Forensic Medical Institute of the Military Medical Academy
Berlin NW 40, 3 November 1941
In the matter under investigation of violations of international law relating to Lt. Fett, Second Battalion, 93rd Rifle Regiment, Az. St.L. 401/41, the following expert report was drawn up at the request of the AOK 6 as to whether or not Lt Fett’s wound was caused by the use of an explosive bullet, in violation of international law. The expert report is based on the knowledge of the documents there, in particular, the case sheet and upon our own examination of Lt. Fett’s wound, which was healing, on 11 September 1941.
The documentation shows that Lt Fett was wounded in combat on 19 July 1941 (date according to the case sheet). According to his own sworn statement of 12 September 1941, he perceived the shot, which hit him in the chest, as a heavy blow with a fist, and immediately fell on his back. He noticed no tearing or bursting of the bullet in the body.
According to the communication of his commanding officer, who was wounded immediately afterwards, the rifleman was about 4 meters away.
The case sheet of the military field hospital 3/541, under Main Case Book no. 481, reports a bullet entry wound over the left sternum, close beneath the height of the clavicle, the size of half a bean, and round in shape. In the region of the bullet exit wound there was, on the date of the report, 27 July 1941, in the region of the left axillary line-upper arm a gaping surgical wound 12 cm wide. According to an oral statement of the surgeon to the undersigned: in the beginning of September, the wound on 19 July 1941 had been the size of a man’s hand before the surgical excision of the edges. The surgical findings were noted under the emergency conditions of a serious seizure on the part of the wounded man; rather the first entry was only dated 25 July 1941.
From the other content of the case sheet, it should be noted that, at an early date (26 July 1941), a left-haemo-pneumothorax (entry of blood and air into the pleural cavity) was observed as an expression of the lung wound and was correspondingly combated. As to the patient’s diagnosis, The case sheet indicates that in the following time ulceration in the pleural cavity appeared and the overall condition appeared completely hopeless for a long time. The patient could be transported in a prone position on 22 September 1941.
An X-ray taken on 13 September 1941 at the orders of the undersigned: showed no dissemination of bullet fragments in the vicinity of the wound.
During my own examination of the conditions of the wound on 11 September 1941, I observed a largely healed wound at least 14 cm long in the region of the exit wound, which extended to the left arm at the left axillary line. The entry would on the left upper breast was an inconspicuous scar the size of a lentil.
Experience shows that wounded men, including medical officers tend to attribute severe infantry bullet wounds from the outset to illegal bullets. As a general statement, this is doubtlessly unjustified. The legal infantry bullets of all states can, under certain circumstances, cause extensive destruction of the tissues. The conditions for this may lie in the bullet, if it is a ricochet or a shell damaged by prior impact (ricochet). The causes may also lie in the parts of the body struck, as in direct hits on strong bone or the neurocranium. The conclusion that this must be due to a shell in violation of the regulations can therefore can only be justified when all the above designated preconditions are excluded.
For the present case, it must first of all with sufficient certainty be excluded that the shot could have involved a ricochet or a shell damaged by prior impact (ricochet) this is contradicted by the clearly described behavior of the entry bullet, which was small and round, as corresponds to the entry of a shell travelling in a straight line.
As for the coarsening of the wound by hitting heavy bone, the shrapnel fragments of the largely destroyed bones have the effect of secondary shells; on the other hand, the shell as such achieve increased effect due to disturbance of the line of flight, if it separates itself into several parts, each destructive in itself. In this case, largely, only the direct hits of the large long bones come into question. In the present case, only a few rib parts lie in the path of the shot and otherwise, only the lung parts were injured, as shown by the case sheet, many observations by others and myself of direct hits to the ribs never result in such a coarsening of the wound after the exit shot, as in the case of Lieutenant Fett. That is still true when one realizes that the location of the exit wound, the axillary line at the transition to the arm, represents a curved arch, and that a height of curvature of this curved arch exiting shot channel from
The opposite side can still tear a piece with it. While part of the size of the exit wound may be attributed to the special shape of the location exit wound, the total extent, the size of a man’s hand, is huge.
After the above completed elimination of the other preconditions, it must accordingly be considered overwhelmingly probable that Lieutenant Fett’s wound was caused by an illegal infantry bullet, i.e. one in violation of the standards.
As illegal infantry shell the various forms of dum-dum bullets come into consideration the principle of which generally lies in an interruption of the mantle on the tip exposing the core. The manner of effect consists in a crudely effected tearing of the tissues following the bullet exit, even in shots to purely soft body parts; this is explained by an explosive smashing of the bullet through the exit of the lead core at the exposed front end of the bullet.
On the other hand, on the eastern front, real infantry explosive bullets can also be designed, which are used by the Russians according to certain observations and which are also fired at living objectives. This ammunition is marked by a red lacquering of the tip and a cap, which is often found in military preparation among Russian frontline units. The collection of bullets lodged in the body possessed by the Military Academy also possesses a number of exhibits surgically removed from German wounded.
The bullets are filled with explosive mass in the front third and lead behind. In between, they contain a detonator device with a steel firing pin which, when the tip is arrested by the resistance of the objective runs forwards and detonates the explosive mass. The construction resembles those of the “observation shells” legally used by several states for reconnaissance purposes. Their use in wartime, fired at human targets, violates both the St. Petersburg Convention of 11 December 1868, which prohibits explosive loads for shells of less than 250 g, as well as the provisions of the Hague Convention of 29 July 1899, according to which bullets are prohibited which “expand or flatten” in the human body.
According to investigations of the undersigned:, upon autopsies and experimental shootings of parts of slaughtered horses, the explosive ammunition causes a severe coarsening of the effects of the ordinary shell effects, reflected in the formation of an extensive, immediately beginning hollowing out following bullet exit. What is decisive in this regard is not, as with ordinary dum-dum bullets, the tearing of the surface wound by extensive disintegration of the bullet, but rather, the pressure surge of the explosion. The shell for its part is only torn open or broken up into a few large pieces, which usually exhibit the characteristic construction parts.
Proof of the origin of a wound of an explosive shell is, apart from a possible bullet lodged in body parts, a powerful gunpowder-like deposit of residues of the explosive mass to the hollow walls.
If we turn back to these general remarks to the particular case, thus the characteristics of the explosive bullet which have become known as a result of the new studies cannot come to full application. The case sheet only speaks of the formation of a hollow after the exit wound; the powder burns must be caused to living tissue and constant bleeding, in a live wound, which naturally can only occur if one is alert to this finding.
After this it appears first as if one must be satisfied with the general observation for the case of Lieutenant Fett, that the unusual size of the exit wound taking into consideration of the above designated preconditions of the use of an illegal bullet makes it overwhelmingly probable, without being able to make a distinction between ordinary dum-dum bullets and explosive bullets. That would be of great importance, as the significance of explosive bullets under international law is the greater; since in the use of this ammunition involves an action on the part of the Russian state while with ordinary dum-dum bullets it often cannot be excluded in individual cases, that a dum-dum bullet has been used by an individual soldier independently, through the pinching or filing off of the top of legal ammunition.
It is however in this connection to be remembered that as remarked above the usual dum-dum bullets work by means of extensive fragmentation, especially of the lead core. This is reflected by a rich sprinkling of finely distributed lead in the tissue of the wound, which can also be observed by X-ray. Now, an X-ray examination of the region of Lieutenant Fett’s wound shows the absence of such bullet fragments. One can due to this observation with probability bordering on certainty exclude an ordinary dum-dum bullet and therefore justify the conclusion of an explosive bullet by exclusion.
For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that the absence of perception of noise by the
Lieutenant Fett in no way speaks against an explosive bullet as the cause of the wound. Of course, my own observation of gunshot wounds has established that the bullet made a loud impact, objectively speaking; the subjective effect of perception of noise by the wounded person, however, is not seldom absent, as shown by several cases clearly certified present here by bullet lodged in bodies. The justification for this results simply enough from the excitement of combat and the general noise of the combat scene. In the present case, Lieutenant Fett’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Leroux, told me personally, during an informative conversation, that he stood immediately next to Lieutenant Fett; and that, due to the general noise it would have been unthinkable to perceive the bang of the bullet causing the wound.
The remaining conclusions result:
The conditions of Lieutenant Fett’s wound, known as a result of the case sheet and my own perception of the undersigned do not, taking into consideration all the conditions, permit the assumption that the wound was caused by a legal infantry bullet.
The absence of lead filled in inside the X-ray slide indicates that this was not an ordinary dum-dum bullet.
It is, therefore, overwhelmingly probable that the wound was caused by the well-known infantry explosive bullet.
Lecturer and Dr. of Medicine with post-doctoral qualification. Signed signature: First Lieutenant (Medical Corps).
Head of the Forensic Medical Institute of the Military Medical Academy, Certified: Secretary.
Corporal Kersten (3rd Company, 291st Engineer Battalion ) has likewise established the use of explosive bullets by the Russians in the region of Schlusselburg, and furthermore testifies as follows:
Document to Case 235
High Command of the Wehrmacht Berlin, 30 January 1942
Werhmacht War Crimes Bureau
Judge Advocate of the support troop of the Luftwaffe Dr. Hofmann as judge and military justice official
Employee Marie Jaedicke, especially obligated as Recording Secretary
Medical Assistant Max Kersten of the 133rd Reserve Field Hospital, Berlin-Buch, Lindenbergerstr. 68-88, was interviewed in connection with the investigation of Russian violations of international law. He was acquainted with the object of the witness interrogation and informed of his duty to tell the truth as a witness, as well as of the significance of the oath.
“As to my person: My name is Max Kersten, I am 31 years old, Medical assistant, 3rd Company, 291st Engineer Battalion, presently at the reserve field hospital 133, Berlin-Buch.
“As to the facts: In December 1941, together with my Company, I was assigned to the village of Pogostje, in the region of Schlusselburg, on the Malux-Olomna railway line. In my capacity as Medical Assistant, I observed, in bandaging several of our wounded, that the Russian infantry opposite on this section of the front were using explosive bullets in ground combat. The wounds caused by these explosive bullets were immediately recognizable by me as a result of their severity, in particular, through the crushing of the bone parts. I remember with certainty that a comrade from my company, whose name I can no longer remember, received a Russian explosive bullet below the right knee, which caused severe injuries with a smashing of the bone. At the same time, I observed two other cases with severe injuries of German soldiers by Russian explosive bullets. Since these wounded men in the same region as my comrade from the 3rd Company, 291st Engineer Battalion in ground combat against the Russians were used and there were no Russian low-flying attacks around this time on our section, we could only attribute these wounds to Russian explosive bullets. These Russian explosive bullets are
especially recognizable because they had black bullet tips, and because the bullet bore a red stripe. At our company command post, I saw that our captain confiscated such explosive bullets from individual Russians captured in our section […]”
Read out, approved and signed:. Signed: Max Kersten, Medical Assistant.
The witness was sworn.
Signed: Dr. Hofmann, Signed: Marie Jaedicke, Certified: Secretary
Corporal Schilling (7th Company, 234th Infantry Regiment) during a reconnaissance operation on 27 June 1941, near Borki, in combat, shot a Russian officer wearing a revolver which the officer had fired during combat. Upon closer examination of the ammunition in the revolver, it was seen that the Russian was using dum-dum ammunition. The cylinder still contained three live cartridges, without any tips. The bullet did not extend beyond the cartridge casing. The front part was just as flat as the rear part of the bullet. The witness had the impression that these cartridges were factory made. The witness had seen revolvers with such cartridges several times, on dead Russian soldiers, for the last time in the region of Brjansk.
Document of the 56th Infantry Division
Court of the 56th Infantry Division
Divisional Staff Headquarters, 13 November 1941
General List nr. 122/41
Present: Judge Advocate Fischer, acting judge
Obergefreiter Rudolph, Recording Secretary
There appeared Lieutenant Labitzke.
He was warned to tell the truth and declared as follows after being informed of the significance of the oath:
"As to my person: my name is Ernst Kurt Labitzke. I am 30 years old, Evangelical Lutheran, Lieutenant and Company, leader of the 7th Company, 234th Infantry Regiment.
"As to the facts: In June 1941 I was still Squad Leader of the 13th Company, 234th Infantry Regiment. On a day at the end of June 1941, on 26 June 1941, after the battle near Borki, I was on the way to the Third Battalion, 234th Infantry Regiment. About 300 meters northwest of Borki, I met a few medical orderlies who were beginning to take care of the wounded. As I went by, I asked what was going on. The wounded man answered me personally, saying that he had been wounded in the breast during the fighting. He said that shortly afterwards, three Russian soldiers went up to him. Of these three soldiers, he received several stab wounds with the bayonet in the breast and body. I personally saw that he had stab wounds beneath the heart and in the left hip (region of the kidneys). Since I had no time, I could spend no more time on the matter, the soldier furthermore told me that he had had been completely undressed after being stabbed by the Russians, and had been left lying naked in the full sun. The articles of clothing, field jacket, trousers, shirt, etc. lay by the side of the wounded man. The grain in the region of the wounded man had been trampled down by the Russians. The name of the wounded man is unknown to me. I do not know whether he died of his wound."
Read out, approved and signed:. Signed: Kurt Labitzke
The witness was duly sworn.
There further appeared Officer Schilling.
He was warned to tell the truth and declared as follows after being informed of the significance of the oath:
“As to my person: my name is Oskar Werner Schilling, I am 20 years old, Evangelical Lutheran, officer with the 7tn Company, 234th Infantry regiment.
“As to the facts: At the end of June 1941, as a Rifleman, I still belonged to Officer Teichmann’s group, 7th Company, 234th Infantry Regiment. On the day after the fighting at Borki, on 27 June 1941, I belonged to a reconnaissance squad led by officer Teichmann.
“That was, as far as I can remember, northeast of Borki. On the piece of land between an isolated farm and the edge of a forest, Officer Teichmann, who was going on about 30 meters ahead of us, saw a Russian running. Teichmann immediately shot at him with his machine pistol. The Russian returned fire from about 50 meters away with a pistol. Since Teichmann’s gun jammed, on his orders, I went into position with the machine gun. I shot at the Russian, who had taken cover in the mean time. After a burst of fire, I stood up and approached the Russian, who had died in the meantime. He was a Russian officer. In his hand, he still held a large revolver which I took away. In inspecting the ammunition in the revolver, I observed that the Russian had used dum-dum ammunition. The cylinder still contained three cartridges, all with no tips. The bullet was still completely in the casing; the front part was as flat as the rear part of the bullet. I had the impression that the tips of the cartridges had not only been cut off, but that the ammunition had been factory manufactured in this way. The make of the revolver is unknown to me.
“I have seen revolvers with such cartridges several other times on dead Russian officers during the course of the campaign, most recently in region of Brjansk.”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Werner Schilling
The witness was sworn
Signed: Fischer, Judge Advocate. Signed. Rudolph, Gefreiter, Recording Secretary. Certified: Secretary.
Prohibited Weapons and ruses de guerre
As in all fields of military leadership, the leadership of the Soviet Army also exhibited unlimited unscrupulousness in the use of means of deceiving the enemy.
Already on the occasion of the description of the illegal handling and killing of wounded German soldiers, a case was mentioned in which the Russians, near Kandybowka, on 21 September 1941, forced a wounded German soldier to take his own whites shirt in his hand and wave with this shirt to manipulate the German line of fire.
When the wounded man, who was bleeding profusely from a wound in the right side of his breast, refused to be misused in this manner to the detriment of his own troops, he was stabbed with a bayonet and thrown to the ground after several unsuccessful attempts to drive him forward.
Court of the 239th Infantry Division Bogoduchoff, 17 December 1941
Present: Judge Advocate Schumann, acting judge
Gefreiterr Czwienk, Recording Secretary
There appeared the First Lieutenant Lux, Franz, squad leader 13th Company, 372nd Infantry Regiment. He was acquainted with the object of his interrogation and warned to tell the truth and informed of the significance of the oath. He then declared:
“As to my person: my name is France Lux, I am 26 years old, Catholic, married (acceptance in Wehrmacht is pending).
“As to the facts: On 21 September 1941, I was assigned Platoon Leader of the 13th Company, 372nd Infantry Regiment, in Krassenowka. The First and Third Battalion, 372nd Infantry Regiment, and sections of the 13th and 14th Companies, 372nd Infantry Regiment, of the Regimental Staff, with an artillery gun, in addition to sections of the Divisional Reconnaissance Staff, were encircled in the locality adjacent to Kandybowka. From my observation post, I saw the Russians first attack Kandybowka, from which they were repulsed. They regrouped in a forest and were reinforced
from the Kiev basin. They then attacked Krassenowka with heavy forces, where the artillery and my platoon were without infantry protection. We threw all dispensable riflemen, including drivers, cooks, typists, etc. forward, to obtain some infantry protection for our guns. I myself ordered the men from the baggage train to advance and left Lieutenant Espach of the Artillery Regiment at the observation post. When I came back to the observation post, Lieutant Espach was dead. I directed the fire of the platoon in a direct bombardment against the attacking enemy. I was then compelled to withdraw my men because the Russian superiority was overwhelming, and we were beginning to run out of ammunition. During the Russian attack, I suddenly saw that 2 Russians run to a hay stack, pull out a German soldier, and do something to him. Suddenly we saw a white cloth. My attention was now particularly directed at the flag, and I saw that it was being carried by a German soldier. I recognized his gray trousers and jack boot. The two Russians then tore the soldier’s shirt off, crammed it in his left hand and pushed him forwards, towards our lines. I gave the order to cease fire and waited to see what would happen. I the meantime, one Russian had the soldier by the arm and made waving motions with the arm, so that the cloth fluttered. The other Russian pushed the soldier a few steps further forward. I then saw that the Russians behind the soldier were continuing to fire at us, and I immediately opened fire, but aimed to avoid wounding the soldier. I myself kept my eye on him and noted that he refused to go any further and did not wish to wave the shirt any more. He turned away from us and refused to advance any further. The two Russians attempted to push him forwards again. When they saw that it was in vain, one of the Russians pushed him so in a pile of grain, that he lay with his face downwards. At the same time, the other soldier stabbed him in the back with a bayonet. After that I lost sight of the German soldier.
"Since the German soldier could only be a member of the artillery, I gave orders to look for the soldier among the dead after we were replaced by the 327th Infantry Regiment. In the general confusion of the immediate withdrawal, it was no longer possible to find him and find out what had happened to him.
"At the beginning of my interrogation, I forgot to mention the following: when the German soldier was pushed forwards out of the haystack by the two Russians and his shirt was torn off his body, I noticed a heavy flow of blood from the right side of his breast. He must have been wounded before that time."
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Franz Lux
The witness was duly sworn.
Concluded: Signed: Schumann, Signed: Czwienk
For the correctness of the shorthand-transcription: Signed: Cwienk, Gefreiter. Certified: Secretary.
Court of the 239th Infantry Division Bogoduchoff, 17 December 1941
Present: Judge Advocate Schumann, Acting Judge
Gefreiter Czwienk, Recording Secretary.
There appeared Medical Orderly Kulla, 9th Company, 444th Infantry Regiment. He was acquainted with the object of the interrogation, warned to tell the truth and informed of the significance of the oath. He then declared as follows:
“As to my person: My name is Martin Kylla, I am 41 years old, Evangelical, a master shoemaker by trade, presently a Medical Assistant with the 9th Company, 444th Infantry Regiment.
“As to the facts: During the attack on Psojoll, on 7 September 1941, on the bunker position located in the dunes, 35 men from my Company, were wounded. As I made an effort to take care of the wounded, I stumbled upon Gefreiter Josef Swierczy, who lay in a hedge in a farm. S. had a bullet wound through the upper body. The entry wound lay on the back the exit wound was I the site of the breast, in front. He also had two wounds in the abdominal wall, which as far as I can remember were caused by a bayonet thrust. S. who was first very weak, but then regained consciousness to some extent, told me that he had been stabbed with a bayonet. The stab wound must have been inflicted from the side, but did not hit the intended target, since the entry wound and the exit wound were only a hand’s breadth apart from each other on the abdominal wall. S. also had a leg wound, which was, however, also cared for. S. told me that the had been on the way to the dressing station with other comrades.
“Suddenly 20-30 Russians appeared, among them a commissar. The slightly wounded comrade immediately ran away. The commissar ordered S. to walk further ahead, and then shot at him from close range with a revolver. S. cried out with pain. At this point, he was stabbed through the left side of the abdomen by another Russian with a bayonet. The Russians left him lying there and went away. S. furthermore told me that the Rifleman Johann W had been shot. S. told me nothing more detailed, since he was very weak. He also asked me to greet his family, since he was certain he would not survive.
“So far, no communication of his death has been received from the field hospital. S. must therefore still be alive. I found W. mentioned by S. dead, near the door to a house, in S. close by. He had a bullet wound to the heart.
“On another farm, I found Rifleman Albert Mrosek. Next to him lay a wounded Russian. Mrosek himself had a bullet wound in the arm. I can’t remember that he had any further wounds. The upper arm shot (splintering the bone) had an improvised bandage, which, according to Mrosek had been applied by a comrade. While I splinted the arm and applied a new bandage, M. told me that Russians had come by and has asked him about the German squad. So far as I can remember, M. told me nothing about being shot by the Russians at this point. Nor did he tell me anything about S. At any rate, other comrades and the squad leader had already been by M. It may be that he told them more about it.
“I found S. dead. His head was completely bandaged. As I established that he was already dead, I didn’t undo the bandage any more, to establish the exact cause of death. It may be true that he didn’t have a head wound, but rather a neck shot.
“I also looked for K. But I couldn’t find him and from my own observations I can say nothing. The documentation states heart shot.
“The other comrades who would make statements on the cause of death or wounding and how these wounds were received are no longer with the Company. Gefreiter (Medical Corps) Berthold and Gefreiter (Medical Corps) Stanislaus Walla were transferred to the 1st Company, 444th Infantry Regiment, and assigned to a new division on the march. The address is not known yet. The Company, leader First Lieutenant Pasewaldt and the present Corporal Wilhelm Vogt and Albert Rebehin were wounded here in Bogoduchoff on 15 October 1941, and placed in a field hospital. I don’t know which field hospital they are in. Gefreiter Max K. was killed on 7 October.”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Martin Kylla officer.
The witness was duly sworn.
Concluded: Signed: Schumann, Signed: Czwienk
For the correctness of the shorthand-transcription: Signed: Cwzienk, Gefreiter. Certified: Secretary.
On 15 July 1941, I the fighting northwest of Woltschnizi, the Russians clearly raised a white flag behind a tank which was apparently broken down. Upon the approach of men from the German 111th Anti-Tank Division, after ceasing fire from their own gun out of consideration of the white flag, the Russians unexpectedly detonated a fragmentation grenade from close range, through which an Stabsfeldwebel, two Obergefreiters and a Gefreiter from the German gun [detachment] were killed.
During the taking of Stronitatyn on 30 June 1941, the Russians waved a white cloth as a sign of surrender. When the German attackers then
got up and stood without cover, the Russians disappeared from the height from which they had waved. They once again opened heavy fire with rifles and machine guns on the approaching German squadron, which suffered one death and six wounded.
During defensive fighting east of Duchowschtschiena, on the Wopj near Mukschewo, the Russians used Christie tanks equipped with 4.7 cm cannons. During the fighting, several tanks drove up to the position of the 10th Company, German 25th Rifle Regiment, bearing a white identification cross, to a distance of 100 to 150 meters. The leader of the German company was first convinced that these were German tanks. The gunner on the anti-tank gun who participated in the destruction of the tanks was deceived by this Russian disguise and as a result of this deception only opened fire on the Russian tanks at a distance of 50 meters. After the battle, on the western exit from Mukschewo, four Russian tanks were observed from which two completely burnt one half burnt out while the fourth was undamaged on the outside. This undamaged tank also bore a white identification cross on both sides of the turret. The cross was made of white gauze bandages, which were easily glued on. Remains of similar gauze bandages were also observed on the burnt out tanks.
Corporal Roos (3rd Company, 66th Infantry Regiment) was wounded and captured by the Russians on 24 June 1941 after the crossing of the Memel. With him, a few unwounded German soldiers were also captured. These were tied hand and foot. At dawn on the following day, Roos marched in the direction of the German line. The unwounded German soldiers had to muster, and were forced to march along despite being tied. Their wrists were crossed over each other. The Russians also used these defenseless, bound prisoners as human shields during the attack on the German troops. The subsequent fate of these German prisoners is unknown, because the witness Roos himself received two bullet wounds right after the withdrawal of the Russians, from a distance of about ten meters, a head shot and a shoulder shot, which caused him to become unconscious.
An especially ignominious combat technique of the Russians, namely the use of uniforms of German dead or prisoners during attacks on German troops, was observed in the last months of the year 1941 and at the beginning of 1942. As early as September 1941, during an attack by a German Reconnaissance Battalion at Roshostwenne, two demolition charges were fired in front of the leading vehicle by a soldier in German uniform from a distance about six meters. After firing the demolition charges, the Russian immediately jumped back and disappeared behind the village church. Fortunately, the demolition charge only exploded after the radio vehicle of the reconnaissance squad leader had already driven away. The Russian soldier who laid the demolition charge was wearing a gray field jacket and gray trousers; he also wore German trousers, boots and a German steel helmet. The witness, Feldwebel Mocker, who clearly observed all this, first thought, before the attack, that it was a German solider. It was only the attack on the German leading vehicle that he became convinced that a Russian had put on this uniform for purposes of deception. The Russian origin of the demolition charge could be proven beyond doubt, since the hand grenades bore the well-known green color and corresponded to the shape of the charge used by the Russians, i.e. a charge with two handles, one crossing over the other. Gefreiter Bickel also saw the Russian solider wearing a German uniform, and had clearly recognized the German uniform. He was also prevented from firing by the German uniform worn by the Russian.
According to a report from the High command of the Army, 20 March 1942, more and more cases of Russian soldiers wearing German uniforms have became known. Among others on the morning of 25 February 1941, about 50 Russians in German uniforms attacked the section of the 50th Infantry Division near Sevastopol. A similar case occurred in the area of the 24th Infantry Division the day before. On 15 February 1942, a Russian defector reported having seen about 40 Russian soldiers wearing German uniforms in the region of Shelanje. According to the information of the Russian defector, these German uniforms were misused by Russian parachute troops.
The report of a German general commando, dated 9 January 1942, also related to the appearance of Russian troops in German uniforms during the attacks about five kilometers south of Norofominsk on 20, 22 and 25 December 1941. The interrogations conducted in the region of this general commando showed that the
Russians were sometimes dressed in snow shirts, sometimes in field gray coats, German helmets, and apparently carried German rifles with fixed bayonets. One dead man, who was obviously a Russian, judging by his actions, was wearing only German clothing (sergeant’s insignia), including German underclothing and a German identity tag on his suspenders. Russian soldiers with snow helmets and German steel helmets also participated in the attack on Sowjaki on 8 January 1942. The Russian attack on Sowjacki was certainly, and the Russian attack south of Narofominks around mid-December 1941 probably, carried out by the 338th Russian Rifle Division, newly assigned to the offensive.
The constantly increasing number of cases of Russian divisions in German uniforms is certainly in close connection with a Russian order to undress German dead and send in the uniforms.
The misuse of uniforms is ordered in an original order dated 2 February 1941 in the possession of the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau.
Document to Case 245
High command of the Army Headquarter OKH, 26 February 1942
General for special deployment at the OKH
Az 454 Gr R Wes [?]
Journal number 258/42
Relating to: Violations of international law by the Russian armed forces.
More and more reports are being received about cases in which Russian soldiers appear in German uniforms. According to a report from the 4th AOK dated 14 February 1941, for example, a great many of the 90 Russians killed in combat with the Central Police Regiment in this section were wearing German uniforms and carrying German weapons.
This misuse of German uniforms was ordered by the Higher Command Agencies themselves, as shown by a captured Russian order dated 2 February 1942 to the Commanders of the 1238th Russian Rifle Regiment, stating, among other things, “On 2 February 1941, a reconnaissance mission of the 92nd Rifle Division is taking place in German uniforms”.
On behalf of: Signed: Dr. Lattmann
Violation of the Red Cross and attacks on medical units and field hospitals.
The German medical units and field hospitals under the protection of the Red Cross as well as members of these formations have been deliberately attacked and severely damaged by Russian troops in violation of all provisions of International law from the very first day of the present German-Russian war. The following, especially characteristic, cases have been selected from the great number of probative documents available in this regard.
During a firefight on 22 June 1942 in the region of Kukarkse, Corporal Priess was grazed by a bullet on the right side of the head.
Medical Assistant P. alerted by P.’s cry for help, went to him to bandage his wound. He lay down next to the wounded man, so that the Red Cross which he wore according to regulations on the left arm was clearly visible. While Medical Assistant P. was caring for the wounded man, he received an aimed shot in the head which killed him immediately. Under the given circumstances, there was no doubt that the hostile shot had been deliberately fired at the medical officer.
On 23 June 1941, a German field ambulance on the road from Mariampol to Kowno, about 15 kilometers beyond Mariampol, came under fire near the edge of a forest by a Russian officer and by Russian soldiers, although the vehicle was clearly marked with the insignia of the Red Cross.
A few shots hit the vehicle below the protective emblem of the Red Cross. The driver of the vehicle jumped out and took cover. The Russians then went up to the vehicle and stole everything which could be removed.
Medical Officer Fromm was on his way to the main dressing station towards Kleszczele, at about two in the afternoon on 25 June 1941, to bring a wounded man there with a bullet wound to the thigh. When he was about two kilometers from the location of Stary, his vehicle suddenly came under heavy infantry and anti-tank fire from a cornfield. He and his assistant driver jumped into a ditch in cover and tried to repel the Russians to protect their ambulance and the wounded man. Due to the great superiority of the Russians, the two medics were compelled to withdraw into the village of Stary. From there, a Battalion intervened to protect the ambulance, so that the Russians were killed or blown up after a two-hour fire fight. Corporal Fromm now returned to his vehicle. The vehicle exhibited about 100 bullet entry holes, especially in the white field of the red cross. The wounded soldier lying in the ambulance with the thigh wound now had ten new bullet wounds, all over his body, and in addition a large flesh wound on the right side of the neck, with regards to which the witness could not say whether it had been caused by a bullet or by a bayonet thrust. The wounded man was so severely injured by the new wounds that he died shortly afterwards. The Russians had also stolen the blankets and gasoline from the vehicle.
Document to Case 248
Local Bivouac, 11 September 1941
Interrogation: on my orders, there appeared the officer Alfred Fromm, Krkw. [?] Platoon 2/292, and testified as follows after being acquainted with the object of the interrogation and warned to tell the pure truth:
"a) As to my person: my name if Alfred Fromm, I was born on 21 August 1915, Evangelical, soldier since March 1940 (1 year served from 1934-35).
"b) As to the facts: On 25 June 1941, 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I received the order to bring a wounded man with a thigh wound from the Second Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment to the main dressing station to Kleszczele.
"When I was about 2 kilometers from the locality of Stary, in Russia, the baggage train came under heavy infantry and anti-tank fire from a cornfield on the right. During this fire fight the baggage train from the IInd Battalion 508th Infantry Regiment came up to me from the opposite direction. It was impossible to get around each other on this narrow road. My assistant driver and I, as well as the soldiers from the baggage train, immediately jumped out into the road-side ditch to seek cover. We returned fire, but had to withdraw into the village of Stary due to the heavy superiority of the enemy. In the village, we immediately reported that the Russians were attacking the village in a strength of about 2 companies
"The Battalion immediately deployed, and after a two-hour fire fight, the Russians were killed or blown up. I returned to my vehicle, and found it between two other vehicles which had been overturned. My vehicle exhibited about 100 bullet holes, especially in the white circle of the Red Cross.
"The soldier lying in the ambulance with a thigh wound now had ten new bullet wounds all over his body, and a large flesh wound on the right side of the neck, with regards to which
Pictorial documentation to Case 248
A total of 100 shots were counted in this ambulance. The wounded man side could not be taken away during the attack, and was hit by ten shots and died a short time afterwards.
"I cannot say whether they were caused by bayonet thrusts or gun shots. He so badly wounded that he died soon afterwards.
Read out, approved and signed: Signed: Alfred Fromm, Corporal
The witness was sworn.
Concluded: Signed: Hans-Helmut Schnelle, Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps). Signed: Dr. Wünschmann, Judge Advocate
20 September 1941, Certified: Ministerial Registrar.
Five defenseless German wounded men, under the protection of a German medic in a house in the village of Dabrowka were cruelly killed by Russian soldiers. They also fired at the medics. They were only able to save their lives by quickly running away. They heard the screaming of the wounded as they were literally butchered. The Russians even threw hand grenades in the house and then chased the medics, who were, however able to return to their Company, unharmed two days later.
During the same battle, on 25 June 1941, near Dabrowka, Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Menke had set up an army dressing station. Three Russians suddenly stormed the dressing station, in which there were two wounded Russians, in addition to German wounded. As a result of the Russian attack, two wounded German soldiers were repeatedly wounded by bayonet thrusts and two grooms were seriously wounded.
During the same battle, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Raegener, in Zlawiyschka, headed a squad dressing station. He noticed that there were no wounded men with leg bullet wounds. On the same day, he visited the battlefield to rescue the wounded; but none were found. But he noticed approximately one hundred dead soldiers lying there that had been tied up in a wounded condition and then killed. Among some of the dead, he noticed, in addition to their original injuries, bayonet stab wounds in the right or left side of the neck. About fifteen dead men, in addition to their wounds, exhibited completely smashed skulls and bayonet stab wounds in the stomach. These skull injuries must have been inflicted with spades of other sharp instruments. In the village he found a blood-stained potato masher which had obviously been used to butcher the wounded. Due to his observations he came to the assumption
that approximately 60 percent of the dead men lying there had been butchered after the battle.
Among the murdered men were Medical Assistant B. Medical Assistant M, Medical Assistant T. and Stretcher Bearer R. Surgeon Major Dr. Raegener exactly examined the bodies of these medics, and, in so doing, observed bullet wounds fired at point blank range, as well as smashed skulls and bayonet stab wounds in the neck.
On 28 June 1941, an attack on a German train of ambulances carrying wounded soldiers to Baranowice took place on the Stolpe-Baranowice road, west of Mir. The train of ambulances was clearly marked. All vehicles bore a red cross to the left and right, and two red crosses behind. The front vehicle each had a red cross flag which was also clearly visible. Despite the twilight, which had already fallen at the time of the attack, these insignia were clearly visible. The attack took place as a result of Russian trucks, from which the ambulances were filed upon with Zeillings machine guns. If the attack on the train of ambulances had really been accidental, the Russians would immediately have stopped firing after reaching the vehicles. But the Russians continued the attack, which was against all international law and all humanity, by breaking open the ambulances and tearing the stretchers bearing the wounded out on the road, and deliberately robbing the ambulances after some of the German crews had been killed, and the rest driven off into an adjacent cornfield. Of the wounded men conveyed in the ambulances, 25 were shot by the Russians or killed by bayonet thrusts or hand grenades. Our escort of four medics was also torn out of the vehicles and murdered. This ignominious attack is proven by the sworn testimonies of Corporals Seebecher and Singer, Frankl, Baumann, Nussbaumer, the soldiers Geiselberg, Corporal Wittmann and Gefreiter Uhle. The last named witness personally buried twenty victims of the attack, In another ambulance another six dead men were found.
Near Tolpino, on the morning of 8 July 1941, under conditions of perfect visibility, a Russian tank attacked a German ambulance carrying four wounded soldiers. The vehicles was clearly marked and carried the Red Cross flag. The Russian tank shot at the ambulances from a distance of only 150 to 200 meters at most.
Because of the shooting, the ambulance driver tried to get the wounded out of the vehicle and bring them to cover. He was unsuccessful, because the fire was too heavy. The Russians penetrated up to the immediate vicinity of the ambulance, tore open the door of the ambulance and even fired rounds inside the ambulance with explosive ammunition. Obergefreiter Ertel found a piece of explosive ammunition in the ambulance when he returned to it. He therefore concluded that shots with explosive ammunition had only been fired after the Russians had torn open the door of the ambulance. Of the four wounded men inside the ambulance, two of them died from their new injuries. Another ambulance following at a certain distance from the first vehicle, was also fired on by the Russians. The driver of this second vehicle was killed.
The Medical Company, 1/4 [?] were on the march between Luck and Rowno on 28 June 1941. They were driving on the north tank road. About 15 hours, with perfect conditions of visibility, the ambulance first came under light machine gun fire, followed by rifle fire. The attack was carried out by about 400 to 500 Russian infantry men from a distance of 400 to 500 meters. The Russian infantry had deliberately deployed for the purpose of attacking the train of ambulances. Two Russian tank reconnaissance vehicles simultaneously supported the attack with cannon and machine gun fire. In particular, one of the two Russian tank reconnaissance vehicles shot at the ambulance standing immediately opposite, from a range of only 15 to 20 meters, i.e. characteristically, in the immediate vicinity of the Red Cross insignia. One ambulance and one truck were completely disabled. Two medics were killed and eight were wounded. In view of this illegal attack, the escorts with the train of ambulances made use of their right to defend themselves and returned fire but were unable to repel attack.
It should be noted that in this case as well, all the vehicles were clearly marked with the insignia of the Red Cross. They had just been repainted, so that the red and white colors were especially clearly visible.
On 13 July 1941, the 113th Field Hospital and a section of the 133th Medical Company were attacked by hostile infantry and cavalry near Peremyszel, although the insignia of the Red Cross with a diameter of approximately 50 centimeters had been affixed in this case as well,
and was clearly visible to the enemy. The vehicles were not even dirty, but were completely clean, so that the insignia of the Red Cross were not covered by anything. It was early morning and completely light, indicating a deliberate, illegal attack by the Russians. The crews of the medical companies all wore the white armband of the Red Cross on the left arm. It was obviously a planned attack probably carried out as the result of a report that the field hospital and the Medical Company, had been seen in Peremyszel the day before. In addition to Russian infantry and cavalry, anti-tank guns also participated in the attack. Ten men in the Medical Company were killed in this attack, one was missing two seriously wounded and one slightly wounded. The field hospital had 19 killed. Many of the dead were found severely mutilated; among other things, one driver had his forehead crushed with a boot heel, two others from the staff had had their skulls smashed in, others were burnt alive during the bombardment of the vehicle. One transport vehicle, containing all the medical equipment, was set on fire by the Russians and burned, the overwhelming majority of the other vehicles were destroyed by the effects of heavy bombardment. The dead were plundered, even the boots being stolen.
An especially aggravating circumstance is the fact that the Russians used tracer bullets during the attack, which obviously caused some of the burns.
Gefreiter (Medical Corps) Czaika reports under oath of the attacked of five Russian airplanes on 14 July 1941, between Cornesti and Kischenew, where he was driving with an ambulance, following a vehicle of the maintenance platoon. Both vehicles were marked according to regulations with the insignia of the Red Cross. It was about mid-day. The Russian airplanes flew immediately towards the two ambulances vehicles at an altitude of approximately 30 meters and dropped seven bombs. There were no other ambulances in the vicinity. Both ambulances were also strafed with on-board armament. After this first attack the airplanes turned away and made another low-altitude attack after two minutes. One driver of the maintenance vehicle was wounded in the lower leg. Gefreiter (Medical Corps) Czaika took his wounded comrades to the main dressing station immediately afterwards. During his stay in the locality, he learned that, a few minutes before he got there, five Russian airplanes (Ratas) had attacked the main dressing station with bombs and on-board armament, although the dressing station was marked according to regulations with the insignia of the Red Cross. The witness reports that the enemy must certainly have seen the insignia of the Red Cross with which both field hospital and ambulances were marked, since the attack took place in the morning, in clear, sunny weather, and even during a halt of the ambulances on the road.
On July 1941, south of the road from Rabowitschi to Mohilev, three German ambulances, clearly marked with their insignia and uncovered, were attacked in this situation by Russian armored cars. The head physician of the field hospital was in the immediate vicinity of the ambulance and saw it when the vehicles were suddenly hit by an impact which immediately set fire to the vehicles. A total of 18 to 20 shots were fired. The head physician of the field hospital clearly saw the muzzle flashes. The Russian armored cars then turned in a westerly direction. 7.5 cm ammunition was used during the firing, as established on the basis of a found bullet bottom. In addition to the ambulances, two trucks and a tow truck were destroyed. One medic was wounded and died of his wounds shortly afterwards; another five soldiers were slightly wounded. The bombardment also damaged the vehicles of the field hospital, as well as to the equipment and/or garment stores of the field hospital and the crew.
According to the report from Batallion Physician Dr. Türk, dated 22 July 1941, between Tscherikoff and Propoisk on 20 July 1941, assistant physicial Feldwebel (Medical Corps) Dr. Sontgerath and the driver of an ambulance were attacked by the Russians, even though the insignia of the Red Cross were clearly visible on the ambulance. The driver of the vehicle was found dead, shot, on the ground, Feldwebel (Medical Corps) Dr. Sontgerath lay wounded in the vehicle with bullet wounds through the wrist and lower leg. He reported that a Russian had jumped up on the vehicle and had shot the driver from about three meters, then he turned against Dr. Sontgerath and shot at him, too.
The record of the sworn testimony of First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Schwarze reports on the shelling on the road from Moshok of an ambulance properly marked with the Red Cross insignia and Red Cross flag, in Blagowitschi, on 26 July 1941. The vehicle received machine gun fire from a distance of about 100 meters while traveling over open terrain, i.e. when clearly visible.
At about 14 hours on 1 August 1941, i.e. in broad daylight, Russian aircraft bombed a horse-drawn German Medical Company, on the march from Mustvee (on the Peipus Lake) towards Torma, using bombs of medium caliber. The attack
occurred from an altitude of about 400 meters, although all the vehicles of the Company were clearly clearly marked by the Geneva Red Cross. Fortunately, the attack was unsuccessful.
First Lieutenant Bohn reported under oath on an especially heinous attack on a transport of German wounded.
“On 3 August 1941, I was on patrol on the Jojeva-Rakke road. In the region of Vaimastvere, I wound two graves along the road, a double grave and a half-finished grave. In the double grave lay, as shown by the inscription on the cross, two ambulance drivers. Around the grave lay four bodies. The half-finished grave indicates that these soldiers were attacked while preparing a grave for their comrades. A spade still stood in the half-finished grave. Of the soldier who lay around as bodies, at least were passengers of the ambulance, being conveyed to the field hospital, since they still wore bandages. One of the dead men had had his head cut off, probably during the attack, and one had had his eyes gouged out. All the dead men had been plundered. The other soldiers had several stab wounds in the body. The circumstances left no doubt that a transport of wounded soldiers had been attacked and killed by the Russians, after which they were very probably mutilated. I noticed that the soldier without a head still wore the patient tag issued to him at the main dressing station. The yellow breakdown flag with the black cross was also still there, with a number of bullet holes in it.”
A German ambulance also came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire from a distance of about 20 meters during an attack on the road from Demidowska to Annatoljiewka on 9 August 1941. Seven Russians then jumped onto the vehicle and opened the rear door. They tore the stretchers, and five wounded German soldiers and two wounded Russians, out of the vehicles. After ransacking the vehicle, they went away again. Upon the approach of a German tank, it was noted that one of the German wounded, who had been only slightly wounded, had been shot through the arm the foot. One German soldier, with a bullet wound in the abdomen, and who had been torn out of the vehicle on a stretcher, was dead; his face had been smashed with a blunt object. A driver of the ambulance, a wounded German Corporal as well as two other German wounded, and the two wounded Russians, were no longer to be found.
In the record of 3 September 1941, First Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Allmeling, reports under oath on the organised Russian attack on the main dressing station of the 292nd Medical Company, in the village of Lysowka on 25 August 1941.
A Russian 32 ton tank and other Russian tanks participated in this attack, which took place in the early morning.
The witness described the procedure himself and the result of this attack:
“The rifle and machine gun fire came closer to the immediate vicinity of the main dressing station, now mixed with clear detonations of tank shells. The adjacent house was set on fire by a direct hit, as well as an ambulance parked there. In the ensuing minutes ambulances were brought in, wounded were loaded and driven away, while the hostile tanks took the main dressing station under heavy fire. The indirect fire of these infantry men on men from the main dressing station was now answered by our own people with rifle fire.
"At this precise moment two fully loaded ambulances stood ready for departure, before one was already driving away. Still unloaded wounded were still sheltered in anti-shrapnel ditches at that moment, when the first tank came around the corner firing, and I ordered the men to take cover. Everybody tried to get to safety in various directions. I ran with a few men in the direction of the local command post, to inquire about the situation. There Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Krautberger, who was wounded in the right thigh, pushed his way to me. There I joined Second Lieutenant (Medical Corps) Dr. Hartke and a few other members of the company. The tanks, which were still rolling through the village a few hundred meters away after attacking the main dressing station, turned around again and indiscriminately bombarded the entire area, so that I had to take cover in some nearby forest with my comrades.
"When the tanks were gone, we returned to the main dressing station, which offered a horrible spectacle of willful destruction. A loaded company lorry marked with the insignia of the Red Cross which was about to drive away, received a direct tank cannon round from behind. The wounded men lying in it on stretchers were so badly wounded that three were killed immediately, and the fourth died on the way to the field hospital. As if that weren’t enough, the tank had also rammed the vehicle, and pushed it into a truck, which was standing empty next to it, so that one dead man was caught between a rear wheel and the broken structure, while the other dead man and one severely wounded man, with horrible injuries, lay on top of the structure, which was covered with blood. The driver of the vehicle lay right next to this vehicle with a split-open skull. At this point, it should be noted that rifle casings were found on the vehicle, so that it must be assumed that the Russians shot at the wounded with all the weapons available to their tank crews. Next to the vehicle was a Russian rifle with fixed bayonet. The second ambulance which could no longer drive away, since it had had a collision with the Russian tank as it came around the corner, and was run over by the tank treads, which ran over the motor, and was completely rushed. Our vehicle, which stood next to this vehicle, was rammed against the wall of the house and entirely crushed. One crew was run over and crushed, while another crew was stabbed to death with fixed bayonets by Russian infantry on the tanks, some of whom had gotten down off the tanks at the main dressing station. The tents for the wounded were repeatedly shot through, and the material for the wounded was stolen. One of our medics who had helped us in loading the wounded lay next to his tent with his rifle with fixed bayonet, killed by a head shot. Behind the ten lay a slightly wounded man who had tried to take shelter in the ditches dug around the tent; he had also been shot. Furthermore, wounded men who had attempted to take shelter in the anti-shrapnel ditch during the attack by the Bolsheviks, and who were clearly marked as wounded by means of their bandages, were also shot.
"Furthermore another four vehicles some of them of the Medical Company, and some of them ambulances, were destroyed by ramming or set on fire. One of the drivers who had attempted to flee to safety, was shot in the heart through the back and killed by a heart shot.
"The main dressing station building itself, which was marked with the Red Cross on the street side by a school blackboard attached to the wall next to the entrance, quite apart from a second blackboard with the Red Cross and the Red Cross Flag, immediately obliquely facing the street, was also fired upon. You could see pockmarks in the beams of the house. Rifle and machine gun projectiles were lying around in the operating theater and in the lodgings of the medical officers.
"After this horrid attack on the main dressing station, severely wounded men lying in the adjacent house, fortunately overlooked by the Russians, as well as the rest of the wounded, of whom six were again wounded by the attack and some very seriously so, were transported away as quickly as possible, since one could expect that the tank would return.
"This factual reports shows that the Bolsheviks in this manner treacherously attacked the main dressing station in the grossest violation of the Geneva convention, which was clearly marked as medical installations visible from all directions, and bestially murdered and destroyed helpless wounded and medical officers and medical material, without being fired on beforehand or being attacked in any manner. The Russian tank crewed were alerted by village women that there was only one hospital in the village, but the tanks nevertheless carried out the attack perhaps in the belief, anyway, just to be able to rob and murder, without meeting any military resistance.”
About ten Soviet bombers carried out an attack on 20 well-marked German ambulances on the runway between Aleksejewka and Ogorotniki on 30 August 1941. The Soviet bombers circles at about 100 or 200 meters over the column of ambulances. The weather was clear and visibility was good. The airplane flew to low that they must have seen the insignia of the German ambulances. The Russian airplane immediately began to strafe the column. Several bombs were dropped, most of which fell in the village of Ogorotnki. The attack lasted about 15 minutes. It took place at about three o’clock German time. The vehicles were all marked as ambulances on the top, on the roof, and on both sides, in compliance with regulations, by a Red Cross, in a white circle, and this insignia was not covered by tarpaulins or in any other way. In front and behind the column the road was empty, another proven attack on a German medical column, in violation of international law.
On 12 September 1941, near Ropscha, 30 kilometers south west of Petersburg, Gefreiter (Medical Corps) S. who was marked as a medic by the Aesculapius’ staff on an armband, and who was also wearing two medical pouches with the bandages and dressings, was killed by the Russians as he tried to help injured comrades. When he was found, both eyes were gouged out. The right one was entirely missing, the left eyeball hung still in the corner of the eye socket. A broad instrument must have been thrust into the eye. His left cheek was slashed from the corner of the mouth to the ear, and his tongue was missing. His wounded comrade, whom S had tried to help, had 10 to 15 pistol shots in the head, neck and breast. Before that, he had only injuries on the left. The fatal wounds were inflicted later. Both bodies were plundered by the Russians.
On 15 September 1941, near Marmosovka, a German ambulance attempting to transport a several wounded and two slightly wounded soldiers to Keltnja, was shot up by Russian soldiers and then attacked with a hand grenade. As a result of the hand grenade explosion, a jet of flame shot from the ambulances. Civilians also participated in this attack. The driver of the ambulance was hit and killed by three shots. The ambulance were clearly marked by the insignia, perfectly recognizable as such.
On 28 July 1941, Russian troops attacked a transport of German wounded in the region of Minsk. The transport consisted of seven ambulances. The vehicles contained about 50 severely and slightly wounded soldiers. Each vehicle had a truck driver and assistant driver. All ambulances were clearly marked according to regulations with the insignia of the Red Cross; the driver and assistant driver also wore the insignia of the Red Cross. The attack took place during the night. According to the circumstances of the case there is no doubt that the Russians must have recognized these seven ambulances also must have recognized the insignia of the Red Cross upon approaching, at the latest, since the attack lasted about an hour. They committed a cruel slaughter among the wounded as well as among the transport escort. The witness, Gefreiter Magnus Schlosser, who drove one of these ambulances, was wounded during the attack and later learned, after losing consciousness as a result of the wounds, that only about nine to ten men of their transport of wounded soldiers were still alive. At least 40 wounded men were killed during the attack.
A German stretcher bearer, N. was shot from a distance of abut five meters by a Russian near Lida, on the morning of 3 July 1941, under conditions of perfect visibility, while assisting another stretcher bearer named Jursch. Both stretcher bearers, both N and Jursch, were clearly marked by the white armband of the Red Cross.
A German Medical Assistant of the 7th Company, 527th Infantry Regiment, was cruelly killed on 26 or 27 July 1941 at Usch near Roszitsche, at the latitude of Kiev.
As shown by the bandages left behind, he was attempting to help his other comrades when he was attacked by the Russians. He was found with his throat cut; the wounded men he had been attempting to care for were left to bleed to death.
In clear morning light of 27 September 1941, a Russian bomber dropped a bomb on the German field hospital at that time located in the farmhouse Moschtschinki (about 30 kilometers northeast of Smolensk). The bomb missed its target, and exploded about 200 metes behind the farmhouse. Since there were no other objectives, in particular, no other buildings, in the area, there was no doubt that the Russian bomber had chosen the German field hospital as an objective, although this was clearly marked by a Red Cross flag with a size of one and a half meters.
A vicious attack of the Russians on 309 June 1941 on a train of 29 ambulances led by himself is described by Captain Flucke. In the sworn statement on his interrogation on 5 November 1941, he testified as follows:
“On 30 June 1941, I was driving my train of ambulances to the 71st infantry Regiment on the Zelwa-Slonim road when we were attacked by the Russians. I ordered the driver so the ambulances to turn back and drive way. The drove on back along the Zelwa-Slonim road in the direction of Zelwa. Near Driekowcze, I started to secure the area with a few men. Three vehicles succeeded in getting through Russian cavalry, while three other vehicles were stopped by the Russians. As we came to the driving zone about ten minutes later, we found the drivers all dead, shot through the head. They were the medics M. B. D. Sch, and Gefreiter K. K had already been wounded in the thigh during a night attack by a strong Russian cavalry patrol. It was only a graze wound. He was laid in a vehicle on a stretcher. As we came back to the vehicles, we saw that his feet were hanging down backwards, he were still clinging to the stretcher with his hands. They were killed with gun shot wounds in the back of the neck. From the position, it was clear that Russians had attempted to drag them out of the vehicles and murder them by shots in the back of the neck. The four drivers were shot in the forehead, and lay on the road and in the ditch; they had no weapons with them. From the type of exit wounds and the position of the dead men when we found them, I concluded that they were murdered by the Russians without offering resistance.
”We broke through to the 3rd Company, 87th Infantry Regiment. The moment we reached them, the Russians to the left of us broke through. The eastern wing of the Company, which was attacked on the flank, withdrew to a forested position. At the same time, Medical Assistant H. and medic G. remained behind. Both were found dead after the battle. Medical Assistant H.’s head had been smashed so badly so that the brain was exposed. He had six to seven bayonet thrusts through the breast, abdomen and limbs. All his valuables had been stolen, except a ring. The body of the medics also exhibited numerous bayonet stab wounds through the breast, abdomen and limbs. His personal effects had also been stolen. Neither soldier had any bullet wounds. They lay in a hole in the earth. I assume that they were exhausted and remained behind and were killed without resistance”.
On 23 July 1941, Russian troops attacked a German casualty collection point in Protasy. The Russian troops penetrated the collection point, where there were two medical officers, including a Captain (Medical Corps) and 15 medics, with machine guns and hand grenades. The two medical officers, three or four medics and a number of other wounded men were dragged out of the house at the casualty collection point and killed with gun shots to the head. One of the dead men was wounded and was wearing a bandage; another was a wounded man wearing a splint on his leg.
From the testimony and the medical expert opinion of Captain (Medical Corps) Kecht dated 4 November 1941 shows that Medical Orderly Karl M. (2nd Company, 99th Medical Company, Mountain Infantry) was murdered while lying helpless on the ground with a thigh wound, which was not critical, during a Russian attack on a train of ambulances of the above mentioned company on 17 July 1941. Despite the fact that the man was wounded, the Russians smashed his head in, with rifle butts or in some other way.
On 8 August 1941, on the Trojanka-Naljewajka road, the body of driver and assistant driver of a medical omnibus and 17 other soldiers being transported in a wounded in the medical omnibus in a wounded condition, were found dead by Lieutenant Eckert (3rd Company, 54th Mountain Engineers). Russian troops attacked the ambulance and killed the passengers. The wounded men, as well as the driver and assistant driver, were killed with head shots, bayonet thrusts, stab wounds to the breast or had their throats cut. In two cases, the skulls were completely crushed. That this disgraceful blood bath against an aggregated transport of defenseless wounded was deliberately committed, is shown by the fact -- quite apart from the clearly recognizable type of the convoy -- that all the dead men, with the exception of the diver and assistant driver, were wearing hospital tags and most of them were bandaged, designating them as clearly wounded. None of the wounded men had any equipment or weapons. They were robbed of all valuables.
In the period around 20 December 1941, in the vicinity of the village of Pogostje, in the region of Schlusselburg, the Russians attacked a German ambulance. Inside the ambulance were four German wounded soldiers
who were to be transported to the main dressing station. Medical Officer Kersten testified as follows under oath:
“On about 20 December 1941, after retaking the locality of Pogostje, I noticed one of our ambulances standing empty on the village road. In the immediate vicinity of this vehicle, on the road, in the ditch, were four stretchers with four wounded German soldiers. When I heard from a military physician the four seriously wounded soldiers were to be loaded onto the ambulance and taken to the main dressing station. These severely wounded men were then captured by the Russian during a sudden attack. During a later inspection of the German soldiers, I saw that all four were dead. All the wounds suffered in ordinary combat had received medical treatment, but all four soldiers had several stab wounds in the face or breast. There is no doubt that these four seriously wounded soldiers were bayoneted by the Russians while lying helpless. I don’t know the names of the four dead men, but they were infantry men of the 291st Infantry Division.
Corporal Water Schmitt (11th Company, 479th Infantry Regiment), wounded on 8 January 1942, south of Borowsk, testified under oath as follows:
“When I reached the a main dressing station, in a small village between Borwsk and Wereja the next morning, about six Russian fighter planes flew down and attacked an ambulance standing on the airfield and clearly marked with a Red Cross, using machine guns and cannons, at an altitude of about 100 meters.”
Rifleman Schiemann (Staff, 477th Infantry Regiment) suffered a wounded foot on 4 or 5 August 1941 and was taken to a main dressing station in the locality of Uman, and found everything devastated at the dressing station. Five of six German soldier who had obviously been murdered lay before the house. Medical instruments were thrown about on the ground. One of the dead soldiers had had both his arms hacked off at the shoulders or cut off; one of them had been decapitated, while another man had a bayonet stuck in his back. As the witness later heard, Russian tanks shortly before his arrival in the main dressing station had attacked the German main dressing station and destroyed everything.
On 13 August 1941, near Jelnja, three German ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross and in the process of taking wounded men to the military hospital, were bombed by three Russian fighter planes. The attack can only have been intended for the ambulance, since there were no other vehicles or troops in the vicinity. The bombs exploded in the immediate vicinity, without doing any damage.
On 24 June 1941, near Chelm Lubomil, Medical Assistant Haupt, just after bandaging four or five German wounded men on the battlefield, was shot at by a Russian, in broad daylight, under perfect conditions of visibility, from about 25 meters distance, although he was wearing the regulation Geneva armband. The shot hit him in they eye, resulting in loss of the eye. Immediately afterwards, after he fell to the ground, several Russians came along, beat him and stabbed him in the left side with their bayonets. When he was found later and recovered by German soldiers, he told them of the German wounded whom he had been attempting to bandage. His company told him that all the wounded men had all been found dead.
Two German ambulance drivers wearing the regulation insignia of the Geneva Red Cross were attacked by a Russian bomber on their way from the main dressing station at Gorochowski to the field hospital in Kroloweviec, almost exactly around noon, on 9 September 1941. The bomber dropped two bombs, which exploded to the right and left of the road, close to the ambulances, but fortunately caused no damage. Since there were no other objectives in the area, it was obvious that the attack was exclusively directed against the ambulance
Another ambulance from the same medical division was machine-gunned in a lower-altitude attack by two Russian bombers on 9 September 1941, at around 14.30 hours.
Gefreiter Dickmann (11th Company, 240th Infantry Regiment), while combing a forest in the vicinity of the Dneipr in the direction of Wjasm, saw a column of eight ambulances on the road. The eighth ambulances had been attacked during the night by Russian troops. When Dickmann and his comrades found the column of ambulances while combing the forest, the killed and wounded from the column of ambulances had already been transported away by the supply column. The ambulances exhibited infantry bullet impacts.
Corporal Bartl (8th Company, 19th Infantry Regiment) as a result of his illness, was sent from a forested position, northwest of Brykino, to the army doctor, located in a forested position between Byrkino and Jumotowo.
From the latter location, together with two slightly wounded comrades, he was conveyed in the direction of the main dressing station Jestrebowo in a horse-drawn ambulance. The sick man and the two wounded men sat in the ambulance on a bench. On the bock of the wagon, which was drawn by two horses, sat the driver and assistant driver; behind the wagon, followed two men from his Company, his companions Gefreiters Z. and S. The wagon was clearly marked with the insignia of the Red Cross. After about half an hour’s journey, the wagon suddenly came under attack by the Russians. The witnesses inside the wagons heard rifle shots and saw someone pushing aside the tarpaulin at the back of the wagon; the barrel of a Russian machine gun appeared. A burst from the machine gun into the interior of the wagon killed one of the two men, hitherto only slightly wounded, with a head shot. The other wounded man jumped out of the vehicle. Bartl himself lay down on the bench. After about a few more shots, all was still again. Thinking that he had a chance to escape from the wagon, Bartl jumped down out of the vehicle, too, and ran into the forest. As he was jumping, he noticed that none of his two companions were moving. A and S. lay behind the vehicle on the ground; the wounded man who has jumped out of the wagon also lay in the ditch along the road. The driver and assistant driver were no longer moving; the horses were dead, too. Bartl got through the forest through Jestrebowo. Later, in the field hospital, he learned that all other passengers of the vehicle, including the two escort crews, with the exception of Z. had been found dead, and that even the one survivor had died soon after the attack as the result of a gun shot wound to the head.
Anther attack on the ambulance marked according to regulations is described by Obergefreiter Dressler in the record of interrogation of 12 February 1942 as follows:
“On 28 June 1941, I was wounded in the region of Busk (Lithuania) through the right shoulder and right side of the face through a shot. I was then transported away in am ambulance clearly marked with the Red Cross in the usual manner. I was alone in the rear of the vehicle, lying on a stretcher. Ahead, were a driver and assistant driver. The vehicle was attacked at very close range by Russian troops who shot the driver and assistant driver. Both men were wounded; I noticed this because I heard them groan. The vehicle then drove into a ditch about three meters deep and turned over on its side. I was afraid that the vehicle might catch fire. I opened the side door to escape. The Russians shot at the vehicle again, and I was wounded again. They then emptied the vehicle. They put me on a stretcher. I pretended to be unconscious, but I noticed everything. From my stretcher, I saw the Russians stabbing the wounded driver and assistant driver with bayonets. Lithuanian farmers buried the two soldiers later. Afterwards, the troops found that the vehicle had been hit 197 times by machine gun fire. It was broad daylight the entire time. The Russians clearly thought that it was a transport of wounded men."
All the Russian violations of international law and the Geneva Convention described thus far were exceeded by the cruel treatment of the German soldiers lying wounded in the local field hospital during the temporary reoccupation of the city of Feodosia on 29 December 1941 who could not be transported away by German ambulances because of a surprise landing of the Russians. The penetrating Russians murdered the German wounded lying before them, especially in the German main field hospital, with the greatest cruelty. These were severely wounded men who could not be taken away during the evacuation of the Feodosia because of their condition. Lieutenant Döring, who was present after the reoccupation of Feodosia by German troops as corps supply driver in Feodosia on 30 January 1941, described his impressions as follows, in a sworn interrogation of 31 January 1941:
“Inside the former German field hospital, which was lodged in a mosque-like building, the bodies of about 50 German soldiers lay in two large rooms. In my view, these men had been seriously injured and could not be transported due to their condition, or wounded men who had been captured by the Russians in some other way. A few bore the red field hospital tag, showing, for example, that a leg had been amputated. The bodies were all mutilated, in some cases, with horrible cruelty. A few of them had had their heads smashed in with blunt objects, probably rifle butts. A few had their ears cut off, others had had their noses cut off. A few, whose mouths were open, had had their tongues torn out or cut off. A few had their hands hacked off, their eyes gouged out, or the bodies otherwise mutilated by knife wounds. A few had had their genitals cut off. A few men exhibited signs of several of the above described mutilations. Some of the bodies were completely naked, while others were dressed in their shirts. A few had full uniforms on.
“Immediately next to the hospital, near the main entrance, was a niche in the wall, opening upwards. In this lay the bodies of a number of German soldiers some of the naked some of them dressed in a shirt. The bodies lay neatly laid out next to each other, in several rows. A few of them had their hands and feet tied with bandages or other materials, while others had their hands tied to their bodies by means of fetters. The bodies lay beneath a sheet of ice. The wounded men had been obviously been laid out, after which water was poured over them, causing them to freeze to death. But there were no mutilations, such as described above. The sight was horrible.
“Surgeon Major Burkhardt who was also present on the date after the reoccupation of Feodosia by German troops, reports that, during the occupation of Feodosia, about 60 to 70 German seriously wounded had had to be left behind in the local hospital of Feodosia. None of them were still there when the city was retaken by the Germans. He was told that there was a big mound on the beach. He went to the mound and noticed a hand with a SAM splint sticking out of it. He ordered the mound opened and found that, beneath a thin layer of sand, there were bodies all piled up. There were a total of 55 bodies, all of whom were taken away from the mound the following day. Surgeon Major Burkhardt was able to establish beyond doubt that these were the bodies of severely wounded men from the hospital. A few of these bodies were even personally identified as a result of the type of military injuries. Some of the bodies wore
plaster bandages and splints. So-called ‘washer-woman’s skin’ could be seen on some of the bodies. From this, and from the fact that many of the bodies exhibited freezing of the first second and third degree on the uncovered arms and legs, led me to conclude that these severely wounded men must have been laid out alive, on the beach, and exposed to the cold, since freezing to this extent cannot take place in corpses. Most of the bodies also exhibited head and breast shots. Many of the bodies were missing the back of the head, as the result of exit wounds at close range. In other bodies, the head had been smashed by blunt objects. The plaster casts were broken in some cases; blood and pus could be seen to have leaked from the lines of breakage. Near the mound lay a boat hook, which was possibly used in beating the wounded men to death. Towards the land, immediately behind them, was a wall bearing clearly visible traces of blood and brains. About 50 meters away from the mound lay the body of a German wounded soldier, covered with sand. Ten meters away from him lay another German body, covered in a coat of ice caused by the deliberate pouring of sea water over the wounded man.
Documents to Case 284
Court of the AOK II
Army Headquarters, 2 February 1942
Judge Advocate Dr. Jahn, acting judge
Gefreiter Wanitschek, generally obligated Recording Secretary
There appeared Captain (Medical Corps) Rudolf Burkhardt and declared after being acquainted with the subject matter and being warned to tell the truth and being informed of the significance of the oath as follows:
“As to my person: My name is Rudolf, Maximlian, Kossuth Burkhardt, I am 31 years old, Captain (Medical Corps) with the agency Field post number 42320, Evangelical religion.
“As to the facts: I came to Feodosia the day after the city was retaken by the Germans. Before the occupation of Feodosia by the Russians, I was with a field hospital, the hospital of the 715th Medical Company, in Feodosia. I was there when the city was occupied by the Russians, since I was in service before Sevastopol at that time. Through my First Lieutenant (Medical Corps), Dr Schwerin, I learned that about 60 to 70 severely wounded in the local hospital of Feodosia had been left behind during the occupation of Feodosia by the Russians. When I came back after the German reoccupation of Feodosia, there were no more German wounded in the local field hospital. Eleven Russian wounded had formerly been active in the local hospital. They were also left behind during the evacuation of the field hospital. Of these eleven Russians, there were only five left. They told me that the German severely wounded left behind in the hospital were not harmed on the first day of the Russian occupation but that during the night of the second to the third day, a drunken Russian sailor came along and was said to have shot about indiscriminately in the field hospital, killing six of the Russian POWs. The remaining five were said to have run away and were said to have hidden themselves. While they lay hidden, they were said to have heard horrible screams from the German wounded. They couldn’t see what was happening to the German wounded. The next morning, they said they went to the beach and saw the German wounded lying around, some of them in the water. They could not give any more exact information on the type of wounds. One POW reported that the German wounded were thrown onto the beach, down by the water, while still alive. He had not seen this himself, however. In the mean time, it was reported to me that there was a great hill on the beach. I went to the hill and observed that there was a hand with at SAM splint on it sticking out. I had the hill opened at that point.
“From a distance of a small layer of sand about a hand’s breadth wide I observed that they were bodies lay piled up. According to the statements of the population, there were said to be at least a total of 55 bodies, which proved correct after the investigations made. On the next day I had the bodies taken out of the hill. I was able to determine beyond doubt that these were the bodies of severely wounded men from my field hospital. I was able to identify a few of the bodies as a result of the type of war wounds. The bodies some of them still wore plaster casts and splints. On those of the bodies so called 'washer-woman’s skin' was to be seen. From this once could not however establish that the bodies had come into contact with water while still alive, since washer-woman’s skin can also occur in fresh bodies. I conclude that in many bodies freezing of the first second and third degree on the uncovered limbs was to be seen, that the severely wounded were laid on out on the beach while still alive, and exposed to the cold. Freezing to the extent observed would not occur in dead bodies. Some of the bodies exhibited head and breast shots. Many of them were missing parts of the back of the head due to bullet exit wounds. In some of the bodies, the skull had had been smashed with blunt objects. Some without circulation, some of them with circulation of the blood, showing that their skulls were smashed while they were still alive. The plaster casts were broken in some cases. Blood and pus had exited from the fractures in the casts, proving conclusively that the seriously wounded men upon whom these characteristics were observed must have been still alive when the plaster cats were broken. Near the mound lay a boat hook. Whether this was used to beat the wounded men to death cannot be determined. Landwards of the mound, immediately behind it, was a wall bearing clearly visible traces of blood and brains. About 50 meters from the mound lay the body of a wounded man covered with sand. 20 meters way lay the body of another German, covered in a sheet of ice caused by continuous spraying with sea water. As a result of this condition, the exact nature of the wound[s] could not be determined. Whether the body had been brought there while the victim was still alive cannot be determined. Over 100 more bodies of German soldiers were found in a Russian cemetery, 9 of which were collected in a house and were examined by myself. 50 of these had already been treated for wounds, as shown by bandages and splints. These bodies, approximately 100 in number, exhibited characteristics clearly justifying the conclusion that they had been beaten to death with blunt objects. I was unable to ascertain that any of the men had had their skulls smashed. Only in a few bodies was I able to determine that they had been killed with sharp objects, obviously spades.
“I would like to make the following remark. A German-speaking woman in Feodosia said that during the occupation of Feodosia by the Russians, on the street, near their house, quite near the Russian hospital, there had been a wounded German solder with a serious thigh injury, to whom he gave a bit of water occasionally. He had frozen both hands and moaned day and night. After three days, a uniformed Russian came by. Whether that was a physician or a commissar she did not know. This woman certainly gave Russian sailor the orders to kill the German wounded by gun shots to the face. I did not see any bodies upon whom it was could quite clearly be proven that their eyes had been pushed in or gouged out while they were still alive.
“A German speaking Russian civilian physician whom I had known earlier told me upon my inquiry why the German wounded were shot; he said he asked the commissar of the 9th Rifle Corps why the German wounded men were shot. The commissar told him it was a matter of obeying Stalin’s order of 7 November 1941. It was therefore deliberately carried out upon his orders (those of the commissar).”
Read out, approved and signed. Signed: Rudolf Burkhardt, Surgeon Major and Squad Leader.
The witness was properly sworn. Signed: Dr. Jahn. Signed: Wanitschek
The Russian civilian physician J.L. Dimitrijew, during the above interrogation of 25 January 1941, as well as during his repeated interrogation on 14 February 1942, confirmed the illegal and brutal actions of the Russian occupation troops.