"In the town of Tikhvin in the Leningrad region, a 15-year old girl named H. Koledetskaya, who had been wounded by shell splinters, was taken to a hospital (a former monastery) where there were wounded German soldiers. Despite her injuries the girl was raped by a group of German soldiers and died as a result of the assault."
This is a quote from one of the Soviet prosecutors, Col. L.N. Smirnov, reading from the contents of a diplomatic note of protest, submitted to the German government by the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R., V. M. Molotov, dated 6 January 1942. This protest was in turn submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number USSR-51.
some members might find it interesting that the Katyn 'incident' was mentioned in the same volume of the IMT, involving the same Smirnov mentioned in the above quote.
this commission was composed of the President of the Pan-Slavonia Committee, Lieutenant General Gundorov; the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Union of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Kolesnikov; of the People's Commissar for Education in the R.S.S.F.R., Academician Potemkin; the Supreme Chief of the Medical Department of the Red Army, General Smirnov; and the Chairman of the District Executive Committee of Smolensk, Melnikov. The commission also included several of the best known medicolegal experts.
It would take too long to read into the record that precise and detailed document which I now submit to you as Exhibit Number USSR-54 (Document Number USSR-54), which is a result of the investigation. I shall read into the record only a few comparatively short excerpts. On Page 2 of the document, which is Page 223 in your document book, we read-this passage is marked in your file:
"According to the estimates of medico-legal experts, the total number of bodies amounts to over 11,000. The medico-legal experts carried out a thorough examination of the bodies exhumed, and of the documents and material evidence found on the bodies and in the graves. During the exhumation and examination of the corpses, the commission questioned many witnesses among the local inhabitants. Their testimony permitted the determination of the exact time and circumstances of the crimes committed by the German invaders."
I believe that I need not quote everything that the Extraordinary Commission ascertained during its investigation about the crimes of the Germans. I only read into the record the general conclusions, which. summarize the work of the commission. You will find the lines read into the record on Page 43 of Exhibit Number USSR-54 if you turn to the original document, or on Page. 264 of your document book:
"On perusal of all the material at the disposal of the special communion, that is, the depositions of over 100 witnesses questioned, the data of the medico-legal experts, the documents and the material evidence and belongings taken from the graves in Katyn Forest, we can arrive at the following definite conclusions:
"1. The Polish prisoners of war imprisoned in the three camps west of Smolensk and engaged in railway construction before the war, remained there after the occupation of Smolensk by the Germans, right up to September 1941.
14 Feb. 46
"2. In the autumn of 1941, in Katyn Forest, the German occupational authorities carried out mass shootings of the Polish prisoners of war from the above-mentioned camps.
"3. Mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war in Katyn Forest were carried out by German military organizations disguised under the specific name, 'Staff 537, Engineer Construction Battalion,' commanded by Oberleutnant Arnes and his colleagues, Oberleutnant Rex and Leutnant Hott.
"4. In connection with the deterioration, for Germany, of the general military and political machinery at the beginning of 1943, the German occupational authorities, with a view to provoking incidents, undertook a whole series of measures to ascribe their own misdeeds to organizations of the Soviet authorities, in order to make mischief between the Russians and the Poles.
"5. For these purposes:
"a. The German fascist invaders, by persuasion, attempts at bribery, threats, and by barbarous tortures, endeavored to find 'witnesses' among the Soviet citizens from whom they obtained false testimony, alleging that the Polish prisoners of war had been shot by organizations of the Soviet authorities in the spring of 1940.
there were also some other horrible accusations :
At the foot of the communal graves where rest the bodies of the Soviet people murdered by '`typical German methods"-I shall, later on, present to the Tribunal evidence of these methods and of the regularity of their application-at the foot of the gallows where the feet of the adolescents danced on the air, at the ovens of the gigantic crematories where the murdered internees from the extermination camps were burned, at the sight of the dead women and girls, victims of some sadistic whim of the fascist bandits, at the sight of children, who had been torn in half-by all this evidence did the Soviet people recognize the mighty chain of crime extending, as the Chief Prosecutor of the U.S.S.R. so aptly said, "from the ministerial armchair to the hands of the executioner."
All these monstrous crimes had a definite system of their own. There was uniformity in the murder methods: One and the same system prevailed in the construction of the gas chambers, in the mass production of the round tins containing the poisonous substances "Cyclone A" or "Cyclone B." the ovens of the crematories are all built on the same typical lines, and one was the plan extending over all the camps of destruction. There was uniformity in the construction of the evil-smelling death machines, which the Germans referred to as "gaswagen" but which our people called the "soul destroyers"; and there was the same technical elaboration in the construction of mobile mills for grinding human bones. All this indicates one sole and evil will uniting all the individual assassins and executioners.
Of course we know of the Zyklon B / A, but the bone crushing mills? Children torn in half? Katyn? The IMT speaks of many fantastic claims, including the construction then nuclear bombing of a town of 20,000 Jews or some such number. Yes Smirnov testified to rapes of Soviet women by German soldiers, but he also testified to a number of other things most historians don't take so seriously.
I don't feel I should have to say this, but of course I have to, I am not saying rapes didn't happen, I'm not saying Smirnov was lying, I'm simply providing the reader with all the facts of the situation. Surely providing one of his testimonies while censoring another is disingenuous and contrary to forum policy.
For those interested, written in the charter of the tribunal :
The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious and nontechnical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which it deems to be of probative value.
The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations, including the acts and documents of the committees set up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and of records and findings of military or other Tribunals of any of the United Nations