SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

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Minotauros
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SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Minotauros » 14 Oct 2002 09:43

Hi Roberto !

Would you mind if I asked to you to precise to me what Alexander Werth wrote (excerpts from his book "Russia at War" will be very welcome !) about Kharkov, when he visited this town just after its first liberation by the Soviet troops on 16 February 1943 ?

Was there any Soviet civilians in the city during the tough fights which lasted from 11 to 15 March 1943 during its recapture by the SS-Panzerkorps ? What was their fate ? How were they treated by the Waffen-SS ? (George Nipe Jr. wrotes unfortunately nothing about it in his book "Last Victory in Russia"...)

Marshal Ivan Stiepanovitch Koniev wrote in his diaries ("Notes of a Front Commander 1943-1945", a very boring book !) that the Waffen-SS soldiers massacred over 450 wounded Soviet soldiers in the city. Some other source states that the number of victims was above 700... Did this massacre really happen ?

Thanks ! :D

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Roberto
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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Roberto » 14 Oct 2002 18:59

Minotauros wrote:Hi Roberto !

Would you mind if I asked to you to precise to me what Alexander Werth wrote (excerpts from his book "Russia at War" will be very welcome !) about Kharkov, when he visited this town just after its first liberation by the Soviet troops on 16 February 1943 ?

Was there any Soviet civilians in the city during the tough fights which lasted from 11 to 15 March 1943 during its recapture by the SS-Panzerkorps ? What was their fate ? How were they treated by the Waffen-SS ? (George Nipe Jr. wrotes unfortunately nothing about it in his book "Last Victory in Russia"...)

Marshal Ivan Stiepanovitch Koniev wrote in his diaries ("Notes of a Front Commander 1943-1945", a very boring book !) that the Waffen-SS soldiers massacred over 450 wounded Soviet soldiers in the city. Some other source states that the number of victims was above 700... Did this massacre really happen ?

Thanks ! :D
Hi Minotaurus,

What I have on file about Kharkov from Werth's book (2000 Caroll & Graf Publishers New York, pages 607/608) is the following:
There had been 900.000 people in Kharkov before the war, but when the war spread to Ukraine, and the refugees started pouring in from the west, this figure swelled to 1,200,000 to 1,300,000. Later, in October 1941, with the Germans approaching, the evacuation of Kharkov began in real earnest. Most of the larger plants were more or less successfully evacuated, among them the great Tractor Plant, with nearly all its workers. By the time the Germans came, some 700,000 people had left the city. Now there were only 350,000. What had happened to the rest?
According to the Russian authorities, the disappearance of half the population of October 1941 is accounted for as follows: it has been established that 120,000 people, mostly young people, had been deported as slaves to Germany; some 70,000 or 80,000 had died of hunger, cold and privation, especially during the terrible winter of 1941-2; some 30,000 had been killed by the Germans, among them some 16,000 Jews (men, women and children) who had remained behind in Kharkov; the rest had fled to the villages. Various checks I made in the next days suggested that the figure for deaths from hunger, et cetera, was slightly, but not greatly, exaggerated; so too was the figure for non-Jews shot, but the figure for the Jews was correct. On the other hand, the figure for slave-labor deportations was, if anything, an underestimate.
I'll see if I find something about the massacre in the book, which I don't have with me right now.

I have here, however, the German translation of the protocol of a Soviet investigation commission dated 7 September 1943. It reads as follows (my translation):
[…]After the second occupation of the city of Kharkov in March 1943 the fascist German conquerors committed a horrible crime against wounded soldiers and offices of the Red Army who were in the 1st Army Selection Hospital at Trinkler Street 5. More than 400 wounded were shot and about 300 people burned alive in one of the hospital’s buildings.
These horrible atrocities, committed against wounded Soviet military personnel, are confirmed by eyewitness testimonials, the report of forensic medicine and other documentary material. Employees of the hospital – professor Katkov Jevegenij Ssevostjanovich, the nurses Juknho Anna Ignatjevna and Dmitrijeva Jelisjaveta Antonovna – testified that on the morning of 13 March 1943 an officer of the SS division “Adolf Hitler” by the name of Schulz had come into the hospital and told the medical employees that the former 1st Army Hospital was to be used as a “hospital for Russian prisoners of war”. Schulz ordered the medical personnel to stay at their posts. The wounded from the cellars and from hospital no. 3 (clinical settlement) were to be taken to building no. 8. Thus 300 wounded were gathered at one place.
At about 15 hourse – on 13 March 1943 – German soldiers entered the hospital, blocked the entrance doors of the building and set it on fire.
The hospital’s surgeon, Dshintshwiladse Georgij Sakharovich, who at this time was in this building with wounded soldiers, declared:
“I was in the operation hall on the second floor of the building preparing myself for the operation of wounded. At about 15 hours I heard a dull crash on the first floor and ran out to the corridor to see what had happened. The nurses told me that the Germans had set the house on fire and nailed the entrance doors shut. I tried to lead out the nurses and the wounded who could walk and had gathered around me through the door on the north side of the building, but this had also been blocked. I ordered all to climb up to the second floor and to stay on the stairs and in the toilet. Soon the second floor also started burning, and the stairs were wrapped in smoke. The flames were approaching us. Suddenly the shooting on the street stopped and through the window we saw the Germans getting into their cars and driving away from the hospital. Through a window in the second floor wee jumped out of the burning building. After some minutes that roofs of the burning building caved in, and the wounded still inside burned to death. Next to the house there were 30 wounded, who had jumped out of the windows and been shot by the Germans.”
The shooting of the wounded who had tried to get out of the burning building was also described by other eyewitnesses, the hospital employees Jukhno A.I., Dmitrijeva E.A., Katkov E.S., Ssokolovskaja W.A. and others.
The wounded who after the burning of building no. 8 were still left in the other buildings were shot by the Germans on 14, 15, 16 and 17 March 1943 in the halls of the hospital. In these four days more then 400 people were shot.
The nurse Jukhno A.I. reported that in the morning of 14 March 1943 four soldiers had come into the officer section of the hospital and begun to shoot the wounded one after the other. In her presence 8 people had been shot.
The inhabitant of the city of Kharkov, Mrs. Koslova Marija Alexandrovna, whose husband Sher Mikhail Borissovich was in the hospital, testified as follows: “On 15 March 1943 I brought my husband something into the hospital. In hall 1 of the 4th building I saw his corpse. My husband had been shot in his bed, through the right eye. The other ten wounded who were with him in the hall had also been shot. Their corpses lay in the beds.”
The following was stated by nurse Dmitrijeva Jelisjaveta Antonovna: “On 14 March 1943 at about 9 in the morning four German soldiers came into the officer section, two stayed at the entrance, and two went up to the second floor and started shooting the wounded. They were there for about 10 minutes, then they came down to the first floor and also started shooting the wounded in the halls here. I was in a hall situated at the end of the corridor, and the soldiers went there after they had shot all wounded in the neighboring halls. In this hall there were 7 wounded military persons of a Czech unit in the USSR and two Russians. Eight of these people were shot by the Germans, the Czech Freschel Erik was stabbed to death with a dagger. When I came into this room the following day I saw the corpses of the Czechs: Foltan Franz – sergeant major; Gorovskij Mikhail – sergeant; Freschel Erik – sergeant; and the soldiers: Fridrich Karl, Scharf Bedrich, Kenig Iossif and Korngauser Albert.
The corpses of those shot were buried in the yard of the hospital. […]
The German translation from the Russian original is printed in Ernst Klee / Willi Dreßen, ”Gott mit uns”: Der deutsche Vernichtungskrieg im Osten 1939-1945, 1989 S. Fischer Verlag Frankfurt a.M., pages 155 to 157. It was taken from the file of a criminal investigation carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Frankfurt am Main under the cipher Js 4/65.

Cheers,

Roberto

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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Minotauros » 15 Oct 2002 10:58

Hi Roberto !

Thanks so much for your quick answer ! :D

The account on the massacre was particularly interesting. I didn't knew that the "chivalrous" soldiers of the "LSSAH" didn't forget to finish unarmed and wounded soldiers. George Nipe Jr. says nothing at all about it in his book.

I remember the fact that SS-Obergruppenführer Josef Dietrich gave a special order to his division on 17 october 1941 in Taganrog: do not make POWs during three days. It cost the life of more than 4.000 Soviet soldiers.
As far as I know, Dietrich was never judged for this crime.
Was there any demand of extradition concerning him from the USSR ?

Regards !

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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Harro » 01 Sep 2011 21:51

Roberto wrote:[...] I have here, however, the German translation of the protocol of a Soviet investigation commission dated 7 September 1943. It reads as follows (my translation):
[…]After the second occupation of the city of Kharkov in March 1943 the fascist German conquerors committed a horrible crime against wounded soldiers and offices of the Red Army who were in the 1st Army Selection Hospital at Trinkler Street 5. More than 400 wounded were shot and about 300 people burned alive in one of the hospital’s buildings.
These horrible atrocities, committed against wounded Soviet military personnel, are confirmed by eyewitness testimonials, the report of forensic medicine and other documentary material. Employees of the hospital – professor Katkov Jevegenij Ssevostjanovich, the nurses Juknho Anna Ignatjevna and Dmitrijeva Jelisjaveta Antonovna – testified that on the morning of 13 March 1943 an officer of the SS division “Adolf Hitler” by the name of Schulz had come into the hospital and told the medical employees that the former 1st Army Hospital was to be used as a “hospital for Russian prisoners of war”. Schulz ordered the medical personnel to stay at their posts. The wounded from the cellars and from hospital no. 3 (clinical settlement) were to be taken to building no. 8. Thus 300 wounded were gathered at one place.
At about 15 hourse – on 13 March 1943 – German soldiers entered the hospital, blocked the entrance doors of the building and set it on fire.[...]
Which "Schulz" might that have been, can anybody identify him?

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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 03 Sep 2011 09:30

Are there any serious proofs for these crimes...apart of of the soviet publishements?

I ask because I have often heart of these events, but it were always third- of fourth hand information.

Hausser was sentenced to death by a Soviet trial.

Jan-Hendrik

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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Harro » 03 Sep 2011 20:43

Hence my request for further info about this officer: "Schulz" is a very common German name and if the story is (partly) fabricated (and I'm not saying that it is) then "a Leibstandarte officer named Schulz" is easily invented.

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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by David Thompson » 03 Sep 2011 22:57

For interested readers -- Cyrillic translations of German names (usually phonetic), and their retranslation back into the phoenician alphabet are generally a nightmare for war crimes scholars. "Gitler" doesn't exactly suggest "Hitler," and that's not the only example of this problem. We've had several threads here trying to sort out the names of defendants or accused persons in Soviet war crimes trials. Even in official translations, names and ranks usually are mangled, and expressions like "Death's head" formation are sometimes rendered as "dead head."

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Re: SS-Panzerkorps guilty of massacre in Kharkov?

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 04 Sep 2011 03:49

To provide a bit of detail - the allegations concern an estimated 700-800 wounded Soviet troops that were supposedly massacred in their hospital beds at the Soviet 69th Army's First General Evacuation Hospital at Block #8, Trinkler, St., Kharkov in March 1943, by elements of the LAH division, engaged in mopping up/pacifying the city center after its recapture.

I can't vouch for its veracity, but there is some information here at http://www.nazigassings.com/PDFs/Krasno ... rials1.pdf

p.35
"...In March, 1943, the Germans shot and burned 800 wounded men and officers of the Red Army, who were receiving treatment at the First Army Evacuation Hospital of the 69th Army in Trinkler Street, Kharkov.
Describing the circumstances of this crime, the witnesses Professor Katkov, Dr. Dzhenchviladze and the medical nurse
Sokolskaya, employed at the hospital at that time, said: "On 13th March, 1943, three automobiles with S.S. men of the
'Adolf Hitler' division drove up to the hospital. They shut the door of block No. 8 and threw an incendiary shell into the building. It caught fire. When the wounded tried to save themselves by jumping out of the Windows, they were shot down by the S.S. men with automatic rifles. The next day, a group of nine S.S. men came' to the hospital and, driving the medical personnel out of the wards, shot all the remaining wounded in the other blocks of the hospital."

The witness Maria Alexandrovna Kozlova, whose husband was brutally killed during this Hitlerite carnage, testified:
"While on active Service with the Red Army my husband was wounded and sent for treatment' to the First Army Hospital,
situated at that time in the town of Kharkov. On 15th March I decided to take him a parcel. When I got to the site of the hospital, I could not recognize it as the same hospital in which my husband was being treated.

"A ghastly sight confronted me. Everywhere were piles of ruins and all over the place were strewn the bodies of charred
and brutally tortured Soviet citizens. When I saw this monstrous crime, I was beside myself and rushed into the fourth block, which was untouched by the fire. I was filled with horror when I came to the first ward. Heaped in it were piles of corpses mutilated beyond recognition. Frantic, I rushed over to my husband's bed. It was empty and covered with blood. At that moment I saw the body of my husband, mutilated and covered with blood, lying on the floor between the beds. The head was bashed in, one eye had been knocked out, the arms were broken and blood still flowed from gaping wounds." (Vol. 3, pp. 146-147.)

Thus it has been established by the data of the investigation— testimony of defendants and witnesses and also by
protocols of the medico-legal experts—that during the period of the temporary occupation of the city of Kharkov and the
Kharkov region, the German fascist invaders killed in gas lorries—"murder vans"—hanged, shot and tortured to death in
Gestapo torture-chambers over 30,000 Soviet citizens.

Thus, it has been established that the whole weight of responsibility for the massacres and crimes committed by the German fascist invaders during their temporary occupation of Kharkov and the Kharkov Region, for the torture and massacre of the peaceful popula-tion, for shooting and asphyxiation with carbon monoxide in specially equipped vehicles—"murder vans"—for burning and other forms of extermination of absolutely innocent Soviet people—including women and old people—is borne by the leaders of the predatory fascist government of Germany and by the Supreme Command of the German Army.

II has also been established that the following commanders and chiefs of the German Military Command, police and punitive organiza-lions took an immediate part in the crimes which formed the subject of the investigation in this case and specific account of which has been given above:

1. Obergruppenführer Dietrich, Commander of "Adolf Hitler'' S.S. Division.
2. Gruppenführer Simon, Commander of "Totenkopf" S.S. Division.
3. Hanebitter, Chief of Kharkov Sonderkommando S.D.
4. Police Commissar Karchan, chief of the group of German Secret Field Police in Kharkov.
5. Police Commissar Mehritz, Chief of 560th Secret Field Police attached to the H.Q. of the 6th German Army.
6. Police Secretary Wulf, Assistant Chief of group of German Secret Field Police of the city of Kharkov.

The guilt of all above-mentioned persons in the criminal acts they have committed has been fully proved by the investigation, on the strength of which all of them are to bear criminal responsibility for the crimes committed by them against Soviet citizens on Soviet territory in accordance with the criminal laws of the U.S.S.R. Also guilty together with them of all these brutal crimes are the participants in these crimes arraigned as defendants in the present case; the officials of the military, police, intelligence and punitive organizations of the German Army—Reinhard Retzlaff, Hans Ritz, Wilhelm Langheld and also their accomplice, traitor to the motherland, Mikhail Bulanov...
The document is 78 pages long and is probably worth reading in it's entirety for those interested in getting an in-depth understanding of these allegations.

Hope this helps- R

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