From Russia With Lvov

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Hebden
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From Russia With Lvov

Post by Hebden » 05 Aug 2002 07:32

We take the liberty of reproducing extensive excerpts from the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission report on Nazi crimes committed in the Lvov region. We understand the report was introduced at Nuremberg as Document USSR-006, parts of which were read out in court. Given the reduced attention span of modern audiences we have decided to reproduce the excerpts from said report over two parts. We shall then proceed to provide additional information and, perhaps, some commentary.

Report on crimes committed by the German-Fascist invaders on the territory of the Lvov region.

When on June 1930, 1941, they broke into the city of Lvov, the German invaders proclaimed that the Lvov region would henceforth be known as the “District of Galicia”, and instituted in it their so-called “New Order” of unrestrained plunder, violence, torture, mass shootings and murders of the civilian population.

[…]

On the basis of the investigations of the Special Commission, the findings of the medico-legal experts and the testimony of numerous witnesses – both Soviet citizens and citizens of foreign States – the Extraordinary State Commission has established that in Lvov, Rava Russka. Zolochev, Sokal, Yaverov, Zelkwa, Gorodok, Brody, Podkamen, Novo-Rychevsk, Vano Franko and other districts of the Lvov region, the German invaders exterminated about 700,000 Soviet citizens, men, women and children, as well as nationals of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Holland, Great Britain and the United States of America who had been brought to Lvov from concentration camps in Germany.

MASSACRE OF PROMINENT INTELLECTUALS

Even before the seizure of Lvov, the Gestapo detachments were in possession of lists, drawn up on the instructions of the German Government, of the most prominent intellectuals, who were to be destroyed. Mass arrests and shootings began directly Lvov was captured.

[….]

In order to insult the human dignity of the arrested scientists, the Germans submitted them to the most refined torture and then shot them. Golzman, a resident of Lvov, informed the Special Commission that in July 1941 he himself saw 20 persons, including professors, lawyers and doctors, brought into the yard of 8, Arciszewski Street.

“One of them I knew by name – he was Kreps, a Doctor of Law. There were five or six women in this group. The S.S. forced them to wash staircases with their tongues and lips in seven sections of the four storeyed house. When all these staircases had been washed they forced the same people to gather garbage in the courtyard with their lips. All this garbage was to be carried to one place in the courtyard….the janitor at 8, Arciszewski Street saw all this with me. When the work had been completed the Gestapo men selected five persons from this group, took them out of the town and shot them.”

The Fascist invaders carefully concealed this extermination of intellectuals. The Germans waved away the repeated inquiries made by relatives and friends who wanted to know the fate of the scientists. They pretended that they had “no information”.

[…]

MASS EXTERMINATION OF PEACEFUL INHABITANTS AND SOVIET PRISONERS OF WAR

Dr. Waechter, the German Governor of “the Galicia District”, of which the Lvov region was a part, and S.S. Maj.-Gen. Katzmann set up a so-called “forced labour camp” in Yanov Street, Lvov, in November 1941. It was surrounded by a brick wall and barbed wire. Into this camp the Germans herded civilians and war prisoners, who were starved and forced to do work beyond human strength. They were brutally beaten with clubs and infected with typhoid and dysentery. Their daily food ration consisted of two glasses of black “coffee” made of sawdust, 100 grammes of bread with an admixture of the same sawdust, and a plateful of soup made of potato peelings. This ration was not even enough to sustain life. Thousands of the prisoners died from hunger, typhus or dysentery, or were shot.
S.S. Haupsturmfuehrer Gebauer instituted at the Yanovska Camp a savage system of extermination. After his appointment to another post this system was “perfected” by camp commandants S.S. Obersturmfuehrer Gustav Wilhaus and S.S. Haupsturmfuehrer Franz Warzok.

“With my own eyes” (a former inmate of the camp told the Commission) “I saw S.S. Haupsturmfuehrer Fritz Gebauer strangle women and children. I saw them place men to freeze in barrels of water, in the depth of winter. The barrels were filled with water, and then the victims were tied hand and foot and put into the water. The doomed people remained in the barrels until they froze to death.”

From the testimony of many Soviet war prisoners as well as of French subjects held in the German camps, it has been ascertained that the German bandits “invented” most refined methods for the extermination of human beings. This initiative they regarded as a matter of special merit: it was encouraged by the Supreme Military Command and the German Government.

S.S. Haupsturmfuehrer Franz Warzok, for instance, liked to hang war prisoners to poles by the feet, and leave them in this position until they died. Obersturmbannfuehrer Rokita personally ripped open war-prisoners’ stomachs. The Chief of the Investigation Department of the Yanovska Camp, Heine, used to perforate the bodies of war prisoners with a spike or iron rod; he used to pull out the finger-nails of women prisoners with pliers, then undress his victims, hang them by the hair and set them swinging. Then he would shoot at the “moving target”.

The Commandant of the Yanovska Camp, Obersturmfuehrer Wilhaus, partly for sport, and partly to amuse his wife and daughter, used regularly to fire a tommy-gun from the balcony of camp office at war prisoners occupied in the workshops. Then he would pass his tommy-gun to his wife, who also shot at them. On one occasion, to please his nine-year –old daughter, Wilhaus made someone toss two four-year-old children into the air, while he fired at them. His daughter applauded and cried: “Papa, do it again, papa, do it again!” He did so.

In this camp war prisoners were exterminated without any pretext, often for a bet. The witness Kirschner informed the Investigation Committee that Wepke, a Gestapo Kommissar, boasted to other camp executioners that he would cut a boy into two parts with one blow of a hatchet. They did not believe him, so he caught a ten-year-old boy in the street, forced him to his knees, made him put his palms together and hide his face in them, made a trial stroke, adjusted the boy’s head and with a single blow of the hatchet slashed him in two. The Hitlerites congratulated Wepke warmly, and shook him by the hand.

[….]

The Germans conducted their tortures, beatings and shootings to the accompaniment of music. For this purpose they organised a special orchestra of prisoners. They forced Professor Stricks and the well-known conductor Mund to lead this orchestra. They told composers to write a special tune, which they called “The Death Tango”. Not long before the camp was liquidated the Germans shot all the members of the orchestra.

[…]

The Commission of medico-legal experts, having investigated the “Valley of Death” in the Yanovska Camp and examined the testimony of witnesses, ascertained that:

(1) Mass murders of peaceful civilians were carried out in the Yanovska Camp.
(2) The murders were effected mainly by the standard German technique – a shot through the back of the head. Some were murdered by a shot through the roof of the skull.
(3) On the territory adjoining the Yanovska Camp the Germans carried out mass burying and subsequently burning of bodies. The burnings were spread over a long period, and the sites were scattered over the territory of the camp, but mostly they took place in a gully.
(4) The earth in this gully proved to be saturated to a considerable depth with corpse fluids and fats, with the smell of decay and burning.
(5) The nature of the ashes discovered, consisting of small bits of bone, and the brittleness of the larger bone fragments, testify that the burning of bodies was carried out at a high temperature. The ashes remaining after the bodies were burnt were buried in various places on the territory of the camp at a depth of three to six feet: in all, 59 such sites were found. Moreover, ashes and bones were found on the surface of the soil over nearly all the camp territory examined by the Commission. Considering that the total area of burials and scattering of ashes and bones occupies nearly two square kilometres, the commission of experts considers that over 200,000 Soviet citizens were exterminated in the Yanovska Camp.

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Roberto
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Re: From Russia With Lvov

Post by Roberto » 05 Aug 2002 10:53

Hebden wrote:We take the liberty of reproducing extensive excerpts from the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission report on Nazi crimes committed in the Lvov region. We understand the report was introduced at Nuremberg as Document USSR-006, parts of which were read out in court. Given the reduced attention span of modern audiences we have decided to reproduce the excerpts from said report over two parts. We shall then proceed to provide additional information and, perhaps, some commentary.


I´m waiting for a keen demonstration that the Soviet commission must have been on the high side in its estimate of the death toll of the concentration camp at Yanovska street in the Ukrainian city of Lvov.

Which won´t exactly impress me.

The death toll of another camp, Maly Trostenets near Minsk in Belorussia, was put at 206,500 by Soviet authorities.

In his book Kalkulierte Morde, German historian Christian Gerlach plausibly argues that the size of the mass graves discovered and described by Soviet investigation commissions points to a somewhat lower number of dead - 50 - 60,000, IIRC.

According to Gerlach´s own assessment based largely on contemporary German documents, the invaders murdered at least 1.6 million people on the territory of Belorussia during three years of occupation - half a million Jews, 700,000 Soviet prisoners of war, ca. 300,000 civilian victims of rural anti-partisan actions and 100,000 gypsies, urban resistance fighters, mental patients and others.

See my posts on the thread

A Fateful Document and a Request
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... php?t=5256

for further information.

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Re: From Russia With Lvov

Post by Hebden » 06 Aug 2002 15:05

We notice a fellow poster, Dan, has provided a timely link to this article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... Jul22.html

An excerpt:

The tomb of the unknown victims beneath the floorboards at Vasilyansky Monastery is hardly the only mass grave found since the collapse of the Soviet Union a decade ago, but it is especially grisly. Of the 225 bodies dug out, about 80 belonged to children; workers discovered a few bones so small that specialists believe they belonged to a fetus just four months after conception.

Some of the skulls have single, small bullet holes in the back, a few still ringed with black from the gunshot. Others have cracks down the front, apparently from an ax, or have been crushed on top, possibly by a hammer.

The bodies were not found laid to rest, but rather crumpled as if thrown in. No buttons or belt buckles or combs or shoe soles -- the parts of clothing that typically survive the longest -- were found, suggesting the people were buried naked.

Who they were or precisely how they got here remains a mystery. No one has come forward with information about what happened. But older people in this town of 11,000 near the city of Lviv said that after World War II the monastery was occupied by the NKVD, which in 1954 became the KGB. And the crypt has yielded a few clues about the timing of the killings -- kopeck coins minted in 1946 and 1949 and torn pictures of a May Day-style parade featuring posters of a postwar local Communist leader.

In all likelihood, according to people investigating the discovery, the bodies are those of Ukrainians executed by Soviet authorities in a campaign to pacify the region following the defeat of Nazi Germany.

This part of western Ukraine was absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1939 when Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler carved up Poland. During World War II, the Nazis captured it. After the war, Ukrainian partisans who had battled the fascists refused to lay down their arms and fought the Soviets into the 1950s.


Lviv is, of course, the city also known as Lvov. Or even as Lemberg.

We were struck by certain similarities to the case of the Serniki exhumations. Bodies of men, women and children; naked; without obvious means of identification; mostly shot in the head; some clubbed to death.

Professor Wright was able to narrow down the time of the Serniki killings to between 1941 and 1952. With Mr. Morris's admission that no Einstazgruppen Report detailed a mass execution in Serniki, the possibility arises that the killings could have been carried out by the Soviets.

The only physical evidence that Professor Wright adduced for German culpability was the presence of German ammunition dating from 1939 to 1941.

We make three points:

1) German ammunition was also used in the Katyn Forest killings.

2) It is known that Germany and the USSR were trading partners during the period of their Non-Aggression Pact from 1939-41. We do not know if ammunition was being supplied by the Germans to the Soviets at this time.

3) The German invasion signalled a wave of killing by NKVD units of undesirable elements within Ukraine.

Naturally, we make no claim to know who carried out the Serniki murders. On the basis of our current knowledge and the weight of probabilities, it seems probable that it was the Germans. However, we wish to know more.
Unfortunately, Mr. Morris is not talking to us.
Last edited by Hebden on 06 Aug 2002 15:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: From Russia With Lvov

Post by Hebden » 06 Aug 2002 15:37

This is the second and concluding part of excerpts taken from the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission report on atrocities in the Lvov region:

In July 1941, the German Military Command set up a concentration camp for prisoners of war in the centre of Lvov, on the territory of the fortress called “The Citadel”. The Germans forced the prisoners to work from morning till late at night, under threat of shooting. The prison premises were not heated, and the prisoners died in tens of thousands from starvation, beating, sickness or shooting.

On the basis of witnesses’ testimony it was ascertained that more than 280,000 prisoners of war had been kept in the Citadel camp, of whom more than 140,000 died by starvation, sickness, torture or shooting.

One of the witnesses, Nikifor Golyuk, who had been held in this camp from July 8, 1941 to April 1942, told the Commission:

“I was a medical worker in this camp, and I knew that in the four months from August to November 1941, about 3,000 prisoners died from dysentery alone. The German Command took no measures to combat disease. On the contrary, the Germans deliberately brought to this camp from Camp No. 385 in Rava Russka people who were sick with typhus, and placed them in groups of ten in barracks among healthy prisoners of war. After this, typhus epidemics inevitably broke out, causing the death of about 5,000 prisoners of war between November 1941 and March 1942.”

[…]

The Germans also shot civilians and war prisoners in large batches in the Lisincki Forest on the outskirts of Lvov, in the Tarnopol direction. To that forest the Germans daily escorted, either on foot or in lorries, large groups of Soviet war prisoners from the Citadel Camp, prisoners from the Yanovska Camp and the Lvov prisons, also civilians arrested in the squares and streets of Lvov during the numerous round-ups.

The Commission of medico-legal experts which examined the sites where Soviet war prisoners were shot found on the surface and in various pits ashes and human bones, false teeth, personal articles and human hairs.

“Remnants of brain matter, hair, personal articles and the pungent smell of corpses in the pits testify that the bodies first lay there for a long time, and were then exhumed and burned.”

Investigation revealed that the Germans shot over 200,000 persons in the Lisincki Forest.

In September 1941, on the orders of Maj-Gen. Katzmann of the S.S. police, a ghetto which the Germans called the “Judenlager” (Jewish Camp) was set up on the outskirts of Lvov. No one was allowed to leave the ghetto, which was surrounded by barbed wire. Jews were led to and from work under armed escort; 136,000 persons were confined in this camp. The population of the ghetto were plundered. Living conditions were appalling. People slept on the bare floor and under the open sky. The Jews were treated worse than cattle.

The Germans carried out mass round-ups of Jews in the city. They spared neither men, women or children. The adults they simply murdered, while the children were given away to Hitler-Jugend squads as shooting targets.

[…]

The ghetto existed from September 7, 1941 to June 6, 1943. In this time the Germans exterminated over 133,000 people, some of whom were shot in the ghetto and some in the Yanovska Camp, while the remainder were sent for extermination to the German death camp in Bielziec (Poland).

[…]

SPECIAL MEASURES TAKEN UP BY THE GERMAN INVADERS TO COVER UP THEIR CRIMES

[…]

On the instructions of Reichminister of Germany Himmler and Maj.-Gen. Of S.S. Police Katzmann, in June 1943 special measures were taken to exhume and burn the bodies of civilians, Soviet war prisoners and nationals of foreign States who had been tortured to death or shot. In Lvov the Germans formed a special Sonderkommando, No. 1005, consisting of 126 men. Chief of this squad was Haupsturmbannfuehrer Scherlak; his assistant was Haupsturmbannfuehrer Rauch.

The duties of the Sonderkommando included exhuming and burning the bodies of civilians and war prisoners murdered by the Germans. S.D. Scharfuehrer Rauch and S.D. Oberwachtmeister Kepick were in charge. The bodies extracted from the pits were laid on special platforms in stacks containing 1,200 to 1,600 bodies each. Tar and petrol were poured on the bodies, which were then burned. The ashes and remnants of bones were sifted in order to collect gold articles – gold fillings, teeth, rings, watches.

Eye-witnesses – Velichker, Hamaides and others – testify that during five months of their work in the “death-team” 110 kilogrammes of gold were sifted out of the ashes of bodies they had burned, and dispatched to Germany. The ashes were scattered on the fields or buried; large bones were collected separately and crushed in a bone-crusher which was specially designed to speed up the “work”.

The Germans failed to destroy the bone-crusher, and it remained on the territory of the former Yanovska Camp as material evidence of the bloody crimes of the Hitlerite executioners. The German S.D. Scharfuehrer Elitko was in charge of the crushing of bones of people tortured to death.

A former inmate of Yanovska Camp, Velichker, whom the Germans compelled to work in the team engaged in exhuming and burning bodies, testified:

“I worked from June 6, 1943, to November 20, 1943, in the ‘death team’ employed in burning bodies. During this time the team burned more than 310,000 bodies, including about 170,000 on the sandstone of Yanovska Camp, and over 140,000 in Lisincki Forest. This number includes bodies which were exhumed by the team, as well as those which were not buried, and burned directly after shooting.

“On November 20, 1943, our whole team escaped. Only a few remained alive – most were killed while trying to escape. The German hangmen formed another team of prisoners, who continued with the work of burning bodies. I do not know how many bodies were burned after my escape, but I know that burning of bodies in Lisincki Forest continued until January 1944."

[...]

On the territory of the Lvov region, therefore, the Hitlerite murderers pursued the same method of concealing their crimes which they used earlier when they killed Polish officers in the wood near Katyn. The Commission of Experts has established that the method of camouflaging the graves in the Lisincki area was completely identical with the methods used in camouflaging the graves of the Polish officers killed by the Germans in Katyn.

To spread their experience in methods of exterminating people, burning bodies and covering up crimes, the Germans created in the Yanovska Camp, Lvov, a special school for training "skilled cadres". To this school came camp commandants from Lublin, Warsaw, Cracow and other towns. Right on the spot the Chief of Sonderkommando No. 1005, Scherlak, taught commandants how to exhume bodies from the earth, how to stack them up, burn them, sift the ashes, crush the bones, fill the pits and camouflage them by planting trees and shrubbery.

[...]

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Post by michael mills » 08 Aug 2002 12:13

The Commandant of the Yanovska Camp, Obersturmfuehrer Wilhaus, partly for sport, and partly to amuse his wife and daughter, used regularly to fire a tommy-gun from the balcony of camp office at war prisoners occupied in the workshops. Then he would pass his tommy-gun to his wife, who also shot at them. On one occasion, to please his nine-year –old daughter, Wilhaus made someone toss two four-year-old children into the air, while he fired at them. His daughter applauded and cried: “Papa, do it again, papa, do it again!” He did so.


Very interesting. The 1926 book "Red Terror in Russia", by the Russian socialist Sergei Mel'gunov who escaped from the Soviet Union after being in Cheka imprisonment, describes an episode amost exactly the same, except that it is attributed to the Cheka leader, Yakov Peters. Mel'gunov claims that Peters used to take his young son to watch him shooting prisoners, and that his son asked him to do it again. The wording is almost exactly the same.

My guess is that the episode involving Wilhaus is a total fabrication, with the Soviet investigators taking an atrocity claim made against their own side (and which may well be fictitious), and applying to their German enemies.

I recommend the Mel'gunov book to all readers (no doubt the Terroristic Tergiversator from the Tierra Templada has read it already). It contains many descriptions of atrocities claimed to have been committed by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War that strongly resemble atrocities claimed to have been committed by Germans during the Second World War. For example, it is claimed that the Bolsheviks made gloves out of human skin, and the book even contains photos of the gloves - shades of Ilse Koch!

All in all, I think many of the atrocity claims made by the Soviet Commisssion were simply a throwing-back of the atrocity claims previously made about the Bolsheviks.

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Post by Richard Miller » 08 Aug 2002 14:22

michael mills wrote:
The Commandant of the Yanovska Camp, Obersturmfuehrer Wilhaus, partly for sport, and partly to amuse his wife and daughter, used regularly to fire a tommy-gun from the balcony of camp office at war prisoners occupied in the workshops.


This is also reminiscent of the allegations that Amon Goeth shot prisoners from his balcony at the Plaszow camp.
No mean feat, since Goeth's house was away from the camp on the other side of a hill.

Perhaps Spielberg read the same book.

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Post by Hebden » 08 Aug 2002 22:01

So what really happened in Lvov?

Here's the view of Alfred de Zayas in his The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945.

Every scholarly analysis of the events that occurred in Lvov in the summer of 1941 is fraught with nonscholarly dangers: the dangers of emotional reactions, polemical disputes, quotations out of context, deliberate distortion and misuse for political purposes. Indeed, because this complex of murders has remained a politically sensitive issue for over four decades, it is prudent at the outset to distinguish three murder phases: (1) the measures taken by the NKVD against Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners in June of 1941; (2) the pogroms carried out by Ukrainian and Polish civilians against local Jews; and (3) the murders of 38 Polish professors and at least 7,000 Jews by the SD and SS.

In keeping with its limited authority, the War Crimes Bureau focused only on the crimes committed by the NKVD. Its files show that Bureau members knew about the local pogroms against the Jews (though no specific investigations of these were conducted) but provide no indication that they were aware of the SD and SS murders. This chapter is limited in scope by the available Bureau records and therefore concentrates on the first of the three murder phases.

In the early hours of 30 June 1941 the Polish-Ukrainian city of Lvov was occupied by the 1st Mountain Division of the German 49th Army Corps. There was little resistance, since Soviet troops had already abandoned the area. The intelligence section of the 49th Army Corps observed in its first report, dated that same day: “According to the account of Major Heinz, commander of a battalion of Regiment 800, thousands of brutally murdered persons were found in Lvov prisons. The 1st and 4th Mountain Divisions are hereby ordered to assign journalists and photographers to cover these atrocities. The chief military judge of the Corps and the liaison officer of the Foreign Office with the High Command of the 17th Army have been sent to Lvov to carry out in-depth investigations.”

[…]

Knowledge of Lvov Murders in the Outside World

The Bureau collected and evaluated information from various sources, and used part of its documentation on Lvov to prepare its first study of the war in Russia, "War Crimes of the Soviet Armed Forces,” dated November 1941. Numerous depositions were also used in the white book of the German Foreign Office titled “Bolshevist War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity,” of which the British Foreign Office obtained a copy through its legation in Switzerland.

One important non-German organization that participated in the investigations was the Ukrainian Red Cross. On 7 July 1941 it addressed an appeal to the German city commander: “Over 4,000 corpses have been found in Lvov’s prisons….it is hardly possible to describe the condition in which the bodies were found….Full of anguish and consternation because of the fate of all Ukrainians who remain in prisons and concentration camps throughout the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Red Cross requests that the entire civilised world be informed by radio of these atrocities. In particular we urge the Swiss, Swedish and Dutch Red Cross societies to take measures to protect the lives of those who are endangered so that they may still be saved.”

Information also reached the outside world through Polish confidential agents and others, such as the Polish professor Olgierd Gorka, who reported from Sweden that the Russians had killed some 160 Poles at the Brygidky prison before evacuating the town. All these and other reports led the British Foreign Office to address a note to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, who, predictably, rejected the accusations on 12 July 1941. But when Sir Frank Roberts, a British foreign service officer involved in Polish-Russian relations during the war, mentioned the Gorka report to the foreign minister of the Polish government-in-exile, Edward Raczynski, he replied that there was “little doubt that the Polish and Ukrainian political prisoners in Lvov had in fact been liquidated as alleged.”

It was not until the Nuremberg trials, however, that Lvov was discussed at length in the international community – and then attention focused not on the NKVD killings described above but rather on the extensive liquidations carried out by the SD and SS. The Nuremberg indictment charged that “in the Lvov region and in the city of Lvov the Germans exterminated about 700,000 Soviet people, including 70 persons in the field of the arts, science, and technology.” On 15 February 1946 Soviet prosecutor L.N. Smirnov referred to a report of the “Extraordinary State Commission on Crimes Committed by the Germans in the Territory of the Lvov Region.” According to that report, even before the German seizure of Lvov the Gestapo detachments were preparing lists of the most prominent representatives of the intelligentsia who were to be annihilated. He charged that mass arrests and executions began immediately after the seizure of Lvov.

German SD documents introduced by the prosecution at the principal trial and later at the American trial of SS General Otto Ohlendorf (Nuremberg Trial No. 9) show that the civilian population of the city as well as the SD participated in the abuses; for instance, an SD report dated July 31 1941 asserts that “the population rounded up some 1,000 Jews and drove them to the prison that had been occupied by the Wehrmacht.” The same report continues: “The Lvov prisons were full with corpses of murdered Ukrainians….between 3,000 and 4,000. Reliable information also indicates that some 20,000 Ukrainians, of whom at least 80 percent belong to the intelligentsia, were deported to inner Russia. Similar conditions were observed in the neighboring towns, e.g., Dobromil, Sambor, and vicinity….As reprisal for these atrocities 7,000 Jews were picked up and shot.”

Erwin Schulz, chief of a division of SS Einsatzgruppe C, which arrived in Lvov early in July 1941, reported in an affidavit for the Ohlendorf trial, dated 26 May 1947: “I saw the thousands of murdered persons and horrendous mutilations in Lvov. I smelled the awful stench of decomposing corpses that prevailed in the city and saw many weeping women, men and children who were looking for their relatives.” Otto Rasch, chief of the SS Einsatzgruppe C, claimed that it was Jewish officials and civilians who had been responsible for the killing of the political prisoners, and thus he gave his Sonderkommandos an order from Hitler that reprisals were to be take against guilty persons and against major suspects.

In affidavits given for the Nuremberg defense, however, senior German officers who had been in Lvov briefly after its capture confirmed the SD and SS reports of the bodies found in the prisons and the reaction of local civilians, but also testified that that the German military authorities had issued orders to prevent violence against the Jewish population.

General Max Winkler: “I remember [hearing] the figure of some 4,000 corpses….As a reaction to these murders the Ukrainian population immediately started to drag the Jews out of their homes and to abuse them in the streets….The provisional commander of Lvov, Colonel Fingergerst of the 49th Army Corps…succeeded in stopping [these excesses] by giving orders to German troops and sending special patrols through the streets.”

General Egbert Picker: “In the courtyard of the state prison I saw many rows of corpses, laid next to each other, many of them with the most grotesque mutilations….I also saw in a small courtyard…some 15 corpses, apparently Jews who had been killed as reprisal by the local population shortly after the Russians evacuated the town….Jews were being taken to the prison by local civilians wearing armbands, and in one case they were being beaten with a bat….General Kubler…told me…that he had ordered such acts of violence by the civilian population against Jewish persons to be immediately stopped.”

General Hans Kreppel: “In the first hours after the occupation of Lvov I personally saw hundreds of bodies of murdered Ukrainians…I also remember an order of the 49th Army Corps forbidding the Ukrainian population to persecute the Jews.” Similar affidavits were introduced in evidence by the defense in the trial against Field Marshal von Manstein (1949) in Hamburg.

Postwar Investigations

In 1954 the U.S. House of Representatives established a Select Committee on Communist Aggression under the chairmanship of Congressman Charles Kersten of Wisconsin. At hearings in Munich, New York and Chicago, hundreds of witnesses testified on a variety of topics, including the systematic killing of political prisoners by the NKVD. The committee’s report reads in part:

In every city in western Ukraine in the first days of the war, the NKVD and its agents shot all of the political prisoners, except a mere handful who were miraculously saved….The same process continued as the German armies advanced into the Eastern Ukraine. Here the Communists had more time than in the extreme west, but even in Vinnitsa some 700 bodies were found near the railroad station. In Kharkiv, one of the main prisons was closed and set on fire, while the NKVD remained on guard to prevent any assistance until the interior was destroyed and the inmates were all dead.

[…]

The Lvov case gained renewed attention in the fall of 1959 when the Soviet press mounted a major disinformation campaign against a minister in the West German Adenauer cabinet, Theodor Oberlander, accusing him of participating in the SS murders there. On 5 September 1959 the Radianska Ukraina wrote: “Eighteen years ago the fascists committed a horrendous crime in Lvov in the night of 29-30 June 1941. The Hitlerites arrested on the basis of prepared lists of hundreds of Communists, Communist youth, and non-party members and murdered them in a brutal fashion in the courtyard of the Samarstinov Prison” These accusations were picked up by the Western press and eventually led to Oberlander’s resignation. The investigation by the district attorney’s office in Bonn, however, completely cleared him.

[…]

Further Investigations

Periodically, reports appear in the press that new mass graves have been “discovered” in the Soviet Union; again and again reference to the Lvov murders resurfaces, and there is a tendency even in the Western press to give some credence to Soviet propaganda and to assume that the Germans may indeed have killed the Ukrainian political prisoners at the Brygidky, Samarstinov and OGPU prisons. Surely, the Germans would have been capable of committing such crimes, but in this case the evidence is overwhelming that they did not.

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Post by Roberto » 14 Aug 2002 18:52

Richard Miller wrote:
michael mills wrote:
The Commandant of the Yanovska Camp, Obersturmfuehrer Wilhaus, partly for sport, and partly to amuse his wife and daughter, used regularly to fire a tommy-gun from the balcony of camp office at war prisoners occupied in the workshops.


This is also reminiscent of the allegations that Amon Goeth shot prisoners from his balcony at the Plaszow camp.
No mean feat, since Goeth's house was away from the camp on the other side of a hill.

Perhaps Spielberg read the same book.


In fact Spielberg took some artistic license in showing Plaszow commander Goeth shooting prisoners from his balcony in Schindler's List.

Goeth never did that; what he actually did was a lot worse and can be read in a transcription from the records of the trial against him under the link

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/WCC/goeth.htm.

Of course this tells us nothing at all about the accuracy of a Soviet commission's report on the atrocities of commandant Wilhaus at Yanovska concentration camp.

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Post by Roberto » 14 Aug 2002 19:10

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Last edited by Roberto on 19 Aug 2002 20:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Roberto » 19 Aug 2002 20:36

Hebden wrote:So what really happened in Lvov?

Here's the view of Alfred de Zayas in his The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945.

Every scholarly analysis of the events that occurred in Lvov in the summer of 1941 is fraught with nonscholarly dangers: the dangers of emotional reactions, polemical disputes, quotations out of context, deliberate distortion and misuse for political purposes. Indeed, because this complex of murders has remained a politically sensitive issue for over four decades, it is prudent at the outset to distinguish three murder phases: (1) the measures taken by the NKVD against Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners in June of 1941; (2) the pogroms carried out by Ukrainian and Polish civilians against local Jews; and (3) the murders of 38 Polish professors and at least 7,000 Jews by the SD and SS.

In keeping with its limited authority, the War Crimes Bureau focused only on the crimes committed by the NKVD. Its files show that Bureau members knew about the local pogroms against the Jews (though no specific investigations of these were conducted) but provide no indication that they were aware of the SD and SS murders. This chapter is limited in scope by the available Bureau records and therefore concentrates on the first of the three murder phases.

In the early hours of 30 June 1941 the Polish-Ukrainian city of Lvov was occupied by the 1st Mountain Division of the German 49th Army Corps. There was little resistance, since Soviet troops had already abandoned the area. The intelligence section of the 49th Army Corps observed in its first report, dated that same day: “According to the account of Major Heinz, commander of a battalion of Regiment 800, thousands of brutally murdered persons were found in Lvov prisons. The 1st and 4th Mountain Divisions are hereby ordered to assign journalists and photographers to cover these atrocities. The chief military judge of the Corps and the liaison officer of the Foreign Office with the High Command of the 17th Army have been sent to Lvov to carry out in-depth investigations.”

[…]

Knowledge of Lvov Murders in the Outside World

The Bureau collected and evaluated information from various sources, and used part of its documentation on Lvov to prepare its first study of the war in Russia, "War Crimes of the Soviet Armed Forces,” dated November 1941. Numerous depositions were also used in the white book of the German Foreign Office titled “Bolshevist War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity,” of which the British Foreign Office obtained a copy through its legation in Switzerland.

One important non-German organization that participated in the investigations was the Ukrainian Red Cross. On 7 July 1941 it addressed an appeal to the German city commander: “Over 4,000 corpses have been found in Lvov’s prisons….it is hardly possible to describe the condition in which the bodies were found….Full of anguish and consternation because of the fate of all Ukrainians who remain in prisons and concentration camps throughout the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Red Cross requests that the entire civilised world be informed by radio of these atrocities. In particular we urge the Swiss, Swedish and Dutch Red Cross societies to take measures to protect the lives of those who are endangered so that they may still be saved.”

Information also reached the outside world through Polish confidential agents and others, such as the Polish professor Olgierd Gorka, who reported from Sweden that the Russians had killed some 160 Poles at the Brygidky prison before evacuating the town. All these and other reports led the British Foreign Office to address a note to Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, who, predictably, rejected the accusations on 12 July 1941. But when Sir Frank Roberts, a British foreign service officer involved in Polish-Russian relations during the war, mentioned the Gorka report to the foreign minister of the Polish government-in-exile, Edward Raczynski, he replied that there was “little doubt that the Polish and Ukrainian political prisoners in Lvov had in fact been liquidated as alleged.”

It was not until the Nuremberg trials, however, that Lvov was discussed at length in the international community – and then attention focused not on the NKVD killings described above but rather on the extensive liquidations carried out by the SD and SS. The Nuremberg indictment charged that “in the Lvov region and in the city of Lvov the Germans exterminated about 700,000 Soviet people, including 70 persons in the field of the arts, science, and technology.” On 15 February 1946 Soviet prosecutor L.N. Smirnov referred to a report of the “Extraordinary State Commission on Crimes Committed by the Germans in the Territory of the Lvov Region.” According to that report, even before the German seizure of Lvov the Gestapo detachments were preparing lists of the most prominent representatives of the intelligentsia who were to be annihilated. He charged that mass arrests and executions began immediately after the seizure of Lvov.

German SD documents introduced by the prosecution at the principal trial and later at the American trial of SS General Otto Ohlendorf (Nuremberg Trial No. 9) show that the civilian population of the city as well as the SD participated in the abuses; for instance, an SD report dated July 31 1941 asserts that “the population rounded up some 1,000 Jews and drove them to the prison that had been occupied by the Wehrmacht.” The same report continues: “The Lvov prisons were full with corpses of murdered Ukrainians….between 3,000 and 4,000. Reliable information also indicates that some 20,000 Ukrainians, of whom at least 80 percent belong to the intelligentsia, were deported to inner Russia. Similar conditions were observed in the neighboring towns, e.g., Dobromil, Sambor, and vicinity….As reprisal for these atrocities 7,000 Jews were picked up and shot.”

Erwin Schulz, chief of a division of SS Einsatzgruppe C, which arrived in Lvov early in July 1941, reported in an affidavit for the Ohlendorf trial, dated 26 May 1947: “I saw the thousands of murdered persons and horrendous mutilations in Lvov. I smelled the awful stench of decomposing corpses that prevailed in the city and saw many weeping women, men and children who were looking for their relatives.” Otto Rasch, chief of the SS Einsatzgruppe C, claimed that it was Jewish officials and civilians who had been responsible for the killing of the political prisoners, and thus he gave his Sonderkommandos an order from Hitler that reprisals were to be take against guilty persons and against major suspects.

In affidavits given for the Nuremberg defense, however, senior German officers who had been in Lvov briefly after its capture confirmed the SD and SS reports of the bodies found in the prisons and the reaction of local civilians, but also testified that that the German military authorities had issued orders to prevent violence against the Jewish population.

General Max Winkler: “I remember [hearing] the figure of some 4,000 corpses….As a reaction to these murders the Ukrainian population immediately started to drag the Jews out of their homes and to abuse them in the streets….The provisional commander of Lvov, Colonel Fingergerst of the 49th Army Corps…succeeded in stopping [these excesses] by giving orders to German troops and sending special patrols through the streets.”

General Egbert Picker: “In the courtyard of the state prison I saw many rows of corpses, laid next to each other, many of them with the most grotesque mutilations….I also saw in a small courtyard…some 15 corpses, apparently Jews who had been killed as reprisal by the local population shortly after the Russians evacuated the town….Jews were being taken to the prison by local civilians wearing armbands, and in one case they were being beaten with a bat….General Kubler…told me…that he had ordered such acts of violence by the civilian population against Jewish persons to be immediately stopped.”

General Hans Kreppel: “In the first hours after the occupation of Lvov I personally saw hundreds of bodies of murdered Ukrainians…I also remember an order of the 49th Army Corps forbidding the Ukrainian population to persecute the Jews.” Similar affidavits were introduced in evidence by the defense in the trial against Field Marshal von Manstein (1949) in Hamburg.

Postwar Investigations

In 1954 the U.S. House of Representatives established a Select Committee on Communist Aggression under the chairmanship of Congressman Charles Kersten of Wisconsin. At hearings in Munich, New York and Chicago, hundreds of witnesses testified on a variety of topics, including the systematic killing of political prisoners by the NKVD. The committee’s report reads in part:

In every city in western Ukraine in the first days of the war, the NKVD and its agents shot all of the political prisoners, except a mere handful who were miraculously saved….The same process continued as the German armies advanced into the Eastern Ukraine. Here the Communists had more time than in the extreme west, but even in Vinnitsa some 700 bodies were found near the railroad station. In Kharkiv, one of the main prisons was closed and set on fire, while the NKVD remained on guard to prevent any assistance until the interior was destroyed and the inmates were all dead.

[…]

The Lvov case gained renewed attention in the fall of 1959 when the Soviet press mounted a major disinformation campaign against a minister in the West German Adenauer cabinet, Theodor Oberlander, accusing him of participating in the SS murders there. On 5 September 1959 the Radianska Ukraina wrote: “Eighteen years ago the fascists committed a horrendous crime in Lvov in the night of 29-30 June 1941. The Hitlerites arrested on the basis of prepared lists of hundreds of Communists, Communist youth, and non-party members and murdered them in a brutal fashion in the courtyard of the Samarstinov Prison” These accusations were picked up by the Western press and eventually led to Oberlander’s resignation. The investigation by the district attorney’s office in Bonn, however, completely cleared him.

[…]

Further Investigations

Periodically, reports appear in the press that new mass graves have been “discovered” in the Soviet Union; again and again reference to the Lvov murders resurfaces, and there is a tendency even in the Western press to give some credence to Soviet propaganda and to assume that the Germans may indeed have killed the Ukrainian political prisoners at the Brygidky, Samarstinov and OGPU prisons. Surely, the Germans would have been capable of committing such crimes, but in this case the evidence is overwhelming that they did not.


Interesting, but what do the massacres committed by the NKVD in Lvov prison before retreating from the advancing Germans in the summer of 1941 tell us about the ensuing massacres of the Jewish population of Lvov by German forces and their Ukrainian collaborators, and about the atrocities committed by the Nazis in the concentration camp at Yanovska street?

Nothing at all, I would say.

German atrocities in the Lvov (Lemberg) region were the subject of several trials before West German courts, the summaries of which can be viewed under the link

http://www.jur.uva.nl/junsv/brd/Tatortfr.htm (icons after "Lemberg")

Two of these summaries have been translated into English:

Case Nr.166
Crime Category: Mass extermination crimes
Accused:
M., Karl life sentence + 15 Years
Court:
LG München I 490828
Country where the crime was committed: GUS
Crime Location: Lemberg, Rudki
Crime Date: 43
Victims: Jews
Nationality: Soviet
Office: unknown
Subject of the proceeding: Individual killings of a number of Jews, as well as participation in the extermination operation against the Jews from Lemberg and in the liquidation of the Rudki Ghetto


Source of quote:

http://www.jur.uva.nl/junsv/brd/brdengf ... eng166.htm

Case Nr.544
Crime Category: NS-Crimes in Detainment Centers
Accused:
Waltke, Oskar H.C. 8 Years
Court:
LG Hannover 621129
BGH 630611
Country where the crime was committed: GUS
Crime Location: Lemberg, Lyczakow, HS ZAL Lemberg-Janowskastrasse
Crime Date: 42-4407
Victims: Jews, Prisoners
Nationality: Soviet, Polish, unknown
Office: Polizei Gestapo Lemberg
Subject of the proceeding: Shooting of a number of Jews during their relocation into the ghetto. Hanging of about 20 members of the Jewish Council and the Jewish Order police, as reprisal for the death of an SS man against whom a Jew had used a knife while resisting his arrest. Fatal mishandling and mutilation of a Polish prisoner, whose throat was cut with a razor-blade during his interrogation. Shooting of a Jewess during her transport from Lacki-prison. Shooting of at least 150 Jews in a small forest near Lyczakow, a suburb of Lemberg. Mass shooting of about 1400 Jews from the Lemberg ghetto, and of about 20 Jews from Lacki-prison, behind the Janowska concentration camp, in March 1943. Shooting of numerous non-Jewish prisoners of Lacki-prison. Shooting of 13-14 Jewish men and women from Lacki-prison in March 1944


Source of quote:

http://www.jur.uva.nl/junsv/brd/brdengf ... eng544.htm

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Re: From Russia With Lvov

Post by PF » 29 Jun 2013 15:21


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