Italian POWs of OB Suedost 1943

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Italian POWs of OB Suedost 1943

Post by David Thompson » 01 Oct 2004 18:51

This is a collection of three groups of contemporaneous documents and extracts from documents relating to the treatment of captured members of the Italian Army in the operation area of the German Commander-in-Chief Southeast (Oberbefehlshaber Suedost [Südost]), following the Italian withdrawal from the war on 3 Sept 1943. The documents are posted in the H&WC section because the ill- treatment of captured Italian Army officers and men, pursuant to these orders, served as the basis for a number of war crimes charges brought by an American military tribunal in the "Hostage" case. They are arranged in chronological order.

The first group of documents gives an overview of the German policy generally. The second group refers to German Army actions against members of the Italian armed forces pursuant to "Operation Treason." The third, consisting of a single document, refers to the execution of 48 Italian officers at Split.

Partial Translation of Document NOKW-898, Prosecution Exhibit 317: Keitel Order, 9/9/1943, Concerning Treatment of Italian Soldiers", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1078-1079.
[Stamp] Top Secret

[Handwritten] New procedure in taking Italian prisoners of war
2 copies - 1st copy

Administration [Crossed out in original]
[Illegible initials]

Armed Forces Operations Staff/Quartiermeister 2 (S) 36/60

Priority - Teletype

1. Army Group B
2. Commander in Chief Southeast
3. Commander in Chief West
4. Chief of Army Armament and Commander of the Replacement Army
5. General Staff of the Army, Generalquartiermeister
6. Commander in Chief of the Air Force, Air Force Operations Staff
7. High Command of the Navy, Naval Operations Staff
8. General Armed Forces Office, Chief of Prisoner of War Affairs
9. Foreign Office, Attention - Ambassador Ritter

10. Foreign Counterintelligence Office
11. Plenipotentiary General for Labor Allocation
12. Reich Leader SS and Chief of the German Police

Subject: Further treatment of Italian soldiers under German jurisdiction

Italian soldiers who do not wish to continue fighting on the German side are to be disarmed and considered prisoners of war. They are to be taken over at first by the OKW/Chief of Prisoner of War Affairs. In cooperation with the Plenipotentiary General for Labor Allocation, the skilled workers among the prisoners of war taken over are to be selected for the armament economy and are to be put at the disposal of the Plenipotentiary General for Labor Allocation. Further, in cooperation with the Reich Leader SS, the fascists still among the prisoners of war are to be selected and handed over to the above. All other prisoners of war are to at the disposal of the General Staff of the Army, Generalquartiermeister, and of the Commander in Chief of the Air Force, Generalquartiermeister, in the proportion of 7 to 1 as workers for the construction of the East Wall.

The selection ordered has to be carried out as soon as the prisoners of war are taken over, so that the camps will be freed for new prisoners of war as quickly as possible.

The Chief of Prisoner of War Affairs will report the total number and their distribution to me every fifth day from 9/15/1943 onward.

Should the guards at the disposal of the OKW Chief of Prisoner of War Affairs be insufficient for the task, the Chief of Army Armament and Commander of the Replacement Army is to help out on guarding with persons who have recovered from their wounds or sicknesses, etc.

The transfer of English and American prisoners of war from Italy is to precede the transfer of Italian prisoners of war.

[Signed] Keitel

OKW/Armed Forces Operational Staff Quartiermeister 2 (S)

No. 005117/43 Top Secret



Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1403, Prosecution Exhibit 319: Extracts from Order and Teletype from XV Mountain Corps to Subordinate Units, 9/11-12/1943, Concerning Disarmament and Evacuation of Italian Troops", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1080-1081.
[Stamp] Top Secret

Corps Headquarters, XV Mountain Corps
Quartiermeister No. 321/43, Top Secret
Corps Headquarters, XV Mountain Corps
Ia 769/43, Top Secret
Local Headquarters, 9/11/1943

17 copies - 10th copy

Subject: Carrying out disarmament of Italians

* * * * *

2. As a matter of principle the Italians are to be requested to turn over immediately all their heavy weapons. If attempts are made to delay, ruthless measures are to be applied with employment of dive bombers. If the occasion warrants it, the Italian may retain their small weapons temporarily as protection against bands.

* * * * *

9. Basic principle - Any open or attempted resistance is to be broken by applying severe methods. Disciplined leadership of return march by the Italians themselves, according to directives of the division, is the prerequisite for regular rations, otherwise there is danger that they may starve to death.


[Illegible initial]
[Signed] Leuters

[Stamp] Top Secret
[Initial] T 12/9

Copy of Teletype


To: SS-Division, and 114th Light Division
For information: 373d (Croatian) Infantry Division

No shipping space available for evacuation of Italians and supply via sea route. The Italian units in the area Split-Zara are to be ordered to Bihac via land route immediately under the responsible leadership of their commanders and their headquarter authorities pursuant to Corps Headquarters Ia/Quartiermeister No. 769/43 Top Secret of 9/11/1943. Severest compulsory measures as well as reprisal measures are to be applied in the event of refusal (shooting to death).

114th Light Division and SS Division are requested to report their intention immediately with time table and security precautions (for instance, commitment of tanks).

XV Mountain Corps, Ia No. 770/43 Top Secret 9/12/1943

Certified true copy:

[Illegible signature] Captain, Cavalry



Partial Translation of Document NOKW-916, Prosecution Exhibit 223: Extracts from Basic Order, 9/15/1943, Signed by Keitel, Concerning Treatment of Members of Italian Army", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1081-1083.
Supreme Command Armed Forces
No. 005282/43 Top Secret, Armed Forces Operational
Staff/Quartiermeister 2 (S)
Fuehrer Headquarters, 9/15/1943
[Stamp] Top Secret

55 copies copy

[Handwritten] Quartiermeister 2 (S)

[Illegible initial] 16/9

Basic policy concerning the treatment of soldiers of the Italian armed forces and of the militia

All previously issued orders concerning the treatment of soldiers of the Italian armed forces and of the militia are herewith rescinded and the following is ordered:

I. Basic principle - Italian soldiers must declare unequivocally whether they desire to continue fighting on our side or whether they wish to participate in the breach of faith of the Badoglio government.
Whosoever is not for us is against us and consequently he becomes a prisoner of war. (Irrespective of any German citations of war he may have received.)

II. One must distinguish three classes of Italian soldiers, including the militia:

1. Italian soldiers faithful to the alliance who:

a. Wish to continue armed combat on our side.

b. Wish to be employed in the order and security service, in the supply organization of the armed forces units or with the navy or the ground forces of the air force without, however, actively participating in combat.

2. Italian soldiers who do not wish to assist us in any way.

3. Italian soldiers who have resisted either actively or passively or who have allied themselves with the enemy or with bands.

To 2 above (Italian soldiers who do not wish to assist us in any way). Italian soldiers who do not wish to be available to continue fighting on the German side are to be disarmed and are prisoners of war. The OKW/Chief of Prisoner of War Affairs will take them over first. Regarding their sifting and distribution for purposes of war economy, there is a special directive in agreement with the Reich Minister for War Production and Armament and with the Plenipotentiary for Labor Allocation.

To 3 above (Italian soldiers who have resisted either actively or passively, etc.) Italian soldiers having actively or passively resisted German measures or having allied themselves with the enemy or with bands are also prisoners of war. The following directives which are more severe apply to them:

a. By order of the Fuehrer, the following procedure is to be applied to all Italian troop units who have let their arms fall into the hands of insurgents or in any way made common cause with the insurgents:

(1) The officers are to be shot to death by summary courts martial.

(2) Noncommissioned officers and men are to be transferred to the east for labor employment via General Armed Forces Office/Chief Prisoner of War Affairs, and made available to the Army General Staff/Generalquartiermeister, if possible avoiding transit through the Reich.

b. An ultimatum with a short time limit is to be sent to Italian troops or other armed units still offering resistance at this time. This ultimatum is to make it clear that the Italian commanders responsible for the resistance will be shot as francs-tireurs unless they have ordered their troops to surrender their arms to the German units before the time limit expires.

III. Sifting - The following is ordered in order to relieve transportation: Army Group B, CinC West and CinC Southeast are to classify and to retain immediately.

1. Italian units continuing the fight on our side.

2. Individual Italian soldiers willing to continue on the German side and who may be organized into new Italian militia units or who may be employed as Italian voluntary helpers in German troop units.

3. All Italian soldiers who are ethnic Germans. They are to be collected at a camp to be installed in South Tyrol by Army Group B for the purpose of later recruitment for the German armed forces and Waffen SS.

4. Units and troops as well as individual Italian soldiers that are in the air force or navy in the Reich, in the area of operations or in the occupied territory, will remain available for the air force and navy and are to be treated according to the foregoing policies.

5. All other officers and men are to be evacuated to the Reich in so far as Special Directive II, 3, comment to 3, is not applicable.

6. CinC South will transfer all Italian soldiers to Army Group B, excepting Italian voluntary helpers. Army Group B is charged with the immediate transfer of prisoner of war transports of CinC South to the Reich.

7. All Fascists (i.e., members of the Fascist party) who wish to cooperate further are at the disposal of the Reich Leader SS at his request.

IV. Treatment of officers and higher staffs - Officers and higher staffs who have declared their willingness to be committed on our side according to II, 1 a and b or according to their special qualifications but for whom there is no use at present are to be kept in honorary confinement by the army group in their corresponding areas. Proper billets (for instance in hotels to be requisitioned) are to be secured. Until further notice they are be informed that because of the restless attitude of the population and for their own interests they will be granted no release for home even though it may be within the area of German authority.

Chief OKW [Signed] Keitel

Distribution: [Not listed in original document]



Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1354, Prosecution Exhibit 447: Extracts of Daily Reports from Commander in Chief Southeast, 9/19-28/1943, to Operations Section, OKH: Extract of 9/19/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1084.
* * *

High Command of the Army
Army General Staff,/Operations Section
Secret Daily Report from Commander in Chief Southeast for 9/19/1943

Chief Administration Area Headquarters Salonika:

Engagement between our own reconnaissance and bands north of Elasson. The attitude of the disarmed Italians has stiffened. Several mutineers were shot.


"VI: Treatment of Captured Members of the Italian Army: (B) Contemporaneous Documents: Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1354, Prosecution Exhibit 447: Extracts of Daily Reports from Commander in Chief Southeast, 9/19-28/1943, to Operations Section, OKH: Extract of 9/23/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). District of Columbia: GPO, 1950. pp. 1084.

[Stamp] Army General Staff, Operations Section
Received - 9/24/1943
No. 10229/43 Secret

Daily Report from Commander in Chief Southeast for 9/23/1943
XXII Mountain Corps:

Final mopping up at Cephalonia is under way. General Gandin and his staff were captured. [Crossed out] Special treatment [Sonderbehandlung] in compliance with Fuehrer order.


Commander in Chief Southeast (Army Group F), Ia, No. 2741/43 Secret, dated 9/23/1943.



Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1354, Prosecution Exhibit 447: Extracts of Daily Reports from Commander in Chief Southeast, 9/19-28/1943, to Operations Section, OKH: Extract of 9/26/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1084-1085.
[Stamp] Army General Staff, Operations Section
Received - 9/27/1943
No. 10354/43 Secret

Daily report from Commander in Chief Southeast (Army Group F) for 9/26/1943.

XXII Mountain Corps:

Corfu is firmly in our hands except for the mopping up operation necessary in the northern sector. Mopping up operation proceeding on the Island of Ithaca (east of Cephalonia).

Enemy ammunition depot destroyed south of Korca, 50 bandits shot.

Commander in Chief Southeast (Army Group F), Ia No. 2789/43 Secret, dated 9/26/1943.


Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1354, Prosecution Exhibit 447: Extracts of Daily Reports from Commander in Chief Southeast, 9/19-28/1943, to Operations Section, OKH: Extract of 9/27/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). District of Columbia: GPO, 1950. pp. 1085.
[Stamp] Army General Staff, Operations Section
Received - 9/28/1943
No. 10384/43 Secret

Daily Report from Commander in Chief Southeast for 9/27/1943

XXII Mountain Corps:

Cleaning up operations as well as transporting Italians away from Corfu is proceeding. The commandant of the island was shot.

Commander in Chief Southeast (Army Group F), Ia No. 103/43 Secret, dated 9/27/1943.

Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1354, Prosecution Exhibit 447: Extracts of Daily Reports from Commander in Chief Southeast, 9/19-28/1943, to Operations Section, OKH: Extract of 9/28/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1085-1086.
[Stamp] Army General Staff, Operations Section
Received - 9/29/1943
No. 10422/43 Secret
Secret

Daily Report from Commander in Chief Southeast (Army Group F) for 9/28/1943

XV Mountain Corps -

SS Division Prinz Eugen -

Survey on Split

At Split 300 Italian officers and 9000 men of the "Bergamo" Division were taken prisoners. Treatment in compliance with Fuehrer order has been initiated.

Serbia - Draja Mihailovic bands active southeastern Serbia. During our own operations 34 Draja Mihailovic bandits were captured, 280 suspected followers of Draja Mihailovic were arrested - [Crossed out] 10 Draja Mihailovic followers shot in retaliation.

Commander in Chief Southeast (Army Group F) Ia No. 2824/43 Secret, dated 9/28/1943.


************************************************************

Partial Translation of Document NOKW-865, Prosecution Exhibit 452: Extracts from Messages and Order of 1st Mountain Division, 9/18-24/1943, Pertaining to Operation 'Verrat' [Treason]: Radio Message of 9/24/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1086.
[Stamp] Secret
Radio Message - Priority

To Division Commander

The Corps informs: "By order of higher authority, no prisoners are to be taken during operation" "Verrat" [treason].

1st Mountain Division
Ia No. 1231,/43 Secret

[Illegible initial]



Partial Translation of Document NOKW-865, Prosecution Exhibit 452: Extracts from Messages and Order of 1st Mountain Division, 9/18-24/1943, Pertaining to Operation 'Verrat' [Treason]: Teletype of 9/24/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1086-1087.
[Handwritten] 1747
Teletype Priority to Quartiermeister (1735)
[Handwritten] Secret

[Stamp] Secret

1. 99th Light Mountain Regiment.

2. For information: Division Commander, Igumenica [Goumenitsa] Extra copyIb, IVb.

3. For operation "Verrat" there will be brought up to Igumenica on 9/24/1943 evening - 1 Company of 2d Regiment Brandenburg (South Tyroleans in Italian uniform and with Italian arms).

1st Mountain Division/Ia
No. 1232/4 Secret
[Illegible initial]
[Handwritten] Ordered - 9/24/1943

(1745) Baumeister IHV Quartiermeister XEIREI Ki

Partial Translation of Document NOKW-865, Prosecution Exhibit 452: Extracts from Messages and Order of 1st Mountain Division, 9/18-24/1943, Pertaining to Operation 'Verrat' [Treason]: Order of 9/18/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. p. 1087.
[Handwritten] War Diary
Division Command Post, 9/18/1943

1st Mountain Division
Ia No. 1195/43 Secret

[Stamp] Secret

Use care while telephoning - The enemy is listening
Divisional Order For Operation "Verrat"

(Map 1:100000)

1. In the pursuance of treason, the like of which history has ever seen, which the Italian Government has committed against Germany the Italian commander of Corfu decided to stop the occupation of the Island Corfu by German troops by force of arms. Since 9/13/1943 German planes flying over the island, and on 9/13/1943 the Combat Group Dodel, which had put to sea for the occupation of the island, have been fired upon.

Thereby the garrison of the Island of Corfu, which consists mainly of the 18th Italian Infantry Regiment, has joined hands with cowardly treason, and even beyond that, has gone over to the side of our enemy in open combat. Details of the garrison - see sketch. (Changes in the garrison are possible and probable).

[Signed] von Stettner


*************************************************************

Partial Translation of Document NOKW-830, Prosecution Exhibit 326: Extracts from War Diary of XV Mountain Corps, 10/26/1943-12/31/1943, Regarding Shootings of Italian Officers", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. p. 1088.
War Diary No. ______
Corps Headquarters XV Mountain Corps [Stamp]
(Command authority, unit)

Started - 8/26/1943; concluded - 12/31/1943

9/27/1943, Banja Luka - 0700 hours SS Division and 92d Motorized Regiment approached Split.

0800 hours reached northern edge of Split.

0900 hours city and port of Split occupied against local resistance. 202 Italian officers and 9000 men captured.

Italian officers are to be shot to death according to Fuehrer orders.

Commanding General has caused investigation to ascertain guilty officers.

9/30/1943, Banja Luka - Three generals in Split shot to death by virtue of summary court martial.

10/1/1943, Banja Luka - 45 additional guilty officers (Italian) shot to death by virtue of summary court martial in Split.

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