1969 Stuttgart trial over SK1005

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Sergey Romanov
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1969 Stuttgart trial over SK1005

Post by Sergey Romanov » 24 Jul 2004 17:25

I will be grateful if anyone will provide the details about this trial.

Baby Yar Sonderkommando Jakov Kaper describes the Stuttgart trial thus:
In 1969 Budnik, Davidov and I were sent to Stuttgart, Germany to testify against the fascists. We were supposed to recognize three leaders who orchestrated the atrocities in Babi Yar.

We flew to Warsaw then to Zurich (Switzerland). In Zurich we had a four-hour lay-over so we managed to see the city.

In Stuttgart, near the plane ladder we were met by the interpreter, a young fellow. He spoke Russian satisfactorily but still we could communicate. He recognized us at once as he had our photos. He addressed all of us by the surname adding the word mister. He suggested going to a restaurant but we declined since we were all very tired.

At the hotel where he had brought us we took a shower and rested. A bit later he came with a girl who very much wanted to see Russians. He rang over the phone and ordered the food to be brought to our suite. We had a good time, talking both in Russian and German. We understood each other. Just before he left he said that he would come the next morning since the judge wanted to meet us.

In the morning he called on us in a car and we went to the court.

The judge received us very cordially asked us what the weather was like in Moscow, what type of climate there was. We talked a bit. Thus, we made our acquaintance with the judge. He told us that the hearing of the case would begin on Monday and that we would have to stay there for 10 days. Here in the court we got money for our trip and for 10 days stay.


We compared yesterday's visit from the Consulate and Budnik's story and felt uneasy. We wanted to go to bed earlier and to get up fresh and tell about atrocities that had taken place in Babiy Yar. But we could not. We didn't sleep all night but spent the time talking. In the morning when we got dressed I found out that I had lost so much weight that the collar of the nylon shirt became too big for me. I told the fellows that I had not slept only one night and lost so much weight. When we arrived at the court the hearing began and we were summoned to the hall. The judge and the jury were wearing black gowns and high caps. We were offered to swear on the Bible that we would tell the truth but since we didn't believe in G-d we were told to lift our hand with two fingers raised and swear that we would tell only the truth.

In the hall there were schoolboys and girls from the sixth to the tenth classes.

We were told to go to the adjoining room so as not to hear what was said.

Davidov was called first. He was kept there very long and Budnik and I became very nervous. Then Budnik was called and I was left alone. Suddenly the door opened and a high and stocky German in the uniform of police entered. He addressed me in broken Russian and asked for a cigarette. I took out a pack of cigarettes and offered him one. He said that when he was a war prisoner in Russia he got tobacco and he showed me how he rolled up cigarettes and then smoked it. I answered him that when I had been a German prisoner we never received tobacco since it was considered a luxury.

At that moment recess was announced. We went to have a snack. After the recess, Budnik was called again and then me. When I came into the hall Budnik and Davidov were sitting on the benches for witnesses. I was asked to approach the judge and an interpreter sat nearby. The questions were asked in German and the interpreter translated. The first question was whom I recognized among the charged. They were ordered to stand up but I didn't recognize anybody. Then they asked questions about what I knew about Babiy Yar to check that I were not a fake. I answered all their questions. After this I was told that there was an album on the table and asked whom I recognized in it. I opened the album with photos which had no names on them but only numbers. I looked through it and only at the end of it I saw a picture in which I recognized sturmbahnfuhrer Radomsky. I said that under the number such and such was Radomsky. I was asked if I recognized anybody else, but I did not. This was the first day of the trial.

When we came back to the suite being tired after the trial and began to undress I found out that in the morning I had accidentally put on Davidov's shirt which was size 45. We started laughing and it was a good relaxation after the hard day in the court.

For two more days we went to the court to present our testimonies. I want to mention that the charged came to the court in white shirts and ties in their own cars. They were not imprisoned.

With the permission of the court we left for home not having waited for the end of the trial.

In Moscow we were gathered in the USSR Procurator's office and we told how the trial went. They listened with great interest.

Only some time later from the newspapers did we learn about the sentence of the German criminals.
Another Babi Yar Sonderkommando, David Budnik, recalls:
At the end of 1968, my past knocked at my door in the person of a postman. The letter he carried was completely unexpected to me. I was asked to testify to speak in front of the jury in Stuttgart on January 7th, 1969 at 9 o'clock. The charged were Sturmbahnfuhrer SS Gans Sons, Hauptsturmfuhrer SS Fritz Zitlov, Hauptsturmfuhrer SS Walter Helsfgot and Sturmbahnfuhrer Fritz Kirstein. As it turned out it they were part of the group that designed crematoria in the concentration camps. It was they who financed and organized the cover-up of Babi Yar during the retreat.

The letter read as follows The evidence given by you earlier can not substitute for the interrogation at the hearing, as according to the rules of the German Criminal law procedure charter for sentencing only the evidence given before the jury at the hearing is acceptable.

So Davidov, Kaper and I went to Stuttgart. The process was very well organized. Everything was done very properly without any excess. I liked one of the prosecutors. He spoke Russian very well and could communicate with us without an interpreter. I was very surprised that there were many young people in the courtroom. When I asked the prosecutor about it, he explained that it was necessary to bring young people here so that they know what their parents and grandparents did. They had to learn.

Even now I still have a yellowed and aged issue of the newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung dated February 14, 1969. One of the columns contains a big headline:


We did not know either Sons or Helsfgot or Zitlov or Kirstein even if we had seen them in Babi Yar. Each of us were given photographs of Radomsky and Topaide for identification. I recognized Radomsky at once, but Topaide did not look like he did when he was young and had a crew cut. His appearance, for us, was always associated by the fact his head jerked. That was why we could not state if it was him.

We gave our testimony to the court and told how the corpses were burnt and how we escaped. All this was published in Stuttgarter Zeitung.

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Post by David Thompson » 24 Jul 2004 17:36

Sergey -- The JuNSV site gives this overview, at:

Verfahren Lfd.Nr.701
Tatkomplex: Andere Massenvernichtungsverbrechen
Helfsgott, Walter Ernst Freispruch
Kir., Fritz Karl Freispruch
Soh., Hans Friedrich 4 Jahre
Zie., Fritz Otto Karl 2½ Jahre
LG Stuttgart 690313
BGH 710817
Tatland: Lettland, GUS
Tatort: Kiew (Babi-Yar-Schlucht), Uman, Kamenez-Podolsk, Nikolajew, Samocz, Belaja Zerkow, Woskresenskoje, Riga
Tatzeit: 44
Opfer: Juden, Häftlinge
Nationalität: Sowjetische, unbekannt
Dienststelle: Sonderkommando 1005A, Sonderkommando 1005B
Verfahrensgegenstand: Erschiessung von bei der Enterdung von Massengräbern in der Babi-Yar-Schlucht bei Kiew, Uman, Kamenez-Podolsk, Nikolajew, Samocz, Belaja-Zerkow, Woskresenskoje und in und bei Riga eingesetzten - meist jüdischen - Häftlingen

Veröffentlichung in Vorbereitung
The site contains judicial sentences, testimony and court documents from some of the cases. My German is not good enough for me to be able to say if there is anything from the 1969 Stuttgart trial.

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Sergey Romanov
Posts: 1987
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Location: World

Post by Sergey Romanov » 24 Jul 2004 17:42

Thanks, David. Judging by the names it is that same trial.

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