers of various branches of service, who were killed in Russian captivity. These men were apparently held prisoner in the cellar cells of the house of 72 Lenin Street. In one of these cells, inscriptions by three German soldiers were found.
Examination of the corpses showed that the greatest part of the murdered men were killed by the most brutal violence. Most of them were found to have hanged or strangled, apparently by means of a noose found on nearby tree (see photo). The stab wounds or shooting wounds inflicted on the prisoners are not believed to be the real cause of death, since there were no signs of bleeding. Everything indicates that the prisoners were tortured in the cruelest manner before being murdered. Thus, for example, two bodies were found to have had the genitals
severely damaged by kicks or blows. In one case, the victims appears to have been thrown alive into the ditch in a weakened condition. The victim was the fifth flier mentioned in the report on the scene of the crime. In two cases, crushing of the jaw or skull were established. The cruelty of the murders is also indicated by the type of burial. The bodies found in the first grave were indiscriminately thrown into a small space, while the four found last were thrown into a garbage ditch as improvised burial place.
Exact identification of the bodies was not possible, since only one of them bore identification tags. On some of them, however, clues may be found possibly leading to an establishment of identity.
The building at 72 Lenin Street, in which the German prisoners of war were held prisoner, was last occupied by troops of the Russian city commander of Mogilew. The city command post itself had its headquarters in a building on the other side of the street, on the left corner of Lenin Street and Mironowa Street. This was the location of the O.O.N.K.V.D. (Special Division of the K.K.V.D.) for the garrison of Mogilew. Its leader was the Russian captain for city security, Peregudow. This man must have been responsible for the murders of the German POWS, since investigations have revealed that some of the murdered prisoners were certainly interrogated there.
It was established that Peregudow, together with other officers of the garrison of Mogilew, had fled in civilian clothes shortly before the advance of the German troops, since there is no trace of him. It must, however, be assumed that he cannot have reached the Soviet Union. A photograph of him has been obtained and forms part of the file. Investigations continue.
Signed: Czimra, Field Police Secretary. Certified: Secretary.
On 22 July 1941, Obergefreiter Chubodba, acting as a dispatch carrier, was crossing the Dneiper Bridge during the attack on Mogilew. He and his platoon leader came under heavy machine gun fire and remained under cover. On order of the platoon leader, the platoon gradually withdrew. Suddenly, the witness noticed a wounded soldier, S. He buckled his belt on, in order to help him. At the same time, he saw five or six Russians approach Obergefreiter W, in front of him, and threw him over the railing of the bridge into the Dneiper. At this point, they approached and gave him a kick that laid him on his side. They then turned to the wounded soldier, who lay in a pool of blood, gouged his eyes out with his own bayonet, and likewise threw him into the Dneiper after emptying his pockets. The witness himself was taken by the Russians to an officer who interrogated him. When the witness refused to give the desired information, he was given time to think until the next morning. If he didn’t give information regarding the German light signals, he would be thrown into the Dneiper like his comrades. During the night, they forced him to drag grenade munitions to the bridge, and from the house to the river bank to a cabin on the bridge itself. His Company, successfully liberated him from Russian captivity during the attack on the afternoon of the same day.
In the record of 16 September 1941, Lieutenant von Mosch, as witness, confirmed having found the body of Obergefreiter W lying in the Dneiper.
Both eyes had been gouged out and the scalp half had been torn off, from the forehead to about the middle of the skull. The body exhibited several injuries to the head, and especially the face.
At the beginning of August 1941, a dead German soldier was found in a wheat field near a collective farm not far from Bolgan. Both hands were bound together behind his back, so that the wrists were crossed. The autopsy showed four to five wounds in the breast, obviously inflicted with a bayonet, in addition to another two wounds in the vicinity of the kidneys, also apparent stab wounds. The Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) who performed the autopsy established that the wounds had been inflicted while the soldier was tied up, and that the victim had been violently murdered. The expert confirmed the autopsy findings with photographs.
Document to Case 052
Court of the Army Headquarters Army Headquarters, 6 September 1941
Judge Advocate Dr. Jahn
Gefreiter Güttler, generally obligated Recording Secretary.
There appeared the chief physician of military field hospital 3/610, Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr. Grümer, who handed over an application from the court of the XXX Army Corps of 29 August 1941 (Reserve Auxiliary List, 72/41). He requested to be permitted to give his testimony before the Second Army Headquarters, since the distance to the court of the XXX Army Corps was too great. He was interrogated in this regard being warned to tell the truth and informed of the significance of the oath.
As to my person: My name is Heinrich Grümer, I am 40 years old, Lieutenant Colonel, Catholic, Bek. [practicing member of the faith?]
“To the facts: At the beginning of August, I believe if was 2 August, my K.V. [?] inspector, Stephan, reported to me that a dead German soldier had been found in a wheat field near Bolgan. The victim had only been superficially buried, and was found by inhabitants during the wheat harvest. Stephan ordered the people who informed him of the discovery that they should leave the body alone until further orders. On the next day, I went with Chaplain Lungershausen and a Lieutenant from the SD, whose name is no longer known to me, to the designated place. We also took a translator whose name is also no longer known to me.
“At the scene we found the following:
“The body was slightly covered by poorly erected grave mound. The left upper war was partly exposed, so that one could recognize a German Gefreiter’s stripe. The head also lay almost completely exposed. It hung over backwards; the soft parts of the head were decomposed beyond recognition. The chin was already completely decomposed. In his mouth, insofar I can remember, in the upper jaw, was a gold filling, or at any rate a filling that looked like gold. This was a rather big filling. It looked like the injury to the bone had been inflicted on the left side of the temple. I had the front side of the body completely stripped by two Russians. The body was dressed with shit, underpants, field jacket with necklet, and trousers, with suspenders and socks. The breast of the corpse was laid bare, free from the shirt and field jacket. Insofar as any observations could be made initially, due to the severely advanced state of decomposition, there were about 4 to 5 wounds in the breast. Initially, I came to no clear conclusion as to how these wounds could have been inflicted. I had all pockets searched for papers, and all pieces of clothing were searched for signs of a name, but without success due to the soiling of the
Pictorial documentation to case 052
Dead German soldiers in a wheat field. The wounds were inflicted while the soldiers were tied up.
Pictorial documentation to Case 052
Cause of death: Four to five bayonet wounds in the breast; two more around the kidneys.
collar insignia, which was obviously badly deteriorated, one could not ascertain with certainty whether the dead man had belonged to an infantry or engineer detachment. I am inclined to assume that he belonged to the infantry. No identification tag was found. No papers or pieces of equipment were found near the body, although everything was searched very thoroughly. I had the body turned over, and now established that both hands were crossed at the wrist and tied behind the back. Around about the kidneys were two more wounds. I can no longer indicate their exact location. I now came to the conclusion that the wounds were caused by stabbing, and that the dead man had been murdered while tied up. I photographed the body from the front and back. The agricultural workers in the field, both men and women, viewed the body at my request, and spoke of the heinousness of the murder. A short time later, I photographed all these people to obtain possible additional witnesses. I did not obtain the names of the people. In reply to my question as to whether anything was found near the body, a man was indicated and said to have found a saber near the body. We buried the body and finally went to the collective farm, about 3.5 km away. There, a saber, broken into three parts, was brought to us, mostly rusty. There were no visible traces of blood on the saber. In my view, the saber was no longer used by any active troops. The man who brought the saber said he had found it about 15 meters from the body in the wheat field. From the man’s description, I had to assume that he had found the saber the day the body was found. The saber was not broken when he found it. I could not get any explanation as to how it came to be broken.
I would like to note one more thing.
As the body was turned over, I found a golden wedding ring on the ring finger of the right hand, bearing the engraved letters B.B. without date.
The ring and saber were taken for safekeeping by the Lieutenant of the SD.
According to the statements of the agricultural workers, the Russians had been in the area in which the body was found on 21 or 22 July for the last time. Both the Russians and Germans were said to have came from the direction of a place called, if I understood correctly, was named Kaminska (on the Dneiper).
The photographs I took were immediately developed and forwarded to the court of the XXX Army Corps, to be placed in the archives located there.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: H. Grümer, Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps)
The witness was legally sworn.
Signed: Güttler, Gefreiter. Signed: D Jahn, Judge Advocate. Certified: Secretary.
On 8 August 1941, in Hoffungsthal, near Zebrikovo, advancing German troops found a Russian field hospital in which there were no more Russian patients. On the other hand, the medical personnel was still on the spot. Towards evening, a ten year old German-speaking child appeared and reported that a German soldier in the field hospital had been beaten to death and buried by the Russians before their withdrawal. We found a cesspool about 2 to 3 meters deep, from which we were able to recover the buried body. It was only slightly covered with earth. The outer appearance of the body allowed one to conclude that death had occurred about two or three days before. On the right shoulder was an bullet wound, obviously not serious, which had been treated with a bandage. The skull and the back of the head had been completely smashed by serious violence,
(blows with axe or entrenching tool). The brain was largely empty, the eye sockets deeply sunken. This was undoubtedly a case of violent murder of a very seriously injured man. The Russian male nurses questioned, in conclusion, reported that the soldier in question had only had a slight wound, and should never have died from it. The Russian soldiers had on the evening before their withdrawal drank a great deal. As the nurses and other hospital members came to the hospital at ten the next morning, the foreign soldier was no more to be seen. In view of the body, the nurses declared that it was the soldier described by them, who had had occupied a bed in the hospital. They also recognized the bandage on his shoulder and declared it possible that the soldier had not been a member of the German army but the Rumanian army, because he had spoken Russian as well as German and his uniform was very similar to the Russian uniform.
The Russian POW Theodor Koslow reported a case which took place on 3 August 1941 in the vicinity of Jaswischtsche.
Documents to Case 054
Court of the 26th (Motorized) Infantry Division Divisional Command Post, 14 August 1941
Reserve Auxiliary List 67/1941
Present: Judge Advocate Dr. Doms, acting Judge
Obergefreiter Graulich, Recording Secretary
Special Officer Favre, Russian interpreter
Re: Atrocities against German soldiers
There appeared voluntarily at the location of the court martial, the Russian POW Feodor Koslow, reported to have a knowledge of the facts declared as follows after being warned to tell the truth, and advised of the significance of the oath and being informed of the object of the investigation:
“As to my person: My name is Feodoro Koslow, born 25 December 1918 in Rostow on the Don, divorced, employed by the state timber rafting installation, conscripted into the Russian Army since May 1939, now a member of the 94th Artillery Division (Staff Battery).
“As to the facts: I am Starschina with the 94th Artillery Division and did my service at the Staff Battery. I am responsible for provisions. I defected voluntarily on 10 August 1941 and surrendered because further resistance was hopeless. On 3 August 1941, I can no longer state the exact day, the following event took place at our squad: we were about 2 km from Jaswischtsche, in the forest. The Second Battalion 173rd Infantry Regiment was in position east of us, behind lay the 19th Artillery Division and the 1st Engineer Platoon. There was a surprise alarm, during which it was said that the Germans had penetrated the fortifications of the Second Battalion 173rd Infantry Regiment. There were dead and wounded and the Germans were said to have surrounded the fortifications. We received orders to hurry and relieve the battalion. With 2 groups with a strength of 25 men, including myself, we approached the position the Germans were said to have penetrated. There we were told that there was a German signal squad there, with a strength of 9 men. An officer and one soldier were said to have been taken prisoner. We were said to have had one killed and two wounded. As I was there, I saw the following: a German officer stood upright on the forest road located in the vicinity of the Redkino-Jaswischtsche road. The witness showed the road on the map. The German officer didn’t speak a single word. Next to him on the grass lay a wounded German soldier, of powerful build, groaning heavily and bleeding heavily from a breast wound. I
was about 4 meters from the two German soldiers. The wounded man had been bandaged by the German soldiers but apparently couldn’t be transported away. The officer was not wounded. Suddenly a lieutenant from the 173rd Infantry Regiment grabbed a rifle, went to the German officer and hit him three times with the rifle but on the shoulder, the right upper arm and the head. The lieutenant approached from behind on the German officer and hit him, mostly in the back of the body. After the beating, the officer was bleeding heavily from the face but still stood upright. The Russian lieutenant drew his pistol revolver and shot the German officer through a shot in the neck. The Russian lieutenant was standing immediately behind the German officer. The German officer fell down from the shot and was dead. Before firing the shot, the Russian lieutenant said “It makes no difference how we kill him. If we take him back with us, he can still get away from us.” The Russian soldiers standing around wanted to steal the German officer’s boots, but they didn’t dare do so in the presence of the lieutenant. The Russian lieutenant himself took the dead man’s watch, pistol, binoculars and machine pistol for himself. The dead officer was dragged away and buried in a hole. The wounded German soldier was also dragged away. I didn’t see him again, and I do not know what happened to him. From hearsay, I know that the German officers were beaten to death or shot when they fell into captivity. I have heard that common German soldiers were taken back to camp and were then sent to Siberia or Turkestan.”
The record was read out in Russian translation to the witness by the interpreter.
Approved by the witness and signed under his own hand.
Signed: Graulich. Signed: Feodor Koslow. Signed: A Favre, Signed: Dr. Doms
The witness was sworn. Signed: Grulich Signed: A Favre, Signed: Dr. Doms
Court of the 25th (Motorized) Infantry Division Divisional Command Post, 14 August 41
Reserve Auxiliary List 67/1941
The witness Feodor Koslow, 94th Artillery Division, swore the oath after his interrogation in the following form: I swear by my honor that I have told nothing but the truth and have concealed nothing.
Signed: Graulich, Signed: A Favre, Signed: Dr. Doms. Certified, Secretary.
Court of the 35th (Motorized) Infantry Division Jaswischtsche, 15 August 1941
Reserve Auxiliary List 45/1941
Present: Judge Advocate Dr. Doms, acting Judge
Today, the court, in the presence of the Russian interpreter Special Officer Favre and the Russian POW Feodor Koslow to the location designated by the POW Koslow at which the unknown German officer was shot and plundered by a Russian Lieutenant of the 173rd Infantry Regiment following capture.
The court, with the above named persons, went on foot through the southeast of Jasciwschtesche forest on the other side of the Peleda river. Koslow showed the way. After a march of 2 to 3 km through disassembled and abandoned and, in some cases, mined Russian forest positions, the location described by the POW Feodor Koslow was reached.
He declared there, “Here lies the dead German officer”.
The dead German officer was found on the narrow forest path approximately 2m wide, surrounded by pines and forest foliage. The body was covered by two pine trees, which had been cut down. The trees were removed. The dead man was about 1.70 m high and of powerful build. He was already badly decomposed and lay long stretched out on his stomach with his face to the earth. The arms lay along the body, the backs of the hands were pressed into the ground. The body was clothed only in white underclothing, short linen underclothing and an undershirt. It was his own underclothing. There were no monograms
Pictorial documentation to Case 054
Body of the German officer clad only in his underclothing, beaten with three rifle butt blows from behind, then shot in the neck. The same Soviet lieutenant plundered the body of watch and binoculars.
on his underclothing. Furthermore a camouflaged suspender lay over the upper body. It was recognizable that his uniform had been pulled off him. No other personal effects were found, either on the body or in the vicinity of the location of the body. The head, which still exhibited recognizable dark blond hair, was only loosely connected to the torso. The skull was of medium size, the back of the head was strongly developed. The legs were also strongly developed. No observations could be made on the ventral side of the body as a result of decomposition. There were no bullet wounds on the body. There was no exit wound in the brain-pan. There was no identification tag. The body was photographed after the examination in the presence of legal persons.
This record was read to the POW Koslow in Russian translation. He declared it is correct.
Read out, approved and signed. as follows: Signed: Feodor Koslow, Signed: A Favre
Signed: Dr. Doms, Signed: Weilhard, Certified Secretary.
Feldwebel Mothes, together with another member of his company, in the vicinity northeast of Uman near Kamenetschje on 6 August 1941, found four cruelly murdered German soldiers. One of them lay on his back with his arms extended and his eyes gouged out, the tongue cut out, and the mouth on the right side torn open, so that the teeth hung loose in the mouth. Furthermore, the dead man had several stabs wounds in the naked breast and another stab wound in the abdomen, as well as stab and cutting wounds on both hands. Another dead man, a corporal, like the first described body, lay with his arms extended and on his back. His eyes had also been gouged out. In the region of the abdomen was a wound about the size of a man’s hand. His stomach lay open and the stomach content protruded. In the region of the abdomen was a triangular wound about the size of a man’s hand. He also had stab wounds and cutting wounds on the hands. At a distance of about 200 meters from the above described body, Feldwebel Mothes and his companion found another two mutilated German soldiers in the same position, lying with the arms extended and on their backs, as described above. They had also had their breasts exposed. Both had had their eyes gouged out. The bodies also showed stab wounds in the breast and stab and cutting wounds in the hands. The mop of hair, together with the scalp, had been torn backwards on one of the dead men, and lay exposed towards the back of his head. The dead man had been scalped, so to speak. Obviously the four dead men had been plundered.
On 4 August 1941, in the vicinity of the Catschinki-Bachani road, about a kilometer south of Catschinki, the pulled off skins of human hands and/or feet were found in, or next to, a disabled Russian tank. The medical experts called upon First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Krayer, who established that the skin had been removed from one left and two right human hands, as well as one left human foot.
The nails were almost completely retained and corresponded to those of an adult man. The cut had in the case of the hands and been made circular in the vicinity of the wrist.
The cut ran rather straight, indicating the use of a knife. The skin of the foot was also cut in a circular manner, below the ankle. In the opinion of the experts, the possibility exists that the two members were held in boiling water beforehand, to facilitate pulling off of the skin. It was impossible to determine the identify of the victims of this Russia brutality. The following annex proves that brutal mistreatment and mutilation of German POWs through methods of the above describe manner were also established in other places along the combat front.
Documents to Case 056
Court of the 112th Infantry Division Local Bivouac, 10 August1941
Present Judge Advocate Dr. Reutter
The witness Gefreiter Peter Schmitt appeared and testified as follows after being warned to tell the truth and informed of the significance of the oath. He declared:
“As to my person: my name is Peter Schmitt, born 6 January1908 in Mulben Amt [?] Mossbach, now with the 2nd Company, 112th (Motorized) Medical Corps.
“As to the facts: Our Company, is at the present time in the forest position about 1.5 km south of Catschinki. On 4 August 1941, I observed a Russian tank in a flax field about 1 km south of the Catschinki-Bachani road. I also inspected the tank on the inside. To the left, and next to the on-board cannon, is a niche in the tank tower. Right in the corner, pushed into this niche, lay something with little white worms crawling on it. I took a stick and took the object out. I then observed that it was the pulled off skin of a human foot and hand. The flayed skins of a human foot and hand also lay on the earth in front of the tank. Whether the skin lying on the earth had previously also laid in the niche, I don’t know. I packed the 4 skins in a wooden box and brought it to the First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Vieten of my Company.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Peter Schmitt, Gefreiter.
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Dr. Reutter, Judge Advocate. Certified: Secretary.
Court of the 112th Infantry Division Divisional Staff Headquarters, 10 August 1941
Present Judge Advocate Dr Reutter
The witness First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Gerhard Krayer appeared.
He was shown the objects as forwarded by First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Vieten, 2nd Company, 112th (Motorized) Medical Corps to the Third General Staff Officer of the Division, and made the following declaration in this regard:
“a) As to my person: My name is Gerard Krayer, I was born on 28 December 1914 in Mainz. I am a First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) and Adjutant with the Divisional physician 112th Infantry Division.
“b) As to the facts: The skin consists of the epidermis pulled off one left and two right human hands, and one left human foot, mostly blackish colored.
“The nails are almost completely retained and correspond to an adult man. The rest of the musculature or fat tissue is not present. The skin of the foot and one of the left hands is quite complete in their connection with a major defect contained in contrast to the two other hands. The cut must have been made in a circular manner in the region of the wrist. The cut runs rather straight (knife). The skin of the foot is also cut in a circular manner below the both ankles. The heel, with strong callouses, is completely retained.
“Diagnosis: The skin consists of the skinned cuticle of one left and two right hands and one left foot of an adult man. It is possible that the limbs were first held in boiling water in order to facilitate pulling off the skin.”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Krayer, Signed: Dr. Reutter, Judge Advocate. Certified: Secretary.
Field report of the commanding generals and commanders in chief
Vienna, 21 October 1941
Present: Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe for the duration Dr. Büttner, acting Judge.
R.A. Hiller, Recording Secretary
In the investigation relating to violations of international law by Russian troops the following witness appeared in answer to a summons. He was informed of the significance of the oath and warned to tell the truth.
Having been informed of the object of the interrogation, the witness stated as follows:
“As to my person: My name is Horst Kuchler, Feldwebel of the Luftwaffe, staff of the 4th Luftflottenkommando, presently Air force Hospital of Vienna, Vienna XIX, Peter Jordanstrasse, 82, born 4 October 1914 in Lissa, Posen. I am of the Evangelical faith, married to Berta Kuchler, maiden name George, last peacetime residence Vienna IV, Mühlgasse 8/15.
“As to the facts: I arrived on 6 July 1941, with the advance guard of the staff of the 4th Air Fleet at Krzemieniecz. I was Feldwebel at the Staff Headquarters. On 20 July 1941, the Staff Headquarters of members was informed of the discovery, by the 5th Company, 62nd Army Cavalry Hospital, as far as I know, of the body of a dead Feldwebel of the Air Force in the vicinity of the Titykewce estate. I was then ordered by the commander of the Staff Headquarters, Lieutenant Sklomeit, to undertake the burial of the dead man, together with a commando. Other members of the commando included, among others, Feldwebel Spiller, Feldwebel Kalisch, one officer, and another 20 men. Regimental Inspector Klamet joined the commando voluntarily. We carried out the order on the afternoon of 21 July 1941.
“We arrived at the indicated location by lorry in the vicinity of the Titzkewce estate, which lay about 8 km from Krzemieniecz. We found the body in a corn field. The body was clothed in a flight suit, lying on its back. Under the flight suit, the dead man wore the uniform of an Oberfeldwebel of the Air Force. We did not remove the flight suit. The dead man was naturally searched, but we found nothing enabling us to identify him, with the exception of a note book containing his name. Based on the hand writing of the note book, we established that his name was Oberfeldwebel M, who, as we later established, was an Army scout. The front sides of the note book also bore data relating to the dead man’s relatives, but we could not read any of it since it was all wet. We could only make out the place Frankfurt am Main, but no street, nothing else. We also fond a weekly street car ticket for the Weimar-Nora (airport) run to Weimar. The belt lay next to the dead man. We found no weapon. The dead man’s pistol was later brought to us by a Russian civilian. with ammunition and holster. It was an 08. The Russian replied to our questions in this regard that he had taken the pistol with ammunition from the dead man, to keep it for safekeeping. The Russian brought us the pistol next to the ammunition of their own free will.
“From the surroundings of the place, from which the dead man lay, we could establish that a greater number of men had already been there before us, since the corn, which was almost ripe, was trampled under foot.
“From the condition of the body, we had to conclude that Oberfeldwebel M. had been tortured. The skin on both hands had been pulled off, up to the wrist. The fingernails were torn away. On both hands were the raw flesh up to the bones was visible. The face was distorted and the teeth smashed in. We found the dead man’s teeth next to the body. We found no bullet wound on the body. On the belt, which we found next to the dead man, we could see hair, however, which originated from the dead man, so we concluded that the dead man had been beaten with his own belt. We immediately took photographs of the dead man. I will present the photographs, which have not yet been developed.
“No identification tag was found on the dead man. I assume that it has been taken way. We didn’t find the pay book either. We found nothing, apart from the above mentioned note book and map.
“Russian civilians, whom I have mentioned by name in my report, told us at the time that they had seen a German aircraft make an emergency landing, after which the two men on board escaped. One of them ran towards the German lines, while the dead man had run away to the Titykewce estate. Both were killed, however. The civilians did not see how the two men were killed. I assume
Pictorial documentation to Case 056
Pulled off skins of human feet (above) and hands (following pages) found on August 1941.
The “red glove”, a typical method of Russian torture, consisted of holding the prisoner’s hand in boiling water to facilitate pulling off the skin. After that, a circular cut was made on the lower arm, and the skin came away like a glove.
Pictorial documentation to Case 056
Pictorial documentation to Case 056
Body of Oberfeldwebel M. shot down with his aircraft near Krzemieniecz. He had the skin drawn off the hands. The fingernails were torn off and the face was distorted beyond recognition. He must had been tortured to death, since there were no bullet wounds.
I conclude that Obefeldwebel M. had been beaten to death. I base my assumption on the basis of the fact that no bullet or stab wounds could be found. On the next day, we also found the aircraft, a Henschel 126. It lay about 1 km south from the location of M’s body. I indicated the number of the aircraft in my original report. I do not know it from memory.
“We only found burnt parts of the aircraft, so I assume that it was set on fire by the crew members after the emergency landing.
“We buried Oberfeldwebel M at a crossroads in the immediate vicinity of the place where he was found.
“To avoid misunderstanding, I would like to remark here that the dead man had had the skin removed on both hands from the fingertips up to the wrists. The skin was completely gone, we found nothing of it. The body, according to my estimate, had already lain there for several days, since it stank very badly.”
Read out, approved and signed.
The witness was legally sworn.
Signed: Horst Kuchler, Feldwebel. Signed: Dr. Büttner, Judge Advocate. Signed: Hiller, Certified: Secretary.
4th Air Force Command Command Post, 22 October 1941
Subject: Violations of international law by Russian troops
Present: Judge Advocate Dr. H. Schmitt, acting Judge
Gefreiter Klatte, Recording Secretary.
The above named witness appeared in response to an order. The witness was familiarized with the object of the interrogation warned to tell the truth, and informed of the consequences of deliberate or negligent violation of the oath. He declared:
“As to my person: my name is Hans Kalisch, I am 25 years old, unmarried, Feldwebel with the Staff Company, 4th Air Force Fleet.
“As to the facts: On 21 July 1941, I participated in a flight from Krzemeienciecz, which had the purpose of retrieving the body of a fallen air force prisoner found about 4 cm from this locality. Apart from myself, the following persons also rode in the lorry: Regimental Inspector Klamet, Feldwebel. Sipller, Feldwebel Kugler, and several soldiers from the guard Company.
About 5 km outside of Krzemieniecz, in a cornfield, we found a strongly decomposed body, which based on a note book found near the body and a weekly streetcar ticket, was identified as Feldwebel M. The unit could not be identified. We found no identification tags or squad papers. The body lay on its stomach and showed signs of advanced decomposition. The head had been cut through the neck, in such a manner that the skull was a half meter from the body. The skull itself was split open on the side. Flesh skin and scalp were no longer around, so that the wounds could not be perfectly established. On the one hand, fingers were cut off between the 2 and 3rd joint were cut or broken off. On the other hand, fingers were cut off.
“In the immediate vicinity of the skull lay part of the jaw, all the teeth of which were missing. This also lay next to the corpse.
“The dead man wore a flight suit with a summer flight suit over it. The boots were missing. The flight suit itself was cut open in the region of the back trouser pockets. The dead man’s wallet or billfold were missing.
“Insofar as there was still any flesh on the lower arms and hands, the body showed signs of the so-called “red glove”, i.e. all the flesh was missing on the lower arm to a length of 15 cm from the hand.
“Next to the body lay the belt, with the pistol holster. The pistol itself was missing. It was given to us by a Russian peasant immediately after our arrival, whose name was established by one of many comrades. I myself cannot indicate the name.
“According to the description of a young peasant who was also there, about 17 years old, who spoke German, in this region an artillery battle had taken place on 2 July 1941. The aircraft in which Feldwebel M was shot down in here, served, in the opinion of the Russian witness,
as an artillery observer. The witness claims to have observed that the aircraft was shot down with machine gun fire and immediately fell down. The two crew members split up and left the machine in different directions. How the two fliers were killed, the witness did not know. The aircraft itself lay about 2 km from the body of the sergeants.
“I observed further that 4 wings could still be seen on the collar insignia of the uniform, whereby I assumed that the dead man was an Oberfeldwebel.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Hans Kalish, Feldwebel
The witness was legally sworn.
Signed: Dr. Schmitt, Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe. Signed: Gefreiter Klatte, Recording Secretary. Certified: Secretary.
Field court of the Commanding Generals of the IV Air Corps. Staff Headquarters, 27 October 1941
Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe, Dr. Ristl, acting Judge
Gefreiter Claussen, Recording Secretary
Summoned for interrogation, there appeared technical Feldwebel Spiller, Staff Company, 5th Air Fleet Command, who declared as follows after being made familiar with the object of the interrogation, as well as being warned of the significance of the oath.
“As to my person: My name is Paul Spiller. I am 27 years old, a believer in God.
“As to the facts. On 21 July 1941, I participated in the burial commando of a soldier of the Air Force. In the vicinity of the Titykewce fortifications, in a wheat field, lay the body of a very mutilated Oberfeldwebel of the Air Force. The body was clothed in a summer flight suit. On the collar insignia of the uniform were four wings and the rank insignia of a Corporal. The head was separated from the trunk and lay in the immediate vicinity of the same. The brain-pan, from which the scalp had been separated, showed three cracks extending from the start of the forehead to the back of the head. There was nothing left of the scalp as a result of the decomposition. Next to the head lay the teeth and lower jaw. The body was bent over forwards, with the legs drawn up and the hands raised upwards, as to protect himself from blows. The flesh was missing from one upper arm. The flight suit and uniform were torn to pieces in these places. We did not note any other mutilations; I myself saw nothing after that. To the side lay the belt, with the empty holster attached. On the belt, there was hair and blood, so I assume that the soldier was beaten with it.
“A German-speaking civilian told me that on 2 July1941, a German aircraft was shot down by the Russians, who were still in the farm. The aircraft was, I established, a HS 125, was said to have made an emergency landing and two fliers had attempted to flee. He had heard shooting but was unable to make further observations, because he was not allowed to leave the farm.”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Paul Spiller, Feldwebel
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Dr. Ristl, Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe. Signed: Clausssen, Gefreiter. Certified: Secretary.
Field Court of the Commanding Generals of the IVth flier corps
K-Reserve Auxiliary List 151/41
Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe, Dr. Ristl, Judge
Gefreiter Claussen, Recording Secretary
Staff headquarters, 27 October 1941
Field Post no. L 17 378
Air District Post Office, Vienna
Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe Dr. Ristl, acting Judge
Gefreiter Claussen, Recording Secretary
Interrogation: The witness, Reg. Inspector Klamet of the 4th Air Fleet Command, appeared and declared as follows, after indicating that he was familiar with the object of the interrogation and the significance of the oath to be taken.
“As to my person: My name is Bernhard Klamet, I am 39 years old, a believer in God.
“As to the facts: On 21 July 1941, I received an order to undertake the burial of the body of a dead Technical Feldwebel of the Air force. I went to the designated place with Technical Sergeants Kugler, Kalish and Spiller, a wheat field about 600 meters south east of the Titykewce farm. In the middle of a large wheat field lay the badly mutilated body of a Technical Sergeant of the Air Force, dressed in a flight suit. The head lay separated from the trunk, immediately next to the same. Since the body was badly decomposed, I could not determine how the head was separated from the trunk. The skull was so badly smashed that the teeth lay about and there was noting left of the lower jaw. On one lower arm, the flesh was loosened to the bones. From the fingers, several members were missing. The body lay bent forward the legs drawn up and the hands raised upwards as if to protect his head from blows. In the immediate vicinity of the body, I found the Technical Sergeant’s belt, with lots of head hair stuck to it. I therefore conclude that he was beaten over the head with the belt. The pistol was given to me by a civilian, obviously one of the village elders. It was an 08. There were still two cartridges in the magazine. The body was laid in a wooden coffin, which was prepared by the local civilian, and buried at a crossroads. I established the Technical Sergeant’s name, as well as his peacetime service post on the basis of his note book. The name is no longer known to me.
“A German-speaking civilian told me that the sergeant had been shot down by the Russians after he had attempted to fly a low altitude attack on the Russian position. After an emergency landing, the soldier had attempted to flee, with one other crew member. The aircraft, which I did not see personally, lay about 2 kilometers from the location where we found the body. I could not obtain any more exact data from the civilian.”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Bernard Klamet, Regimental Inspector
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Dr. Ristl, Judge Advocate of the Luftwaffe. Signed: Claussen, Gefreiter. Certified: Secretary
The sworn record of 4 September 1941 on the interrogation of nine members of a German Infantry Regiment proves the murder of four members of German signal squad after being captured by the Russians on 5 August 1941. All four were obviously seriously mistreated first, especially beaten, then all bodies show blue spots on the head and body, which could only have been caused by beating. One of the dead men had his cheeks completely pierced through with a bayonet, another had had his left eye gouged out. Furthermore, all of them had had their fingers broken, since all the individual fingers could be moved in all directions. Lastly, the dead men must have bee shot to death by bullets in the back of neck, since all the dead man show a small bullet entry wound in the neck and a small exit wound in the face. They lay thickly piled up next to each other, or on top of each other, and were all had been plundered.
On 10 August 1941, a German Gefreiter had an eye gouged out by Russians soldiers in the region of Andrewjewka. The whole face was covered wit crusted blood. Next to him lay a bloody German bayonet. On his belt, he had only a holster without a bayonet, so that one must assume that his eye was gouged out with his own bayonet.
On the order of a Russian commissar on 13 August 1941, near Tarachowka, two German POWS were killed by bayonet thrusts after the Russian commissar had already killed another German POW with his pistol. The same commissar had not hesitated to search the German POWs personally and to take a wrist watch and a golden signet ring from them, among other things.
Feldwebel Hartmann, as proven by his report of 13 August 1941, found the body of Gefreiter B of a signal squad, on the day before, on the Janowka-Aleksejewska road. The Gefreiter had a cloth tied around his throat. In his nostrils were two pistol cartridges. Both eyes had been gouged out and the left arm was crushed.
“After the attack of the Russians on a German group on 14 August 1941 near Tarachowka, Obergefreiter Ponzelar, who had not been captured, observed from a distance of about 50 meters how Russian officer pointed a machine gun at the prisoners and shot them. Among the people who were shot in this manner, he recognized from this observation post three corporals from his Company, in addition to a member of an antitank detachment and a man from a horse-drawn column. Some time later he found the bodies of about fifteen German soldiers in one in the village of Tarchowka, against a barn wall. From the situation of these soldiers he assumed that they had been lined up against the barn wall and shot. Among the dead men, he found a guard from his Company, and four Obergefreiters, likewise from this Company. Most of the dead men had been shot several times: Gefreiter Rosowksi, who himself had fallen into Russian captivity during this attack, confirmed the statements of the above mentioned witness in his testimony. He too was led to be shot in the first mentioned group of German soldiers but escaped death because when the Russian machine gun was brought into position, he jumped into a creek in the vicinity and was able to hide below on an overhang in the creek bank.
The Russian Lieutenant Pomernjuk in his interrogation of 19 August 1941 describes the murder of a few slightly wounded German soldiers.
The Russian POW Lang says the following on the treatment of German POWs by the Russian Army:
Document to Case 063
Infantry Division Divisional Command Post 13 August 1941
Re: Treatment of German POWs by the Russian Army.
“As to my person: My name is Lang Wilhem, born 27 September 1912 in Grosslebenthal, district Odessa, last residence in Grosslebenthal. I was conscripted on 4. July1941 and was last with the 10th Company, 25th. Infantry Division. Early today I became a German POW.
“As to the facts: on the treatment of German POWs by the Russian Army I have the following to say:
“After their captivity, German soldiers are taken to interrogation by the Politruks (political commissars). I do not know what they do with these prisoners, but I have heard that the prisoners are all shot after their interrogation.
“On 11 August 1941, I myself saw that a German officer who had been taken prisoner and who was wounded in one arm by a grenade splinter and who had lost a leg. During the interrogation by the commissars he refused to say a word, and was thereupon killed by bayonet stabs in the stomach. The incident happened in the forest near Guska, 7 km northeast of Baronowka.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Lang. Seen. Signed Signature: Lieutenant. Certified: Secretary
A fter the capture of the village of Samokrasha by German troops on 15 August 1941, First Lieutenant Pieper found Obergefreiter Graf von Sch. and Rifleman D in grossly mutilated condition. One of the two had had his throat cut. Both were riddled with numerous bayonet thrusts. Graf von Sch had had his skull smashed in and the fingers crushed. According to the statements of the witness, these injuries were in no way to be attributed to combat, since there had been no close combat during the capture of the village.
Feldbwebel Haas, who with a military ambulance, likewise came to the village Samokrasha on 15 August 1941, to fetch the wounded there had the occasion to question the badly wounded Gefreiter Schmalish, who had a shot through the let side of the breast in addition considerably burns on the right hand and right thigh, but who was fully conscious, about the origin of his wounds. Schmalish declared that he had been suddenly grabbed by eight Russian soldiers in battle as he attempted to give fire support to his badly wounded group leader, Corporal K, and dragged about 30 meters away to the place where Corporal K lay. The Russians were said then to have searched the pockets of Corporal K, to have plundered him and them to have stabbed him several times with a bayonet in the abdomen. The same fate was said to have been suffered by a engineer lying in the vicinity. Then they were said to have brought himself into the village of Samokrasha and to have plundered him of all his things with constant threats and blows with rifle butts. During the approach of German troops, the Russians shot him in the breast, whereupon he collapsed. Then he was said to have been dragged to
Text document to case 062
Copy of the testimony of the Russian Pomernjuk and related record of interrogation in the German language.
a burning house and thrown in onto the glowing beams, upon which they disappeared. When his trouser legs caught fire, he got up and tried to drag himself back out over a meadow. At this point again he was shot by four Russians until he was finally found by stretcher bearers of his regiment.
The witness Feldwebel Hass also declared that the military field ambulance with which took away the wounded men on this day (15 August) had received heavy fire before the locality of Samokrasha, although the vehicle was cleared marked by the Red Cross.
Unprecedented cruelties are described in the sworn statements of lieutenant Woicke as well as those of Corporal Sponholz and Gefreiter Dr. Tamme of 10 September 1941. They describe the killing of 25 German soldiers in mid-August in a turnip field near Jemtschicha, in which the Russians committed bestial mutilations. In two cases, they cut the genitals off living prisoners, in other cases they cut their bellies open and gouged the wounded men’s eyes out. Others had their throats cut, and one man had his foot hacked off. Gefreiter Dr. Tamme belonged to the burial commando. He had to stand guard over two bodies until they were taken away by the commando. He declared that the image of the one dead man had made an indelible impression on his mind. The arms of the dead man were bent behind his head, the eyes gouged out, the mouth wide open, distorted in a scream, the stomach was cut open in a long vertical wound, the penis was cut off. The position of the arms and mouth allowed one to conclude with certainty that the soldier had been tortured and martyred while still alive. His arms had obviously been bent behind him during the mutilations, and held in this manner while he was being mutilated.
The peasant women Paulina Odenbach and Lili Nuss, from Rohbach in the Ukraine, described under oath the shooting of two German POWs in August 1941. The first named witness was taken to interrogate the two German soldiers because the commissars obviously assumed they could communicate better with the Germans in this manner. The German soldiers, according to the statements of the witness Odenbach, answered the only question directed to them, name whether they wished to go with the Russians, in the negative, “no”, that they were German. After the interrogation, the Russian commissars had a grave dug and led the POWs to the grave. As soon as they got there, the witnesses heard shots and saw that the Germans had fallen into the grave.
A horrid murder of German soldiers by the Russians on 15 August 1941 northwest of the railway station at Greigowo is described in the sworn record of 19 August 1941, in Nikolajew. 41 German soldiers were murdered in this act of brutality which, again, reflecting the Brutal Russian attitude, was committed with the cruelest mutilations. The testimony and expert opinion of the Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr. Schaffert as well as First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Börger give a shocking description of the procedure during these shameless murders committed by the Russians. With entrenching tools and cudgels, with axes and pistols as well as with the help of other tools, these 41 men, including officers and Corporals, and one Hungarian Hussar, were cruelly beaten and shot to death.
Documents to Case 067
Court of the 16th Tank Division Divisional Command Post 19 August 1941
Judge Advocate Schulze-Krants, acting Judge
Gefreiter Kretschmer, Recording Secretary
In the matter under investigation concerning the murder of 4 members of the Second Battalion 79th Rifle Regiment who fell into captivity, I interrogated the following witnesses:
Nikoaljew, 19 August 1941.
Witness Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr. Schaffert
After the witnesses was made familiar with the object of his interrogation, informed of the significance of the oath and warned to tell the truth, he was interrogated as follows, in the presented of the witnesses to be heard later:
As to my person: My name is Heinrich Schaffert. I am 48 years old, active Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps), and presently with the Divisional Physician of the 16th Tank Division.
As to the facts. On 16 August 1941, about 13.00 hours, I went with the special driver Dr. Voss from the 26th Tank Division, assigned to the IC [?] Division, and, together with First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Wengel, army doctor of the 16th Tank Engineer Battalion, at the suggestion of Royal Hungarian Hussar Wachmeister Ottmar Schaurek of the 4th Hussar Regiment (home address Nyregyhaasa Hungary), to the terrain north west of the railway station of Greigorowo. According to his testimony, a great number of German POWs killed by the Russians in a defenseless condition were found by him with his Hussars. Wachmeister Shaurek accompanied us in vehicles until the first location where the bodies were found, where a total of 16 bodies, 15 Germans and one Hungarian soldier, lay together in a circle (diameter about 8-10 meters). At a distance of abut 20–50 meters, were another 3 dead Germans. The dead men were all completely unarmed, without body belts or any equipment and military equipment, apart from their uniforms which they wore. At a distance of about 300 meters, all in one direction, towards the northwest, another 4 bodies of German soldiers of the same branch of service lay strewn about the terrain.
The general observation of the dead men and the establishment of their wounds in detail showed beyond a doubt that the bodies were those of captured Germans who had fallen into the hands of the Russians and had been disarmed at a location not yet identified. They were obviously taken prisoner by the Russians during their advance against Greigowo, and were systematically murdered in the location where they were found. The bodies lay together, in a great pile, and exhibited serious crushing wounds, in some cases of the facial skull, sometimes the front or back of the head, which, according to the established findings, could only have been inflicted by means of heavy-sharp edged instruments, such as entrenching tools or axes or picks. This was confirmed in individual cases by the finding of the mutilations of the arm bones, also through blow with heavy sharp-edged tools. Obviously, the victims had raised their hands to protect themselves against blows. In individual cases, the blows or strokes must have missed their real target, the head, since there were bodies in which the neck was cut through to the spinal vertebrae, due to the influence of the above mentioned instruments,
the shoulders or lower arm were crushed. Many of the dead men also exhibited bullet wounds through point blank wounds in the breast or skull, in which case the latter had caused the skull to explode in the region of the exit wound. The bodies had all been searched and plundered. In most cases, the lining of the emptied pockets was inside out. Identification tags, papers, pay books, and, in some cases, even German money, were strewn around the dead men. The bodies were almost exclusively those of members of the Second Battalion, 79th Rifle Regiment. Many bodies were missing their boots. In many cases, poor quality Russian boots had been left behind next to the bodies.
The dead bodies were already in the beginning stages of rigor mortis, and death presumably due to the condition and the combat actions which took place on the afternoon of 15 August 1941.
On the afternoon, I went together with my adjutants First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Börger once again and searched the further surroundings of the terrain There we found another 18 bodies of German soldiers (including 2 lieutenants) who were also completely unarmed and obviously murdered by the enemy in the same treacherous manner, in this case, mostly through point blank shots through the skull; most of the bodies had been plundered.
This proves beyond doubt that, on 15 August 1941, in the vicinity of the railway station of Greigowo in a manner in violation of international law, the Russians bestially slaughtered at least 40 Germans and 1 Hungarian, who were carried away as POWs, and plundered the bodies. In annex, we enclose a list showing the type of deadly injury in each individual case.
Read by the witness personally. Approved and signed. Dr. Schaffert, Major (Medical Corps)
The witness was duly sworn.
Annex to the record of interrogation of 18 August 1941
Read personally, approved and signed. Dr. Schaffert, First Lieutenant. Certified: Secretary.
Continued on 19 August 1941, Nikolajew.
2. Witness: First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Börger
The witness was familiarized with the object of his interrogation. After being informed of the significance of the oath and being warned to tell the truth, he was interrogated as follows in the presence of the witnesses to be heard later.
“As to my person: My name is Heinrich Börger, I am 29 years, old, active First Lieutenant (Medical Corps), presently adjutant to the Divisional Physician of the 15th Tank Division.
“As to the facts: On 16 August 1941, afternoon, I was informed by Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps), Dr. Schaffert, that a greater number of German prisoners had been found that day, murdered by the Russians in the vicinity of the Divisional Command Post, which was located at the Greigowo railway station. He himself had already photographed the find 21 bodies that morning. I had not yet seen these 21 murdered men, and then exhumed another 20 bodies with Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps). There were the 21 who, I may confirm, were soldiers who had obviously been beaten with sharp-edged instruments as well as with blunt instruments, and had also been shot with pistols. The other 20 lay at a distance to the northwest, all piled up on top of each other, so that I had the impression that the men had attempted to escape from the place where the first ones were killed. The bodies mostly exhibited from the most part entry wounds in the right or left temple, as well as area of the rear and beating injuries inflicted by means of both sharp and blunt instruments, in the shoulder or neck region and lower arms. I had the impression that all POWS had been together when the Russians began to kill them with pistols, entrenching tools and axes. Most of them succeeded in escaping a short distance, I assume that the they fleeing me pursued on horseback, which explains the bullet trajectories. The direction is mostly from above to below. For example, from the left ear to the corner of the right lower jaw, or from the back of the head of the neck. In one man, there were injuries to the right hand, which indicates that he had grabbed the barrel of the weapon with which he was being shot. Various lower arms injuries indicated that they first beat the fleeing men with cudgels and then finished them off with pistol shots.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Heinrich Börger, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps)
The witness was legally sworn.
After the witness was acquainted with the object of his interrogation and the significance of the oath and warned to tell the truth, he was interrogated in the presence of the witnesses to be interrogated later as follows:
“As to my person: My name is Hans Wengel. I am 28 ears old, active First Lieutenant (Medical Corps), presently Battalion physician with the 16th Tank Engineer Battalion.
“As to the facts: On 16 August 1941, Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr. Schaffert and I were taken to by Hussar Wachmeister of the Hungarian Army to a place about 500 meters northwest of the Greigowo railway where a number of German prisoners had apparently been murdered by the Russians. The information of the Wachmeister was fully confirmed by us. All the German soldiers in one place 21 men, were without weapons, without belts, some of them without boots, even trouser pockets and uniform pockets were inside out, a sign that the murdered men had been plundered. Since the wounds which caused death have been described in detail in another record, it is superfluous here. I conclude with the exhumation of the scene of the crime by First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Schaffert and First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Börger, since it fully corresponds to my observations.”
Read by myself, approved and signed. Signed: Dr. Hans Wengel, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps)
The witness was legally sworn.
Signed: Schulze-Krazt, Judge Advocate Signed: Gefreiter. Certified: Secretary.
Russian First Lieutenant Alexander Vlassov reported as a witness on 17 August 1941 that, on 15 August 1941, the Commander of the 626th Russian Rifle Regiment, Major Maiski, ordered the shooting of eight German soldiers who had been captured by the Russians. The order was carried out on the same date near the locality of Lubjanka south of Churawitschi.
The operational orders of German First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Klage in connection with his own interrogation of 17 August 1941 shows eight cases in which, as acting troop physician he confirms the wounds perpetrated by the Russians on German soldiers who were already wounded.
On 17 and 18 August 1941, in Nikolajew, four German soldiers were found dead after being captured by the Russians. Three of them were shot by head shots or crushing of the back of the head. The fourth soldier was tortured by cutting his tongue out and was apparently buried alive, since typical signs of suffocation (protrusion of the eyeballs from the eye sockets) were established by a medical expert.
On 20 August 1941, First Lieutenant V and Corporal B were captured by the Russians after being wounded. On the following day, they were found dead: one with a serious head shot, the other with a bayonet wound in the breast.
On 27 August 1941 near Roslawl First Lieutenant F was wounded by a shot in the abdomen and as immediately treated by Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr Maleton. Also the Surgeon Major Huth had seen First Lieutenant F and examined his wound, and saw no injury to his eyes. The wounded man, as a result of enemy attack could not be transported away and fell into the hands of the enemy. During a sudden assault, undertaken by the German regiment about three to fours hours later, First Lieutenant F was found dead. His left eye had in the meantime been put out with a sharp object, probably a bayonet. His right eye was suffused with blood, obviously the result of a blow. Surgeon Major Huth, as witness and expert, established that the gouging out of the left had only been committed for purposes of mutilation and could not have occurred as a result of bullet wound.
Russian soldiers and partisans attacked a German baggage train in thickly forested terrain on 11 September1941, bestially killing seven men of the baggage train and plundered the dead. One man had his eyes gouged out; another had his genitals mutilated and the abdomen cut open; a third man had a horizontal cut across the abdomen. Still another had stab wounds in the abdomen and the left lower arm.
Air Force Lieutenant H, who bailed out over Oesel after his plane was set on fire by antiaircraft fire on 7 September 1941 was first treated in a Russian hospital Arensburg as a wounded man. A few days later, before the capture of the city by the Germans, Lieutenant H was shot together with local civilians. Surgeon Major Dr. Hagener reports as follows on this case:
“After the capture of Arensburg, near the bishop’s castle, numerous bodies of civilians were exhumed after being allegedly shot by Russian soldiers. Yesterday, on 30 September 1941, I came to such a place at which there were numerous men hanging around. I went over there and recognized among the bodies a German flight officer. He had a flight uniform gold collar insignia with a wing and silver oak leaf cluster, a German service shirt boot trousers and German service socks. On the right leg, the trouser
was torn for about 20 centimeters along the interior seam separated, and I saw that on this place there was a bandage. The eye were bandaged with a triangular white cloth. The hands were fastened behind his back. I had the body undressed and washed. There was a small bullet entry wound on the left temple, and an exit wound about the size of a one-mark piece on the right cheek, from which the bullet still protruded. I removed the bullet and kept it. I herby present it to the court. I compared the bullet with Russian pistol ammunition and established that the bullet found by myself corresponded to Russian pistol ammunition. Finally, I had the body placed in a coffin and left in the morgue at the 161st Field Hospital. I will add that on the forehead there was a cutting wound about six centimeters long separating the skin and on the back of the right upper thigh about ten centimeters above the hollow of the knee, a scabby wound about the size of a pea.
Among the Estonian civilians standing around, I asked whether they knew something about the fate of the German flier. There then reported to the Estonia doctor Dr Tilk from Arensburg, who reported as follows.
This flier was said to have bailed out about three weeks before and was said to have fled to the farmer Alexander Ihanurm in Randvere. The man his said to have betrayed him to the Russians. The flier is said to have been brought into the Russian hospital to Arensburg A few days before the capture of Arenburg by German troops, the flier was said to have transported away out of the field hospital. Nothing else could be learned about the fate of the flier. The Estonian farmer, who was, in the meantime being held in the city jail in Arensburg, was taken to the body of the German flier. In my presence as it was translated to me by the physicians, he then recognized the body of the flier who had sought safety at his house a few weeks before.
A motorcycle reconnaissance detail assigned to scout the line of advance of the 25th (Motorized) Infantry Division failed to return despite the slight distance of the terrain to be scouted. On the next day the members of the reconnaissance detail were found. They had been cruelly mutilated. The bodies of the reconnaissance detachment leader was only recognized by the uniform. One of the witnesses had taken photographs in this regard.
Document to Case 075
Court of the 25th (Motorized) Infantry Division Divisional Staff Headquarters 24 September 1941
Present: First Lieutenant Dr. Wagner, Dr of Laws
Gefreiter Döss, Recording Secretary
There appeared Captain Konrad Maurus, commandant of the Staff Headquarters of the 25th (Motorized) Infantry Division. The witness declared as follows after being familiarized with the object of the interrogation and informed of the significance of the oath:
“As to my person: My mane name is Konrad Maruus, I am 43 years old, a Catholic. Captain and commandant of the Staff Headquarters of the 25th (Motorized) Infantry Division.
“As to the facts: On 19 September 1941, in the evening, was by reconnaissance squad and an outpost stationed on the western exit to Skorobogatjki, that Russians in the strength of about two battalion s were moving in the from the 155 Heights near Zerkownaja Dolina in the direction of Sdhany. An officer reconnaissance squad, on the early morning of 20 September 1941, confirmed these observations and further observed that enemy had reached the west bank of Ssuliza over the bridge in Shdany and were moving northwards towards Ssentscha. At 9 o’clock, I therefore ordered a motorcycle reconnaissance mission. There reported the following persons: Feldwebel E as leader, while Obergefreiters M. K. and R.
Pictorial documentation to Case 075
Member of a reconnaissance detail on motorcycles. In addition to the bayonet stab wound in the abdomen causing the intestines to protrude, his high lower leg was cut off.
Pictorial documentation to Case 075
Feldwebel E: Both eyes gouged out, face and skull smashed in. Bayonet stab wounds in the back of the head. Hole in abdomen.
and Sch were selected by myself. The assignment read: “The reconnaissance detail is to reconnoiter and determine whether, or to what extent, the route of advance of the division is free of hostile forces from Iskowzy-Ssentschanskije to Ssentscha”.
“Not a single man had returned from the reconnaissance detail by 13 hours despite the short distance. The enemy continued to advance with heavy forces through Shdany towards Ssentscha, so that, with the approval of the leader of the Quartermaster Staff Captain Lübbe, decided to evade towards Iskowzy-Ssentschandskije. On 22 September 1941, I drove back with Obergefreiters Wily Stark and Erwin Wagner from Carsskiki, in the region of Ssentscha and found the bodies of the five men of the reconnaissance detail on the first houses where they had just been carried by members of a column of the “General Göring” Anti-Aircraft Gun Regiment from the surrounding cornfields. According to the testimony of these soldiers, Feldwebel E lay on the above mentioned location, while the other four soldiers lay about 100 to 200 meters away scattered around.
“I observed the following mutilations:
“Feldwebel E: Only recognizable through pieces of his uniform, especially the motorcycle man’s coat. Eyes gouged out, left face and skull half of the skull smashed in, so that the whole side lay exposed, several bayonet wounds in the back of the head, through the right side of the forehead presumably rifle butt blows, and in the left side of the soft parts of the abdomen a hole 6 to 7 cm wide, in which, according to the flak soldiers, a gun barrel about 25 to 20 deep clear through the abdomen had been pushed.
“Obergefreiter K: Bayonet stab wounds in the left side of the head, neck and breast, as well as a smashed right foot.
“Obergefreiter R: Bayonet wounds in the left temple and side of the face. Pistol shot in abdomen. Right lower arm cut off about10 cm from the wrist, sinews exposed for about 12 to 15 cm.
“Obergefreiter M: Bayonet stab wounds in the right lower side of the abdomen, intestines protruding at least 20 cm, right lower leg cut and torn off.
“Obergefreiter Sh: Bayonet wounds in the midst of the breast and region of the heart.
“Captain Sailer, who had just come with his column, as well as Gefreiter Willy Stark and Erwin Wager can also confirm these details. Captain Sailer took photograph.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Konrad Maurus, Captain and commandant of the Staff Headquarters of the 25th (Motorized) Infantry Division.
The witness was legally sworn
Signed: Wagner, Signed: Döss. Certified: Secretary
On 20 September 1941, near the Aselje railway station on the Roslawlj-Suchenitschij stretch of road, German troops found the completely naked body of a German Obergefreiter, mutilated by the Russians. As the recovery of the body for the purpose of burial had already begun, a booby trap exploded under the body, which had been placed there so that the body parts and intestines were blown in the air. Feldwebel Steinkötter and the engineer were wounded in the face and/or hands According to the statements of the witnesses, lieutenant Grünewald, from the 5th Railway Engineer Regiment and the above mentioned Gefreiter Dargel there is no doubt that the booby trap was fastened deliberately by the Soviets so that the explosion would take place during recovery of the body.
Obergefreiter N, seriously wounded near Rastani on 5 September 1941, was found by Russians and killed by a shot in the breast, fired with his own rifle.
Obergefreiter S, Gefreiter St and Riflemen J and Sch, all of them captured by the Russians after being wounded on 25 September 1941, and were later found dead near Komrat, south of Kromowka. Gefreiter St had had his both eyes gouged out, Obergefreiter S had had his head smashed in. The others were also mutilated.
On 30 September 1941, after a Russian tank attack on the Desna, eleven German soldiers were shot after being captured by the Russians three other were seriously wounded. Seven of the prisoners only escaped the same fate by fleeing when the shooting began, and successfully finding their way back to German lines. A Russian commissar also had ordered the shooting here too, and fired the first shots on the POWs himself.
Gefreiter Schinnen describes his mistreatment and robbery by a Russian commissar as follows:
“On 2 October 1941, we occupied a position near Tscherwony-Step (Ukraine). The Russian attacked at about ten o’clock. They succeeded in breaking into our position. I was at the half-platoon of the anti tank detachment which was subject to the 2nd Company, 7t Engineer Battalion. I got shot in the abdomen and could no longer get away. I remained alone, lying there. The Russian came into whole bunches. A commissar of the Russian Army came up to me I recognized him because he had a black braid on his collar. On his arm, he wore the insignia of a commissar with hammer and sickle. Although he saw that I was wounded and bleeding, the commissar struck me several times on the head with a German pistol which lay in my vicinity. He also pulled my trousers down. I concluded from his actions that he wanted to shot my genitals off. I said, ‘don’t shoot’. He then took my pay book and 150 RM from me which I had kept in my pay book, as well as my watch. In the meantime our artillery had already begun to shoot again. The Russian therefore had to withdraw, so that I was spared any further violence. On the evening of the same day I was found by the engineers and taken to the main collection point.
Corporal Nauke, during the assault on Teplowka on 14 October 1941 during which he himself was wounded, found four dead German artillery men in a room in a house on the village obviously after being dragged there in a wounded condition. Some of them had had their ears, some of their noses, cut off and other had their eyes gouged out. According to the type of injury, it must be assumed that these mutilations were committed with a bayonet.
A Russian POW, Major Koslow, captured on 23 July 1941, testified as follows:
“The Regimental Commanders had to turn POWs over to the Division, the Division to the Army Corps, and the Army Corps to the G.P.U. The Regimental commander s did not have the right to have POWS shot.
“In practice, however, the following happened: if the POWs were on the way to the Battalion or the Regiment, the commissars usually gave the soldiers the order to shoot the POWs. Only those POWs who got to the commander without being noticed by the commissars were temporarily rescued. Even politically eager Company, leaders often had the POWs shot on their responsibility. As a result, not many POWs got to the higher agencies. Large camps as on the German side, did not exit.
“The G.P.U. interrogated the POWs for their political opinions. Those who indicated that they were sympathetic to the communists were well treated. Whoever expressed ‘capitalistic‘ or ‘fascistic’ thoughts was shot. A few officers and crews from the 25th Regiment, influenced by political propaganda, had captured officers and crews shot and then told the major about it. He wasn’t supposed to forbid that, because otherwise the commissars would have shot him. Military agencies never gave the order to shoot German POWs. On the other hand, no officer is in the position to prohibit the instructions of the commissars to shoot the POWs.
Three soldiers of German machine gun squad went missing in combat on 19 July 1941 east of Smolensk. They were found still alive the next morning by their troop. They had been cut off during the bitter fighting around the paved taxiways after the fall of darkness by a Russian formation and fell into Russian captivity. The Russians had squashed the eyes of the three German soldiers by sticking their fingers into the eye sockets. This is stated by the sworn statement of Lieutenant Schinner, of the 8th Company, 12th Rifle Regiment.
In early August 1941, in the forest region on the Peipus Lake, Gefreiter Friedrich Hoffmann found three dead German soldiers with their eyes gouged out.
During the mopping up of the Luba encirclement on September 1941, Feldwebel Hisrchbühler and his men found a group of 2 dead soldiers who had obviously belonged to a German anti-machine gun detachment. All the dead men had had their heads crushed. They had no bullets wounds. The identical type of injuries indicated that these German soldiers
had been captured by the Russians and alter, after the Russians had established that they could no longer escape the encirclement, were beaten to death and plundered. Stabsfeldwebel Hischbühler and his people found accessories of the equipment German soldiers on Russian POWs who fell into their hands in the same section, apparently stolen from the Germans who had been beaten to death.
In early September 1941 with other comrades near Ilmens Lake, Gefreiter Kurt Felsch found 30 dread German soldiers who were only buried in the forest in an improvised manner. The bodies were completely naked. No uniforms were found nearby, so one must assumed that the Russians took the uniforms. The dead men had had their ring fingers hacked off and some of them had had their skulls smashed in, obviously with entrenching tools.
At the end of July 1941, near Witebsk, the vanguard of the advancing column of the 77th Infantry Regiment were captured as a result of Russian encirclement.135 dead men were found during the further advance of German units. Most of these had had their hands fastened with their own belts. The bodies exhibited many stabs wounds, and most of the had been mutilated. One lieutenant had had his eyes gouged out, one medic who was also mutilated by bayonet wounds in the abdomen also had the back of his head smashed in; his eyes had been gouged out.
On 25 June 1941, near Dubno, Gefreiter Salweski saw two German infantry men whose noses and ears had been cut off and whose death had obviously been caused by stabs wounds in the breast.
On 25 June 1941, in the region of Suraz (west of Bialystok), twelve dead German soldiers were found who had been wounded in combat the day before. These dead men were also seriously mutilated. One of the dead men had been tied to a tree, so that his arms reached backwards around the tree. Nails had been driven through his arms. He also had his eyes gouged out and his tongue cut out. A German bayonet had been
driven into his breast. Other dead men had had their eyes gouged out. Some of them had had their tongues cut out; some had had their genitals cut off.
In the second half of October 1941, between Orel and Mzensk, the body of a dead German soldier was found whose two arms and two legs had been hacked off, the arms above the elbows and the legs above the knees. In the breast of the dead man was a bayonet; the hacked off limbs lay near by.
In early July 1941, in Tarnopol, First Lieutenant Küster and Gefreiter Kaluza (Staff, 129th Artillery Command) found the bodies of seven badly mutilated German soldiers, in addition to 50 murdered Ukrainians. Two of them had had their hands fastened behind their backs, some had had their eyes gouged out, or the tongues protruding so far out of their mouths that it was obviously they had been pulled out. Obvious marks of strangulation were also found on the necks.
Documents to Case 091
Court of the 14th Army Corps Local Bivouac 22 September 1941
General List 61/41 Field Post number 01876
Present: 1. Judge Advocate: Dr. Seeber
2. Gefreiter Richter, generally obligated Recording Secretary.
In response to an order in the matter relating to the finding of 10 mutilated bodies of German members of the German armed forces in the prison of Tarnopol, there appeared:
1st witness: First Lieutenant Küster, 129th Artillery Command, 2nd witness: Gefreiter Kaluza, 129th Artillery Command
The appearing parties were made familiar with the object of the interrogation and the significance of the oath and were interrogated as follows in the presence of the witnesses to appear later:
1st witness: Witness Küster:
“As to my person: My name is Siegfried Küster, I am 38 years old, an Evangelical, Lutheran in religion, First Lieutenant in the Reserves, with the Staff of the 129th Artillery Command. In civilian life, my profession is mayor and Dr of Laws.
”As to the facts: I was assigned to the staff with the 129th Artillery Command led by Colonel Sander, head of Artillery Intelligence on the Staff. My chief at that time, between 4-7 July 1941, was with the leadership of the city Command Post in Tarnopol. It was reported to the city commandants by the Ukrainians that the city jail contained a great many Ukrainians and Germans who had been murdered or tortured to death by the Russians. In agreement with the newly assigned Ukrainian administration, the bodies found in the prison were to be identified and buried insofar as possible. I went to the prison about four or five times and saw the proceedings there. As I came there the first time, there were about 40 bodies of Ukrainians laid out in the courtyard. I was told that these included three German soldiers. I cannot say with certainty whether I took part in the identification of these three Germans. Sturmhauptführer Blum or members of his Company, who supervised the work, will e able to make further statements on this proceedings.
“When I visited the prison again the next day, the bodies from the day before had already been buried. Again, a great number of bodies lay piled up in the courtyard. Another 150 bodies
may have been carried out of the prison on this and the following days. On the first day, 7 bodies were separately put into coffins. The wore, as I saw myself, shirts and trousers of the German Air Force. More exact identification was not possible due to the distortion, the advanced state of decomposition and due to the lack of papers or identification tags. Captain Blum reported to me that Stabsfeldwebel Scheurig was said to have recognized one of the bodies as Technical Sergeant H, 6th Squadron 3/Bomber Wing 51. On my orders, the seven bodies were placed in coffins and photographed by a local Ukrainian in my presence.
All seven bodies exhibited the grossest disfigurement. The hands were in some cases tied behind the backs. All faces were almost completely suffused with blood and swollen beyond recognition. At least three had had their eyes gouged out. In two, the throat was completely swollen. The tongue protruded far out of the mouth so that I must assume that their tongues were pulled out in revenge. In some of them the skin was completely detached from their hands and in another case from the feet, so these must have been completely cooked in boiling water or some other corrosive liquid. It had the appearance that these prisoners had obviously been gradually tortured to death with the greatest cruelty. Since we belong to fighting troops and had to reckon without as soon further advance march, we could not undertake any further investigations. Whether therefore the bodies also bore other disfigurements, I cannot say. The Ukrainian mayor put in office by the commissars reported to me that in addition to German soldiers were concealed in civilian clothing or Russian uniforms, before they were tortured to death. It is therefore probably that among the other bodies even more German soldiers were. The first three bodies were on 5 July, the second group on 6 July 1941, buried on the south cemetery in Tarnopol, at a specially arranged place, separately from the Ukrainians.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Siegfreid Küster, First Lieutenant
The witness was sworn.
2nd Witness Kaluza.
“As to my person: My name is Walter Kaluza, I am 30 years, old, Catholic, Gefreiter on the Staff of the 129th Artillery Command, occupation in civilian life: assistant professor of photography.
“As to the facts: I am with the staff of the 129th Artillery Command. At the beginning of July of this year, more exactly I cannot say at the moment, we were in Tarnopol. I heard from comrades that in a building in the city which was designated with court martial, a number of murdered Ukrainian had been found. I went there with officer Karl Keckhausen, officer Heinz Binder and motorcycle dispatch rider into the building. In the courtyard there lay separately from other bodies three bodies, which were decorated with flowers. It was told me that theses were the bodies of these three German soldiers. This was also possible to that that they did not have the bristly or short cut hair of the Ukrainians or Russians, but longer hair, with a part in it. I could not get a closer look at their uniforms, since the sight of the bodies was too horrible. On the next day I received from First Lieutenant Küster the order to photograph the bodies of the German soldiers. I took a local Ukrainian who had a photographic studio in Tarnopol, to take photographs with he. In the courtyard of the building lay seven bodies in coffins, but unburied, who were pointed out to me as German soldiers. These bodies also had the German [style of] hair cut, and in some cases flier blue, in some cases green German trousers on. These bodies were just like the here bodies of the day before serious disfigurements, which allowed one to conclude a violent and horrible death. The faces were blood shot and strongly swollen. In some the eyes had been put out. In one of the bodies it struck me in particular that the tong was far protruding. From the hand of some of them the skin was completely removed, the neck and throat were strongly deformed Some of have their hands tied behind their backs.
“The Ukrainian photographer took a group photograph of the several bodies and further an individual photograph of each one. After this I photographed with my camera all heads and all heads of the bodies and finally I also took a total picture. The film with these pictures I have not yet developed. I will have the film developed and will give it with extracts to the court.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Walter Kaluza, Gefreiter.
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Dr. Seeber, Field Judge Advocate. Signed: Richter, Obergefrtier. Certified: Secretary.
Pictorial documentation to Case 091
Dead German soldier with tongue torn out
Pictorial documentation to Case 091
Bodies of distorted tortured members of the German armed forces, found in early July 1941 in the prison of Tarnopol.
Pictorial documentation to Case 091
The seven bodies found on the second day, placed in coffins.
Bodies with their hands tied behind their backs.
SS and Police Court VI Cracow, 22 January 1942
Cracow Oleanderstrasse 4
General List 6/42 Telephone 13425 Dr. Ja/D [?]
In the matter relating to the discovery of 10 mutilated bodies of German members of the armed forces in the prison of Tarnopol the following persons were interrogated in the SS field hospital:
SS- Untersturmführer Lösken
Lösken was made familiar with the object of the interrogation and informed of the significance of the oath. He declared as follows:
One of the two above mentioned SS obscharführer reported to me that one of the German bodies had been identified as Oberfeldwebel H. of the 8th Squadron /Bomber Wing 51. He as said to have been recognizes by another soldier.
On the order of my Company, chief I then took care of putting them in the coffins of the bodies as well as their transfer and burial with military honors by my platoon.
They were buried in common grave in the south cemetery in Tarnonpol
In response to a question, the witness stated that the prison mentioned several times during the interrogation was a G.P.U. prison.
Read out and approved
Note: SS Untersturfuhhrer Lösken , due to a grenade shrapnel wound to his elbow, was not able to sign the interrogation himself and had to leave it unsigned.
The witness was sworn. Signed: Dr. Dullien, contractual employee.
Signed: D. Jansen, SS Unterstumführer, SS assistant Judge, certified secretary.
During the advance on Klimowitschi on 9 August 1941, Gefreiter Rolfs (Staff of the 2nd Company, 94th Anti-Aircraft Division) saw seven dead German infantry men in need of burial, without their jackets. Four of them had had their stomachs cut open with two cross cuts. The intestines were protruding.
The men were members of an assault detachment who had been captured and murdered by the Russians.
In July 1941, on the door posts of a house about 35 kilometers south of Dünaburg, Obergefreiter Bialek found a German soldier who had had been hanged by his feet and was completely naked. The stomach was cut open at the intestines lay out. In a room of the house lay further naked bodies. In this house the observation post of an artillery formation had been quartered, who had been attacked by the Russian The men in the room had also been mutilated.
On 14 July 1941 near Gomel, the platoon leader of the 11th Company, 510th Infantry Regiment and ten of his men were wounded in battle. Lieutenant Fischer came about two hours later with reinforcements and found the eleven badly wounded men dead and mutilated. First Lieutenant (Platoon Leader) had had his stomach cut open and the calves cut open, one soldier had had his eyes cut out another had had his face smashed in, another of the had had his own bayonet stuck into his throat. Other dead members of the 11th Company, also lay mutilated in the terrain.
At the end of November 1941, Lieutenant R, who had been badly wounded the day before by a rifle bullet, was found murdered by a search party in the vicinity of the village of Trojanowo, west of Serpuchow. The Russians had smashed his skull in and stuck a bayonet wound in the jugular vein.
Lieutenant Peterhänsel reported on the killing of a wounded German infantry man who had been wounded with a shot in the abdomen by Russian troops on 13 December 1941 in a forest terrain south of Kalinin.
In the vicinity of Saredsche (behind Pleskau) in August 1941, the formation to which Corporal Buchholz of the 410th Infantry Regiment belonged, received a call for help from an
Signals Division. When the auxiliary forces arrived, about 80 dead German soldiers lay in a grave. They were all cruelly mutilated.
Many had had their heads cut off, obviously with sickles. The sickles still lay on the spot. Many of the dead had had their fingers cut offs other had had their eyes gouged out. The officers lay all naked. All the bodies were plundered, especially of their watches rings and money The only survivor of the slaughter, a corporal, reported he these were members of a signals detachment which had been assigned to build a conduit and had assumed that the area was free of hostile forces. During a sudden artillery attack, they had thrown themselves in the ditch to seek cover and were killed and mutilated there.
All had had their skulls bashed in many further had had their abdomens cut open with bayonets, the throats cut others had had their eyes gouged out and the genitals cut off.
During the advance on Moscow in October 1941, in the region of Prisselje (Wjasma-encirclement), members of a Signals Company, was unexpectedly attacked by superior Russian forces. All 125 men were killed by the Russians, They exhibited cruel mutilations and the skulls were smashed in and the bodies completely stabbed and cut open
In a similar manner, near Kiev in September 1941, four members of a tank reconnaissance detail were tortured and killed The four men had had their eyes gouged out as well as their faces and bodies mutilated by beatings and in other ways to the greatest extent.
In early December 1941, in a village near Klinin, Rifleman Suikowski, a stretcher bearer with the 18th Infantry Regiment, found a dead comrade who had been wounded on the day before. In addition to the wound received the day before, the dead man had a cut on in the left side of the throat; the right ring finger had also been cut off.
Gefreiter Wenk, in early December 1941, on the march near the city of Kalinin (between Kalinin and Moscow), saw a dead German soldier whose genitals had been cut off.
Gefreiter Strobel of the 906th Assault Boat Commando, under oath, described the murder of five comrades captured by the Russians south of Reval. They were stabbed in the head and neck by bayonets. The bodies were plundered.
On 29 June 1941, Felwebel Baumhauer, in the region of Pieniesazkie (west of Warsaw), saw a defenseless German infantry man have his throat cut by a Russian soldier after surrendering.
On 30 June 1941, Lieutenant Engelbrecht, of the 29th (Motorized) Artillery Regiment, found the bodies of Obergefreiter W and Gunner B north of the Zelwa-Slonim road near Point 502. Both men had been wounded in battle and were then killed by bayonet stab wounds in the face and body. They body of Gunner B also exhibited stab wounds in the genitals.
The report of Major Lenz (Third Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment) of 29 September 1941, and the testimony of other witnesses, proves the murder of at least 32 wounded soldiers of the Third Battalion 164th Infantry Regiment near the village of Baryschewka, east of Kiev, on 23 September 1941.
Document to Case 105
III Battalion Battalion Command Post, 29 September 1941
164th Infantry Regiment
To the regiment
Re: atrocities of the Bolsheviks
On atrocities committed by the Bolsheviks during combat and after combat on 23 September 1941 near Baryschweka I report as follows:
The bodies of the following members of the Third Battalion exhibit the following injuries, in addition to fatal wounds or bullet wounds putting them hors combat
Not contained in the above list are the bodies exhibiting stab wounds or beating injuries but small only slight bullet wounds, whereby the possibility of close combat existed.
Oberfeldwebel Eberhard Kraft, 10th Company, wounded and transported away according to this testimony the manner in which wounded men who surrendered were murdered
Gefreiter Herbert Moch, 9th Company, fell wounded in captivity and reported on his return that wounded German soldiers who fell into captivity were shot. Stabsfeldwebel Kraft and Gefreiter Moch were brought to the main collection point of the IIIrd Battalion, 164nd Infantry Regiment by way of the advanced field dressing station of the Ist Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment.
I consider it proper to interrogate both the above named persons on my responsibility.
The frequency of the mutilations in one small section in one single day clearly indicates malice aforethought and the intent. All bodies, including those not included were plundered of all valuables
A total of 35 soldiers of the Third Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment were missing.
Of the majority of the above mutilations I have convinced myself of them.
Signed: Lenz, Major, certified secretary
Pictorial documentation to Case 105
Combat sketch of the hard fought railway embankment near Baryschweka. The German soldiers captured during the battle which took place in a swamp were plundered and brutally murdered.
Court of the 62nd Infantry Division Divisional Staff Headquarters, 3 December 1941
General List 104/41
Present: 1. Judge Advocate Dr. Witaschek
2, Officer Hendriock as Recording Secretary, generally obligated
There appeared Feldwebel Grosche, with the Staff of the IIIrd Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment, and reported after he was familiarized with the object of the interrogation, warned to tell the truth and informed of the significance of the oath, as follows:
My name is D. Rudolf Grosche. I have been a Feldwebel since 1 July 1941, and I have been a soldier (with 2 exercises prior to the outbreak of the war) since 1 June1941, with the Third Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment, religion Evangelical, legational secretary by profession (former court assessor).
The witness was first read the record of the Third Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment, on 25 October 1941, made testimony in which the following entry is reproduced.
“On 22 September 1941, at about 18 hours, the IIIrd Battalion,164th Infantry Regiment received the order to take the southern part of the on this hotly contested locality of Baryshewka up to the railway embankment. After artillery support by the smoke shell mortar division of the Second Battalion 54th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment entered at 29 hours, after the fall of darkness with 9th and 10th Company, and under the leadership of the Battalion commander supported parts of the 12th and 14th Company, in the attack against the ordered attack objective railway embankment Baryschewka. During the proceedings, despite the darkness, about 25 prisoners were taken, so that it must be assumed that the southern part of Baryschewka was not mopped up.
“On 23 September 1941, the 11th Company, advanced up to the railway embankment and extended the front of the Battalion to the left in a southwards direction.
“At 5.15 or 6 hours, the 9th and 10th companies of the 164th Infantry Regiment reported enemy forces in the left flank and to their rear.
“An attack on the left flank was repulsed, but the Russians succeed into penetrating the gaping gape between the Third and Second Battalion s, 164th Infantry Regiment with vastly superior forces around and to the rear of the Third Battalion. Attempts by the Ist Battalion the throw back the penetrating hostile forces failed. After 9 hours, the companies of the Third Battalion were therefore forced to give way before superior forces. A few sections nevertheless succeeded in withdrawing into the midst of the locality of Baryschewska the mass of the Battalion was evaded in the rear and cut off. As the last way out, many (only) had the swamp, which was several meters deep adjacent to the section on the east, in which a great many men were drowned.
”Attempts to liberate the enclosed sections of the Battalion failed. At 10.48 hours, the Battalion received the first and then the second order on 13.45 hours by the regiment, to withdraw before the enemy. The Battalion withdrew, according to orders, to Passechna. On the following day, the region on the Barywschewka was retaken by other sections of the divisions. It was then possible to bury the dead, insofar as they could be found in the swampy terrain. The Battalion had the following casualties on 23 September 1941: dead 9, wounded 32, missing 25, a total of 150 casualties.
“During the burial of the dead men it was found that great number exhibited mutilations. I myself during the placing into coffins of the dead in the cemetery located on the northeast part of Baryschewka. The commander, General Field Marshal von Reichenau, in Baryschewkam, viewed the mutilated members of the Third Battalion on 26 September
“The recovery and burial of the bodies in the cemetery took place by Hauptfeldwebel at that of the time of the individual companies under my instructions. I was supported in this regard by Feldwebel Stolpe, at that time on the Staff of the IIIrd Battalion, currently with the 12th Company.
“Apart from the 4 Hauptfeldwebels, one member from each company having taken part in the fighting on the railway embankment in Baryshewka will testify on the manner of combat of the Russians. He declared:
“The copy read out to me is correct. I make it in terms of content the object of my testimony. I add the following. I was during the assignment in Russian one after the other with the 9th 10th and 11th Companies, 164th Infantry Regiment. Towards the end of July 1941, I was assigned to the Staff of the Third Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment. There I learned personally of the deaths which the Battalion had
suffered in Baryschewka from several soldiers personally. Since I then, as ordinance officer, was simultaneously the burial officer of the battalion, I viewed the bodies of the members of the Battalion recovered in Baryschweka and laid out for burial. In doing so, I proceeded critically and did not, for example, include injuries which might have been caused by blows, or cuts, received in hand to hand combat, as atrocities without any other evidence. I likewise told the soldiers coming to me to be interrogated at the request of the court not to assume that any remarkable injuries were to be assumed to constitute proof of Russian atrocities without further proof. In this connection, I would like to say the following: the General Field Marshall von Reichenau had first before visiting the cemetery on the date of his visit to the site of the cemetery for the burial of the collected also stated that the evaluation of atrocities required a certain care. But then when he himself saw the approximately 50 men lying there, he stated that these were not battle wounds, but atrocities.
“From my own experience, and from the reports of participants in the battle, I can furthermore say that, on 23 September 1941, the day that plays a major role in this connection, there was absolutely no hand to hand combat with the Russians on this date. I myself viewed the dead before burial, and I came to the conclusion that the wounds could not have been inflicted during combat, but were inflicted later. I am of the opinion that the soldiers involved in the swamp could not have defended themselves and therefore had given up resistance. From reports from members of the Battalion who returned, it was to be assumed that the soldiers of the Battalion stuck in the swamp indicated that they had give up all resistance against superior Russian forces by raising their hands. Upon viewing the dead, it struck me, in particular, that I recognized some of them, on the basis of former company membership. Thus, Gefreiter Graf. G. 11th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment had had his skull smashed in. I also considered his wound an atrocity. I also saw Gefreiter G. of the 11 Company, 164th Infantry Regiment, who had had his eyes gouged out. Oberfeldwebel K. of the 11th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment exhibited stab wounds in the throat, head and face, which in my opinion could not have been inflicted during the battle. Soldiers who got back reported, in particular, that K after giving up resistance in the swamp had been unwounded, without weapons and had approached the Russians with his hands up. I can no longer remember other, individual soldiers or the details of their wounds in particular. By the way, I could have made more exact comments on this if I had been interrogated shortly after the events. Because of the extent of the horrible impressions I was unable to make more detailed impression in about the wounds of the individual soldiers. The overall impression which I got during my visit of the many dead men is that, even if some of the individual wounds were caused by bullets wounds at close range, and even if some of the other wounds were perhaps the result of close combat, I nevertheless believe that by far the greatest part of all wounds must have been inflicted by the Russians after the battle was over.
Read out, approved and read by the witness personally. Signed: Dr. Rudolf Grosche, Feldwebel.
The witness was sworn.
There appeared the witness non-commissioned Hajok and declared after being acquainted with the subject of the interrogation, being warned to tell the truth and being informed of the significance of the oath, stated as follows:
2nd witness: Witness
My name is Josef Hajok, born 6 November 1914 in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, in active service from November 1935 to October 1937, in active service again since 1 September 1939. Until 15 October 1941 with the 9th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment, and since then with the 11th Company. I am a believer in God, a merchant in civilian life.
The witness was read his statement of 25 October 1941 into the record of the Third Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment, in the transcription reproduced as follows:
“I was on 23-24 September 1941, Hauptfeldwebel on duty with the 9th Company, and I formed a burial commando for our fallen comrades. I did not take part in the battle personally. We found the following members of the 9th Company, between 25 September and 1 October 1941, with the following injuries.
On the individual mutilations, I can make the following more detailed statements:
As to Gefreiter G.: G. had been shot in the heart, which must obviously have caused immediate death. In addition he exhibited stab wounds on this head, inflicted with a bayonet lying next him taken from its scabbard. I therefore conclude this because G’s head wounds did not bleed, that they were therefore inflicted after death.
As to Gefreiter J.: J had been forced to lie seriously wounded (bullet wound to abdomen) during the withdrawal. Upon the recovery the body exhibited the above described wounds. The bayonet of Gefreiter J lay pulled out of its scabbard, next to him, that is, if I remember correctly, still stained with blood. I am prepared to repeated y statements under oath.
He declared: “The statement read out to me is correct. I as to the content I hereby make it a part of my interrogation today. At the time, I myself participated in the recovery of the bodies form the swamp at Baryschweka. Upon my interrogation of the time I was informed by Stabsfeldwebel Grosche that upon the question of whether a certain wound constituted an atrocity called for a certain amount of prudence and that such wounds which could occur during close combat or hand to hand combat should be not be considered as atrocities Before the burial we examined every dead man in detail, to see what he could have died of. The witnesses produced in my earlier interrogation were all known to me as member of the 9th Company. Apart from the wounds on the above mentioned soldiers described in my earlier interrogation, the above mentioned dead exhibited all still other wounds, some of which could perhaps have been inflicted during hand to hand combat. On the other hand, the individual wounds, in my opinion, were not combat wounds; since according to the participants in the battle in the swamp at that time and in the swamp at Baryschewka there was no hand to hand combat. As I have heard from the eye witness, Gefreiter V. must have been left with a serious wound by the withdrawing Company. He must then, according to the report so the combat participants – I cannot make more detailed statements in this regard -- must have been dragged by the Russians to a house which then went up in flames, presumably as a result of arson committed by the Russians.
“I also viewed the dead men belong men belonging to the other company before their burial in Baryschweka. In so doing, I came to the conviction, in any case, that the great majority of their wounds must be viewed as atrocities. Thus, for example Feldwebel M. of the 11th Company, personally known to me, exhibited a smashed back of the head. This was, in my opinion, not a combat wound, since it must have been inflicted after he took his steel helmet off. Especially remarkable was the wound of a member of the 12th Company, who had a large number of stab wounds in the abdomen.”
Read out, approved and signed. read by the witness personally. Signed: Josef Hajok, officer.
The witness was then sworn.
4th witness: there appeared Corporal Grun, Roman, born 24 April 04 in Tarnowitz.Upper Silesia, Catholic, a soldier since 26 August 1939, with three previous pre-war exercises, an officer since May 1940, now with the 9th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment, a gendarmerie police constable in civilian life.
The witness was first read out his testimony of 25 October 1941 into the record of the III Battalion 164th Infantry Regiment, as follows, reproduced word for word in the transcript, which was then read out:
“I took part in the combats at the railway embankment in Baryschweka. About 9 hours, the company had to withdraw under heavy pressure from the Russians to the rear of the company. We first took evasive action, with out platoons, to the east, and later to the north. As we were sunk in the swamp, the Russians came up to us so close that I
no longer hope to escape them. I lay down behind a tree trunk. The Russians first marched right past me. I got back up and attempted to get away from the Russians. In so doing, I found my severely wounded comrade Gefreiter J, whom I had to leave there. The Russians then turned back I attempted to play dead, but a Russian came up to me and saw that I was still alive. He told me to follow him. I could understand the Russians orders since I speak Polish. The Russian officer told me in so many words that I was to follow him he wanted to show me something. I my immediately vicinity there were about 15 to 20 Russians who were led by an officer. We now went up to the severely wounded German wounded and unwounded comrades. There might have been about 10 or 12 of them, among them two unwounded. The unwounded raised their hands. They had already had to throw away their weapons in the swamp. The Russians demanded the Germans to give they valuables and in the following words: “Schot dej”, which means, more or less, ‘What’ll you give us’? The Germans gave the Russians all their valuables, such as watches and wallets. Finally, they were shot and stabbed by the Russians, although they pleaded for their lives, especially the wounded. I was very close by during these murders committed by the Russians in each case, and had to see everything. Every time the Russian killed a prisoner, the whole mob shouted ‘Hurrah’. Later I succeeded in escaping from the Russian captivity.
“Close combat with the bayonet, through which it may been possible to receive stab wounds, never happened in my presence.
“On the morning, while I had to lead the swamp with the Russians one of the Russians called out in German, “Comrade, Help!”, in German, imitating the voice of a German wounded man. The Russians wanted the cause the Germans hiding in the swamp to give themselves up and surrender.
“I am ready to repeat the statements under oath.
“The testimony read out to me is correct. I hereby make it the subject of my testimony today. I would like to correct one thing: the Russian officer taking me along in so far as I could understand him, told me more ore less he had a something special for me. What I then experienced corresponds entirely to the truth. At any rate, I only saw with my own eyes how two German soldiers stood up although they had raised their hands were shot. I myself did not see how the other comrades were killed by the Russians. Apart from these two shots the Russians also fired other shots around me, I also heard cries of rage of the Russians and cries of pain from the German soldiers. I dared not look around because in my immediate vicinity the Russian officer stood there with a bunch of his people.
“Grenades also exploded in the area in question. The Russians dragged me with some haste away from the edge of the swamp, through a meadow to a house at the edge of the village. Before being dragged over we were already almost there, the place where shots among cries of rage, in my view shots were fired at our comrades, were still. I got into the house after a grenade attack into the above mentioned hours. I may have laid about an hour in the hands of the Russians. According to my assumption the one Russians who constantly cried Comrade Help, wanted to make Germans come out of the their concealment in the swamp.
“In so far as I could observe, the German solders who had been driven into the swamp had already thrown their weapons away since it was impossible to get ahead in the swamp with the weapons in the hand and resistance was no longer possible. I then saw bodies recovered from the swamp and lying in the cemetery of Boryschewka. I was very impressed by the personal experiences, so that I only retained an overall impression from the cemetery without, for example, examining the individual soldiers. Since there was no hand to hand combat in the swamp, as, as already stated, the German soldiers trapped in the swamp had no more weapons upon the approach of the Russians, one must, therefore, in my opinion, view the injuries observed on the bodies as atrocities.
“I saw several cases of eyes put out among the dead men, bayonet wounds in the breast, in the face, in the head, into the ear, and crushed skulls.
Read out, approved and signed. Ready by the witness personally. Signed: Roman Grun
The witness was then sworn.
Signed: Dr. Witaschek. Signed: Hendriock, officer. Certified Secretary.