Court of the 62nd Infantry Division Divisional Staff Headquarters, 2 December 1941
Present: Field Judge Advocate General Dr Witaschek,
Generally obligated as Recording Secretary, Gefreiter Münnich
2nd witness: Feldwebel Potyka. After being warned to tell the truth and after reference to the oath to be sworn:
“My name is Victor Potyka, born 22 March 1911, in Beuthen Upper Silesia; Catholic, after service with the 10th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment since 26 August 1939, civilian profession employee at employment office, a Feldwebel since 1 June1941.
The witness was first read his testimony of 25 October 1941, into the record of the IIIrd Battalion, 164th Infantry Regiment reproduced as follows:
“ I myself did not participate in the fighting. In the period between 29.9 and 1 October 1941 I was Hauptfeldwebel on duty with the 10th Company, and in compliance with orders I put together a recovery commando for the recovery of the fallen comrades. Of the members of the 10th Company, we found the following comrades between 25 September and
1 October 1941, exhibiting the following mutilations:
“In the cases of Gefreiters G. J. J. Ph. and W. we were unable to find any bullet wounds which could have caused death.
“In the cases of Gefreiters Th. and R. the bullet wounds are so slight that they could not have caused heath. Gefreiter Th. had a knee bandage, presumably applied by himself.
“Oberfeldwebel Kraft, assigned as platoon leader with the 10th Company, who was then wounded and is presently in a field hospital, reported to me as follows after his return from the fighting at Baryschweka.
“He said he saw how the Russians found Gefreiter Leopold W. who was stuck in the swamp, and then mistreated him with kicks, especially in the abdomen and in particular in the genitals. H. was later saved still alive but died in the meantime, due to his injuries without regaining consciousness, at the field-dressing station field dressing station. Oberfeldwebel Kraft furthermore indicated that Gefreiter W. screamed so loudly with pain that he thought W had lost his mind.”
The witness declared in regards to the above:
“My testimony of 25 October 1941, as read out to me, is correct. I hereby make it part of my statements today. I would furthermore like to add that I have indicated as mutilated, only those persons on whom atrocities were undoubtedly committed by the Russians. I have not included a few injuries which could have been inflicted in close combat in the swamp.
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Viktor Potyka, Feldwebel
The witness was sworn.
4th witness: Feldwebel Smigelski, who declared as follows after being warned to tell the truth and after being informed of the significance of the oath to be sworn:
“My name is Gottfried Smigelski, born 5 May 1913 in Ratibor, Catholic, after pre-war exercises a soldier again since 26 August 1939, with the 11th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment. I have been a Feldwebel since 1 June1941. My civilian occupation is that of a merchant.”
The witness was first read his testimony of 23 October 1941 into the record of the Third. Battalion 164th Infantry Regiment, reproduced as follows:
“I myself did not participate in the fighting. During the period between 24 September and 1 October 1941, I was Hauptfeldwebel on duty of the 11th Company. In compliance with orders, I set up a recovery commando for the recovery of the bodies of the fallen comrades. I personally participated in the recovery work. We found the following members of the 11th Company, between 25 September 1941 and 1 October 1941, exhibiting the following mutilations:
Feldwebel M. Smashed brain-pan
Oberfeldwbel K. Bayonet stab wound in brain-pan
Gefreiter von G. Smashed cranium
Gefreiter S. Gerh. Bayonet wounds in head
Gefreiter B. Smashed forehead
Gefreiter R Smashed brain-pan
Gefreiter W. Bayonet wounds in abdomen throat
Gefreiter G. Stab wound or blow to left eye and mutilated finger (probably in self-defence)
Rifleman Sch. Bayonet wound in face
The wounds were mostly inflicted by bayonet or blunt object; I assume that the majority of cases with rifle butts.
He declared in this regard: the testimony read out to me is correct; I have nothing to add to it. I hereby make it part of my statements today.:
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Gottfried Smigelski, Feldwebel. The witness was sworn.
6th witness: Gefrieter Haberkamm. After being warned to tell the truth and being informed of the significance of the oath, he stated:
“My name is Fritz Haberkamm, born 20 February 1914 in Gelsenkirchen, Evangelical, steel caster, soldier since 14 February 1940, with the 12th Company, 164th Infantry Regiment since 14 March 1941.
“I participated in the recovery of the bodies of the dead comrades. During the recovery we found, in particular Gefreiter Kloss, of the 12th Company, who was wounded. Kloss reported to me that he had seen how the Russians put out Gefreiter G.’s eyes with a bayonet. Gefreiter Kloss is in the field hospital at the present time; I do not know which field hospital he is in.”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Fritz Haberkamm, Gefreiter.
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Dr. Witaschek, Signed: Münnich, Gefreiter, Certified: Secretary.
Obergefreiter Begenat, in his sworn statement of 3 February 1942, describes the discovery on, 1 November 1941, in the locality of Jarylatsch, on the west bank of the Crimea, Gunners V.W. and G. who had fallen into Russian captivity:
“On the following day, Sunday, 2 November 1941,we were approaching the coastal battery to capture it. Our division first took the locality of Jarylatsch, in order to cut off the battery crew from the rear, and then take the Russian coastal battery position itself.
“This was a strongly fortified concreted position, with heavy bunkers and pivoting, concreted guns, the battery position was already vacated by the Russians, the guns were blown up. As we later learned from the inhabitants, the Russian crew had fled in the night, with the help of a boat, over the Black Sea. As I examined the Soviet Russian battery position, closer together, with Corporals Eikenkötter and Simanek, from my battery, we found a round, well-like walled pit of about two and half meters in diameter and two to three meters deep, with a ladder in it. On the floor of this pit, which was dry and contained no water, we already saw from up above the bodies of three German soldiers, lying all piled up on top of each other. They lay head down, and two of them were only dressed in underclothing, shirt, underpants and socks, while the third had blue overalls on.
I climbed down into the pit, turned the uppermost dead body over and immediately recognized First Gunner V of my battery. The two other bodies were later recognized by myself and Corporal Eikenkötter and Simanek as our comrades W. and G.
Two bodies of the three dead men exhibited blue and red shot welts on their backs as from blows with whips or sticks. First Gunner W.’s skull had been completely crushed and was cracked open on one side; there was no more brain left in the skull. We had already noticed pieces of brain on the sides of the pit from above. W’s brain was scooped up. He had obviously been beaten with a blunt object.
The body of First Gunner W still exhibited some body temperature, he was obviously the last killed. First Gunner G. and V. were already in rigor mortis. First Gunner W.’s face was completely suffused with blood; his skull was smashed in. G’s head was also smashed in. I personally observed no bullet wounds on any of the bodies. I and the two above named Corporals Eikenkötter and Simanek, based on the observations, came to the conviction that our three comrades, First Gunners W. G. had been captured by the Soviet Russians, were tortured and horribly murdered.
On 14 November 1941, two soldiers of the 80th Infantry Regiment, near Tarotino, on the Nara, were shot with a machine pistol by two Russian soldiers on the order of a Russian agency after being captured.
On 24 July 1941, near Smolenk, Gefreiter Rüdiger, as he lay wounded, completely defenseless and without ammunition, was shot beneath the right cheek by a Russian commissar from a distance of about half a meter. The bullet was later removed by surgery.
In July 1941, in fighting around Smolensk, 28 men from the 12th Company, 32nd Engineer Tank Regiment lay wounded and left on the battlefield, since the Company, was surrounded by the Russians and had to withdraw. On the next day, upon the renewed advance of the Company, the 28 wounded men were found dead. They had in the meantime been murdered by the Russians by blows with rifle butts on the skull and by bayonet thrusts. Prior to the arrival of the Russians the wounded men had attempted to bandage their own wounds, which was clear from the German first aid kits.
Obergefreiter Martin Wagner, at the end of July 1941, at a bridgehead in the vicinity of Bialystok, found several dead German soldiers whose genitals had been cut off. They belonged to an advance detachment which had
been surrounded by the Russians. One of them had also had his eyes gouged out. Several had their own bayonets stuck in their bodies.
Corporal Plötzing of the 9th (Motorized) Company, 8th Infantry Regiment, on 18 or 19 July 1941, near Borosdina, found three dead comrades who had been reported missing from a reconnaissance detail undertaking, dead in a forested area. The three comrades exhibited all signs of bestial torture: their head or faces were mutilated beyond recognition by blows with rifle butts and/or in other ways, while Corporal St’s gold teeth had been broken out.
Lieutenant Krügel and Lieutenant Menzel, as well as First Lieutenant Hartig, in addition to Lieutenant Olsinski, Hauptfeldwebel Raimund and Hauptfeldwebel Sieböck, reported under oath on a case of gross Russian cruelty on 11 July 1941 near Adamovka, in which nine defenseless soldiers of the engineer companies assigned there, wounded in the foregoing combat, fell victim.
Medic Eichinger made a sworn statement on the murder of four comrades from his battery, who were wounded at their gun on 8 July 1941, before Tolpino, and were found dead on the next day with stab wounds in the breast or the larynx.
The medical expert opinion of Dr. Josef Lamplmayr of 21 July 1941 proves the murder, in violation of international law, of Police Constable H of the 7th Battery of the 98th Artillery Regiment after being wounded in battle at Turow in July 1941.
A German soldier who fell into the hands of the Russians was murdered in November 1941 near Karganowitscha, obviously upon being transported away into the Russian base. Feldwebel Esch, on 17 November 1941, in a district occupied by German forces for the first time, found the body of a murdered German soldier. His body exhibited several bayonet wounds and his eyes had been put out.
Gefreiter Herman Meier testified as follows in a Berlin reserve hospital:
“In January 1942, my detachment was fighting in the region of Juchnow. There I observed the following: A comrade from my company drove a truck and end up behind the Russian lines with it. The Russians pulled him out of the driver’s seat, threw him under the truck and killed him with bayonets. When we occupied the area after the withdrawal of the Russians, we found our comrade lying beneath the truck with his trousers pulled down and several bayonet wounds in his buttocks. He was horribly mutilated. We found no pay book or other papers. The condition of the body and the fact that the trousers had been pulled down leave no doubt that the Russians had murdered the defenseless man.
Gefreiter Holdinghausen (4th Company, 181st Infantry Regiment) testified about a wounded German soldier killed by Russian soldiers with five bayonet wounds in the throat on 26 October 1941 in the village of Wokowkoje.
A similar case of the murder of a regimental comrade was described by Corporal Häcker in his sworn testimony of 5 February 1942.
Another regimental comrade of Corporal Häcker, wounded in the shoulder, arms and thigh in the vicinity of Perilessi in Russia, was also murdered after being found by the Russians. His body was completely cut to pieces, the head lay separately about two meters from the body. Both arms and both legs were hacked off.
A similar case of crimes committed by Russian soldiers is described by Rifleman Friedrich Günther in his sworn testimony of 5 February 1942. He says:
“On 22 June 1941, my detachment was fighting near Jaworow. Together with a comrade, I received an order to get water from a nearby village. There, we came under hostile fire. My comrade was wounded by a bullet in the thigh and couldn’t move. Since I couldn’t do anything else, I fled into a house. I saw Russian soldiers come out of a forest piece, and advance towards the wounded comrade and towards our machine gun nests. When I tried to find my wounded comrade again after about half an hour when the Russians had been driven away by our machine gun fire, I only found his corpse. He lay on his back. The uniform was torn open in front and the entire breast and a part of the rest of the front torso had actually been cut out with a sharp object. The entire upper body was a bloody mass. There is no other possibility than that my wounded comrade was murdered by the Russians.”
Gefreiter Gamers (11th Company, 240th Infantry Regiment) reports under oath on the murder of members of his Company, on 29 July 1941 near Smolensk:
“On 29 July 1941 the 3rd platoon of our Company, – about 25 men – were taken prisoner by overwhelmingly superior Russian forces. The 2nd platoon of our Company, to which I belonged, was now ordered to secure the area. I was 1st Machine Gun Rifleman and, from a distance of about 50 meters, saw the Russians take the weapons away from the prisoners and shoot them down individually with pistols or rifles.
“We had to withdraw and were no longer able to advance over the terrain where the murders had taken place. Only one assault troop succeeded in recovering four to five men from the comrades of the 3rd platoon. These comrades were still alive. One of them had a wound that grazed the heart, another had a shot in the lungs, a third had a severe leg wound. The leg only hung down from the body by a strip of skin. The wounds gave the impression that the Russians had attempted to cut the leg away from the trunk with a sharp object. The comrade was unable to say anything more about how it happened and died a short time later.”
Gefreiter Peters reports under oath on the killing of at least 15 men from the 8th Company, 111th Rifle Regiment, which attempted to force a crossing of the Dneiper in the night between the 2nd and 3rd July 1941. About 15 – 20 members of the Company, were wounded in the breast, shoulder or legs and remained in Russian hands, in a wounded condition. Upon a renewed advance of the Company, the wounded men were found dead, all killed by bullet wounds in the head.
Gefreiter Keithe reports on the killing of wounded German soldiers in September 1941 at the Waldai Heights.
Corporal Herber, who had been left unconscious on 12 August 1941 as the result of a through and through bullet wound to the lung and a shot through the left lower arm, south of Smolensk on the Sosh river, was found shortly afterwards by Russian troops. He describes his experiences in captivity, which only lasted about a quarter to half an hour, as follows:
“I was unconscious as a result of a through-and-through bullet wound to the lung, and a through-and-through shot to the lower arm. When I came to, a group of about 20 Russian soldiers were standing around me. I was pulled to my feet, they took my belt off and my field shirt as well. When I came to, a soldier stood on my stomach for support and in this manner violently pulled my watch and chain away from the ring by means of which it was attached to my trousers. The soldiers then searched my trouser pockets and took my wallet, the field cap and an egg-shaped hand grenade. The indicated parts of the uniform were stolen by the Russians. One of the Russians, who saw my stripes, said ‘Sergeant’ [in English in original]. At this point, a few other Russians kicked me in
in the groin, others beat me with rifle butts in the groin as well as the breast and abdomen. Another Russian hit me on the head with the egg hand grenade which he had taken from me. Another Russian came up to me with a cocked weapon and pressed the others to the side. I saw that he was going to shoot me. While I was lying on the ground, I kicked the barrel of the weapon. At that moment, the weapon went off. The shot went through the tip of my right boot, but without wounding me. I made it clear to him through signs that I already had two wounds. At this point another Russian soldier pressed his comrade, who had already shot away.
“I was them dragged by two Russian soldiers into a nearby forest and laid on the earth. This dragging happened in such a way that the two soldiers grabbed the boot shaft and dragged me away with my legs held high, so that my head and back dragged on the ground. The distance covered in this way was I would estimate about 300 meters. As I lay in the forest German machine gun bullets hit the ground right next to me. At this point the two Russians let me loose and went away. Shortly afterwards comrades from my Company, which was attacking, reached me. I was in Russian captivity for a total of a quarter to half an hour, so quickly did the events take place.”
Two German soldiers having surrendered to superior Russian forces between Suchinitschi and Kirow on 11 January 1942, were shot by about 30 – 40 Red Army men immediately after being taken prisoner. In conclusion, the Russians attacked German wounded who lay on a few sleds, with which they were to be transported back. The witness, Gefreiter Kiso, saw from close by how the wounded German soldiers were killed with rifle butts.
During the fighting at the Duna at the end of July or the beginning of August 1941, 30 – 40 slightly wounded members of the 78th Infantry Regiment, unable to move, were found fearfully mutilated: the Russians had cut their genitals off or gouged their eyes out or cut their stomachs open.
The 456th Infantry Regiment had numerous wounded who could not be taken away during a temporary retreat from the position on 19 October 1942 near Mologinow. A few days later the wounded men, about 60 men, were all found during an advance. The dead men had had their ears cut off, their eyes gouged out, some of them had had their mouths cut open some of them had had their genitals cut off.
Gefreiter Narzinksi was pulled off his horse by the Russians during the battle of Wjasma on 10 October 1941. About 20 Russian soldiers fell upon him: one of them beat him over the head with his rifle butt so that he was quite dazed and completely defenseless. In this situation another Russian stabbed him under the chin with a bayonet, while still another stabbed him under the arm. Then they left him. One of the Russian soldiers however turned back, walked up to the Gefreiter, held his rifle barrel against the Gefreiter’s left knee and pulled the trigger. The knee was so badly shattered that the leg had to be amputated.
The same witness, at the end of July 1941, near Bialystok, found a German Stabsfeldwebel who had fallen into Russian captivity while wounded. The Feldwebel had had his skull smashed in.
Upon combing a forested area near Bialystok in July 1941, Gefreiter Rudolf Schulz (6th Company, 9th Infantry Regiment) found two German soldiers whose fingers and ears were cut off.
The sworn medical opinion of First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Wittmann contained in sworn interrogation of 2 September 1941 proves the cruel mutilations of four members of a reconnaissance detail of a motorized engineer Battalion captured on the Sossenk river near the locality of Tarassowwitschi on 11 August 1941.
Horrid mutilations of a Gefreiter from the 41st Infantry Regiment captured during night time combat near Titowka on 10-11 August 1941 are established by the sworn statement of Lieutenant Wiesner and Hauptfeldwebel Emmert of the 41st (Motorized) Infantry Regiment.
Hauptfeldwebel Stadler described the mutilation of two German soldiers in Gorka on 25 July 1941. The dead men were completely plundered,
and one Obergefreiter had been stabbed all the way through the thigh. There must have been several stab wounds. Strips of flesh hung from his trousers. The right side of his neck had been completely shredded by several stab wounds. On another dead man, we observed that one eye had been put out and his Adam’s apple had been cut out. On his forehead he had greenish-bluish bruise. No bullet wounds were observed on the body.
Car Pool Officer Hermann Müller was left unconscious with a bullet graze wound on 6 August 1941 received during the battle of Golowanesk. As he came to, two Russians were standing by his feet, who were trying to take his boots off. From his blood-stained face, they must have seen that he was wounded. Behind the two Russians stood another who now came up. The witness had the general impression that he was a commissar or officer. He wore a visored cap. He had a pistol in his hand. This Russian commissar or officer personally searched the pockets of the wounded man and took his wallet away. When he had searched the clothing of the wounded man, he raised his pistol and fired two shots at the wounded witness from about a meter away. One shot went straight through one arm and his lungs, the second shot went through his back and broke his backbone at the fifth lumbar vertebrae. During the subsequent operation the last bullet was identified as a dum-dum bullet.
During a search action around the locality of Werbowze on 7 July1 1941, Corporal Wittenbock (3rd Company, 64th Rifle Regiment) found a corporal from his regiment, dead, after being missing only a few hours during combat. The corporal had had both his eyes gouged out with a bayonet; the eye sockets were exposed, right down to the bone, while the brain protruded from the cavities. Otherwise the dead man exhibited no wounds. His wedding ring and wallet were missing.
The Russian POW Raskatow reports, after he fell into German captivity on 16 October 1941:
“Our Division was in Ilinskoje on 14 October 1941. At about 16 hours, I saw two company leaders leading a captured German officer. At the same time, one German soldier, as I later heard from my platoon leader, acted as interpreter. The captured officer was taken to our divisional staff. Due to the great distance, I could not tell whether or not the officer had stars on his shoulder pads. He wore a gray uniform coat, an officer’s field marshal cap and
and had no weapon with him. The officer had, as I think I remember, dark hair, and was of large, powerful build. I myself didn’t see the officer any more. From comrades I heard that he had been brought about half an hour later from the Detachment Command Post to the Divisional Command Post by truck. The Divisional Staff of the 53rd Rifle Regiment occupied a position between Malojaroslavetz and Ilinskoje, on the left side, i.e. south of the road.
“About 20 hours, our company leader came back to the Company, and told us that the officer had been interrogated again at the divisional command post and had refused to make a statement. He only declared that he was the leader of a engineer company. The captured officer was said to have asked for 24 hours time to think it over, which was refused. He was only granted 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the officer said, he had not changed his mind, the Russians could do with him what they wanted. He only asked to be allowed to write a letter to his relatives. The officer then wrote the letter. My company leader did not know what happened to the letter. The officer was then taken out and shot. The company leader wanted to shoot him personally, but this was not permitted by the Chief of Staff, so the Chief of Staff personally shot the officer.
“More details on the circumstances of the capture I know nothing.
“The same evening, our Company, was driven in the locality of Nikolskoje. There we spent the night. On 15 October, early, I was assigned, with five others, to a reconnaissance detail, but came back unharmed and brought a few German pamphlets with him. In the evening of 15 October, I got separated from my Company, which was bivouacked in the forest while I remained in the village. On the morning of 16 October, my comrades were repulsed and the Germans were in the village. I then surrendered.”
The testimony of the Russian POW Raskatow was confirmed by the reports of the 3rd (Motorized) Infantry Division of 18 October 1941. At the same time, it was established in this report that the captured German officer may have been Captain Sch. captured by the Russians on 12 October 1941. Captain Sch. had, in order to scout a bridge blown up east of there advanced by fits and starts, leaving his mounted riflemen behind, under fire, and was suddenly surrounded and overpowered by six Russians.
16 wounded members of an engineer detachment went missing and were then found dead and mutilated on 22 July 1941, near the village of Wasykowo, southeast of Beshanizy. A list is attached to the record of 2 January 1942 on the interrogation of First Lieutenant Mulfinger to other members of his Company, who witnessed these events. The list describes in detail the original wounds and furthermore the type of murder of these wounded men.
Court, Second Army Corps Headquarters, 2 January 1942
Legal Auxiliaries List No. 107/41
Present: 1. Judge Advocate Dr. Mattinger, acting Judge
2. Officer Müller, Recording Secretary
After being warned to tell the truth and being informed of the significance of the oath, the following persons were interrogated:
“As to my person: Ernst Mulfinger, 28 years old, bachelor, Catholic, dentist in Munich, First Lieutenant and Company, leader of the 3rd Engineer 671.
“As to the facts: On 22 July 1941, the 3rd and 2nd Company, 671st Engineer Regiment was assigned to build bridges and clear mine fields near the village of Wasykowo on the Beshanizy Dworzy road. A returning column reported that they were under attack by a Russian division of superior strength, and that this was then in progress, moving towards us. I immediately sent my Company platoon ahead to secure the area and reported to the Battalion Commander. The Battalion Commander, on his own initiative, sent a reconnaissance squad from the 2nd Company against the advancing enemy. Shortly after the departure the reconnaissance squad came under fire from the Russians. Without yet being able to determine the strength of the advancing enemy, the Battalion commander ordered the 2nd and 3rd Company, to attack. On our right flank, the 2nd Company, was attacked by stronger Russian forces and was pushed back. The 2nd Company, began to suffer from an ammunition shortage which got worse over time. Though the withdrawal of the 2nd Company, the 3rd Company, gradually came to be threatened on the flank and was likewise forced to withdraw. In withdrawing, we took our wounded with us. Through the Russian flank fire we also had a number of wounded which could not be taken with us. These men must have been the ones we found dead and mutilated later, after the Russians had been thrown back gain. These were 16 members of the 2nd Company, who were found dead. The attached is a list of their names and also the wounds that the Russians inflicted upon them.
“I estimate the number of Russians who then attacked about 600 men. After us two guns were allocated in support and Russians were pushed back again in a counterattack. The Battalion counted 200 dead Russians.
“Our people were all completely robbed. Not only were things missing like tinned rations but also private property, purses, wallets, rings and watches.
As to my person: Süssmaier Alfons, 31 years old, married, Catholic, construction engineer in Munich, Officer of the 3rd Company, 671st Engineer Division.
As to the facts:
The dead men had been wounded and either could not back or who could no longer be carried back. After the Russians were beaten back again, I saw the majority of the dead men. I especially remember Gefreiter M. He had a wound on his right ankle and was killed by several bayonet wounds in the neck. Various comrades were killed by having their skulls smashed in. The heads of various comrades were smashed so badly that the brain mass lay in the steel helmet or on the ground.
Signed: Alfons Süssmaier
As to my person: Engkofer, Max, 23 years old, unmarried, Catholic, baker’s assistant in Munich, Gefreiter with the 3rd Company, 671st Engineer Division.
As to the facts: In relation to the incident of 22 July I remember the following comrades especially:
I can make no further statements.”
Signed: Max Engkofer
As to my person: Reiter, Alois, 32 years old, married, Catholic, chute foreman in Munich, Gefreiter with the 3rd Company, 671st Engineers.
As to the facts: To my group belonged H and B. After we went back to the forest, we took a position at the corner of a house in Wasykowo. There B was wounded first, through a shot in the breast. We dragged him into a cornfield, so the Russians wouldn’t find him. There he died. We remained with him until he was dead. The Russians did not find him in this hiding place he later exhibited ho further wounds. Almost at the same time as B, Gefreiter H was wounded by the same bullet.
He fell forward, the blood shot out all over the back of his shirt. Whether he was already dead from the shot when he fell into the hands of the Russians is to be assumed, but I cannot say with certainty. He had another two bayonet wounds, one through the throat and one through the abdomen. Both stab wounds went all the way through.
Signed: Alois Reiter
“As to my person: Pölzl Leopold, 30 years old, married, Catholic, warehouseman in Munich, chief engineer with the 3rd Company, 671st Engineers Division.
“As to the facts: After the Russians were repulsed, I helped collect the bodies. In so doing, Chief Engineers B. and H. were particularly noticeable. Which wounds the two had before, I cannot say. B. was stabbed with a bayonet through the stomach so that the midday rations protruded at the wound. It was a great round hole, so that I assume that the killer twisted the bayonet in B’s body.
“Chief engineer H had his skull smashed in right down to the height of the eyes. His steel helmet lay on the earth next to him.”
Signed: Pölzl, Leopold
The witness was legally sworn according after detailed warning as to the significance of the oath.
Continuation of the interrogation, after warning.
To my person: Dr. Ach, Robert, 27 years old, married, Evangelical, Assistant Physician in Munich, support troop Assistant Physician, with the 3rd Company, 671st Engineers Division.
As to the facts: During the combat operations in question I was assigned to caring for wounded men brought back. After the counterthrust by the Battalion I also came forward. I there had to care for the wounded of the companies. There was already a row of dead men dragged together and I heard at the same time that mutilations and atrocities had bee committed.
I did not view the dead men closely myself, since it was already evening and I was completely busy with the caring for the seriously wounded. My report at that time and the list of the mutilations have I prepared based on the material provided me by the Company.
Signed: Dr. Ach
”As to my person: Heindl, Rudolf, 27 years old, married, Catholic, Hauptfeldwebel with the 3rd Company, 671st Engineers Division.
“As to the facts: During the days of combat in question, I myself led the 2nd platoon. Upon receiving a report from an ammunition column, the 2nd and 3rd companies were sent against the advancing Russians. I personally estimated the number of the Russians at about 500 men. The 2nd Company, was the most seriously threatened and was also the first to be compelled to withdraw. This exposed our right flank, which was seriously threatened by the Russians. The 3rd Company, also had to withdraw, without it being possible to take back all wounded. After we received support from 2 guns, the Russians were attacked again and driven back. We had the hope of getting our wounded men back. G was the first to be found. He was dead and had bayonet wounds in the neck and breast. We now feared that the other wounded men were no longer alive, which later proved to be correct. I saw all the dead men. For the most part they were plundered: money, watches, rings and other valuables were taken away from the. In some cases, only the pay books were still left. The dead men, who had found at various places, were then collected by members of the Company. Based on what I saw myself, and also from the reports, I prepared a list of the names, wounds and injuries. This is the list that you have put in the file. On the same evening the dead men were buried in a mass military grave.”
Signed: Rudolf Heindl
“As to my person: Büchner, Arthur, 28 years old, married, Evangelical, iron turner in Ulm/Donau, Gefreiter in the medical corps with the 3rd Company, 671st Engineers.
“As to the facts: I was during all the combat operations on that day ahead with the Company. Upon the withdrawal, it was no possible to withdraw all the wounded. I am the only medic in the Company. I had no stretcher bearers. I could only ensure that 9 seriously injured men were taken back. During the later counterthrust we hoped to hope the wounded men again. It turned that 16 comrades were murdered by the Russian The possibility exists that one or the other
were already dead when the Russians mutilated them. Only with the 2nd Company, I found 2 wounded men who had hidden in a ditch and were apparently not seen by the Russians. All dead the injuries indicated in the list.”
Signed: Arthur Bücher
The witness was legally sworn after being warned in detail of the significance of the oath.
Signed: Dr. Mattinger, Judge Advocate, Signed: Müller, Officer. Certified: Secretary.
List of wounded men of the 3rd Company, 671st Engineers Division, shot, beaten to death, and mutilated by the Russians.
Officer Z. Wounded by bullet wound in thigh, murdered by blows with cudgel. Skull cap smashed in and bayonet wounds through neck, arms and legs and genitals cut off;
Obergefreiter H. Presumed killed by head shot, bayonet thrust through breast;
Gefreiter H. Killed by lung shot, stabs through breast;
Gefreiter K. Bullet wound in the calf, murdered by blows of cudgel to skull cap and bayonet in body.
Gefreiter M Wounded by bullet wound in ankle, murdered by bayonet stab wounds in neck;
Chief Engineer R. Wounded by head shot, murdered by bayonet stab wounds through breast;
Chief Engineer W. Wounded by shot to pelvis, murdered by bayonet stab wounds through breast;
Chief Engineer S. Wounded by bullet wound to knee, murdered by bayonet stab wounds to face;
Chief Engineer K. Wounded by lung shot, murdered by bayonet stab wounds, skull smashed in;
Chief Engineer Sch. Wounded by lung shot, murdered by blows with cudgel, skull cap smashed in;
Chief Engineer W. Bullet wound to abdomen, murdered by blows with cudgels, skull cap smashed in;
Gefreiter P. Wounded by shot to thigh, murdered by bayonet stab wounds one eye put out;
Gefreiter P. Wounded by stomach shot, murdered, skullcap smashed in, bayonet stab wounds;
Gefreiter B. Killed by head shot, afterwards skull smashed in;
Chief Engineer B. Wounded by knee shot, skull cap smashed in;
Chief Engineer H Wounded by thigh shot, bayonet stab wounds through breast and head;
Engineer G. Wounded, shot right knee and bayonet stab wounds in head, necks and breast.
The graves of the above listed members of the Company are located 100 m south of the crossroads of Wasykowo, 5 km southeast of Beshanizy (mass soldiers’ grave).
After the combats at the end of August 1941, at Jarzewo, on the Smolensk-Moscow highway, twelve German engineers were found who had all been killed by smashing their heads as they lay wounded.
On 20 August 1941, at Beloge Lake near Beloge, during a reconnaissance squad undertaking, Gefreiter T and Rifleman G were wounded and found dead the same day. The one had a thigh wound, the other had a head shot. In this condition they were murdered by the Russians. Gefreiter T. had had his skull cap smashed in, both his eyes put out, as well as stab wounds in the breast and neck, while Rifleman G
had a great wound in the body, which could only have been caused by a hand grenade.
The medical expert opinion of the army doctor of the IIIrd Battalion SS Regiment “Deutschland” of 13 November 1941 reports the mutilation of seven soldiers of the IIIrd Battalion SS Regiment “Deutschland”, who were wounded during a reconnaissance squad undertaking on 9 November 1941.
On 27 June 1941, after the localization of the 66th Anti-Aircraft Gun Regiment over the Memel, Corporal R and Corporal R were captured during evening combat, R. being wounded in the thigh. They had to undress down to their trousers and boots, all other property was taken away. They were then led to the camp of the Russians, where there were already several German POWs. The latter were tied hand and foot. Corporal R was led to these prisoners, while R, as result of this wound, was left lying by a tree. At dawn, the Russians advanced with the German POWs in front, towards the German lines. At the same time the Germans with tied hands and feet had to march with the Russians. A Russian suddenly fired four shots from a distance of about ten meters at Corporal R. R. received a shoulder a head hot, so that he fell unconscious. He was found on the following day by German soldiers. Nothing is known of the fate of the his comrades.
A characteristic testimony on the Russian attitude is contained in the record of 12 December 1941. Armed Forces pastor Frommberger (Staff of the 252nd Infantry Regiment) reports on the finding of a German soldier murdered by the Russians about 500 meters south east of Iwanowskoje, between the factory and hospital; he established the following injuries on the German soldier:
More than 25 bayonet wounds in the breast, left torso, neck and forehead; the arteries in the wrists on both wrists were open. They wounds made the impression of knife cuts. The dead man wore an undamaged bandage knotted around the abdomen. He was dressed only in underpants, trousers and drill coat. The field coat and coat were found next to him without insignia of rank. The boots, other equipment and identification tags were missing. Identification was therefore not possible. In the drill shirt the letters were found, which have been handed over, and which are contained in the file.
Lieutenant Hundriesers (6th Company, 311th Infantry Regiment) reports under oath on the killing of a wounded Corporal from his Battalion on 22 June 1941 during the advance in Lithuania and in addition that nine other wounded men, although they were defenseless, were also stabbed by the Russians with bayonets.
On 27 June 1941, the witness, Feldwebel Bunk, at Prawe-Mosty, found about 30 men from his Battalion who had been left behind at the battlefield the day before. They were mostly beaten to death, some of the had received bayonet wounds.
Lieutenant von Kleist (22nd Anti-Tank Division), on 18 July 1941, in the village Gretshuchi, south west of Lokina, saw a dead German soldier in a meadow with bullet wounds in the left cheek and left shoulder. He had also had his abdomen cut open from the umbilicus downwards and the genitals stabbed through with a bayonet. All pockets were empty.
Judge Advocate Brügmann (14th Tank Division) on 27 June 1941, in Luck, in the courtyard of a G.P.U. building in the northern section of the city, found a place with freshly turned earth. Upon being dug up, it turned out that four German fliers or flight officers were buried there. The bodies were cruelly mutilated. One body lacked the lower leg, another both legs. One of the dead men had had brandings with a soldering iron four centimeters in depth on the breast. The soldering iron was found in the same grave and fit the marks. The German flier NCO had obviously been tortured in the corner of wall in the courtyard, as stated by a Ukrainian resident and also indicated by spurts of blood on this corner. Another of the bodies of these fliers, who had the collar badge and epaulet of a first lieutenant of the Luftwaffe, showed an excised section shaped like a tea saucer in the side of the abdomen and wounds on the chin. That parts of the body had been hacked off was shown by the fact that the wounds showed impacts and splintered bones protruded from the flesh. The name of one of the flight lieutenants and his personal data were shown by papers found in the wallet of the dead man.
Pictorial documentation to Case 146
Flight officer buried in the courtyard of the G.P.U. building in Luck. One of the feet were hacked off, one of them had had his right leg and the left lower left hacked off. A Red Star was burnt four centimeters deep in the breast with a soldering iron. The left body had a section of the abdomen about the size of a tea saucer cut out the fourth had a missing lower leg and his testicles were crushed.
Document to Case 146
Court of the 14th Tank Division Local Bivouac, 1 October 1941
Reserve Auxiliary List No. 154/41 Field Post Number 28 125
Present: Judge Advocate Herrmann, acting judge
Corporal Winkler, Recording Secretary.
Appearing in response to an order, Judge Advocate Brügmann appeared and declared as follows after he was informed of the significance of the oath:
“As to my person: My name is Herbert Brügmann, I am 41 years old, of the Evangelical faith and technical Judge Advocate with the 4th (Motorized) Motor Mechanics Team of the 14th Tank Division.
“As to the facts: On 27 June1941, the 4th (Motorized) Motor Mechanics Team occupied a large terrain with courtyard and garden in a combat aircraft collection point in the northern section of the city of Luck. After visiting it turned that this was the G.P.U. building of the city of Luck. That it was a G.P.U. building was apparent from the papers found, testimonies of the civilian population and the weapons and pieces of uniforms found. I arrived at the G.P.U. building about 5 hours in the morning.
”At about 5 hours, a civilian appeared who indicated that he was Ukrainian who under gave us to understand, through gestures and incomprehensible words, that German soldiers had been tortured an buried here. The Ukrainian used individual words in this connection, such as ‘Russyky-Bolshevik Germansky officer dead’, and the like At this point he took to a corner of the house which was sprinkled with blood and a place in the vicinity in which remains of paper and burnt wood could be seen, I considered it first not possible that the words and signs of the Russian to much credibility should be given. On the pile of burnt remains, however, a shoe protruded, with a human foot in it. After that he showed me a place in the courtyard with freshly turned earth and designated this as the burial place of the tortured German fliers.
"I immediately gave him a spade and ordered him to dig the designated place up a little bit. After digging about 30 cm, an odor of decomposition became perceptible. After 60-70 cm he found the first body. From the German flier NCO outfit, I recognized it as a German flier. Both feet were hacked off. On one leg was broad burning ring. Somewhat deeper the second body was concealed. This was shockingly mutilated, the right leg was completely missing, the lower left leg was also missing. In his breast was a wedge-shaped burnt mark, about4 cm deep, obviously made with a soldering iron, which was later found in the grave. The holes were burnt in about the shape of a Russian star. I had the soldering iron introduced into the holes by the Ukrainian and was able to determine that this exactly fit the holes. The third body dug up wore a flight outfit, upon which the rank insignia of a First Lieutenant in the Luftwaffe was recognizable from the Collar badge and epaulets. This body had a tea-saucer shaped section cut out of the side of the abdomen and the face showed wounds to the chin. The mouth was puckered, lips and nose were badly swollen. A leg was then dug up out of the grave. The fourth body, which was then dug up, was without lower legs. The testicles were crushed, while the penis, insofar as recognizable, was unharmed. I assume that these wounds were caused by torture, since the Ukrainian especially indicated so by means of signs. The Ukrainian repeatedly led us to the corner above mentioned corner of the wall showed us the blood spurts, whereby I had to assumed that a torture of the officer had taken place here. It should furthermore be noted that the fourth body was naked. There were no burns on the first body. That body parts had been hacked off, is to be assumed from the fact that the wounds showed blows and splintered bones protruded from the flesh. One of the officers bore the Iron Cross First Class. We had him searched for papers and found a wallet on one of the officers. In this were papers, whereby the lieutenant was identified as Flight lieutenant Emil St. born 1910 in P. The wallet were also contained one 10 mark note and one German holiday food ration card, which was secured.
Annexed photographs, taken by Lt Schönfelder, Field post number 17391, are affixed to my interrogation.
Read out approved and signed. Brügmann, Technical Judge Advocate.
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Herrmann. Certified: Secretary.
First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Jüttner reports in his sworn statement of 6 November 1941 also an expert report on the murder in Vipinga near Rositten (Latvia) in July 1941 of Air Force First Lieutenant H. found, who fell into the hands of the Russians in a wounded condition, after being tied up, was murdered by cudgel blows to the head. The body was still tied when it was found in the grave. A few days before the discovery of the body the Captain (Medical Corps) Dr. Rademacher near Vipinga had also found a dead Air Force Gefreiter, also tied with a crushed head.
Corporal Zaborowski (2nd Company, 291st Artillery Regiment) was severely wounded during the attack on the village of Jaagupi near Are in Estonia on 29 July 1941 by a shot to the knee. The leg was completely smashed. Before him lay an infantry man both of whose legs had been shot away by an anti-tank shell. He saw 30 to 40 Russians run up and described his further observations as follows:
“In my opinion, they were all women. They had uniforms on and bore weapons with bayonets. That they were women I recognized by the fact that they had long hair, which hung down under their caps. They also had full breasts. To which formation they belonged, I do not know. Before they had reached me I dipped my hand in blood and smeared my face with it, since I wanted them to think I was dead. I did so and closed my eyes. Only once in a while I opened them a little and could therefore observe what was going on around me. Fit several of these female soldiers came up to me, jabbed me with rifle butts in the region of the stomach and kicked me in the face with their boots. They also attempted to bend my finger backwards, but they did not break it. They then went through my pockets, turning me over. They took my pay book, in which I had 60 RM in paper money, in addition to my belt, to which my pistol, bayonet, map pouch, bread bag and canteen were attached. These women soldiers didn’t mistreat me in any other way obviously because they thought I was dead. On the other hand, I could observe that they went up to the infantry man I mentioned before, who was still alive and was crying and moaning. First they stabbed him with their bayonet in the neck, while he lay on his back on the earth. Then I saw that one of the soldier women had a curved knife about the height of his breast bone and cut open his belly after opening his shirt. Whether his intestines protruded, I did not see. Whether he was still alive at this time, I do not know. He only gave off a gurgling noise when he got the stab wound in the neck and lay still.”
On 27 June 1941, in the vicinity of Grodno, Obergefreiter Hertrampf was wounded (infantry rifle wound in both thighs). He describes his observations under oath in the record of 22 October 1941:
“An engineer dragged me into cover under a bush, where I lay for several hours. From here I had a good view of the terrain and of a railway embankment in the vicinity.
"On the railway embankment a squad of about 30 to 50 Russian soldiers was marching along the embankment. They were driving a horse-drawn anti-tank gun with them. On the railway embankment lay two German wounded. The two wounded were murdered by pistol shots fired by two Russian commissars with the above mentioned column.
"The shot took place in the top half of the body; as far as I could see, they were head shots.
"I recognized the Russian commissar exactly by his cap and armband. Between me and the railway embankment lay a wheat field, the railway embankment was somewhat raised, so that I could observe the proceedings exactly.
"The two Russian commissars then marched away with the above mentioned column along the railway embankment. The distance between myself and the place where the two wounded men were murdered was about 100 to 150 meters.
From the worn testimony of the Lieutenat Leveloh (1st Company, 21st Engineer Division) of 14 October 1941, in connection with the testimony of the Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Engel (1. (H.) 12) [?] of 15 October 1941 and the testimony of Corporal (Medical Corps) Schneider (1. (H.) 12) of the same date, describes the violent killing and mutilation of Luftwaffe Obergefreiter Sch, and presumably also that of Pilot Corporal Sch, by the Russians on 23 August 1941. A German fighter plane, to whose crew apart from the above named two fliers, lieutenant Fischer also belonged as observer, was made to crash in the vicinity of Mantkoshewo near Grijatka. Lieutenant Fischer had first bandaged the two wounded comrades after the crash and then went to get help. Obergefreiter Sch.’s body was later found, by engineers southwest of Babino, severely mutilated, on 16 September 1941. Only Lieutenant Fischer returned to his squad on 28 August 1941. Sch, who only had wounds on his legs after the crash, exhibited a broad stab wound on his upper arm when he was found dead. His lower jaw was completely smashed, obviously with a cudgel blow, and both ears were cut off.
On 6 September 1941, three men from the 415th Infantry Regiment who had been captured near Tschaschtschiwez were found killed by blows with cudgels and spades and/or shots to the neck.
The sworn testimony of Lieutenant Chaplinski and the expert opinion of Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Schmidt of 6 October 1941 show that in the barracks of the airfield in Orel on 5 October 1941 in the cellar a German flight lieutenant brought in by the Russians at the most two days before was killed by shots to the neck.
On 12 September 1941, near Lytschkowa, three surviving men from the 73rd Rifle Regiment were killed by the Russians by gunshots and bayonet thrusts. The wounded Corporal Sch. who was left on the battlefield, was shot by a Russian (sworn testimony of Captain Jobst von Frankenberg).
Gefreiter Hartwigsen (4th Company, 501st Infantry Regiment) was stood up against the wall of a house after capture by Russian forces. He was then beaten with sabers by as many Russians as could get to him. When one hand had already been hacked off and he also had several cuts to the face and neck, he was thrown to the ground. Then came other Russians and stabbed him in the back. He was freed by German engineers and taken to the dressing station.
On Minks highway Gefreiter Bude (4th Company, 41st Anti-Aircraft transport battery) found a dead German flight lieutenant whose boots had been pulled off and his hands tied together behind his back with a rope as thick as a finger. The pockets were completely empty. He had obviously been strangled after capture with a linen cloth knotted around his neck.
In August 1941 on the road not far from Uman, two wounded German officers (infantry lieutenants) and a German military physician were found dead with their throats cut. The two officers had obviously remained lying together since one had a bullet wound in the thigh, the other had a shot in the arm. The military physician had obviously come to treat and bandage the two wounded men. The physician and the wounded men were then murdered by the Russians.
In the vicinity of Simenowa in the period between 10 and 12 July 1941, the Russians attacked the position of the 508th Infantry Regiment in a large-scale aerial attack. At this point, Gefreiter Gohla observed how a machine gun group which had advanced about 400 meters was surrounded by Russians. The eight men raised their
hands in surrender. The Russians stabbed the defenseless soldiers with bayonets and murdered them.
Farrier Master Kraft was in September 1941 was present at the burial of dead men in the vicinity of Desna. Two of the infantry men being buried had obviously been murdered or mutilated by the Russians. They had bayonet wounds in their breast and both had had their genitals cut off.
A detailed description of the cruel mistreatment of POWs by Russian troops on the evacuation from the front is contained in the sworn testimony of Captain (Cavalry) Karl Morawetz, who was captured by the Russians on 26 June 1941, in the vicinity of the Bug. He testified as follows:
“On 26 June 1941 my platoon received the order to determine whether or not a locality was free of hostile forces. During this assignment we came over a Russian road of withdrawal which was still free of hostile forces at the time. As we reached the locality, our Sergeant (Cavalry) sent a report back to the squadron. We remained in the locality for a while. Soon afterwards the road became full of retreating Russians. We were discovered, and the majority of us were taken captive after a fire fight. Our platoon as equipped with motorcycles. During the capture it consisted of Sergeant (Cavalry) Sch. Corporal S. Corporal Z, and about 20 to 25 men. We were dragged away by about 500 Russians, we had to carry the Russian ammunition boxes and while we doing so, we came under German and Russian infantry and artillery fire. In the next few days, a few of us, without any visible reason, were shot or shot at. We offered no more resistance, and none of us was interrogated. Our valuables, pay books and identification tags had already been taken away when we were captured. Our weapons were also taken away from us. I myself saw how two Russian cavalrymen shot Captain (Cavalry) B. from their horses. He lay with us during a rest on the ground and was shot through the chest from five to six meters away. Corporal Z was also shot with a pistol in my presence. I saw how he received a shot in the leg. Finally I myself saw how a wounded German infantry officer had to stand with his face against a tree and then a Russian officer shot him down from behind. He too had more weapons with him. Here and again we were pushed with blows by rifle buts without reason by the accompanying Russian personnel. Our clothing and underclothing was taken away from us, A Russian soldier also cut my boots and threw them away. We had to march along completely naked and lay naked on the bare ground during the pauses. I didn’t see any other shootings. I nevertheless conclude from the sudden disappearance of my comrades that they were shot.
“On 29 or 30 June, a Russian officer gave an order during the march that obviously meant “stop”, since everybody stopped still. He ordered a few Russian soldiers, to cut a tree so that a stump remained standing bigger than a man. A diagonal beam was fastened to the stump. Now the officer signaled to me that I should stand with my face before this stump. While I obeyed this order, he went a short ways behind me and I heard him cock his pistol. I convinced myself with my own eyes, because I looked around. I had only been standing before the stump a short time when a shot rang out. It hit me in the back through the lung and exited in front. I fell down immediately, and I lay on the ground, I saw how the blood ran out. Soon afterwards I became unconscious. After a rather long time I came to again, and saw that the Russians had withdrawn.”
In a village before Polozk, the bodies of two soldiers from the Signal Corps were found. One had had his throat cut, the other had had his eyes put out, the teeth bashed in and the veins cut.
Air Force Colonel G and Obergefreiter P were forced to make a forced landing on 24 June 1941, with a Fieseler Storch aircraft in the vicinity of the railway line Linowo Bereza-Kartuska, not far from the Pawlowicze railway line. The landing took place in the vicinity of a Russian field position. The body of Colonel G showed, apart from a wound on the back of his head the size of a man’s hand, a wound to the right eye, which was discharged. The wound can only have been caused by a stab or push. The left upper lip was cut off. On the left corner of the mouth was a branding scar. The left ring finger was cut off. Obergefreiter P’s body exhibited breast and abdominal wounds presumably caused by a bayonet thrust, in addition to a bullet wound in the middle of the bridge of the nose. According to the statements of civilians who lived in the vicinity of the landing place, the fliers, immediately after their landing, which took place completely normally, were surrounded by about 100 Russian soldiers, including at least 10 officers. The witness heard several shots. The wounds established by the German doctor five days later show violent murder and mutilation of the two fliers, at least that of Colonel von G. with certainty. The pockets of both fliers were completely empty.
The sworn testimony and expert opinion of the First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Löbbert of 23 September 1941 prove the cruel murder of the Aerial Gunner Corporal E. (Ist Battalion, 77th Fighter Squadron) who was tortured to death by the Russians on 22 June 1941, after bailing out of his burning plane in the vicinity of the Kedania railway station.
His burial place was opened on 4 July 1941. The findings of the expert opinion were summarized as follows:
“Corporal E. was not shot, but beaten to death or strangled, assuming he was even dead when buried. The stab wound on the right thigh (the size and shape suggest a bayonet thrust) must have been inflicted as he lay on the ground since the stab wound is only on the front and the blood smears are only on the back. The gold crown in the upper jaw was broken out. All clothing and pieces of equipment had been taken away from the dead (or defenseless) man, right down to the shirt, underpants, socks and neckerchief. He was then thrown into the ditch with his genitals exposed and his face down. The earth shoveled over his head was weighted down with large stones and probably doused with gasoline.”
On 2 August 1941, in the terrain of advance of the 6th Company, 136th Mountain Infantry Regiment, a dead German soldier was found upon whose breast a large Soviet star and upon whose abdomen a larger swastika had been branded. His eye sockets were empty. Other German soldiers lying in the immediate vicinity had also had their eyes poked out.
On 21 July in 1941, at the edge of a forest about ten kilometers eastward from Minsk, on the Moscow-Minsk highway, in a rifle pit, Oberfeldwebel Zyball found the body of a German flight lieutenant, whose hands had been tied behind his back with binding wire.
The records of 9 October, 28 November and 8 December 1941 contain the interrogation as to the murder of eighteen German members of the German armed forces (eleven fliers and two members of the army), who had been delivered to the G.P.U. prison in Prokurow at the end of June 1941. The information of the witnesses on the number of the German soldiers killed there and the time of the delivery were not in perfect accordance with each other. But it has been established that at least thirteen German soldiers were murdered by shots at short range in the cellar of the G.P.U. prison a few days before the evacuation of Proskurow by the Russians, under the leadership of the representative head of the KNHB in Proskurow and in the present of three other Jewish prison officials.
Proskurow, 9 November 1941
Documents to Case 165 Proskurow, 9 October 41
Present: 1 First Lieutenant (Medical Corp), Dr. Golla, Wb. Medical Officer with the VIIIth [?], field post number 37863 Air District, Anti-Tank, Breslau
2. First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Ulrich Knak, Army Doctor of the Air Force Construction Battalion 21/XVII L 29811 air district, Anti-Tank, Breslau
On the order of the court before the Commander of the Ukraine, we, the undersigned, on today’s date, between the hours of 9:45 -12.30 h, in the dissecting room of the Ukrainian hospital at Proskurow, examined the bodies of 13 members of the German armed forces found in the cellar of the G.P.U. prison in Proskurow on 4 October 1941, and undertaken a partial autopsy on them and give the following findings to the following record.
All bodies were found already in an advanced state of decomposition, so that technically a complete dissection cold have not have been carried out. Since the cause of death was perfectly clear in 12 cases, and could be established with a probability bordering on certainty in 13 cases, a complete dissection was dispensed with on these grounds as well.
All bodies exhibited no indication of mutilation, torture with boiling water or other before death.
-Body 1: Body of a man of medium build, dressed in a flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of a First Lieutenant. The right foot was wrapped with a bandage. After removal of the same, in the region of the joint, but lower, a rather large flow of blood was visible, which upon section indicates the signs of the discharge of blood into the tissues before death. This was probably a distortion. The right side of the Parietal bone indicates severing and amputation of the scalp a bullet entry wound. The corresponding exit would is found on the left parietal bone. The entry wound is caliber-sized, the exit would measures 2.5 x 1 cm. The surrounding region is shattered. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 2: Body dressed in flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of an Stabsfeldwebel. The scalp was severed and amputated. Rather in the midst of the left temple temporal bone is a bullet exit wound with splitting of the surrounding region. A bullet entry wound could not be found. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 3: Body dressed in flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of an Stabsfeldwebel. The scalp was severed and amputated. Rather in the midst of the left temporal bone was found a bullet entry wound with fragments of the surrounding area. A bullet exit wound could not be found. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 4: Body dressed in flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of an Stabsfeldwebel. The scalp was severed and amputated. The parietal bone, at about the level of the crown, exhibited a splintered point of fracture, 2 x 1.5 cm in size, with a defect about the size of a caliber on the front edge. In the region of the point of fracture, part of the left parietal bone could be lifted up. A large fissure lead from there downwards into the occipital plate. Cause of death: Probably a head shot; the effect of violence with a blunt object cannot be ruled out with certainty
-Body no. 5: Body dressed with flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of a Feldwebel. The left lower leg is splinted with a SAM splint. The scalp was severed and amputated. The right parietal bone near the temporal bone was a bullet entry wound. A bullet exit wound could not be found. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 6: Body dressed in flier NCO uniform, with insignia of a Feldwebel. The lower left leg is splinted with a SAM splint. The scalp is severed and amputated. On the right parietal bone in the vicinity of the temporal bone there is a bullet entry wound. The exit wound was found on the left parietal bone in the vicinity of the occipital plate. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body 7: Body in flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of an Oberfeldwebel. The scalp was severed and amputated. On the right temple was an entry wound. The exit couldn’t was not found. Cause of death: head shot: Close range).
-Body no. 8: Body dressed in flier NCO uniform, with the insignia of a airman first class. The scalp was severed and amputated. On the edge of the right Temporal bone on the parietal bone was an entry wound. An exit wound was not found. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 9: Body dressed in flier NCO uniform with the insignia of airman first class. The scalp was severed and amputated. On the right parietal bone in the vicinity of the occipital plate was an entry wound. An exit wound was not found. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 10: Body in flier NCO suit, rank not recognizable. The scalp was severed and amputated in the midst of the frontal bone was a entry wound. An exit wound was not found. Cause of death: head shot: close range).
-Body no. 11: Body dressed in army uniform, with the rank of a Corporal. The scalp is severed and amputated. In the left parietal bone was an entry wound. An exit wound not was not found. Cause of death: head shot (close range)
-Body no. 12: Body dressed in army uniform with insignia of a gefreiter. The scalp was severed and amputated. In the left temporal bone in an entry wound. A exit wound was not found. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
-Body no. 13: body dressed in flier NCO trousers. Rank not recognizable. The head bears a bandage, with a compress in the region of the right cheek. somewhat over the zygoma, corresponding to the course of the zygoma, appears a 4-5 cm defect, extending to the zygoma, the mechanism of origin of which is not recognizable due to the advanced state of decomposition. The zygoma is fractured, and the lower jaw is amputated out of its joint. The scalp is severed and amputated. Approximately in the edge of the forehead and temporal bone (left) there is an entry wound, caused by 2 projectiles, penetrating right next to each other. Cause of death: head shot (close range).
It must be assumed, with a degree of probability bordering on certainty, that the death of all members of the armed forces appeared immediately according to the wound.
Signed: Dr. Knack, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) (decorated). Signed. Dr. Golla, Major (Medical Corps) of the reserve, available for service. Certified: Secretary.
Court of the Field Command Post 183. Presently at Proskurow, 28 November 1941
Interrogating judge: Judge Advocate Dr. Reinlein. Typist: Gefreiter Kaufmann
Witness interrogation: Upon being summonsed, there appeared the witness Ukrainitz, Boris.
He was informed of the significance of the both and the significance of the oath and interrogated as follows:
“As to my person: My name is Ukrainitz, Boris, I live in Proskurow, Realischgasse no. 4, I am 48 years old, Ukrainian orthodox in religion.
“As to the facts: 5 days before the withdrawal of the Bolsheviks, as far as I can remember, it was on 3 July 1941, I saw about 12 o’clock on the main road 3 German fliers, who had had their hands tied behind their backs and their eyes blindfolded. They were escorted by 4 Russian soldiers. The Bolsheviks had had their rifles with fixed bayonets in their hands. I could not see any wounds on the German soldiers, but I was unable to look at them for a long, since that was strictly forbidden and as I am Ukrainian I was already under suspicion.
“These 3 captured German soldiers were a plane crew which had made an emergency landing at 2 July , 2.5 km from Proskurow, at the Hrecanan village. The plane had flown over Proskurow at low altitude at about 16 hours. This was a three motor plane, which obviously had a defective motor, since the crew attempted to repair the plane after the emergency landing, which I could see clearly from my house. Soon came several cars with Bolsheviks, who had machine guns with them, to take the crew prisoner. The crew defended themselves with a machine gun, it may have been several machines guns for about 2 hours, until all their ammunition was exhausted. Then they were taken prisoner.
“Before the Bolsheviks came, they tried to start the machine several times but were not successful. It just got a little ways off the ground and then fell back down again. Otherwise I can’t say anything else.
“This testimony is correct, I have nothing to add to it.”
Signed signature, Interpreter: Signed signature. Signed: Dr. Reinlein, Judge Advocate
The witness swore the oath in accordance with the regulations.
Signed: Herbert Kaufmann, Typist, Signed: Dr. Reinelin, Judge Advocate, Certified: Secretary.
Court of 183rd Field Command Post Presently at Proskurow, 28 November1941
Interrogating judge: Judge Advocate Dr. Reinlein. Typist: Gefreiter Kaufmann
Witness interrogation: upon being summoned there appeared the witness Kasprik, Pjotr (Peter). He was informed of the significance of the oath and the consequences of swearing the oath and was interrogated as follows:
“I myself spent about 6 months in the G.P.U. prison, since I had had a dispute with a N.K.V.D. member as dispatcher in Starakonstantinow. I was in jail at Proskurow until 5 July 1941
and was transferred to Winniza with about 1500 civilian prisoners. I did not notice the presence of German soldiers during these prisoner transports.
“One or two days before out transport to Winniza, I looked out the window of the room in which I was lodged with 90 other prisoners and which law on the 1st floor with a view over the entry to the prison; I saw a truck with 6 or 7 (captured) German soldiers enter the gate of the prison. Next to the soldiers, on the truck, lay a few pieces of uniforms, among them also a cap with visor and silver braid. The captured German soldiers stood with blindfolded eyes and their hands tied behind their backs on the truck. A Bolshevik Major photographed this group. At this a soldiers I no longer know whether it was an officer or a sergeant, ripped the epaulets off the uniforms take the blindfolds off their eyes, upon which the major took a second photograph. I then saw the prisoners getting down off the truck helping one of their comrades down with them. Of the prisoners, 2 were wounded on the head, 1 on the head and one on the thigh. I assume that at any rate since I saw bloody spots and saw bandages on their heads.
“Fellow 2 prisoners, who were together with me, as mentioned, saw on the same day, about 15 hours, another 2 trucks carrying prisoners. How many prisoners were involved, I don’t know. Otherwise I can say nothing else.
"This testimony is correct. I have nothing to add to it."
Signed: signature, as interpreter, Signed: signature, Signed: Dr. Reinlein, Judge Advocate.
The witness swore the oath according to the regulations.
Signed: Herbert Kaufmanm, typist. Signed: Dr Reinelin, Judge Advocate. Certified: sectary.
Court of 183rd field command post Presently at Proskurow, 28 November 1941
Reserve Auxiliary List 10/41
Interrogating judge: Judge Advocate, Dr. Reinlein, as typist: Gefreiter Kaufmann
Witness interrogation: being brought forward, there appeared the witness Kolomyjetz, Nikolai. He was informed of the significance of the oath and the consequences of swearing the oath and was interrogated as follows:
“As to my person: My name is Nikolai Kolomyjetz, I am a Ukrainian, born in 1913 in Karpowce and a resident of the same city.
“As to the facts: I was employed from 1937 to 1939 as overseer and from 3 July 1941 as warehouseman in the G.P.U. prison in Proskurow. On 27 or 28 June 1941, I can no longer exactly remember the date, at about 15 hours, a truck with 12 German fliers, including 1 officer, were brought into the prison. These soldiers were without caps, had their eyes blindfolded and one of them had a bandage around his head. I can exactly remember that one of them had a rather long ribbon bar on his breast. A second had the Iron Cross on his bread and a ribbon in the buttonhole. The last was immediately brought from the truck into the guardroom, where the cross was taken off his breast. He protested. He spoke some Russian, and when they tore the cross off his breast he said, “Hitler will give me another one!” I estimate these soldiers were about 34-36 years old. The flier NCO with the bandage on his head was brought into a sickbay and the other 11 were brought into the part of the prison which is still used as a prison. As the 11 were being taken away, I was no longer present and I can no longer say whether of them had a wound on his foot or wore a bandage. Upon searching the uniforms, everything was taken away from them and kept in a iron chest in the book keeping department.
On 3 July, a larger transport of civilian prisoners, including 2 soldiers in brown uniforms, there were no Germans, by means of rail through Winniza to Zolotonoscha on the left bank of the Dnieper. The 12 German solders and with them one woman, and two civilians Ukrainians (remained behind in the prison. I was with one of these transports to Winniza and met there the overseer Buhera, Peter from Andychowce, who with another later transport had come. The same told me the following: In the night of 3-4 July, the representative head of the NKHB at Proskurow, I no longer know his name, came to the prison and had the German soldiers and the three civilians individually brought to the small cellar (where the bodies were found). This cellar there was only a weak light. Every individual had to kneel down and the Jew personally killed everyone of them with a head shot with a Nagan pistol. I heard nothing about any mistreatment. During the murders in the cellar, the Jew Kasanschi Jankil Lwowitsch,
commander of the guards and representative of the prison director, about 40 years old (was still head of the guard during the supervision of the fliers), the Jew Wassermann, overseer, about 35 years old, the Jew Machnewitsch Schloma Lebowitsch, overseer, about 27 years old and the Ukrainian Lubtschak Wasil Markowitsch, overseer, 37 years old.
Later it was also said that, on 25 June near Hrecana, a German airplane had been forded to make an emergency landing, and the crew was said to have been brought to Proskurow in the G.P.U. prison in the main street. The same was said to have happened to the crew of a German airplane allegedly shot down at the same time over the airfield of Proskurow. What happened to these fliers later, I was unable to find out.
This my testimony is correct, I have nothing to add.
Signed: signature, as interpreter: Signed: signature, Signed: Dr. Reinlein, Judge Advocate.
The witness swore the oath according to the regulations.
Signed: Herbert Kaufmann, typist. Signed: Dr. Reinelin, Judge Advocate, Certified: Secretary.
The Russian citizen and farmer Kantenko testified under oath to the shooting, at the order of a Russian commissar, of two German wounded, whom the witness had given shelter in his dugout.
Corporal Kirchner, although wounded and defenseless due to a bullet wound to the head, was trampled on by a group of Russian soldiers. They tore his head bandage off and beat him on the breast with their rifle butts, causing a fracture of the sternum. A Russian officer beat him in the face with his pistol butt, because he refused to answer the question as to whether there were any German tanks in the vicinity. Corporal Kirchner saw as he was being led away from the front line, that Russian soldiers stood around a lieutenant from his Company, who was also wounded, and heard the man scream. The body of the lieutenant was later found decapitated. Corporal Kirchner spent two days in Russian captivity without any care; they never even changed his bandage. Whenever he asked for something, he was hit or kicked. During his captivity he was robbed of all personal property.
On 23 June 1941, Lieutenant T. Chief Rifleman B and Obergefreiter T were killed fighting in a forest. Their bodies were found very seriously mutilated the next day. Chief rifleman B had been stabbed in the abdomen with his own bayonet. The faces of the dead men were struck and beaten to a pulp by stab and cutting wounds, the bodies were plundered.
The violent methods of Russian commissars against German prisoners of war were once again confirmed in the sworn testimony of Gefreiter Prier of 23 November 1941. On 28 June 1941, during a dawn reconnaissance mission, Prier, a Corporal and a Gefreiter unexpectedly met a superior Russian group led by a commissar. They surrendered to the superior force and lay down their weapons. The commissar first examined the Corporal, tore his identity tag and the epaulets off and made him take the belts off the others. The he took several steps backwards, gave his men a signal with his hand they all opened first simultaneously on the three men with his men, he himself with a machine pistol. The Corporal and the soldier were fatally wounded. The witnesses succeeded in escaping the same fate by quickly jumping into the forest.
On 10 October 1941 Russian troops murdered 15 German artillery men in the village Gorki village near Kalinin after an attack on the village. The dead men exhibited cruel mutilations: some of them had had their eyes put out, others their tongues, ears or their genitals cut off.
A similar case is described by the witness S.S. Rifleman Schröter: On 5 or 6 July 1941 the Battalion to which the witness belonged retook a village between Rownow and Ostrog. It had previously been occupied by a motorcycle squadron which had been thrown back by the night attack by the Russians. The newly advancing Battalion found about 80 dead members of the motorcycle squadron. Here, as well, it was established that some of the prisoners had had their eyes put out, their ears or genitals cut off, while others had their stomachs cut open. Many of the dead exhibited several mutilations of this type.
The testimony of Cornet Corporal von der Decken and Gefreiter Siewek deal with similar murders and mutilations from the period from the beginning to the end of July 1941.
Captain Schull, Tank Training Regiment, described the following case of bestial cruelty under oath:
“One day in September 1941, I was driving with my vehicle (I belonged to the staff of the 39th corps at that time, into the hard-fought village of Jazewo (near Duchaczewo, northeast of Smolensk). In the village I was suddenly shouted at by German soldiers, “Don’t go any further, the Russians are there!”. I stopped, got out and saw the following: German soldiers were standing a dead German motorcyclist whose motorcycle had been shot full of holes. The hands of the dead motorcyclist had been tied behind his back. He had a deep cut in the region of the back of the neck: the scalp had been torn off and was drawn to about to the eye sockets over the head. The man had really been scalped.
in the region of Starty-Dorohy (Baronowitschi-Sluk section), in July 1941, Unterscharführer Weixer found the bodies of two German soldiers exhibiting the following wounds: the skulls were completely hacked to pieces, the eyes were putout, the hands were cut off. The wounds had obviously been inflicted by Cossack swords, since Cossack were shortly afterwards observed to be in the region.
The proof of the murder of defenseless and wounded and seriously mutilated is provided by the record of the Battalion physician of the Mountain Battalion 15th (Motorized) Infantry Regiment, on 28 November 1941, on the examination of six wounded officers and enlisted men left behind in battle of Nowaja Jakowiewka on (north of the railway station) 27 November 1941.
Rifleman Rehfeld and Gefreiter Duwel reported under oath on the Russian counterattack on a village on the Nara (about 60 kilometers west of Moscow (during the night of to 2 December, and the shooting of the German wounded lying in a barn of the village. The majority of the testimonies of the witness Rehfeld is reproduced here:
“About 30 seriously wounded and dead and about 30 slightly wounded and unwounded men remained in the barn. The fire was out of control. Our ammunition ran out. The Russian infantry came to about 100 meters from the barn. In this situation a corporal sent two Russian prisoners, who were with us, outside with white handkerchiefs to the Russians as a sign that we wanted to surrender. Right afterwards, the Russians appeared in the entrance to the barn. Everybody who could walk had to leave the barn. The Russians came to us under the leadership of our prisoners, took our weapons away and began to search our pockets for valuables. When the Russians came in, a few of our men shot themselves. I thought about doing the same thing myself, but could not give up the hope of getting home again.
“While the Russians searched us, a Russian officer came in the barn. I recognized him as an officer because he gave the orders and otherwise after his appearance he gave the impression that he was an officer. He went back and forth into the barn a few times and examined us. The Russian soldiers continued to search our pockets for valuables.
“One of my comrades could speak Polish. He talked with the Russian soldiers for a while. He told us that he had asked the Russians whether we would be shot, and they were said to have answered that nothing would happened to us, we would be tied up and brought back.
“In the meantime the officer left the barn. Then I saw that a Russian who stood outside the entrance to the barn aimed his rifle and shot one of the wounded lying on the earth. Then the Russians went through our ranks and shot one wounded man after another. I lay between two severely wounded and man already drawn my steel helmet over my face because of the heat from the burning roof, pieces of which were falling down around us.
“When the shooting started, I didn’t move anymore. The Russians apparently took me for dead since they went past me. In several cases they shot badly since I heard my comrades cry out. Also my left neighbor was not hit fatally right away; he cried out in a fearful manner. Only the second shot ended his life.
“When that was past, the Russians left the barn.
“I still hadn’t given up all hope. If I didn’t want to burn, I had to try to get out into the open. After a while I rolled to the exit, which was however covered by rubble falling all over. With the help of a loudspeaker case upon which I was able to set my unwounded foot, I succeeded in pushing the rubble to one side far enough to get out into the open. In so doing I had to stay in the barn for a while because there were still signs of Russians outside.
“Outside I rolled behind a pile of wood, since I also heard German machine gun fire. I was then found by my German comrades.”
Mistreatment and robbery of wounded men, shooting of German soldiers captured by the Russians and systematic murder of the wounded on the battlefield is also the subject matter of the record of the testimony before the Court of the 13th Tank Division of 27 June to 1 July 1941, by witnesses who were able to escape these bloody actions of the Soviet troops through fortunate coincidence.
“On 21 September 1941, the Russians, near Kandybowka, forced a German wounded soldier lying on a straw pile to stand up, tore his shirt off his body, pressed it into his heft hand and pushed him forward, to the German lines. A Russian took the wounded man’s left arm, on whose right side of the breast strongly flowing blood was visible, and made waving movements with the German’s left arm so that the shirt fluttered. The wounded obviously refused to be misused in this way; he turned around and refused to go any further. After several vain attempts by the Russians to drive him forwards, the Russian pushed him in a pile of grain and another Russian stabbed after him with a bayonet. All details of this action was witnessed by the 13th Company, 372nd Infantry Regiment, which was fighting opposite. It was thus forced to cease or shift fire for a while by this action for a while, to avoid hurting their comrade.
Gefreiter Huger (2nd Company, 113th Anti-Tank Division) was taken prisoner by superior Soviet forces in combat on 25 September 1941 near Majla –Beresaunka. The Russians immediately attempted to obtain information from his as to his unit, its composition, strength and weaponry. When he refused to answer, a Russian shot at him with a pistol. He was severely wounded in the shoulder and neck and was later found and delivered to a German field hospital.
Obergefreiter Sch. (12th Company, 123rd Infantry Regiment), severely wounded by a bullet wound to the thigh on 4 July 1941 north of Tiraspol, near the village of Wischina, was found dead the next day with a bullet wound to the back of the neck. In the fighting of the same regiment on 23 October 1941, south of Perekop, a few wounded men remained temporarily behind on the battlefield. When the regiment attacked again the next morning, Feldwebel R, who had been wounded and left behind the day before, was found dead. He lay completely naked on the earth and had a noose around his neck. He was therefore probably strangled, and then plundered. Another Feldwebel, who had received a head shot, had also had his uniform stolen.
Felwebel Klemke (6th Company, 28th Infantry Regiment) reported as follows under oath:
“When my regiment began an attack northeast of Smolensk in the vicinity of the bend in the Dnieper at the beginning of August 1941, my Company, was temporarily cut off and had to withdraw a short way. On this occasion, we had to leave wounded comrades behind. Thus, Gefreiter H. of my platoon was also left in a wounded condition. He cried after us that we ought to take him with us. But that was not possible. When we came back during a counteroffensive about half an hour later, I came to the same spot where H. lay. He was now dead, and I could see that his eyes had been put out. He had no other wounds on the head. The region of the eye sockets were smeared with blood.”
Observations on cases of murder and/or mutilation were described by the sworn statement of the SS Sturmmann Brandt of 29 June 1941:
“When my regiment was on the advance on Kiev in the region of Shitomir on 11 July 1941, we saw, in a ditch, two dead members of the German armed forces, one of whose genitals and two fingers had been cut off. The other had had his eyes put out and he had a hole in his skull, obviously caused by a blow with a blunt object.
While my Battalion was advancing on Nowodanzig on 16 August 1941, we came to a river, it may have been the Ingulez. There I saw two dead German engineers who had belonged to an Engineering Squad, who had been trying to blow up a bridge. One of them
lay with his torso stripped of his uniform. He was missing an ear and a hand. The other engineer lay about 50 steps away and was still dressed. The face was smeared with blood and the eyes were missing. The ring finger and middle finger of one hand were also missing.
Felwebel Büchner (5th Company, 18th Motorcycle Riflemen’s Battalion ) reported on two motorcycle dispatch riders of his Battalion who had fallen into Russian captivity at the beginning of October 1941 about five kilometers east of Karatschew, where the Russians had temporarily broken through. Upon hearing of the discover of the two motorcycle dispatch rider Feldwebel Büchner on the orders of his company leader, he visited the spot. His observations are reproduced here:
“When I came to the place of the attack, I saw there at the edge of the forest our two motorcycle dispatch riders lying there. One was dead, the other was still alive. The names of the two motorcycle dispatch rider are not known to me. The dead motorcycle dispatch rider exhibited severe abdominal wounds, obviously caused by a knife, as the Asian troops among the Russians are accustomed to carry. In the region of the cut the uniform was drenched with blood. Furthermore the two eye sockets of this motorcycle dispatch rider had been put out, the eye sockets were completely empty. I didn’t see any other injuries, especially bullet wounds, in examining the body. The dead motorcycle dispatch rider was buried on the spot, with other German soldiers who had been killed in combat in the region. The second motorcycle dispatch rider also had a serious eye injury obviously caused by Russian soldiers during the short time in which he was in Russian captivity. One eye had been entirely put out and hung down only by a weak tendon from the eye socket. The eye sockets were completely empty. Near the other eye, I saw an incision running over the entire eyebrow, the eye was however still in the eye socket. The second dispatch rider also had a serious eye injury, obviously inflicted by the Russian troops during the short time that he was in Russian captivity. This motorcycle dispatch rider could not stand due to pain, he screamed and whimpered without interruption. I delivered him as quickly as I could to the field dressing station, of the 18th Tank Division. What happened to this motorcycle dispatch rider, I don’t know.
At the beginning of July 1941, near Suprasl (not far from Slonim), the vanguard of a German marching column came into an ambush of the Russians. Corporal F. (87th Company, 68th Infantry Regiment) was taken prisoner during the ambush. During a further advance of the regiment, Corporal F’s body was found dead. Both his eyes had been put out.
Rifleman Mack and wounded Rifleman S. were captured by the Russians on 15 December 1941, near Donskoje, on the Don. They were surrounded by six or seven Soviet soldiers with fixed bayonets, as Mack tried to rescue the wounded S. The Russians first dragged the wounded man, who had a bullet wound in the thigh, about 15 meters over the earth, in order to plunder him completely. The witness Mack observed from very close range,
when a Russian Feldwebel took an infantry rifle and shot the half-kneeling Rifleman S. in the back of the neck from a distance of one to two meters. The shot was fatal. Mack heard S. cry out for about two or three minutes, until he died. Right afterwards a Russian officer grabbed Rifleman Mack by the shoulder and pushed him against a house in the immediate vicinity, so that his face was turned to the wall. The Russian officer shot at him at very close range with a pistol from behind. The shot hit Mack in the right shoulder. He fell forwards and immediately received a second pistol shot from the same officer. This second shot hit him on the lower back of the head. Mack remained in the same spot for four to five hours lying in the snow. The Russians had obviously left him for dead. The temperature was about 25 degrees below zero. Several times, as he lay there, other Russians came up to him and went through his pockets, which were already empty. He was only able to creep on all fours into one of the sheds in the vicinity, at about ten o’clock at night, behind which a Russian machine gun was set up with a two-man crew. On the morning of the next day he was found by German engineers, who had retaken the village during a counter-offensive.
The sworn statement of the Captain (Medical Corps) Dr. Sachs of 9 November 1941 describes two cruel mass murders of German prisoners of war, i.e. 74 soldiers (1 officer, 8 Corporals and 65 enlisted men) of the II Battalion, 53rd (Motorized) Infantry Regiment, who were captured by the Russians at the bridgehead near Dznisna on the Duna on 8 July 1941, and about 30 men from the 54th Motorcycle Rifle Battalion, who were reported missing east of Sztaritza on 18 October 1941. In this case as well, the murders, which were committed with the greatest cruelty, were apparently committed according to Russian orders. For the most part, the most typical method of murder was a shot in the back of the neck, stabs in the torso or blows to the face or roof of the skull with rifle butts. One dead man had had his face smashed with rifle butts. The impression of the flat of the rifle butt was clearly visible. The face must have been smashed from above, striking downwards, while the victim lay on the ground.
The overall impression given by the dead men, discovered on 8 July 1941, was, according to the medical expert report, that the German soldiers had been deliberately been murdered according to order.
During forest fighting on the Peipus Lake in mid-July 1941, 17 wounded members of the 272nd Infantry Regiment remained behind in the forest, because the Battalion had had to withdraw from the forest as a result of the fall of darkness. Only on the late afternoon of the following day was the Battalion able to penetrate
back to where the wounded men lay. All 17 wounded men were found dead. All 17 wounded men had had their eyes put out; their ears and genitals had also been cut off. Furthermore, all had also been strangled either with a rifle cleaning chain or a handkerchief. The dead men had also been mutilated by bayonet stab wounds in the neck and breast.
The description of Rifleman Heiss (6th Company, 35th Infantry Regiment) of 25 November 1941, represents a supplemental report and partial extract relating to the bestial murder of at least 130 German prisoners of war (see Case 30). The witness was also to be tortured to death in turn, in the most brutal manner, after being plundered and robbed of his uniform and other articles of clothing; he was first tied with his hands behind his back and then received a bayonet stab wound in the breast and then seven further bayonet thrusts in the back. When they thought he was dead, they left him. When he recovered consciousness, he saw that his comrade had had his head split open while he was unconscious.
On 25 June 1941, a group of men from the 36th Infantry Regiment found all the members of a reconnaissance squad murdered in a village in the former Polish territory. Two soldiers had been tied to trees. Each of them had had one arm and his penis cut off, others had had their eyes gouged out or had bayonet thrusts in the breast, the arms or legs. The manner in which these soldiers lay close together in the midst of the village indicated that they had been driven together and murdered in a defenseless condition after their capture.
An operations report of the 26th Russian Division which fell into German hands describes the destruction of a few German units as the result of sever fighting in the Kurgan-Nisowka section. It furthermore reports that 80 German soldiers who shot after surrendering.
Documents to Case 190
Operations report no. 11, 13 July 1941, 10 hrs.
Staff of the 25th division, northern edge of the forest
1 km west of Slastjena, map 50,000.
(translation from the Russian)
[…] The result of the fighting in the Kurgan-Nisowka section was the destruction of a battalion engineer regiment, a liaison Battalion and other advancing sections of the
German division, an engineer regiment and other, smaller, subsection as well as rearguards. Two light enemy bombers were shot down with anti-aircraft guns. On the battlefield the enemy left about 400 dead on behind. About eighty men surrendered and were shot […]
Commander of the staff of the 26th Tank Division Kimbar, First Lieutenant, Commander of the 1st Division Chrapko, Major. Certified: Secretary.
On 28 June 1941, citizens of the city of Slobodka saw the bodies of two German fliers, i.e. a First Lieutenant and a Oberfeldwebel who had been killed with head shots, lying in the prison. They made these observations in a record drawn up in Russian dated the same day. A Polish doctor also confirmed these observations in a record dated 7 July 1941, supplemented as follows:
“Shortly after the departure of the Bolsheviks I entered the prison next to the barracks. There I saw a German soldier in a cell. He lay undressed on a bed frame, his head hanging down against the wall. He had a gunshot wound through the temple. I couldn’t see any exit wound. On the wall and on the floor next to the head were pools of blood. The uniform lay in disorder on the floor. There were two silver stars on the epaulets. I was later told that he was an Stabsfeldwebel. In another cell lay another German soldier, also without uniform. He lay on the earth, his head on the stretcher. The arms were spasmodic and bent, the fists clenched. He had a head shot and in addition in two places on his face the impressions of a Russian revolver handle could be seen. Overall, he made the impression as if he had defended himself shortly before his death. On the stretcher and next to it on the ground was a large pool of blood. There was a golden star on the epaulets of the uniform. The epaulets had the same shape as the epaulets of the interrogating judge. He must have been a First Lieutenant. The color of the uniforms of both soldiers was blue gray, different from the soldiers moving through here. There were no papers or identification tags on either soldier. There were no signs of other injuries on the bodies.”
A mutilated dead German soldier was found on 28 June 1941, near Holoby. First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Dittrich performed a medical examination of the body, and reported as follows in his medical expert report dated 27 October 1941:
“The skull was burst open from the crown to the mouth in a wedge-shaped wound, the brain lay squirted onto the uniform in a few scraps, on the neck, to the right and left were slashing wounds from one to two centimeters long. On the right hand the final phalanx of the thumb was cut off. Of the remaining four fingers only the first phalanges remained. The cuts on the finger joints were sharp and smooth. Powder deposits were not visible on the hands. Since there was no bleeding from the finger joints, the possibility exists that the fingers were only cut off after death. The serious mutilation of the skull is to be attributed with the greatest probability to a shot in the mouth in the direction of the brain.:
Text document to Case 190
This Russian operations report confirms the shooting of 80 German soldiers who had surrendered.
On 26 or 27 June 1941, a German aircraft (Ju 88) crashed in flames in the vicinity of Socho-Wola. Two members of the crew were killed, a First Lieutenant very seriously injured and another crew member slightly injured. From the Russian soldiers who hurried to the scene a Russian official approached the seriously injured First Lieutenant and shot him in the left temple, remarking, “You damned dog, you won’t drop any more bombs now”. The shot obviously caused instant death. The slightly wounded German was taken away in a Panje vehicle. The Russian witnesses were unable to say any thing about what happened to him. All crew members had their pockets plundered.
Another case of the butchery, proven beyond a doubt, of an entire squad of wounded and unwounded defenseless German prisoners of war is revealed by the interrogations of the witness Stabsfeldwebel Notzold and Stabsfeldwebel Wieder. These murders, committed with all characteristics of brutality, had already happened on 22 June 1941, after the battle in the forest near Jagodzin. Apart from all other proofs of butchery of these men, in violation of international law, the systematic killing is shown by the fact that ten of these 27 wounded men exhibited breast shots through the left breast pocket; the pay book was shot through in all ten cases.
Lieutenant Labitzke (7th Company, 234th Infantry Regiment), Corporal Hans Richter (2nd Company, 234th Infantry Regiment) and Captain Henzel (Staff of the 79th Infantry Regiment) reported on the illegal actions of the Russians against wounded and defenseless German officers and soldiers in there area of operations near Borki and Lubomi at the end of June 1941 and the beginning of July 1941, north of Horochow.
East of Bereskowka on 3 October 1941, 21 German prisoners of war, most of them members of the 499th Infantry Regiment and 15th Infantry Division, as well as a Corporal from the Luftwaffe, were shot in the open field, during a transport to Wjasma. The action was ordered on receipt of a report that Wjasma had been occupied by German troops. The prisoners of war were lined up in front of ten Russian guards. A Russian commissar, in charge of carrying out the shootings, aimed a pistol at the breast of the Corporal of the Luftwaffe
pulled the trigger three times, but each time the weapon jammed. The prisoners of war took advantage of this delay to escape. They were shot at with rifles and machine guns, but eight of them succeeded in escaping and finding their way back to German lines. Six soldiers of the 499th Infantry Regiment were later found dead. The fate of the others is unknown.
Corporal Gröck (at that time 2nd Battery, 21st Oservation Division) was taken prisoner by Russian troops on 16 July 1941, near Winniza. He was held prisoner in an animal cage in Winniza for three days, but was led out of the courtyard of his place of captivity until that time with three other prisoners of war. There, the four German soldiers were lined up close to each other. In front of them stood eight Russian soldiers who opened fire on the Germans. Three of these were fatally wounded. Corporal Grock on the other hand suffered only a bullet wound in the shoulder and fell down. The Russians withdrew, obviously because they thought they were all dead. When Grock attempted to crawl away after a while, a Russian soldier saw him and stabbed him four times in the back with a bayonet. The Corporal was then concealed for a night by a Russian civilian on the floor of a house and liberated by German soldiers the next day.
A record of interrogation dated 1 October 1941 describes the manner in which Gefreiter B and Lieutenant B (520th Infantry Regiment) were killed with spades, blows with rifle butts and/or strangulation after being wounded in the battle in the forest on 1 August 1941, on the Treduschovka-Bachgrund.
Proof of the mutilation of a dead German soldier on 2 August 1941 is conclusivley provided by the record of interrogation of Corporals Hanig and Henze (3rd Company, 18th Infantry Regiment) on 12 November 1941.
The record of 11 December 1941 describes the murder of the severely wounded Corporal B (11th Company, 227th Infantry Regiment) on 6 August 1941, which took place east of Uman on the order of a Russian commissar, and the wounding, in violation of international law, of Gefreiter
Weinand, who was helping Corporal B and had surrendered.
On 22 June 1941, in the vicinity of Rymacze, Gefreiter B (6th Company, 190th Infantry Regiment) was severely wounded by a bullet wound in the thigh, resulting in the fracture of the lower leg, and remained on the battlefield in this condition. On 25 June, Russian soldiers found him and stabbed the defenseless wounded man five times in the neck, breast and abdomen with their bayonets.
A similar case took place on 26 June 1941, in the vicinity of the village Skiwi, near the Kowel fortifications. Gefreiter Karras was wounded by a shot in the back, causing symptoms of immediate paralysis. As a result of the wound, the wounded man immediately lost consciousness. He was suddenly awakened by a caustic sensation. He saw two Russian soldiers walking away after “taking care” of him. He later found that his wrists were encrusted with blood and that this entire left lower arm was also encrusted with blood. Cutting wounds had been inflicted on the inner side of both wrists, as well as on the inner side of the left elbow joint and the left side of his neck.
84 dead or wounded members of the Ist Battalion, 90th Infantry Regiment fell into the hands of the Soviets during an advance towards Borowik on 5 November 1941. The bodies of 70 members of this reconnaissance detachment were subjected to a detailed forensic medical examination, described in the court evidentiary record of 17 November 1941.
Documents to Case 203
Court of the 20th (Motorized) Infantry Division
General List nr. 142/41
Divisional Command Post, Budogoschtschj, 17 November 1941
From the Army Film Agency
First Lieutenant Appel and Obergefreiter Lommersheim.
For the identification of the bodies:
The 70 bodies of the members of the Ist Battalion 90th Infantry Regiment and one member of the 6th Company, 20th Infantry Regiment, recovered on 15 November 1941 during a reconnaissance mission by the 3rd Platoon of the 3rd Company, 90th Infantry Regiment, in and near Borowik, were laid out and placed in coffins in the open.
On 5 November 1941, the Ist Battalion 90th Infantry Regiment was attacked during the early hours of the morning during an advance on Borowik by numerically superior Soviet forces of the 92nd Rifle Division, which, advancing from the region of Vladivostok, had gathered at this location at the end of October or the beginning of November, and were placed in the center of a pincer movement, so that they were compelled to withdraw in the face of the enemy. In so doing, 84 members of the Ist Battalion 90th Infantry Regiment some of whom were killed and some of whom, who had only been wounded, fell into Soviet captivity.
The condition of the bodies and the type of wounds made it necessary to subject each body to a detailed specialist examination by Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr. Mauss in the context of a legal autopsy. The most obvious cause of death and the condition of a few of the bodies was preserved on photographic slides. Photographs (nos. 2-17) are annexed. The following list makes reference to these photographs indicating the number in each case.
The examination of the bodies showed:
SIX Rifleman B. cause of death: bullet wound to breast
SEVEN Lieutenant Sch. slide no. 15, cause of death: bullet wound to head
EIGHT Obergefreiter B. cause of death: bullet wound to breast, ditto to neck
NINE Rifleman R, cause of death: bullet wound to abdomen
TEN Gefreiter B. slide no. 3, wound to left lower leg, apparently not serious. Cause of death: severe crushing of cranium by blow with rifle butt
ELEVEN Obergefreiter Walter P. cause of death: bullet wound to neck
TWELVE Gefreiter E. cause of death: bullet wound to abdomen
THIRTEEN Gefreiter Konrad P. slide no. 4, bullet wound to left side of breast; cause of death: blow with rifle butt to right side of face, with crushing of the upper and lower jaw; helmet absolutely undamaged
FOURTEEN Gefreiter D. cause of death: bullet wound to neck
FIFTEEN Chief Rifleman St. cause of death: bullet wound to liver
SIXTEEN Gefreiter M. cause of death: bullet wound to head
SEVENTEEN Gefreiter B. cause of death: bullet wound to head
EIGHTEEN Corporal L. cause of death: bullet wound to head
NINETEEN Corporal N. slide no. 5, cause of death: bullet wound to head
TWENTY Gefreiter G. slide no. 6, wound to right leg, cause of death: bayonet stab wound or blow with rifle butt to right side, with exposure of skull cap and separation of nose
TWENTY ONE Corporal C. through-and-through bullet wound to right foot, cause of death: bullet wound to back
TWENTY TWO Gefreiter W. slide no. 7, gunshot wound to right knee, not very serious, cause of death: blow with rifle butt to left side of skull with extensive avulsion of the skin
TWENTY THREE Rifleman W. arm torn to shreds (obviously machine gun fire), cause of death: bullet wound to abdomen
TWENTY FOUR Feldwebel V. through-and-through bullet wound to foot; cause of death: head shot
TWENTY FIVE Gefreiter Th, bullet wound to foot, bullet wound to breast; cause of death: head injury (machine gun fire?)
26) Gefreiter D. cause of death: gunshot to breast, machine gun wounds all over body
27) Gefreiter R. cause of death: gunshot to breast
28) Gefreiter M. gunshot wound to right leg; cause of death: gunshot to abdomen
29) Obergefreiter V. cause of death: gunshot to breast
30) Gefreiter M. cause of death: gunshot to head
31) Lieutenant J. slide no. 8, cause of death: gunshot to abdomen
32) Gefreiter U. slide no. 9, cause of death: crushing of skull (gunshot or blow with rifle butt?)
33) Obergefreiter W. slide no. 10, cause of death: gunshot to abdomen. Post mortem: right hand torn to shreds by cutting wounds, ring finger with wedding ring cut off
34) Corporal H. cause of death: gunshot to right breast
35) Gefreiter N. gunshot to left thigh; cause of death: blow with cudgel to left temple
36) Rifleman F. cause of death: gunshot to breast
37) Obergefreiter D. cause of death: gunshot to breast
38) Gefreiter B. cause of death: gunshot to breast
39) Gefreiter B. slide no. 11, gunshot to breast; cause of death: crushing of skull by blow with cudgel
40) Rifleman H. wound to left arm, cause of death: shot through both eyes
41) Gefreiter G. slide no. 12, cause of death: gunshot wound to head
42) Obergefreiter G. slide no. 12, gunshot to right hand; cause of death: gunshot wound to breast
43) Medical orderly M. gunshot to leg (left thigh); cause of death: gunshot to back of head from close range
44) Gefreiter Paul M. cause of death: gunshot to breast
45) Rifleman K. cause of death: gunshot to head
46) Obergefreiter K. cause of death: gunshot to breast
47) Obergefreiter Sch. fracture to left lower leg; cause of death: gunshot to head at close range
48) Gefreiter B. cause of death: gunshot wound to head with crushing of skull
49) Gefreiter H. cause of death: gunshot to breast
50) Obergefreiter B. cause of death: gunshot to abdomen
51) Obergefreiter F. cause of death: gunshot to abdomen
52) Corporal O. cause of death: gunshot to hip
53) Rifleman J. cause of death: gunshot to breast
54) Obergefreiter H. arm wound, left; cause of death: probably freezing
55) Obergefreiter R. cause of death: gunshot wound to breast
56) Obergefreiter M. cause of death: gunshot wound to breast
57) Obergefreiter U. cause of death: gunshot wound to breast
58) Obergefreiter M. slide no. 16, cause of death: crushing of skull by blow with rifle butt
59) Obergefreiter K. slide no. 17, gunshot wound to breast; cause of death: blow with cudgel to forehead and skull
F.) 6th Company, 20th Artillery Regiment:
60) Obergefreiter Hans P. 2 slides no. 2, bullet wound to left lower leg (bandaged by Surgeon Major Burchardt with splint dressing); cause of death: close range bullet wound to temple
IInd Battalion, 90th Infantry Regiment:
61) Cause of death: bullet wound to head
62) Cause of death: head shot (bullet wound to right side of face)
63) Cause of death: bullet wound to breast
64) ) Cause of death: bullet wound to breast
65) Wound to left lower leg; cause of death: serious smashing of face, bullet wound through steel helmet
66) Superficial wound to left hip; cause of death: skull dented by blow with cudgel
67) Bullet wound to left foot, slide no. 14, cause of death: gaping wound in right side of face
68) Bullet wound to side of face; cause of death: blow with cudgel to left frontal bone.
69) Cause of death: bullet wound to breast
70) Obergefreiter Th. cause of death: bullet wound to breast.
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Of the 84 members of the 1st Battalion, 90th Infantry Regiment who were captured or wounded, on 5 November 1941, 70 were subjected to detailed medical examination. Bodies with suspicious causes of death were photographed.
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Serious crushing of the skull by blows with cudgels
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Severe cranial crushing as a result of blows with cudgels
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Blow with cudgel to right side of face, with crushing of upper and lower jaw
Blow with cudgel to left half of skull
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Bayonet thrusts or blows with rifle butts to right side, with exposure of the brain-pan and separation of the nose
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Bullet wound to abdomen
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Bullet wound to head
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Bullet wound to abdomen. After death, the right hand was torn to shreds by incisions and the ring finger, with wedding ring, was cut off.
Skull smashed with rifle butt
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Gaping wound in right temple
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Cause of death: bullet wound to head
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Skull smashed with rifle butt
Pictorial documentation to Case 203
Close-range bullet wound to back of head
Blow with cudgel to forehead and skull
All bodies were without boots and overcoats, half were without socks, five bodies were completely naked, most of them were partially undressed (photos no. 5, 12, 15). What is especially remarkable is the fact that in some cases, the genitals were exposed; in two cases, where the clothing was otherwise undisturbed (see Figures 31 and 59, slide no. 8). All pockets were empty, many bodies were missing the identity tags and rings, in one case, through mutilation of the hand (see Figure 33, slide no. 10).
Due to the obvious damage and shifting of the pieces of clothing, the attempts at undressing were incomplete in very many cases.
Concluding medical expert report:
Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr. Mauss drew up the following medical report, after being informed of the seriousness of the oath:
The cause of death was in 69 cases was obviously due to violence. The cause of death cannot be attributed to exterior injury in only one case, Case 54, since it consisted of a relatively slight injury to the left arm. In this case, death probably occurred as a result of the freezing of the injured soldier, who must have been lying unconscious. Even in a series of other cases, in particular, of breast and abdominal wounds, there is a very real possibility that these serious injuries could still have been successfully treated, if the men had received medical treatment in due time. Since they were simply left where they were by the Russians, it must be assumed that the deaths were due to injuries combined with freezing. How many cases, and which cases these were, cannot be determined from the post-mortem findings.
In a total of 19 cases (3, 10, 13, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 35, 39, 40, 43, 47, 59, 60, 65, 66, 67, 68), there was, in addition to slight injuries, mostly to the lower limbs, injury leading to death, caused by blows with cudgels or close-range shots to the head. In 17 cases, it may be assumed with certainty that the dead men had first received slight injuries caused by machine gun bullets, making them unable to walk, and forcing them to remain where they were. They were then killed in a helpless condition by the following Russians, either with blows with rifle butts or bayonet thrusts or close-range pistol shots. Case 60 is characteristic in this regard. He had already been treated for a bullet wound to the lower leg by the army doctor at the army dressing station. During the withdrawal, he was dragged a short distance, but his comrades were then forced to abandon him. He was then killed by a close-range pistol shot to the left temple, although it must have been obvious to the most primitive Russian that he was wounded, due to the splint dressing, which was partially drenched in blood. It is impossible to say with certainty whether the fatal injuries observed in Cases 24 and 25 were received in battle or afterwards, since the bullet wounds were not necessarily fired at close range. But there is the distinct possibility that the head shots were fired at wounded men in these cases as well.
3 other cases (32, 48, 58) indicate serious cranial injuries as the cause of death. The possibility that the victims were men lying helpless through exhaustion and were killed with close-range shots or blows with rifle butts by the approaching Russians is quite clear. Under normal combat conditions, one usually expects 3-4 wounded to one fatality. The proportion of killed may increase in heavy fighting, particularly in hand-to-hand fighting. Even assuming a very unfavorable ratio in this case, and when one considers that 38 wounded men who were able to march still remained behind, the ratio of 70 deaths to 38 wounded is far in excess of the usual proportion for the type of fighting, which was without hand-to-hand combat. Once again, this can only be explained on the assumption that the wounded men were subsequently killed by the Russians.