Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 17

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Monday, 1 July 1946

Morning Session

THE PRESIDENT: I have an announcement to make.

The Tribunal orders that any of the evidence taken on commission which the Defense Counsel or the Prosecution wish to use shall be offered in evidence by them. This evidence will then become a part of the record, subject to any objections.

Counsel for the organizations should begin to make up their document books as soon as possible and put in their requests for translations.

That is all.

Dr. Stahmer.

DR. STAHMER: With reference to the events at Katyn, the Indictment contains only the remark: "In September 1941 11,000 Polish officers, prisoners of war, were killed in the Katyn woods near Smolensk." The Russian Prosecution only submitted the details at the session of 14 February 1946. Document USSR-54 was then submitted to the Tribunal. This document is an official report by the Extraordinary State Commission, which was officially authorized to investigate the Katyn case. This commission, after questioning the witnesses. . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal are aware of the document and they only want you to call your evidence; that is all.

DR. STAHMER: I wanted only to add, Mr. President, that according to this document, there are two accusations: One, that the period of the shooting of the Polish prisoners of war was the autumn of 1941; and the second assertion is, that the killing was carried out by some German military authority, camouflaged under the name of "Staff of Engineer Battalion 537."

THE PRESIDENT: That is all in the document, is it not? I have just told you we know the document. We only want you to call your evidence.

DR. STAHMER: Then, as my first witness for the Defense, I shall call Colonel Friedrich Ahrens to the witness stand.


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DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I have a request to make before the evidence is heard in the Katyn case. The Tribunal decided that three witnesses should be heard, and it hinted that in the interests of equality, the Prosecution could also produce only three witnesses, either by means of direct examination or by means of an affidavit. In the interests of that same principle of equality, I should be grateful if the Soviet Delegation, in the same way as the Defense, would state the names of their witnesses before the hearing of the evidence. The Defense submitted the names of their witnesses weeks ago. Unfortunately, up to now, I note that in the interests of equality and with regard to the treatment of the Defense and the Prosecution, the Soviet Delegation has so far not given the names of the witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, were you going to give me the names of the witnesses?

GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, Mr. President. Today we notified the General Secretary of the Tribunal that the Soviet Prosecution intends to call three witnesses to the stand: Professor Prosorovsky, who is the Chief of the Medico-Legal Experts Commission; the Bulgarian subject, Professor of Legal Medicine at Sofia University Markov, who at the same time was a member of the so-called International Commission created by the Germans; and Professor Bazilevsky, who was the deputy mayor of Smolensk during the time of the German occupation.

[The witness Ahrens took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name?

FRIEDRICH AHRENS (Witness): Friedrich Ahrens.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, did you, as a professional officer in the German Armed Forces, participate in the second World War?

AHRENS: Yes, of course; as a professional officer I participated in the second World War.

DR. STAHMER: What rank did you hold finally?

AHRENS: At the end as colonel.

DR. STAHMER: Were you stationed in the eastern theater of war?



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DR. STAHMER: In what capacity?

AHRENS: I was the commanding officer of a signal regiment of an army group.

DR. STAHMER: What were the tasks of your regiment?

AHRENS: The signal regiment of an army group had the task of setting up and maintaining communications between the army group and the neighboring units and subordinate units, as well as preparing the necessary lines of communication for new operations.

DR. STAHMER: Did your regiment have any special tasks apart from that?

AHRENS: No, with the exception of the duty of defending themselves, of taking all measures to hinder a sudden attack and of holding themselves in readiness to defend themselves with the forces at their disposal, so as to prevent the capture of the regimental battle headquarters.

This was particularly important for an army group signal regiment and its battle headquarters because we had to keep a lot of highly secret material in our staff.

DR. STAHMER: Your regiment was the Signal Regiment 537. Was there also an Engineer Battalion 537, the same number?

AHRENS: During the time when I was in the Army Group Center I heard of no unit with the same number, nor do I believe that there was such a unit.

DR. STAHMER: And to whom were you subordinated?

AHRENS: I was directly subordinated to the staff of the Army Group Center, and that was the case during the entire period when I was with the army group. My superior was General Oberhauser.

With regard to defense, the signal staff of the regiment with its first battalion, which was in close touch with the regimental staff, was at times subordinated to the commander of Smolensk; all orders which I received from that last-named command came via General Oberhauser, who either approved or refused to allow the regiment to be employed for a particular purpose.

In other words, I received my orders exclusively from General Oberhauser.

DR. STAHMER: Where was your stay accommodated?

AHRENS: I prepared a sketch of the position of the staff headquarters west of Smolensk.

DR. STAHMER: I am having the sketch shown to you. Please tell us whether that is your sketch.

AHRENS: That sketch was drawn by me from memory.


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DR. STAHMER: I am now going to have a second sketch shown to you. Will you please have a look at that one also, and will you tell me whether it presents a correct picture of the situation?

AHRENS: May I briefly explain this sketch to you? At the righthand margin, that large red spot is the town of Smolensk. West of Smolensk, and on either side of the road to Vitebsk, the staff of the army group was situated together with the Air Force corps, that is south of Krasnibor. On my sketch I have marked the actual area occupied by the Army Group Center.

That part of my sketch which has a dark line around it was very densely occupied by troops who came directly under the army group; there was hardly a house empty in that area.

The regimental staff of my regiment was in the so-called lithe Katyn wood. That is the white spot which is indicated on the sketch; it measures about 1 square kilometer of the large forest and is a part of the entire forest around Katyn. On the southern edge of this small wood there lay the so-called Dnieper Castle, which was the regimental staff headquarters.

Two and a half kilometers to the east of the staff headquarters of the regiment there was the first company of the regiment, which was the operating company, which did teleprinting and telephone work for the army group. About 3 kilometers west of the regimental staff headquarters there was the wireless company. There were no buildings within the radius of about 1 kilometer of the regimental staff headquarters.

This house was a large two-story building with about 14 to 15 rooms, several bath installations, a cinema, a rifle range, garages, Sauna (steam baths) and so on, and was most suitable for accommodating the regimental staff. Our regiment permanently retained this battle headquarters.

DR. STAHMER: Were there also any other high-ranking staff headquarters nearby?

AHRENS: As higher staff headquarters there was the army group, which I have already mentioned, then a corps staff from the Air Force, and several battalion staffs. Then there was the delegate of the railway for the army group, who was at Gnesdovo in a special train.

DR. STAHMER: It has been stated in this Trial that certain events which have taken place in your neighborhood had been most secret and most suspicious. Will you please, therefore, answer the following questions with particular care?

How many Germans were there in the staff personnel, and what positions did they fill?


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AHRENS: I had 3 officers on my staff to begin with, and then 2, and approximately 18 to 20 noncommissioned officers and men; that is to say, as few as I could have in my regimental staff, and every man in the staff was fully occupied.

DR. STAHMER: Did you have Russian personnel in your staff?

AHRENS: Yes, we had four auxiliary volunteers and some female personnel living in the immediate vicinity of the regimental staff quarters. The auxiliary volunteers remained permanently with the regimental staff, whereas the female personnel changed from time to time. Some of these women also came from Smolensk and they lived in a separate building near the regimental staff.

DR. STAHMER: Did this Russian personnel receive special instructions from you about their conduct?

AHRENS: I issued general instructions on conduct for the regimental headquarters, which did not solely apply to the Russian personnel.

I have already mentioned the importance of secrecy with reference to this regimental headquarters, which not only kept the records of the position of the army group, but also that of its neighboring units, and on which the intentions of the army group were clearly recognizable. Therefore, it was my duty to keep this material particularly secret. Consequently, I had the rooms containing this material barred to ordinary access. Only those persons were admitted-generally officers-who had been passed by me, but also a few noncommissioned officers and other ranks who were put under special oath.

DR. STAHMER: To which rooms did this "no admission" order refer?

AHRENS: In the first place, it referred to the telephone expert's room, it also referred to my own room and partly, although to a smaller degree, to the adjutant's room. All remaining rooms in the house and on the site were not off limits.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, how is this evidence about the actual conditions in these staff headquarters relevant to this question?

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, in the Russian document the allegation is contained that events of a particularly secret nature had taken place in this staff building and that a ban of silence had been imposed on the Russian personnel by Colonel Ahrens, that the rooms had been locked, and that one was only permitted to enter the rooms when accompanied by guards. I have put the questions in this connection in order to clear up the case and to prove that these events have a perfectly natural explanation on account of the


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tasks entrusted to the regiment and which necessitated quite obviously, a certain amount of secrecy.

For that reason, I have put these questions. May I be permitted . . .


DR. STAHMER: I have almost finished with these questions.

[Turning to the witness.] Was the Katyn wood cordoned off, and especially strictly guarded by soldiers?

Mr. President, may I remark with reference to this question that here also it had been alleged that this cordon had only been introduced by the regiment. Previously, there had been free access to the woods, and from this conclusions are drawn which are detrimental to the regiment.

AHRENS: In order to secure antiaircraft cover for the regimental staff headquarters, I stopped any timber from being cut for fuel in the immediate vicinity of the regimental staff headquarters. During this winter the situation was such that the units cut wood wherever they could get it.

On 22 January, there was a fairly heavy air attack on my position during which half a house was torn away. It was quite impossible to find any other accommodation because of the overcrowding of the area, and I therefore took additional precautions to make sure that this already fairly thin wood would be preserved so as to serve as cover. Since, on the other hand, I am against the putting up of prohibition signs, I asked the other troop units by way of verses to leave us our trees as antiaircraft cover. The wood was not closed off at all, particularly as the road had to be kept open for heavy traffic, and I only sent sentries now and then into the wood to see whether our trees were left intact.

DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, at a time that is convenient to you, you will, of course, draw our attention to the necessary dates, the date at which this unit took over its headquarters and the date at which it left.

DR. STAHMER: Very well,

[Turning to the witness.] When did your unit, your regiment, move into this Dnieper Castle?

AHRENS: As far as I know, this house was taken over immediately after the combat troops had left that area in August 1941, and it was confiscated together with the other army group accommodations, and was occupied by advance parties. It was then permanently occupied by the regimental headquarters as long as I was there up to August 1945.


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DR. STAHMER: So, if I understand you correctly, it was first of all in August 1941 that an advance party took it over?

AHRENS: Yes, as far as I know.

DR. STAHMER: When did the staff actually arrive?

AHRENS: A few weeks later.

DR. STAHMER: Who was the regimental commander at that time?

AHRENS: My predecessor was Colonel Bedenck.

DR. STAHMER: When did you take over the regiment?

AHRENS: I joined the army group during the second half of November 1941, and after getting thoroughly acquainted with all details I took over the command of the regiment, at the end of November, if I remember rightly, on 30 November.

DR. STAHMER: Was there a proper handing over from Bedenck to you?

AHRENS: A very careful, detailed, and lengthy transfer took place, on account of the very considerable tasks entrusted to this regiment. Added to that, my superior, General Oberhauser, was an extraordinarily painstaking superior, and he took great pains to convince himself personally whether, by the transfer negotiations and the instructions which I had received, I was fully capable of taking over the responsibilities of the regiment.

DR. STAHMER: The Prosecution further alleges and claims that it was suspicious that shots were often fired in the forest. Is that true, and to what would you attribute that?

AHRENS: I have already mentioned that it was one of the main tasks of the regiment to take all the necessary measures to defend themselves against sudden attack. Considering the small number of men which I had in my regimental staff, I had to organize and take the necessary steps to enable me to obtain replacements in the shortest time possible. This was arranged through wireless communication with the regimental headquarters. I ordered that defensive maneuvers should be carried out and that defense works should be prepared around the regimental headquarters sector and that there should be maneuvers and exercises in these works together with the members of the regimental headquarters. I personally participated in these maneuvers at times and, of course, shots were fired, particularly since we were preparing ourselves for night fighting.

DR. STAHMER: There is supposed to have been a very lively and rather suspicious traffic to and around your staff building. Will you please tell us quite briefly what this traffic signified?


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AHRENS: There was an extraordinary lively traffic around staff headquarters which still increased in the spring of 1941 as I was having the house rebuilt. I think I mentioned that it had been destroyed through air attacks. But, of course, the traffic increased also through the maneuvers which were held nearby. The battalions in the front area operating at 300 and 400 kilometers distance had to, and could perform their job only by maintaining personal contact with the regiment and its staff headquarters.

DR. STAHMER: There is supposed to have been considerable truck traffic which has been described as suspicious.

AHRENS: Besides our supplies, which were relatively small, the Kommandos, as I have just mentioned, were brought in by trucks; but so was, of course, all the building material which I required. Apart from that, the traffic was not unusually heavy.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know that about 25 kilometers west of Smolensk there were three Russian prisoner-of-war camps, which had originally been inhabited by Poles and which had been abandoned by the Russians when the German troops approached in July 1941? ~ -

AHRENS: At that time I had not yet arrived. But never during the entire period I served in Russia did I see a single Pole; nor did I hear of Poles.

DR. STAHMER: It has been alleged that an order had been issued from Berlin according to which Polish prisoners of war were to be shot. Did you know of such an order?

AHRENS: No. I have never heard of such an order.

DR. STAHMER: Did you possibly receive such an order from any other office?

AHRENS: I told you already that I never heard of such an order and I therefore did not receive it, either.

DR. STAHMER: Were any Poles shot on your instructions, your direct instructions?

AHRENS: No Poles were shot on my instructions. Nobody at all was ever shot upon my order. I have never given such an order in all my life.

DR. STAHMER: Well, you did not arrive until November 1941. Have you heard anything about your predecessor' Colonel Bedenck, having given any similar orders?

AHRENS: I have not heard anything about it. With my regimental staff, with whom I lived closely together for 21 months, I had such close connections, I knew my people so well, and they also


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knew me, that I am perfectly convinced that this deed was not perpetrate* by my predecessor nor by any member of my former regiment. I would undoubtedly have heard rumors of it at the very least.

THE PRESIDENT: This is argument, you know, Dr. Stahmer. This is not evidence; it is argument. He is telling you what he thinks might have been the case.

DR. STAHMER: I asked whether he had heard of it from members of his regiment.

THE PRESIDENT: The answer to that would be "no," I suppose, that he had not heard-not that he was convinced that he had not done it.

DR. STAHMER: Very well.

[Turning to the witness.] After your arrival at Katyn, did you notice that there was a grave mound in the woods at Katyn?

AHRENS: Shortly after I arrived-the ground was covered by snow-one of my soldiers pointed out to me that at a certain spot there was some sort of a mound, which one could hardly describe as such, on which there was a birch cross. I have seen that birch cross. In the course of 1942 my soldiers kept telling me that here in our woods shootings were supposed to have taken place, but at first I did not pay any attention to it. However, in the summer of 1942 this topic was referred to in an order of the army group later commanded by General Von Harsdorff. He told me that he had also heard about it.

DR. STAHMER: Did these stories prove true later on?

AHRENS: Yes, they did turn out to be true and I was able to confirm, quite by accident, that there was actually a grave here. During the winter of 1943-I think either January or February- quite accidentally I saw a wolf in this wood and at first I did not believe that it was a wolf; when I followed the tracks with an expert, we saw that there were traces of scratchings on the mound with the cross. I had investigations made as to what kind of bones these were. The doctors told me "human bones." Thereupon I informed the officer responsible for war graves in the area of this fact, because I believed that it was a soldier's grave, as there were a number of such graves in our immediate vicinity.

DR. STAHMER: Then, how did the exhumation take place?

AHRENS: I do not know about all the details. Professor Dr. Butz arrived one day on orders from the army group, and informed me that following the rumors in my little wood, he had to make exhumations, and that he had to inform me that these exhumations would take place in my wood.


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DR. STAHMER: Did Professor Butz later give you details of the result of his exhumations?

AHRENS: Yes, he did occasionally give me details and I remember that he told me that he had conclusive evidence regarding the date of the shootings. Among other things, he showed me letters, of which I cannot remember much now; but I do remember some sort of a diary which he passed over to me in which there were dates followed by some notes which I could not read because they were written in Polish. In this connection he explained to me that these notes had been made by a Polish officer regarding events of the past months, and that at the end-the diary ended with the spring of 1940-the fear was expressed in these notes that something horrible was going to happen. I am giving only a broad outline of the meaning.

DR. STAHMER: Did he give you any further indication regarding the period he assumed the shooting had taken place?

AHRENS: Professor Butz, on the basis of the proofs which he had found, was convinced that the shootings had taken place in the spring of 1940 and I often heard him express these convictions in my presence, and also later on, when commissions visited the grave and I had to place my house at the disposal of these commissions to accommodate them. I personally did not have anything to do whatsoever with the exhumations or with the commissions. All I had to do was to place the house at their disposal and act as host.

DR. STAHMER: It was alleged that in March 1943 lorries had transported bodies to Katyn from outside and these bodies were buried in the little wood. Do you know anything about that?

AHRENS: No, I know nothing about that.

DR. STAHMER: Would you have had to take notice of it?

AHRENS: I would have had to take notice of it-at least my officers would have reported it to me, because my officers were constantly at the regimental battle headquarters, whereas I, as a regimental commander, was of course, frequently on the way. The officer who in those days was there constantly was First Lieutenant Hodt, whose address I got to know last night from a letter.

DR. STAHMER: Were Russian prisoners of war used for these exhumations?

AHRENS: As far as I remember, yes.

DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us the number?

AHRENS: I cannot say exactly as I did not concern myself any further with these exhumations on account of the dreadful and revolting stench around our house, but I should estimate the number as being about 40 to 50 men.


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DR. STAHMER: It has been alleged that they were shot afterward; have you any knowledge of that?

AHRENS: I have no knowledge of that and I also never heard of it.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

FLOTTENRICHTER OTTO KRANZBUHLER (Counsel for Defendant Doenitz): Colonel, did you yourself ever discuss the events of 1940 with any of the local inhabitants?

AHRENS: Yes. At the beginning of 1943 a Russian married couple were living near my regimental headquarters; they lived 800 meters away and they were beekeepers. I, too, kept bees, and I came into close contact with this married couple. When the exhumations had been completed, approximately in May 1943, I told them that, after all, they ought to know when these shootings had taken place, since they were living in close proximity to the graves. Thereupon, these people told me it had occurred in the spring of 1940, and that at the Gnesdovo station more than 200 Poles in uniform had arrived in railway trucks of 50 tons each and were then taken to the woods in lorries. They had heard lots of shots and screams, too.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was the wood off limits to the local inhabitants at the time?

AHRENS: We have...

THE PRESIDENT: That is a leading question. I do not think you should ask leading questions.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know whether the local inhabitants could enter the woods at the time?

AHRENS: There was a fence around the wood and according to the statements of the local inhabitants, civilians could not enter it during the time the Russians were there. The remains of the fence were still visible when I was there, and this fence is indicated on my sketch and is marked with a black line.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: When you moved into Dnieper Castle did you make inquiries as to who the former owners were?

AHRENS: Yes, I did make inquiries because I was interested. The house was built in a rather peculiar way. It had a cinema installation and its own rifle range and of course that interested me; but I failed to ascertain anything definite during the whole time I was there.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Apart from mass graves in the neighborhood of the castle, were there any other graves found?


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AHRENS: I have indicated by a few dots on my sketch, that in the vicinity of the castle there were found a number of other small graves which contained decayed bodies; that is to say, skeletons which had disintegrated. These graves contained perhaps six, eight, or a few more male and female skeletons. Even I, a layman, could recognize that very clearly, because most of them had rubber shoes on which were in good condition, and there were also remains of handbags.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: How long had these skeletons been in the ground?

AHRENS: That I cannot tell you. I know only that they were decayed and had disintegrated. The bones were preserved, but the skeleton structure was no longer intact.


DR. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces): Mr. President . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, you know the Tribunal's ruling.


THE PRESIDENT: Well, you have no right to ask any questions of the witness here.

DR. LATERNSER: MR. PRESIDENT, I just wanted to ask you, in this unusual case, to allow me to put questions...

THE PRESIDENT: I said to you that you know the Tribunal's ruling and the Tribunal will not hear you. We have already ruled upon this once or twice in consequence of your objections and the Tribunal will not hear you.

DR. LATERNSER: MR. PRESIDENT, the Katyn case is one of the most serious accusations raised against the group.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is perfectly well aware of the nature of the allegations about Katyn and the Tribunal does not propose to make any exceptional rule in that case and it therefore will not hear you and you will kindly sit down.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I wish to state that on account of this ruling I feel myself unduly handicapped in my defense.

THE PRESIDENT: As Dr. Laternser knows perfectly well, he is entitled to apply to the Commission to call any witness who is called here, if his evidence bears upon the case of the particular organizations for which Dr. Laternser appears. I do not want to hear anything further.


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DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, the channel you point out to me is of no practical importance. I cannot have every witness who appears here called by the Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, you are appearing for the Defendant Doenitz, or is it Raeder?

DR. SIEMERS: Defendant Raeder.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, unless the questions you are going to ask particularly refer to the case of the Defendant Raeder, the Tribunal is not prepared to hear any further examination. The matter has been generally covered by Dr. Stahmer and also by Dr. Kranzbuhler. Therefore, unless the questions which you want to ask have some particular reference to the case of Raeder, the Tribunal will not hear you.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I had merely assumed that there were two reasons on the strength of which I could put a few questions: First, because the Tribunal itself has stated that within the framework of the conspiracy all defendants had been participants; and second, that according to the statements by the Prosecution Grossadmiral Raeder, too, is considered a member of the alleged criminal organizations, the General Staff and the OKW. It was for that reason I wanted to ask one or two supplementary questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, if there were any allegations that in any way bore on the case against Defendant Raeder, the Tribunal would of course allow you to ask questions; but there is no allegation which in any way connects the Defendant Raeder with the allegations about the Katyn woods.

DR. SIEMERS: I am grateful to the Tribunal for that statement, Mr. President.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, may I be allowed to ask something else? May I have the question put to the Prosecution, who is to be made responsible for the Katyn case?

THE PRESIDENT: I do not propose to answer questions of that sort.

The Prosecution may now cross-examine if they want to.

CHIEF COUNSELLOR OF JUSTICE L. N. SMIRNOV (Assistant Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): Please tell me, Witness, since when, exactly, have you been in the Smolensk district territory?

AHRENS: I have already answered that question: since the second half of November 1941.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer me further, where were you prior to the second part of 1941? Did you in any way have anything to do with Katyn or Smolensk or this district in general? Were you there personally in September and October 1941?


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AHRENS: No, I was not there.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is to say that you were not there, either in September or in October 1941, and therefore do not know what happened at that time in the Katyn forest?

AHRENS: I was not there at that time, but I mentioned earlier on that...

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, I am actually only interested in a short question. Were you there personally or not? Were you able to see for yourself what was happening there or not?

THE PRESIDENT: He says he was not there.

AHRENS: No, I was not there.

THE PRESIDENT: He said he was not there in September or October 1941.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Thank you, Mr. President.

[Turning to the witness.] Maybe you recall the family names of the Russian women workers who were employed at the country house in the woods?

AHRENS: Those female workers were not working in different houses. They merely worked as auxiliary kitchen personnel in our Dnieper Castle. I have not known their names at all.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That means that the Russian women workers were employed only in the villa situated in Katyn forest where the staff headquarters were located?

AHRENS: I believe that question was not translated well. I did not understand it.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I asked you whether the Russian women workers were employed exclusively in the villa in Kosig Gory where the staff headquarters were located? Is that right?

AHRENS: The women workers worked for the regimental headquarters as kitchen help, and as kitchen helpers they worked on our premises; and by our premises I mean this particular house with the adjoining houses-for instance, the stables, the garage, the cellars, the boiler room.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I will mention a few names of German military employees. Will you please tell me whether they belonged to your unit? First Lieutenant Rex?

AHRENS: First Lieutenant Rex was my regimental adjutant.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please tell me, was he already assigned to that unit before your arrival at Katyn?

AHRENS: Yes, he was there before I came.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: He was your adjutant, was he not?


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AHRENS: Yes, he was my adjutant.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Lieutenant Hodt? Hodt or Hoth?

AHRENS: Lieutenant Hodt is right; but what question are you putting about Lieutenant Hodt?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I am only questioning you about whether he belonged to your unit or not.

AHRENS: Lieutenant Hodt was a member of the regiment. Whether . . .

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, that is what I was asking. He belonged to the regiment which you commanded, to your army unit?

AHRENS: I did not say by that that he was a member of the regimental staff,, but that he belonged to the regiment. The regiment consisted of three units.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But he lived in the same villa, did he not?

AHRENS: That I do not know. When I arrived he was not there. I ordered him to report to me there for the first time.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I will enumerate a few other names. Corporal Rose, Private Giesecken, Oberfeldwebel Krimmenski, Feldwebel Lummert, a cook named Gustav. Were these members of the Armed Forces who were billeted in the villa?

AHRENS: May I ask you to mention the names individually once again, and I will answer you individually.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Feldwebel Lummert?




MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, Storekeeper Giesecke.

AHRENS: That man's name was Giesecken.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, that is right. I did not pronounce this name quite correctly. These were all your people or at least they belonged to your unit, did they not?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And you assert that you did not know what these people were doing in September and October 1941?

AHRENS: As I was not there, I cannot tell you for certain.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

[A recess was taken.]


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MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: May I continue? Mr. President, since the witness has stated that he cannot give any testimony concerning the period of September to October 1941, I will limit myself to very short questions.

[Turning to the witness.] Witness, would you please point out the location of the villa and the forest with respect to the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway? Did the estate cover a large area?

AHRENS: My sketch is on a scale of 1 to 100,000 and is drawn from memory. I estimate, therefore, that the graves were situated 200 to 300 meters directly west of the road to our Dnieper Castle, and 200 to 300 meters south of the Smolensk-Vitebsk road so that the Dnieper Castle lay a further 600 meters away.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat that?

AHRENS: South of the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway, approximately 15 kilometers west of Smolensk. According to the scale 1 to 100,000, as far as one is able to draw such a sketch accurately from memory, the site of these graves was 200 to 300 meters to the south, and a further 600 meters to the south, directly on the northern bend of the Dnieper, was situated our regimental staff quarters, the Dnieper Castle.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, the villa was approximately 600 meters away from the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway?

AHRENS: No, that is not correct. What I said...

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please give a more or less exact figure. What was the distance between the highway and the villa, please?

AHRENS: I just mentioned it in my testimony, that is to say, the graves were about 200 to 300 meters away, and there were a further 600 meters to the castle, therefore, in all about 900 to 1,000 meters. It might have been 800 meters, but that is the approximate distance as can also be seen by this sketch.

THE PRESIDENT: I am not following this. Your question, Colonel Smirnov, was: How far was it from the road to what you called the country house? Was it not?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, Mr. President, I asked how far was the villa from the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway.

THE PRESIDENT: What do you mean by the "Villa"?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: The headquarters of the unit commanded by the witness in 1941 was quartered in a villa, and this villa was situated not far from the Dnieper River, at a distance of about 900 meters from the highroad. The graves were nearer to the


1 July 46

highway. I would like to know how far away were the headquarters from the highway, and how far away from the highway were the graves in Katyn forest.

THE PRESIDENT: What you want to know is: Mow far was the house in which the headquarters was situated from the highway? Is that right?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, that is exactly what I wanted to know, Mr. President.

AHRENS: You put two questions to me: first of all, how far were the graves from the highway; and secondly, how far was the house from the highway. I will repeat the answer once more, the house was 800 to 1,000 meters south of the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: One minute, please. I asked you primarily only about the house. Your answer concerning the graves was given on your own initiative. Now I will ask you about the graves, how far were these mass graves from the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway?

AHRENS: From 200 to 300 meters. It might also have been 350 meters.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, the graves were 200 or 300 meters from the main road which connected two important centers? Is that right?

AHRENS: Yes, indeed. They were at a distance of 200 to 300 meters south of this, and I may say that at my time this was the most frequented road I ever saw in Russia.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That was just what I was asking you. Now, please tell me: Was the Katyn wood a real forest, or was it, rather, a park or a grove?

AHRENS: Up to now I have only spoken about the wood of Katyn. This wood of Katyn is the fenced-in wooded area of about 1 square kilometer; which I drew in my sketch. This wood is of mixed growth, of older and younger trees. There were many birch trees in this little wood. However, there were clearings in this wood, and I should say that from 30 to 40 percent was cleared. One could see this from the stumps of newly felled trees.

Under no circumstances could you describe this wood as a park; at any rate one could not come to such a conclusion. Fighting had' taken place in this wood, as one could still see trenches and fox holes.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, but anyway, you would not call Katyn wood a real forest since it was relatively a small grove in the immediate vicinity of the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway. Is that right?


1 July 46

AHRENS: No, that is not right. It was a forest. The entire Katyn forest was a regular forest which began near our grove and extended far beyond that. Of this Katyn forest, which was a mixed forest, part of it had been fenced in, and this part, extending over 1 square kilometer, was what we called the little Katyn wood, but it did belong to this entire wooded region south of the highway. The forest began with our little wood and extended to the west.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I am not interested in the general characteristics of the wood. I would like you to answer the following short question: Were the mass graves located in this grove?

AHRENS: The mass graves were situated directly west of our entrance drive in a clearing in the wood, where there was a growth of young trees.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, but this clearing, this growth of young trees, was located inside this small grove, near the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway, is that correct?

AHRENS: It was 200 to 300 meters south of the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway, and directly west of the entrance drive leading from this road to the Dnieper Castle. I have marked this spot on my sketch with a fairly large white dot.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: One more question. As far as you know did the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway exist before the German occupation of Smolensk, or was it constructed only after the occupation?

AHRENS: When I arrived in Russia at the end of November 1941, everything was covered with snow. Later I got the impression that this was an old road, whereas the road Minsk-Moscow was newer. That was my impression.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I understand. Now tell me, under what circumstances, or rather, when did you first discover the cross in the grove?

AHRENS: I cannot tell the exact date. My soldiers told me about it, and on one occasion when I was going past there, about the beginning of January 1942-it could also have been at the end of December 1941-I saw. this cross rising above the snow.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: This means you saw it already in 1941 or at the latest the beginning of 1942?

AHRENS: That is what I have just testified.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, certainly. Now, please be more specific concerning the date when a wolf brought you to this cross Was it in winter or summer and what year?

AHRENS: It was the beginning of 1943.


1 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: In 1943? And around the cross you saw bones, did you not?



AHRENS: No, at first I did not see them. In order to find out whether I had not been mistaken about seeing a wolf, for it seemed rather impossible that a wolf should be so near to Smolensk, I examined the tracks together with a gamekeeper and found traces of scratching on the ground. However, the ground was frozen hard, there was snow on the ground and I did not see anything further there. Only later on, after it had been thawing my men found various bones. However, this was months later and then, at a suitable opportunity I showed these bones to a doctor and he said that these were human bones. Thereupon I said, "Then most likely it is a grave, left as a result of the fighting which has taken place here," and that the war graves registration officer would have to take care of the graves in the same way in which we were taking care of other graves of fallen soldiers. That was the reason why I spoke to this gentleman-but only after the snow had melted.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: By the way, did you personally see the Katyn graves?

AHRENS: Open or before they were opened?


AHRENS: When they were open I had constantly to drive past these graves, as generally they were approximately 30 meters away from the entrance drive. Therefore, I could hardly go past without taking any notice of them.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I am interested in the following: Do you remember what the depth of the layer of earth was, which covered the mass of human bodies in these graves?

AHRENS: That I do not know. I have already said that I was so nauseated by the stench which we had to put up with for several weeks, that when I drove past I closed the windows of my car and rushed through as fast as I could.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: However, even if you only casually glanced at those graves, perhaps you noticed whether the layer of earth covering the corpses was deep or shallow? Was it several centimeters or several meters deep? Maybe Professor Butz told you something about it?

AHRENS: As commander of a signal regiment I was concerned with a region which was almost half as large as Greater Germany and I was on the road a great deal. My work was not entirely carried out at the regimental battle headquarters. Therefore, in


1 July 46

general, from Monday or Tuesday until Saturday I was with my units. For that reason, when I drove through, I did cast an occasional glance at these graves; but I was not especially interested in the details and I did not speak to Professor Butzabout such details. For this reason I have only a faint recollection of this matter.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: According to the material submitted to the High Tribunal by the Soviet Prosecution, it has been established that the bodies were buried at a depth of l 1/2 to 2 meters. I wonder where you met a wolf who could scratch the ground up to a depth of 2 meters.

AHRENS: I did not meet this wolf, but I saw it.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Tell me please, why you started the exhumation on these mass graves in March 1943 only, after having discovered the cross and learned about the mass graves already in 1941?

AHRENS: That was not my concern, but a matter for the army group. I have already told you that in the course of 1942 the stories became more substantial. I frequently heard about them and spoke about it to Colonel Von Gersdorff, Chief of Intelligence, Army Group Center, who intimated to me that he knew all about this matter and with that my obligation ended. I had reported what I had seen and heard. Apart from that, all this matter did not concern me and I did not concern myself with it. I had enough worries of my own.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And now the last question. Please tell me who were these two persons with whom you had this conversation, and maybe you can recollect the names of the couple who told you about the shootings in the Katyn woods?

AHRENS: This couple lived in a small house about 800 to 1,000 meters north of the entrance to our drive leading to the Vitebsk road. I do not recall their names.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: So you do not remember the names of this couple?

AHRENS: No, I do not recall the names.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: So you heard about the Katyn events from a couple whose names you do not remember, and you did not hear anything about it from other local inhabitants?

AHRENS: Please repeat the question for me.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, you heard about these Katyn events only from this couple, whose names you do not remember? From none of the other local inhabitants did you hear anything about the events in Katyn?


1 July 46

AHRENS: I personally heard the facts only from this couple, whereas my soldiers told me the stories current among the other inhabitants.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know that during the investigation of the Katyn affair, or rather of the Katyn provocation, posters were placarded by the German Police in the streets of Smolensk, promising a reward to anyone giving any information in connection with the Katyn event? It was signed by Lieutenant Voss.

AHRENS: I personally did not see that poster. Lieutenant Voss is known to me by name only.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And the very last question. Do you know of the report of the Extraordinary State Commission concerning Katyn?

AHRENS: Do you mean the Russian White Paper when you mention this report?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, I mean the report of the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, concerning Katyn, the Soviet report.

- AHRENS: Yes, I read that report.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Therefore, you are acquainted with the fact that the Extraordinary State Commission names you as being one of the persons responsible for the crimes committed in Katyn?

AHRENS: It mentions a Lieutenant Colonel Ames.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to re-examine?

DR. STAHMER: Witness, just a little while ago you said that you did not know when First Lieutenant Hodt joined your staff. Do you know when he joined the regiment?

AHRENS: I know that he belonged to the regiment during the Russian campaign and actually right from the beginning.

DR. STAHMER: That is, he belonged to the regiment from the beginning?

AHRENS: Yes. He belonged to this regiment ever since the beginning of the Russian campaign.

DR. STAHMER: Just one more question dealing with your discussion with Professor Butz. Did Professor Butz mention anything about the last dates on the letters which he found?

AHRENS: Me told me about the spring of 1940. He also showed me this diary and I looked at it and I also saw the dates, but I do


1 July 46

not recall in detail just which date or dates they were. But they ended with the spring of 1940.

DR. STAHMER: Therefore no documents were found of a later date?

AHRENS: Professor Butz told me that no documents or notes were found which might have given indications of a later date, and he expressed his conviction that these shootings must have taken place in the spring of 1940.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): Witness, can you not remember exactly when Professor Butz discussed with you the date at which the corpses were buried in the mass graves?

AHRENS: May I ask to have the question repeated?

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): When did Professor Butz speak to you about the mass graves and assert that the burial of the corpses must have taken place in the spring of 1940?

AHRENS: I cannot tell you the date exactly, but it was in the spring of 1943, before these exhumations had started-I beg your pardon-he told me that he had been instructed to undertake the exhumation and during the exhumations he was with me from time to time; therefore it may have been in May or the end of April. In the middle of May he gave me details of his exhumations and told me among other things that which I have testified here. I cannot now tell you exactly on which days Professor Butz visited me.

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): So far as I can remember, you stated that Professor Butz arrived in Katyn. When did he actually arrive there?

AHRENS: In the spring of 1940 Professor Butz came to me and told me that on instructions of the army group, he was to undertake exhumations in my woods. The exhumations were started, and in the course of...

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): You say 1940? Or perhaps the translation is wrong?

AHRENS: 1943, in the spring of 1943. A few weeks after the beginning of the exhumations, Professor Butz visited me, when I happened to be there, and informed me; or, rather, he discussed this matter with me, and he told me that to which I have testified here. It may have been the middle of May 1943.

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): According to your testimony, I understood you to say in answer to a question put by the defense counsel, that Professor Butz asserted that the shootings


1 July 46

had taken place in the spring of 1940 before the arrival of the commission for the exhumations. Is that correct?

AHRENS: May I repeat once more that Professor Butz...

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): It is not necessary to repeat what you have already said. I am only asking you, is it correct or not? Maybe the translation was incorrect, or maybe your testimony was incorrect at the beginning.

AHRENS: I did not understand the question just put to me. That is the reason why I wanted to explain this once more. I do not know just what is meant by this last question. May I ask this question be repeated?

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): At the beginning, when you were interrogated by the defense counsel, I understood you to say that Professor Butz told you that the shooting had taken place in the spring of 1940, that is before the arrival of the commission for the exhumations.

AHRENS: No, that has not been understood correctly. I testified that Professor Butz came to me and told me that he was to make exhumations since it concerned my woods. These exhumations then took place, and approximately 6 to 8 weeks later Professor Butz came to me-of course, he visited me on other occasions as well-but approximately 6 to 8 weeks later he came to me and told me that he was convinced that, as a result of his discoveries, he was now able to fix the date of the shootings. This statement which he made to me, refers approximately to the middle of May.

THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): Were you present when the diary and the other documents which were shown to you by Professor Butz were found?


THE TRIBUNAL (Gen. Nikitchenko): You do not know where he found the diary and other documents?

AHRENS: No, that I do not know.

THE PRESIDENT: When did you first report to superior authority the fact that you suspected that there was a grave there?

AHRENS: At first, I was not suspicious. I have already mentioned that fighting had taken place there; and at first I did not attach any importance to the stories told to me and did not give this matter any credence. I believed that it was a question of soldiers who had been killed there of war graves, like several in the vicinity.


1 July 46

THE PRESIDENT: You are not answering my question. I am asking you, when did you first report to superior authority that there was a grave there?

AHRENS: In the course of the summer 1942 I spoke to Colonel Von Gersdorff about these stories which had come to my knowledge. Gersdorff told me that he had heard that too, and that ended my conversation with Von Gersdorff. He did not believe it to be true; in any case he was not thoroughly convinced. That I do not know, however.

Then in the spring of 1943, when the snow had melted, the bones which had been found there were brought to me, and I then telephoned to the officer in charge of war graves and told him that apparently there were some soldiers' graves here. That was before Professor Butz had visited me.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you make any report in writing?

AHRENS: No, I did not do that.


AHRENS: No, I was not in any way concerned with this matter.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. STAHMER: Then, as another witness, I should like to call Lieutenant Reinhard von Eichborn.


[The witness Von Eichborn took the stand.]

Will you state your full name please.

REINHARD VON EICHBORN (witness): Reinhard von Eichborn. THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I win speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, what is your occupation?

VON EICHBORN: Assistant judge.

DR. STAHMER: Were you called up for service in the German Armed Forces during this war?

VON EICHBORN: Yes, in August 1939.

DR. STAHMER: And what was your unit?

VON EICHBORN: Army Group Signal Regiment 537.

DR. STAHMER: And what was your rank?


1 July 46

VON EICHBORN: At the outbreak of the war, platoon leader and lieutenant.

DR. STAHMER: And at the end?

VON EICHBORN: First lieutenant.

DR. STAHMER: Were you on the Eastern Front during the war?

VON EICHBORN: Yes, from the beginning.

DR. STAHMER: With your regiment?

VON EICHBORN: No, from 1940 onward, on the staff of Army Group Center.

DR. STAHMER: Apart from this Regiment 537, was there an Engineer Battalion 537?

VON EICHBORN: In the sphere of the Army Group Center there was no Engineer Battalion 537.

DR. STAHMER: When did you arrive with your unit in the vicinity of Katyn?

VON EICHBORN: About 20 September the staff of Army Group Center transferred its headquarters to Smolensk, that is to say in the Smolensk region.

DR. STAHMER: Where had you been stationed before?

VON EICHBORN: How am I to understand this question?

DR. STAHMER: Where did you come from?

VON EICHBORN: We came from Borisov.

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. The witness said 20 September. That does not identify the year.

DR. STAHMER: In what year was this 20 September?

VON EICHBORN: 20 September 1941.

DR. STAHMER: Was Regiment 537 already there at that time?

VON EICHBORN: The staff of Regiment 537 was transferred at about the same time together with the staff of the army group to the place where the headquarters of the army group was. Advance units had already been stationed there previously, in order to set up communication facilities.

DR. STAHMER: And where was this staff accommodated?

VON EICHBORN: The staff of Army Group Signal Regiment 537 was accommodated in the so-called Dnieper Castle.

DR. STAHMER: Where was the advance unit?

VON EICHBORN: The advance unit may have occupied this building, too-or at least a part of this advance unit did-to safeguard this building for the regimental staff.


l July 46

DR. STAHMER: Do you know who was in command of this advance unit?

VON EICHBORN: Lieutenant Hodt was in command of this advance unit.

DR. STAHMER: When did this advance unit come to Katyn?

VON EICHBORN: Smolensk fell on about 17 July 1941. The army group had planned to put up its headquarters in the immediate vicinity of Smolensk, and, after this group had selected its quarters, this region was seized immediately after the fall of the city. The advance unit arrived at the same time as this area was seized, and that was probably in the second half of July of 1941.

DR. STAHMER: Therefore the advance unit was there from July of 1941 until 20 September 1941?


DR. STAHMER: And the entire staff was there from 20 September 1941?

VON EICHBORN: Yes. It may be that part of the staff arrived somewhat later, but the majority of the staff arrived on 20 September.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you speaking of the staff of the army group or the staff of the signal regiment?

VON EICHBORN: I am speaking of both staffs, because the moving of large staffs such as that of an army group could not be undertaken in 1 day; usually 2 to 3 days were needed for that. The operations of the signal corps had to be assured, and therefore the regiment had to leave some of the staff behind until the entire staff had been moved.

DR. STAHMER: Where was the advance unit accommodated?

VON EICHBORN: At least part of the advance unit was accommodated in the Dnieper Castle. Some of the others were in the neighborhood of those places where later on the companies were billeted. The reason for that was to keep the billets ready for this regiment until the bulk of it had been moved.

DR. STAHMER: How about the Regimental Staff 537?

VON EICHBORN: That was in the Dnieper Castle.

DR. STAHMER: Can you give us the names of the officers who belonged to the regimental staff?

VON EICHBORN: At that time there was Lieutenant Colonel Bedenck, the commanding officer; Lieutenant Rex, adjutant; Lieutenant Hodt, orderly officer; and a Captain Schafer, who was a


1 July 96

telephone expert. It may be that one or two others were there as well, but I can no longer remember their names.

DR. STAHMER: The preceding witness has already told us about the tasks of the regimental staff. How were the activities of the regimental staff controlled?

VON EICHBORN: The regiment, which consisted of 10 to 12 companies, had to give an exact report each evening as to what work had been allotted to the various companies. This was necessary as we had to know what forces were available in case of emergency, for undertaking any new tasks.

DR. STAHMER: How far away from the Dnieper Castle were you billeted?

VON EICHBORN: Approximately 4 to 5 kilometers. I cannot give you the exact distance as I always made it by car, but it would be about 4 to 5 kilometers.

DR. STAHMER: Did you frequently go to Dnieper Castle?

VON EICHBORN: Very frequently when I was off duty, as I had belonged to this regiment and knew most of the officers, with whom I was on friendly terms.

DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us about the kind and extent of the traffic to the Dnieper Castle?

VON EICHBORN: In order to judge this you have to differentiate between persons and things. So far as people were concerned, the traffic was very lively because the regiment had to be very centrally organized in order to be equal to its tasks. Therefore, many couriers came and commanders of the various companies frequently came to visit the regimental staff.

On the other hand there was a heavy traffic of trucks and passenger cars, because the regiment tried to improve its billets there; and since we remained there for some time all sorts of building alterations were carried out in the house.

DR. STAHMER: Did you hear anything about there being three Russian camps with captured Polish officers, 25 to 45 kilometers west of Smolensk, which had allegedly fallen into German hands?

VON EICHBORN I never heard anything about any kind of Polish officers' camps or Polish prisoner-of-war camps.

DR. STAHMER: Did your army group receive reports about the capture of such Polish officers?

VON EICHBORN: No. I would have noticed that, since the number of' prisoners, and especially the number of officers, was always submitted to me in the evening reports of the armies which


1 July 46

took these prisoners. It was our responsibility to receive these signal reports and we therefore saw them every evening.

DR. STAHMER: You did not receive a report to that effect?

VON EICHBORN: I neither saw such a report from an army, which would have issued it, nor did I ever receive a report from an army group which would have had to transmit this report in their evening bulletin to the High Command of the Army (OKH).

DR. STAHMER: Could a report like that have been handed in from another source or been sent to another office?

VON EICHBORN The official channel in the Army was very stringent, and the staffs saw to it that official channels were strictly adhered to. In any case the armies were always required to make the detailed reports, following the lines stipulated in the form sheets and this applied especially to the figures concerning prisoners. Therefore, it is quite out of the question that if such a number of officers had fallen into the hands of an army, it would not have reported the matter through the appropriate channel.

DR. STAHMER: You said, just a little while ago, that you were in particularly close relationship with the officers of this regiment. Did you ever hear that Polish prisoners of war, officers, were shot at some time or other in the Katyn forest at the instigation of Regiment 537 under Colonel Bedenck or under Colonel Ahrens?

VON EICHBORN: I knew nearly all the officers of the regiment, as I myself had been over a year with the regiment, and I was on such familiar terms with most of the officers that they told me everything that took place, even anything of an unofficial nature. Therefore, it is quite out of the question that such an important matter should not have come to my knowledge. From the nature of the whole character moulding in the regiment, it is quite impossible that there should not have been at least one who would have come to tell me about it immediately.

DR. STAHMER: Were all the operational orders for Regiment 537 officially known to you?

VON EICHBORN: The operational orders for this army group signal regiment were twofold: The orders which concerned only the wireless company and those which applied to the nine telephone companies. Since I was a telephone expert, it was quite natural for me to draft these orders and submit them to my superior, General Oberhauser. Therefore, each order which was issued had either been drafted by me or I had seen it beforehand. '

DR. STAHMER: Was there ever at any time an order given out by your office to shoot Polish prisoners of war?


1 July 46

VON EICHBORN: Such an order was neither given to the regiment by our office nor by any other office. Neither did we receive a report to this effect, nor did we hear about things like that through any other channel.

DR. STAHMER: If an order like that came through official channels, it could come only through you?

VON EICHBORN: This order would have necessitated a great many members of the regiment being taken away from their own duties, which were to safeguard the system of communications. As we were very short of signallers, we had to know what almost every man in the regiment was doing. It would have been quite out of the question for any member of the regiment to have been taken away from such a duty without our knowledge.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuhler, whom are you appearing on behalf of?

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: For Grossadmiral Doenitz, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: There is no charge made against Grossadmiral Doenitz in connection with this offense at all.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, the exhumations and the propaganda connected . with them occurred during the period when Grossadmiral Doenitz was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Prosecution alleges that at that time Grossadmiral Doenitz was a member of the Cabinet and had participated in all acts taken by the Government. Therefore, I must consider him as being implicated in all the problems arising out of the Katyn case.

THE PRESIDENT: That would mean that we should have to hear examination from everybody who was connected with the Government. And the Tribunal has already pointed out, with reference to Admiral Raeder, that his case was not connected with this matter. It is only when a case is directly connected with the matter that counsel for the individual defendants are allowed to crossexamine, in addition to the defendant's counsel who calls the witness. If there is any suggestion that you want to make to the counsel who is calling the witness, you can make it to him, but you are not entitled...

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: But I am asking your permission to put two or three questions to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: If you have any special questions to put, you may suggest them to Dr. Stahmer, and Dr. Stahmer will put


1 July 46

them. Dr. Kranzbuhler, if you want to put any questions, you may put them to Dr. Stahmer, and he will put them to the witness.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, I did not quite understand. Shall I propose to Dr. Stahmer to put the questions or...

THE PRESIDENT: If you cannot do it verbally, you may do it in writing; and you may do it later on. But I really do not think there can be any questions which are so difficult to suggest to Dr. Stahmer as all that.

FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: They can also be put through Dr. Stahmer. I was only thinking that I would save some time by putting the questions myself.

THE PRESIDENT: I told you if you wish to ask any questions, you must ask them through Dr. Stahmer.


THE PRESIDENT: In the meantime, the Tribunal will go on with the cross-examination, and any questions which you wish to put can be put in re-examination.

Does the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Witness, I am interested to know your exact function in the army. Were you in charge of teleprinter communications at the headquarters of Army Group' Center or were you a wireless expert?

VON EICHBORN: No, Mr. Prosecutor, you are wrong. I was the telephone expert of Army Group Center, not the wireless expert. ~

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is exactly what I am asking you. The translation was evidently incorrect. So you were in charge of telephone communications, were you not?

VON EICHBORN: Yes; you are right.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Ordinary telegrams, or ciphered telegrams?

VON EICHBORN: The task of a telephone expert connected with an army group consisted in keeping the telephone lines intact . . .

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, I am not interested in the tasks in a general way. I would like to know whether these were secret ciphered telegrams or the ordinary army mail, army communications which were not secret.

VON EICHBORN: There were two kinds of telegrams, open and secret.


1 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were secret telegrams transmitted by you, too?

VON EICHBORN: Both came through me.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, all communications between the Wehrmacht, between Army units and the highest police authorities also passed through you; is that correct?

VON EICHBORN: The most important telegrams, and especially the secret ones were submitted to the telephone expert.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes. Consequently, the correspondence between the police authorities and the Armed Forces units passed through you; is that correct? I am asking you this question for a second time.

VON EICHBORN: I must answer with the reservation that the messages did not pass through the telephone expert, but only the most important secret teletype matters were submitted to him- not the whole correspondence, because that went also through the mail as well as by courier service.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is clear. Do you know in this case that in September and October 1941 there were special detachments in Smolensk whose duty, in close co-operation with the Army, was to carry out the so-called purge of the prisoner-of-war camps and the extermination of prisoners of war?

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I must decisively object to this questioning of the witness. This questioning can have only the purpose of determining the relations between the General Staff and the OKW and any commands of the Security Service. Therefore, they are accusing the General Staff and the OKW; and if I, Mr. President, as defense counsel for the General Staff and the OKW am not permitted to put questions, then on the basis of equal treatment, the same rules must apply to the Prosecution as well.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: May I, Mr. President, make a short statement?

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, the question is competent.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I beg your pardon.

THE PRESIDENT: I said the question was competent. You may ask the question.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would like to ask you the following question, Witness. Since all secret teletypes passed through you, did you ever encounter among. these telegrams any from the so-called 1st Einsatzgruppe "B"-that was the so-called first command-or from the Special Command "Moscow" which at


1 July 46

that time was located at Smolensk and kept in reserve in anticipation of better times? The latter had the order to perpetrate mass murders in Moscow. Both commands were located at Smolensk at that time.

VON EICHBORN: No such reports came into my hands. I can fully explain this to you, Mr. Prosecutor. When any detachments of this sort had been established in the area of Army Group Center, these detachments had their own wireless stations. It was only later on in the course of the Russian campaign that these posts had teletype facilities as well; then they used the army group network. However, that only happened later.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, the telegrams of those special units which, by order of high police authorities, were assigned to carry out special actions in co-operation with military units, did not pass through your hands in September and October of 1941?

VON EICHBORN: That is correct. At that time, there were no teletype facilities and offices for such special units, even if they were in that area at all.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, this document was already presented to the Court together with the Extraordinary State Commission Report, Document Number USSR-3. If the High Tribunal will permit it, I should like to present to the Tribunal and to the Defense photostatic copies of one of the documents which was attached to the report of the Extraordinary State Commission. If the Tribunal will look at Page 2 of this document, it will see that the Special Command "Moscow" and the Einsatzgruppe "B" were both located in Smolensk. It says on the first page that these detachments together with units of the Armed Forces, were assigned to carry out mass killings in the camps. If the Tribunal will permit me, I shall submit this document now...

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, that is a matter of argument. We shall take judicial notice of it, of course, of everything which is in the Soviet Government's publication. And I understand you to say that this document is a part of the Soviet Government communication or Soviet Government report.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President; but I would like to ask permission to present an original German document, a secret document, which states that in the Smolensk area there were two large special commands whose duties were to carry out mass murders in the camps, and that these actions had to be carried out together with the Armed Forces units which had to co-operate with them.


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THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, is this document which you have just handed up to us a part of the report USSR-3?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President, it is a part of the report, Document USSR-3, called "Special Directives of the Hitler Government Concerning the Annihilation of Prisoners of War." I would like to ask the Tribunal to allow me to present one of the original documents even if the report, USSR-3, has been already submitted in full.

It says there that these special units were located in Smolensk and were assigned together with the Armed Forces units to carry out mass killings in the camps.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Colonel Smirnov. This' document is already in evidence, if the Tribunal understands correctly.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Thank you, Mr. President.

[Turning to the witness.] Consequently, we may consider it as an established fact that the correspondence, the telegraphic messages of these special detachments did not pass through your hands; is that correct?

THE PRESIDENT: He has said that twice already.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Excuse me, Mr. President.

[Turning to the witness.] Why did you assert with such certainty that there were no reports about the killing of the Poles? You know that the killing of the Polish prisoners of war was a special action, and any report about this action would have to pass through your hands? Is that correct?

VON EICHBORN: I answered the prosecutor-rather, I answered Dr. Stahmer-that if in the area of Army Group Signal Regiment 537 killings of that sort had taken place, I would undoubtedly have known about them. I did not state what the prosecutor is now trying to ascribe to me.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, the Tribunal think you had better read this passage from this document, which is in the German language, to the Tribunal so that it will go into the record.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: In this document, Mr. President, it is stated...

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Colonel Smirnov.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Thank you, Mr. President.

This document is dated "Berlin, 29 October 1941." It is headed, "The Chief of the Security Police and of the Security Service." It has a classification, "Top Secret; Urgent letter; Operational Order Number-14." Reference is made to decrees of 17 July and 12 Sep{ember 1941. I shall now read a few short sentences, and I shall begin with the first sentence:


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"In the appendix, I am sending directions for the evacuation of Soviet civilian prisoners and prisoners of war out of permanent prisoner-of-war camps and transit camps in the rear of the Army...

"These directives have been worked out in collaboration with the Army High Command. The Army High Command-has notified the commanders of the armies in the rear as well as the local commanders of the prisoner-of-war camps and of the transit camps.

"The task force groups, depending on the size of the camp in their territory, are setting up special commands in sufficient strength under the leadership of an SS leader. The commands are instructed immediately to start work in the camps."

I break off here, and will continue reading the last paragraph: "I emphasize especially that Operational Orders Number 8 and 14 as well as the appendix are to be destroyed immediately in the case of immediate danger."

I shall finish my reading and now I shall only mention the distribution list. On Page 2 I quote the part concerning Smolensk. It says here that in Smolensk the Einsatzgruppe "B" was located, consisting of Special Commands 7a, 7b, 8, and 9; and in addition to this, there was already located in Smolensk a special command, which had been rather prematurely named "Moscow" by its organizers.

These are the contents of the document, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal directs that the whole document shall be translated. We will now recess until 5 minutes past 2 o'clock.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1405 hours.]


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Afternoon Session

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I have no more questions to put to this witness.


DR. STAHMER: Witness, do you know who owned that little castle near the Dnieper before the occupation by German troops? Who owned it, who lived there?

VON EICHBORN: I cannot say that for certain. We noticed that the little castle was astonishingly well furnished. It was very well laid out. It had two bathrooms, a rifle range, and a cinema. We drew certain conclusions therefrom, when the facts became known, but I do not know anything about the previous owner.

DR. STAHMER: The Russian Prosecutor submitted to you a document dated 29 October 1941, "Directives to the Chief of the Sipo for the Detachments in the Stalags." With reference to that document, I want to ask you whether you had an opportunity personally to ascertain the attitude of Field Marshal Kluge, your commander of Army Group Center, regarding the shooting of prisoners of war?

VON EICHBORN: By chance I became the ear-witness of a conversation between the Commanders Bock and Kluge. That conversation took place about 3 or 4 weeks before the beginning of the Russian campaign. I cannot tell you the exact time. At the time Field Marshal Von Bock was the commander of Army Group Center, and Field Marshal Von Kluge was commander of the 4th Army. The army group was in Posen and the 4th Army at Warsaw. One day I was called by the aide-de-camp of Field Marshal Von Bock, who was Lieutenant Colonel Count Hardenberg. He gave me the order...

THE PRESIDENT: These details are entirely irrelevant, aren't they. All you want to ask him is: What was the attitude of Von Kluge? That is all.

DR. STAHMER: The answer did not come through. I did not understand what you said, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: What I said was that all these details about the particular place where Von Kluge met some other army group commander are utterly irrelevant. All you are trying to ask him is: What was Von Kluge's attitude toward the murder of war prisoners? Isn't that all?


[Turning to the witness.] Will you answer the question briefly, Witness. Please just tell us what Von Kluge said.

VON EICHBORN: Von Kluge told Von Bock, during a telephone conversation, that the order for the shooting of certain prisoners of


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war was an impossibility and could not be carried out, with regard to the discipline of the troops. Von Bock shared this point of view and both these gentlemen talked for half an hour about the measures which they wanted to adopt against this order.

DR. STAHMER: According to the allegations of the Prosecution, the shooting of these 11,000 Polish officers is supposed to have been carried out sometime in September 1941. The question now is: Do you consider it possible, in view of local conditions, that such mass shootings and burials could have been carried out next door to the regimental headquarters without you yourself having heard about it?

VON EICHBORN: We were very busy in preparation for the move of the army group to Smolensk. We had assigned a great number of signal troops for setting up perfect installations. On the entire site there was a constant going and coming of troops laying cables and telephone lines. It is out of the question that anything of this kind could have occurred in that particular area without the regiment and I getting knowledge of it.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions to put to the witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, before calling my third witness, Lieutenant General Oberhauser, may I ask your permission to make the following remarks?

The Prosecution has up to now only alleged that Regiment Hum: her 537 was the one which had carried out these shootings and that under Colonel Ahrens' command. Today again, Colonel Ahrens has been named by the Prosecution as being the perpetrator. Apparently this allegation has been dropped and it has been said that if it was not Ahrens then it must have been his predecessor, Colonel Bedenck; and if Colonel Bedenck did not do it, then apparently-and this seems to be the third version-it was done by the SD. The Defense had taken the position solely that Colonel Ahrens was accused as the perpetrator and it has refuted that allegation. Considering the changed situation and the attitude adopted by the Prosecution, I shall have to name a fourth witness in addition. That is First Lieutenant Eodt, who has been mentioned today as the perpetrator and who was with the regimental staff right from the beginning and who was, as we have told, the senior of the advance party which arrived at the Dnieper Castle in July. I got the address of First Lieutenant Hodt by chance yesterday. He is at Glucksburg near Flensburg; and I, therefore, ask to be allowed to name as a witness First Lieutenant Hodt, who will give evidence that during the time between July and September such shootings did not occur.


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THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal will consider your application, when they adjourn at half past 3, with reference to this extra witness.

DR. STAHMER: Yes, Sir. Then I shall now call Lieutenant General Oberhauser as witness.

[The witness Oberhauser took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?

EUGEN OBERHAUSER (Witness): Eugen Oberhauser.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

DR. STAHMER: General, what position did you hold during the war?

OBERHAUSER: I was the signal commander in an army group, first of all during the Polish campaign, in Army Group North; then, in the Western campaign Army Group B; and then in Russia, Army Group Center.

DR. STAHMER: When did you and your staff reach the neighborhood of Katyn?

OBERHAUSER: Sometime during September 1941.

DR. STAHMER: Where was your staff located?

OBERHAUSER: My staff was located in the immediate vicinity of the commander of the army group; that is to say, about 12 kilometers west of Smolensk, near-the railroad station of Krasnibor.

DR. STAHMER: Was Regiment Number 537 under your command?

OBERHAUSER: Regiment 537 was directly under my command.

DR. STAHMER: What task did that regiment have?

OBERHAUSER: That regiment had the task of establishing both telegraph and wireless communications between-the command of the army group and the various armies and other units which were directly under its command.

DR. STAHMER: Was the staff of the regiment stationed near you?

OBERHAUSER: The staff of that regiment was located about 3, perhaps 4 kilometers west from my own position.

DR. STAHMER: Can you give us more detailed information regarding the exact location of the staff headquarters of Number 537?


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OBERHAUSER: The staff headquarters of 537 was in a very nice Russian timber house. Commissars were supposed to have been living there before. It was on the steep' bank of the Dnieper River. It was somewhat off the road, perhaps 400 to 500 meters away. It was, from my place, 4 kilometers west of the main highway Smolensk to Vitebsk.

DR. STAHMER: Who was the commanding officer of the regiment after the capture of Smolensk?

OBERHAUSER: After the capture of Smolensk, Colonel Bedenck was the commander of the regiment.

DR. STAHMER: For how long?

OBERHAUSER: Until about November 1941.

DR. STAHMER: Who was his successor?

OBERHAUSER: His successor was Colonel Ahrens.

DR. STAHMER: How long?

OBERHAUSER: Approximately until September-it may have been August - 1943.

DR. STAHMER: Were you near Katyn as long as that, too?

OBERHAUSER: I was there until the command of the army group transferred its headquarters farther west.

DR. STAHMER: What were your relations with the commanders of this regiment?

OBERHAUSER: My relations with the regimental commanders were most hearty, both officially and privately, which is due to the fact that I had been the first commander of that regiment. I myself had formed the regiment and I was most attached to it.

DR. STAHMER: Did you personally visit the little Dnieper Castle frequently? '

OBERHAUSER: I went to the Dnieper Castle frequently; I can well say in normal times once or twice a week.

DR. STAHMER: Did the commanders visit you in the meantime?

OBERHAUSER: The commanders came to see me more frequently than I went to see them

DR. STAHMER: Did you know anything about the fact that near Smolensk, about 25 to 45 kilometers to the west, there were three Russian camps which contained Polish prisoners of war...

OBERHAUSER: I knew nothing of that.

DR. STAHMER: . . . who had fallen into the hands of the Germans?

OBERHAUSER: I never heard anything about it.


1 July 46

DR. STAHMER: Was there an order, which is supposed to have come from Berlin, that Polish officers who were prisoners of war were to be shot?

OBERHAUSER: No, such an order was never issued.

DR. STAHMER: Did you yourself ever give such an order?

OBERHAUSER: I have never given such an order.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether Colonel Bedenck or Colonel Ahrens ever caused such shootings to be carried out?

OBERHAUSER: I am not informed, but I consider it absolutely impossible.


OBERHAUSER: First, because such a decisive order would necessarily have gone through me, for I was the direct superior of the regiment; and second, because if such an order had been given, for a reason which I could not understand, and transmitted to the regiment through some obscure channel, then the commanders would most certainly have rung me up or they would have come to see me and said, "General, they are asking something here which we cannot understands'

DR. STAHMER: Do you know First Lieutenant Hodt?

OBERHAUSER: Yes, I know him.

DR. STAHMER: What position did he have in Regiment 537?

OBERHAUSER: Hodt held various posts in the regiment. Usually, he was sent ahead because he was a particularly qualified officer-especially in regard to technical qualifications-in order to make preparations when headquarters was being changed. He was therefore used as advance party of the so-called technical company in order to establish the new command posts; and then he was the regimental expert for the telephone system, dealing with all matters relating to the telephone and teletype system with the command headquarters of the army group. In my staff he was occasionally detailed to fill the positions of any of my officers when they were on leave.

DR. STAHMER: Was he also in charge of the advance party during the advance on Katyn?

OBERHAUSER: That I cannot say. I can only say that I personally heard from my staff signal commander that he had sent an officer ahead, after it had been ascertained how the headquarters were to be laid out, that this officer was acting on my behalf, as at the time I still remained in the old quarters, and he was preparing things in the way I wanted them from the point of view of the signal commander. I do not know who was in charge of that


1 July 46

advance party at the time, but it is quite possible that it was First Lieutenant Hodt.

DR. STAHMER: Were you in Katyn or the vicinity during the period after the capture of Smolensk, which was, I believe, on or about 20 July 1941, and up to the transfer of your staff to Katyn on 20 September?

OBERHAUSER: I was in the vicinity. I was where the headquarters of the army group wanted to settle down; that is, in the woods west of Smolensk, where Katyn is located.

DR. STAHMER: Were you frequently there during that time?

OBERHAUSER: I should say three or four times.

DR. STAHMER: Did you talk to Hodt on those occasions?

OBERHAUSER: If he was the officer in charge of the advance party, which I cannot say today, then I must certainly have talked to him. At any rate, I did talk to the officer whom I had sent ahead and also to the one from my regiment.

DR. STAHMER: Did you hear anything about shootings occurring during that time?

OBERHAUSER: I heard nothing, nor did I hear anything at all except in 1943, when the graves were opened.

DR. STAHMER: Did you or Regiment 537 have the necessary technical means, pistols, ammunition, and so on, at your disposal which would have made it possible to carry out shootings on such a scale?

OBERHAUSER: The regiment, being a signal regiment in the rear area, was not equipped with weapons and ammunition as well as the actual fighting troops. Such a task, however, would have been something unusual for the regiment; first, because a signal regiment has completely different tasks, and secondly it would not have been in a position technically to carry out such mass executions.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know the place where these graves were discovered later on?

OBERHAUSER: I know the site because I drove past it a great deal.

DR. STAHMER: Can you describe it more accurately?

OBERHAUSER: Taking the main road Smolensk-Vitebsk, a path led through wooded undulating ground. There were sandy spaces, which were, however, covered with scrub and heather, and along that narrow path one got to the Dnieper Castle from the main road.

DR. STAHMER: Were the places where these graves were later discovered already overgrown when you got there?


1 July 46

OBERHAUSER: They were overgrown just like the surrounding ground, and there was no difference between them and the rest of the surroundings.

DR. STAHMER: In view of your knowledge of the place, would you consider it possible that 11,000 Poles could have been buried at that spot, people who may have been shot between June and September 1941?

OBERHAUSER: I consider that it is out of the question, for the mere reason that if the commander had known it at the time he would certainly never have chosen this spot for his headquarters, next to 11,000 dead.

DR. STAHMER: Can you tell me how the graves were discovered?

OBERHAUSER: Officially I had nothing to do with that. I only heard that through local inhabitants or somebody else it had become known that large-scale executions had taken place there years ago.

DR. STAHMER: From whom did you hear that?

OBERHAUSER: Quite probably from the commander himself, who, because he was located on the spot, had heard more about it than I had. But I cannot remember exactly now.

DR. STAHMER: So you did not receive official notice about the discovery of the graves, did you?

OBERHAUSER: No, I never did.

DR. STAHMER: After the opening of the graves, did you talk to the German or foreign members of the commission?

OBERHAUSER: I have never talked to any members of that commission.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Witness, you arrived in the region of Katyn in September 1943?

OBERHAUSER: 1941, not 1943. \

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Excuse me, I meant September 1941. Is that correct?

OBERHAUSER: Yes, September 1941.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And you contend that you did not know anything either about the camps for Polish prisoners of war or the prisoners in the hands of the German troops, is that so?

OBERHAUSER: I have never heard anything about Polish prisoners of war being in the hands of German troops.


1 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I understand that this had no relation to your official activity as the commander of a signal regiment. But in spite of this you may perhaps have witnessed that various German troops combed the woods in the vicinity of the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway to capture Polish prisoners of war who had escaped from the camps?

OBERHAUSER: I never heard anything about troops going there in order to, shall we say, recapture escaped Polish prisoners of war. I am hearing this here for the first time.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer me. Have you perhaps seen German military units escorting Polish prisoners of war who were captured in the woods?

OBERHAUSER: I have not seen that.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer the following question: You were on good terms with Colonel Ahrens, were you not?

OBERHAUSER: I have had good relations with all commanders of the regiment.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And in addition to that, you were his immediate superior?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Colonel Ahrens found out about the mass graves at the end of 1941 or at the beginning of 1942. Did he tell you anything about his discovery?

OBERHAUSER: I cannot believe that Colonel Ahrens could have discovered the graves in 1941. I cannot imagine that-I especially cannot imagine that he would tell me nothing about it.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: In any case do you contend that neither in 1942 nor in 1943 did Colonel Ahrens report to you in regard to this affair? I

OBERHAUSER: Colonel Ahrens never told me anything about it, and he would have told me if he had known.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I am interested in the following answer which you gave to a question by defense counsel. You remarked that the signal regiment had not enough weapons to carry out shootings. What do you mean by that? How many, and what kind of weapons did the regiment possess?

OBERHAUSER: The signal regiment were mostly equipped with pistols and with carbines. They had no automatic arms.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Pistols? Of what caliber?

OBERHAUSER: They were Parabellum pistols. The caliber, I think, was 7.65, but I cannot remember for certain.


1 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Parabellum pistols, 7.65, or were there Mauser pistols or any other kind of weapons?

OBERHAUSER: That varied. Noncommissioned officers, as far as I know, had the smaller Mauser pistols. Actuary, only noncommissioned officers were equipped with pistols. The majority of the men had carbines.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would like you to tell us some more about the pistols. You say that they were 7.65 caliber pistols, is that so?

OBERHAUSER: I cannot now, at the moment, give you exact information about the caliber. I only know that the Parabellum pistol was 7.65 or some such caliber. I think the Mauser pistol had a somewhat smaller caliber.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And Walter pistols?

OBERHAUSER: There were also Walters. I think they had the same caliber as the Mauser. It is a smaller, black pistol; and it is better than the somewhat cumbersome Parabellum pistol which is heavier.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, that is quite correct. Please tell me whether in this regiment the noncommissioned officers possessed those small pistols.

OBERHAUSER: As a rule, noncommissioned officers had pistols but not carbines.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I see. Perhaps you can tell us about how many pistols this signal regiment possessed?

OBERHAUSER: Of course I cannot tell you that now. Let us assume that every noncommissioned officer had a pistol...

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And how many noncommissioned officers were there? How many pistols in all were there in your regiment if you consider that every noncommissioned officer had a pistol?

OBERHAUSER: Assuming that every noncommissioned officer in the regiment had a pistol that would amount to 15 per company, a total of 150. However, to give a definite statement about that figure retrospectively now is impossible. I can only give you clues.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Why do you consider that 150 pistols would be insufficient to carry out these mass killings which went on over a period of time? What makes you so positive about that?

OBERHAUSER: Because a signal regiment of an army group deployed over a large area as in the case of Army Group Center is never together as a unit. The regiment was spread out from Kolodov


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as far as Vitebsk, and there were small detachments everywhere, and in the headquarters of the regiment there were comparatively few people; in other words, there were never 150 pistols in one and the same place.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: The main part of the signal regiment was located in the Katyn woods,' was it not?

OBERHAUSER: I did not understand your question.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: The main portions of your regiment were located in the Katyn woods, were they not?

OBERHAUSER: The first company was mainly located between the regimental staff quarters and the actual command post of the army group. That was the company which was handling the communications, the telephone and teleprinted communications for the army group. It was the company, therefore, which was nearest.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: One more question. The officers of your regiment were obviously armed with pistols and not with carbines?

OBERHAUSER: Officers had pistols only, and as a rule they only had small ones. Possibly one or the other may have had a Parabellum pistol.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is to say either a Walter or a Mauser?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did you frequently visit the villa where the headquarters of Regiment 537 was located?

OBERHAUSER: Yes, I was there at least once, sometimes twice, a week.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were you ever interested as to why soldiers from other military units visited the villa in Kozy Gory and why special beds were prepared for them as well as drinks and food?

OBERHAUSER: I cannot imagine that there were any largescale visits of other soldiers or members of other units. I do not know anything about that.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I am not speaking about a great number. I am speaking of 20 or sometimes 25 men.

OBERHAUSER: If the regimental commander summoned his company and detachment) commanders for an officers' meeting, then, of course, there would be a few dozen of such officers who normally would not be seen there.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, I am not talking about officers who belonged to the unit. I would like to ask you another


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somewhat different question. Would the number 537 appear on the shoulder straps of the soldiers belonging to that regiment?

OBERHAUSER: As far as I recollect the number was on the shoulder straps, but at the beginning of the war it could be concealed by a camouflage flap. I cannot remember whether during that particular period these covers were used or not. At any rate at the street entrance to the regimental headquarters there was a black-yellow-black flag, which bore the number 537.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I am speaking of soldiers who came to the villa in Kozy Gory, and who did not have the number 537 on their shoulder straps. Were you ever interested in finding out what those soldiers did there in September and October of 1941? Did the commander of the unit report to you about this?

OBERHAUSER: May I ask what year this was supposed to be, 1941?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, 1941, that is the year which is concerned.

OBERHAUSER: I do not think that at that time there was much coming and going of outsiders at staff headquarters because during that period everything was in course of construction and I cannot imagine that other units, even small groups of 20 or 25 people should have been there. I personally, as I have told you, was there only once or twice weekly, and not before September or October.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Beginning with what date of September did you start visiting there? You said it was in September but not from what date.

OBERHAUSER: I cannot tell you. The commander of the army group moved at the end of September from Borossilov, shortly before the battle of Vyazma, which was on 2 October, into that district.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, you could start visiting this villa for instance only at the end of September or the beginning of October 1941?

OBERHAUSER: It was only then that the little castle was finally occupied, for the regiment did not arrive much earlier than we from the command of the army group.

low PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, is it necessary to go into this detail? Have you any particular purpose in going into so much detail? I'

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I ask this question for the following reasons: Later we shall interrogate witnesses for the Soviet Prosecution on the same point and particularly the


1 July 46

chief of the medico-legal investigation. That is why I would like to ask the permission of the Court to clarify this point concerning the time when the witness visited the villa. That will be my last question to this point.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very well. Do not go into greater detail than you find absolutely necessary.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, at the beginning of September and the first part of October 1941 you were not in the villa of Katyn woods and you could not be there at the time, is that true?

OBERHAUSER: I cannot remember that exactly. The regimental commander had spotted the little castle and set it up for his staff headquarters. When exactly he moved in I cannot know, because I had other jobs to do.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: No, I asked whether you personally could not have been in the viva during the first part of September. Could you not possibly have been there before 20 September?

OBERHAUSER: I do not think so.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to re-examine, Dr. Stahmer?

DR. STAHMER: Unfortunately, Mr. President, I shall have to come back to the question of time because it was not brought out too clearly during these last questions.

When did Regiment 537 move into the castle?

OBERHAUSER: I assume it was during September.

DR. STAHMER: Beginning or end of September?

OBERHAUSER: Probably rather more toward the end of September.

DR. STAHMER: Until then only the advance party was there, or . . .

OBERHAUSER: The advance party of the regiment was there and my officers whom I had sent ahead.

DR. STAHMER: How many noncommissioned officers were with the advance party?

OBERHAUSER: I cannot tell you exactly how many the regiment sent. I personally had sent one officer. Generally the regiment could not have sent very many. As a rule, as is always the case, the regiment was still operating at the old command post in


1 July 46

Borossilov and simultaneously it had to set up the new post. Consequently, during this period of regrouping, on the point of moving a command of an army group, there is always a considerable shortage of men. The old headquarters still has to be looked after, the new post requires men for its construction, so that as always during this period there were certainly too few people.

DR. STAHMER: Can you not even give us an estimate of the figure of that advance party?

OBERHAUSER: There were 30, 40, or 50 men.

DR. STAHMER: How many noncommissioned officers?

OBERHAUSER: Probably one or two officers, a few noncommissioned officers, and some men.

DR. STAHMER: The regiment was very widely spread out, was it not?


DR. STAHMER: How far, approximately?

OBERHAUSER- In the entire area of Army Group Center, shall we say between Orel and Vitebsk-in that entire area they were widely dispersed.

DR. STAHMER: How many kilometers was that, approximately?

OBERHAUSER: More than 500 kilometers.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know Judge Advocate General Dr. Konrad of Army Group Center?


DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether, in 1943, he interrogated the local inhabitants under oath about the date when the Polish officers were supposed to have been shot in the woods of Katyn?

OBERHAUSER: No, I do not know.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Were there any Einsatzkommandos in the Katyn area during the time that you were there?

OBERHAUSER: Nothing has ever come to my knowledge about that.

THE PRESIDENT: Did you ever hear of an order to shoot Soviet commissars?

OBERHAUSER: I only knew of that by hearsay.


OBERHAUSER: Probably at the beginning of the Russian campaign, I think.


1 July AS

THE PRESIDENT: Before the campaign started or after?

OBERHAUSER: I cannot remember having heard anything like that before the beginning of the campaign.

THE PRESIDENT: Who was to carry out that order?

OBERHAUSER: Strictly speaking, signal troops are not really fighting troops. Therefore, they really had nothing to do with that at all, and therefore we were in no way affected by the order.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not ask you that. I asked you who had to carry out the order.

OBERHAUSER: Those who came into contact with these people, presumably.

THE PRESIDENT: Anybody who came in contact with Russian commissars had to kill them; is that it?

OBERHAUSER: No, I assume that it was the troops, the fighting troops, the actual fighting troops at the front who first met the enemy. That could only have applied to the army group. The signal regiment never came into a position to meet commissars. That is probably why they were not mentioned in the order or affected by it in any way.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I ask permission to call as witness the former deputy mayor of the city of Smolensk during the German occupation, Professor of Astronomy, Boris Bazilevsky.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, let him come in then.

[The witness Bazilevsky took the stand.]

Will you state your full name, please'

BORIS BAZILEVSKY (Witness): Boris Bazilevsky.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you make this form of oath: I, a citizen of the USSR-called as a witness in this case-solemnly promise and swear before the High Tribunal-to say all that I know about this case-and to add or to withhold nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: With the permission of the Tribunal, I should like to start with my interrogation, Mr. President.


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please tell us, Witness, what your activity was before the German occupation of the city and district of Smolensk and where you were living in Smolensk.


1 July 46

BAZILEVSKY: Before the occupation of Smolensk and the surrounding region...

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please speak slowly.

BAZILEVSKY: I lived in the city of Smolensk and was professor first at the Smolensk University and then of the Smolensk Pedagogical Institute, and at the same time I was director of the Smolensk Astronomical Observatory. For 10 years I was the dean of the physics and mathematics faculty, and in the last years I was deputy to the director of the scientific department of the Institute.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: How many years did you live in Smolensk previous to the German occupation?

BAZILEVSKY: From 1919.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know what the so-called Katyn wood was?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please speak slowly.

BAZILEVSKY: Actually, it was a grove. It was the favorite resort of the inhabitants of Smolensk who spent their holidays and vacations there.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Was this wood before the war a special reservation which was fenced or guarded by armed patrols, by watch dogs?

BAZILEVSKY: During the many years that I lived in Smolensk, this place was never fenced; and no restrictions were ever placed on access to it. I personally used to go there very frequently. The last time I was there was in 1940 and in the spring of 1941. In this wood there was also a camp for engineers. Thus, there was free access to this place for everybody.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please tell me in what year there was an engineer camp?

BAZILEVSKY: As far as I know, it was there for many years.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please speak slowly.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Professor, will you wait a minute, please? When you see that yellow light go on, it means that you are going too fast; and when you are asked a question, will you pause before you answer it? Do you understand?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Will you please repeat your answer, and very slowly, if you please.

BAZILEVSKY: The last time I know that the engineer camp was in the area of the Katyn wood was in 1941.


1 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently, if I understand you correctly, in 1940 and 1941 before the beginning of the war at any rate-and you speak of the spring of 1941-the Katynwood was not a special reservation and was accessible to everybody?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes. I say that that was the situation.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you say this as an eyewitness or from hearsay?

BAZILEVSKY: No, I say it as an eyewitness who used to go there frequently.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please tell the Tribunal under what circumstances you became the first deputy mayor of Smolensk during the period of the German occupation. Please speak slowly.

BAZILEVSKY: I was an administration official; and I did not have an opportunity of leaving the place in time, because I was busy in saving the particularly precious library of the Institute and the very valuable equipment. In the circumstances I could not try to escape before the evening of the 15th, but then I did not succeed in catching the train. I therefore decided to leave the city on 16 July in the morning, but during the night of 15 to 16 the city was unexpectedly occupied by German troops. All the bridges across the Dnieper were blown up, and I found myself in captivity.

After some time, on 20 July, a group of German soldiers came to the observatory of which I was the director. They took down that I was the director and that I was living there and that there was also a professor of physics, Efimov, living in the same building.

In the evening of 20 July two German officers came to me and brought me to the headquarters of the unit which had occupied Smolensk. After checking my personalia and after a short conversation, they suggested that I become mayor of the city. I refused, basing my refusal on the fact that I was a professor of astronomy and that, as I had no experience in such matters, I could not undertake this post. They then declared categorically and with threats, "We are going to force the Russian intelligentsia to work."

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Thus, if I understand you correctly, the Germans forced you by threats to become the deputy mayor of Smolensk?

BAZILEVSKY: That is not all. They told me also that in a few days I would be summoned to the Kommandantur.

On 25 July a man in civilian clothes appeared at my apartment, accompanied by a German policeman, and represented himself as a lawyer, Menschagin. He declared that he came by order of the military headquarters and that I should accompany him immediately to headquarters.


1 July 46

THE PRESIDENT: You are spending a lot of time on how he came to be mayor of Smolensk.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Will you please allow me to pass to other questions, Mr. President? Thank you for your observations.

[Turning to the witness.] Who was your immediate superior? Who was the mayor of Smolensk?

BAZILEVSKY: Menschagin.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: What were the relations between this man and the German administration and particularly with the German Kommandantur?

BAZILEVSKY: These relations were very good and became closer and closer every day.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Is it correct to say that Menschagin was the trustee of the German administration and that they even gave him secret information?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know that in the vicinity of Smolensk there were Polish prisoners of war?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes, I do very well.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Do you know what they were doing?

THE PRESIDENT: I do not know what this is going to prove. You presumably do, but can you not come nearer to the point?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: He said that he knew there were Polish prisoners of war in Smolensk; and, with the permission of the Tribunal, I would like to ask the witness what these prisoners of war were doing.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; go on.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer. What were the Polish prisoners of war doing in the vicinity of Smolensk, and at what time?

BAZILEVSKY: In the spring of 1941 and at the beginning of the summer they were working on the restoration of the roads, Moscow-Minsk and Smolensk-Vitebsk.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: What do you know about the further fate of the Polish prisoners of war?

BAZILEVSKY: Thanks to the position that I occupied, I learned very early about the fate of the Polish prisoners of war.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please tell the Tribunal what you know about it.


1 July 46

BAZILEVSKY: In the camp for Russian prisoners of war known as "Dulag 126" there prevailed such a severe regime that prisoners of war were dying by the hundreds every day; for this reason I tried to free all those from this camp for whose release a reason could be given. I learned that in this camp there was also a very well-known pedagogue named Zhiglinski. I asked Menschagin to make representations to the German Kommandantur of Smolensk, and in particular to Von Schwetz, and to plead for the release of Zhiglinski from this camp.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please do not go into detail and do not waste time, but tell the Tribunal about your conversation with Menschagin. What did he tell you?

BAZILEVSKY: Menschagin answered my request with, "What is the use? We can save one, but hundreds will die." However, I insisted; and Menschagin. after some hesitation, agreed to put this request to the German Kommandantur.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please be short and tell us what Menschagin told you when he came back from the German Kommandantur.

BAZILEVSKY: Two days later he told me that he was in a very difficult situation on account of my demand. Von Schwetz had refused the request by referring to an instruction from Berlin saying that a very severe regime should prevail with respect to prisoners of war.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: What did he tell you about Polish prisoners of war?

BAZILEVSKY: As to Polish prisoners of war, he told me that Russians would at least be allowed to die in the camps while there were proposals to exterminate the Poles.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: What else was said?

BAZILEVSKY: I replied, "What do you mean? What do you want to say? How do you understand this?" And Menschagin answered, "You should understand this in the very literal sense of these words." He asked me not to tell anybody about it, since it was a great secret.

MR. COUNSELOR SMIRNOV: When did this conversation of yours take place with Menschagin? In what month, and on what day?

BAZILEVSKY: This conversation took place at the beginning of September. I cannot remember the exact date.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But you remember it was the beginning of September?


1 July 46


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did you ever come back again to the fate of Polish prisoners of war in your further conversations with Menschagin?


MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Can you tell us when?

BAZILEVSKY: Two weeks later-that is to say, at the end of September-I could not help asking him, "What was the fate of the Polish prisoners of war?" At first Menschagin hesitated, and then he told me haltingly, "They have already died. It is all over for them."

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did he tell you where they were killed?

BAZILEVSKY: He told me that they had been shot in the vicinity of Smolensk, as Von Schwetz told him.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did he mention the exact place?

BAZILEVSKY: No, he did not mention the exact place.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Tell me this. Did you, in turn, tell anybody about the extermination, by Hitlerites, of the Polish prisoners of war near Smolensk?

BAZILEVSKY: I talked about this to Professor Efimov, who was living in the same house with me. Besides him, a few days later I had a conversation about it with Dr. Nikolski, who was the medical officer of the city. However, I found out that Nikolski knew about this crime already from some other source.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did Menschagin tell you why these shootings took place?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes. When he told me that the prisoners of war had been killed, he emphasized once more the necessity of keeping it strictly secret in order to avoid disagreeable consequences. He started to explain to me the reasons for the German behavior with respect to the Polish prisoners of war. He pointed out that this was only one measure of the general system of treating Polish prisoners of war.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did you hear anything about the extermination of the Poles from the employees of the German Kommandantur?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes, 2 or 3 days later.

THE PRESIDENT: You are both going too fast, and you are not pausing enough. You are putting your questions whilst the answers are coming through. You must have longer pauses, and go slower.


1 July 40

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Thank you, Mr. President.

[Turning to the witness.] Please continue, but slowly.

BAZILEVSKY: I do not know where I was.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I asked you whether any of the employees of the German Kommandantur told you anything about the extermination of the Poles.

BAZILEVSKY: Two or three days later, when I visited the of lice of Menschagin, I met there an interpreter, the Sonderfuehrer of the 7th Division of the German Kommandantur who was in charge of the Russian administration and who had a conversation with Menschagin concerning the Poles. He came from the Baltic region.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Perhaps you can tell us briefly what he said.

BAZILEVSKY: When I entered the room he was saying, "The Poles are a useless people, and exterminated they may serve as fertilizer and for the enlargement of living space for the German nation."

THE PRESIDENT: You are doing exactly what I said just now. You are asking the questions before the translation comes through.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Excuse me, Mr. President, I will try to speak more slowly.

[Turning to the witness.] Did you learn from Menschagin anything definite about the shooting of Polish prisoners of war?

BAZILEVSKY: When I entered the room I heard the conversation with Hirschfeld. I missed the beginning, but from the context of the conversation it was clear that they spoke about this event.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Did Menschagin, when telling you about the shooting of Polish prisoners of war, refer to Von Schwetz?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes; I had the impression that he referred to Von Schwetz. But evidently-and this is my firm belief-he also spoke about it with private persons in the Kommandantur.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: When did Menschagin tell you that Polish prisoners of war were killed near Smolensk?

BAZILEVSKY: It was at the end of September.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I have no further questions to put to this witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

[A recess was taken.]


1 July 46

MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, the Defendant Hess is absent.


DR. STAHMER: Witness, in your testimony, just before recess, you read out your testimony, if I observed correctly. Will you tell me whether that was so or not?

BAZILEVSKY: I was not reading anything. I have only a plan of the courtroom in my hand.

DR. STAHMER: It looked to me as though you were reading out your answers. How can you explain the fact that the interpreter already had your answer in his hands?

BAZILEVSKY: I do not know how the interpreters could have had my answers beforehand. The testimony which I am giving was, however, known to the Commission beforehand-that is, my testimony during the preliminary examination.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know the little castle on the Dnieper, the little villa? Did you not understand me or hear me? Do you know the little castle on the Dnieper, the little villa on the Dnieper?

BAZILEVSKY: I do not know which villa you mean. There were quite a number of villas on the Dnieper.

DR. STAHMER: The house which was near the Katyn wood on the steep bank of the Dnieper River.

BAZILEVSKY: I still do not quite understand which house you mean. The banks of the Dnieper are long, and therefore your question is quite incomprehensible to me.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know where the graves of Katyn were found, in which 11,000 Polish officers were buried?

BAZILEVSKY: I was not there. I did not see the Katyn burial grounds.

DR. STAHMER: Had you never been in the Katyn wood?

BAZILEVSKY: As I already said, I was there not once but many times. -

DR. STAHMER: Do you know where this mass burial site was located?

BAZILEVSKY: How can I know where the burial grounds were situated when I could not go there since the occupation?

DR. STAHMER: How do you know that the little wood was not fenced in? '

BAZILEVSKY: Before the occupation of the Smolensk district by the German troops, the entire area, -as I already stated, was not surrounded by any barrier; but according to hearsay I knew that


1 July 46

after the occupation access to this wood was prohibited by the German local command.

DR. STAHMER: Therefore you have no knowledge of the fact that here in the Katyn wood a sanitarium or a convalescent home of the GPU was located?

BAZILEVSKY: I know very well; that was known to all the citizens of Smolensk.

DR. STAHMER: Then, of course, you also know exactly which house I referred to in my question?

BAZILEVSKY: I, myself, had never been in that house. In general, access to that house was only allowed to the families of the employees of the Ministry of the Interior. As to other persons, there was no need and no facility for them to go there.

DR. STAHMER: The house, therefore, was closed off?

BAZILEVSKY: No, the house was not forbidden to strangers; but why should people go there if they had no business there or were not in the sanitarium? The garden, of course, was open to the public.

DR. STAHMER: Were there not guards stationed there?

BAZILEVSKY: I have never seen any.

DR. STAHMER: Is this Russian witness who reported to you about the matter concerning the Polish officers, is this witness still alive?

BAZILEVSKY: Mr. Counsel, you probably mean Mayor Menschagin, if I understand you rightly?

DR. STAHMER: When you read your testimony off, it was not easy for me to follow. What was the mayor's name? Menschagin? Is he still alive?

BAZILEVSKY: Menschagin went away together with the German troops during their retreat, and I remained, and Menschagin's fate is unknown to me.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, you are not entitled to say to the witness, 'when you read your testimony off," just now, because he denied that he read his testimony off and there is no evidence that he has read it off.

DR. STAHMER: Did this Russian witness tell you that the Polish officers had come from the camp at Kosielsk?

BAZILEVSKY: Do you mean the camp at Kosielsk? Yes?


BAZILEVSKY: The witness did not say that.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know that place and locality?


1 July 46

BAZILEVSKY: Do you mean Kosielsk? I do, yes. In 1940, in the month of August-at the end of August-I spent my leave there with my wife.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether there were Polish officers at that place in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes, I know that.

DR. STAHMER: Until what time did these prisoners of war remain there?

BAZILEVSKY: I do not know that for sure but at the end of August 1940 they were there. I am quite sure about that.

DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether this camp, together with its inmates, fell into German hands?

BAZILEVSKY: Personally, that is, from my own observation, I do not know it; but according to rumors, it appears to have been the case. That is, of course, not my own testimony; I myself did not see it, but I heard about it only.

DR. STAHMER: Did you hear what happened to these prisoners?

BAZILEVSKY: Yes, I heard, of course, that they remained there and could not be evacuated.

DR. STAHMER: Did you hear what became of them?

BAZILEVSKY: I have already testified in my answers to the prosecutor that they were shot on the order of the German Command.

DR. STAHMER: And where did these shootings take place?

BAZILEVSKY: Mr. Defense Counsel, you have apparently not heard my answers. I already testified that Mayor Menschagin said that they were shot in the neighborhood of Smolensk, but where he did not tell me.

DR. STAHMER: How many prisoners were involved?

BAZILEVSKY: Do you mean to say, how many were mentioned in the conversation with Menschagin? I do not understand your question. Do you mean to say according to the reports of Menschagin?

DR. STAHMER: What was the figure given to you by Menschagin?

BAZILEVSKY: Menschagin did not tell me any number. I repeat that this conversation took place on the last days of September 1941.

DR. STAHMER: Can you give us the name of an eyewitness who was present at this shooting or anyone who saw this shooting?

BAZILEVSKY: I believe that these executions were carried out under such circumstances that I think it scarcely possible that any Russian witnesses could be present.


1 July 46

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, you should answer the question directly. You were asked, "Can you give the names of anybody who was there?" You can answer that "yes" or "no" and then you can add any explanations necessary.

BAZILEVSKY: I will follow your instructions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you give the name of anybody who saw the executions?

BAZILEVSKY: No, I cannot name any eyewitness.

DR. STAHMER: What German unit is supposed to have carried out the shootings?

BAZILEVSKY: I cannot answer that exactly. It is logical to assume that it was the construction battalion which was stationed there; but of course I could not know the exact organization of the German troops.

DR. STAHMER: Did the Poles involved here come from the camp at Kosielsk?

BAZILEVSKY: In general, this was not mentioned in the conversations of that time, but I certainly do not know that; besides these might have been any other Polish prisoners of war who had not been at Kosielsk previously.

DR. STAHMER: Did you yourself see Polish officers?

BAZILEVSKY: I did not see them myself, but my students saw them, and they told me that they had seen them in 1941.

DR. STAHMER: And where did they see them?

BAZILEVSKY: On the road where they were doing repair work at the beginning of summer, 1941.

DR. STAHMER: In what general area or location?

BAZILEVSKY: In the district of the Moscow-Minsk highway, somewhat to the west of Smolensk.

DR. STAHMER: Can you testify whether the Russian Army Command had a report to the effect that Polish prisoners at the camp at Kosielsk had fallen into the hands of the Germans?

BAZILEVSKY: No, I have no knowledge of that.

DR. STAHMER: What is the name of the German official or employee with whom you talked at the Kommandantur?

BAZILEVSKY: Not in the Kommandantur, but in Menschagin's office. His name was Hirschfeld.

DR. STAHMER: What was his position?

BAZILEVSKY: He was Sonderfuehrer of the 7th Detachment of the German Kommandantur in the town of Smolensk.


1 July 46

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions, Mr. President just another question or two, Mr. President.

[Turning to the witness.] Were you punished by the Russian Government on account of your collaboration with the German authorities?

BAZILEVSKY: No, I was not.

DR. STAHMER: Are you at liberty?

BAZILEVSKY: Not only am I at liberty; but, as I have already stated, I am still professor at two universities.

DR. STAHMER: Therefore, you are back in of lice.


THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, do you wish to re-examine?

MR. COUNSELL0R SMIRNOV: No, Mr. President, I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, do you know whether the man, whose name I understand to be Menschagin, was told about these matters or whether he himself had any direct knowledge of them?

BAZILEVSKY: From Menschagin's own words, I understood quite definitely that he had heard those things himself at the Kommandantur, particularly from Von Schwetz, who was the commander from the beginning of the occupation.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I beg the Tribunal to allow me to call as witness Marko Antonov Markov, a Bulgarian citizen, professor at the University of Sofia.

[The interpreter Valev and the witness Markov took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Are you the interpreter?

LUDOMIR VALEV (Interpreter): Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you give us your full name?

VALEV: Ludomir Valev.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear before God and the Law-that I will interpret truthfully and to the best of my skill-the evidence to be given by the witness.

[The interpreter repeated the oath.]

flit; PRESIDENT: [To the witness.] Will you give us your full name, please?

DR. MARKO ANTONOV MARKOV (Witness): Dr. Marko Antonov Markov.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear- as a witness in this case-that I will speak only the truth-being


1 July 46

aware of my responsibility before God and the Law-and that I will withhold and add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, this witness is examined, I would like to call to the attention of the Tribunal the fact that Dr. Stahmer asked the preceding witness a question which I understood went: How did it happen that the interpreters had the questions and the answers to your questions if you didn't have them before you? Now that question implied that Dr. Stahmer had some information that the interpreters did have the answers to the questions, and I sent a note up to the interpreters, and I have the answer from the lieutenant in charge that no one there had any answers or questions, and I think it should be made clear on the record.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think so, too.

DR. STAHMER: I was advised of this fact outside the courtroom. If it is not a fact, I wish to withdraw my statement. I was informed outside the courtroom from a trustworthy source. I do not recall the name of the person who told me, I shall have to ascertain it.

THE PRESIDENT: Such statements ought not be made by counsel until they have verified them.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: May I begin the examination of this witness, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: The examination, yes.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Witness, I beg you to tell us briefly, without taking up the time of the Tribunal with too many details, under what conditions you were included in the so-called International Medical Commission set up by the Germans in the month of April 1943 for the examination of the graves of Polish officers in the Katyn woods.

I beg you, when answering me, to pause between the question I put to you and your own answer.

MARKOV: This occurred at the end of April 1943. While working in the Medico-Legal Institute, where I am still working, I was called to the telephone by Dr. Guerow.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness must stop before the interpreter begins. Otherwise, the voices come over the microphone together. So the interpreter must wait until the witness has finished his answer before he repeats it.

Now, the witness has said-at least this is what I heard-that in April 1943 he was called on the telephone.


1 July 46

MARKOV: I was called to the telephone by Dr. Guerow, the secretary of Dr. Filoff who was then Prime Minister of Bulgaria. I was told that I was to take part) as representative of the Bulgarian Government, in the work of an international medical commission which had to examine the corpses of Polish officers discovered in the Katyn wood.

Not wishing to go, I answered that I had to replace the director of my Institute who was away in the country. Dr. Guerow told me that according to an instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had sent the telegram, it was precisely in order to replace him that I would have to go there. Guerow told me to come to the Ministry. There I asked him if I could refuse to comply with this order. He answered that we were in a state of war and that the Government could send anybody wherever and whenever they deemed it necessary.

Guerow took me to the first secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Schuchmanov. Schuchmanov repeated this order and told me that we were to examine the corpses of thousands of Polish officers. I answered that to examine thousands of corpses would take several months, but Schuchmanov said that the Germans had already exhumed a great number of these corpses and that I would have to go, together with other members of the commission, in order to see what had already been done and in order to sign, as Bulgarian representative, the report of the proceedings which had already been drafted. After that, I was taken to the German Legation, to Counsellor Mormann, who arranged all the technical details of the trip. This was on Saturday; and on Monday morning, 26 April, I flew to Berlin. There I was met by an official of the Bulgarian Legation and I was lodged at the Hotel Adlon.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer the next question: Who took part in this so-called International Commission, and when did they leave for Katyn?

MARKOV: On the next day, 27 April, we stayed in Berlin and the other members of the commission arrived there too.


MARKOV: They were the following, besides myself: Dr. Birkle, chief doctor of the Ministry of Justice and first assistant of the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Criminology at Bucharest; Dr. Miloslavich, professor of forensic medicine and criminology at Zagreb University, who was representative for Croatia; Professor Palmieri, who was professor for forensic medicine and criminology at Naples; Dr. Orsos, professor of forensic medicine and criminology at Budapest; Dr. Subik, professor of pathological anatomy at the University of Bratislava and chief of the State Department for Health for


1 July 46

Slovakia; Dr. Hajek, professor for forensic medicine and criminology at Prague, who represented the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; Professor Naville, professor of forensic medicine at the University of Geneva, representative for Switzerland; Dr. Speleers, professor for ophthalmology at Ghent University, who represented Belgium; Dr. De Burlett, professor of anatomy at the University of Groningen, representing Holland; Dr. Tramsen, vice chancellor of the Institute for forensic medicine at Copenhagen University, representing Denmark; Dr. Saxen, who was professor for pathological anatomy at Helsinki University, Finland.

During the investigations of the commission, a Dr. Costeduat was missing; he declared that he could attend only as a personal representative of President Laval. Professor Piga from Madrid also arrived, an elderly gentleman who did not take any part in the work of the commission. It was stated later that he was ill as a result of the long journey.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were all these persons flown to Katyn?

MARKOV: All these persons arrived at Katyn with the exception of Professor Piga.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Who besides the members of the commission left for Katyn with you?

MARKOV: On the 28th we took off from Tempelhof Airdrome, Berlin, for Katyn. We took off in two airplanes which carried about 15 to 20 persons each.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Maybe you can tell us briefly who was there?

MARKOV: Together with us was Director Dietz, who met us and accompanied us. He represented the Ministry of Public Health. There were also press representatives, and two representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I beg you to stop with these details and to tell me when the commission arrived in Katyn?

MARKOV: The commission arrived in Smolensk on 28 April, in the evening.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: How many work days did the commission stay in Smolensk? I stress work days.

MARKOV: We stayed in Smolensk 2 days only, 29 and 30 April 1943, and on 1 May, in the morning, we left Smolensk.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: How many times did the members of the commission personally visit the mass graves in the Katyn wood?


1 July 46

MARKOV: We were twice in the Katyn wood, that is, in the forenoon of 29 and 30 April.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I mean, how many hours did you spend each time at the mass graves?

MARKOV: I consider not more than 3 or 4 hours each time.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were the members of the commission present at least once during the opening of one of the graves?

MARKOV: No new graves were opened in our presence. We were shown only several graves which had already been opened before we arrived.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Therefore, you were shown already opened graves, near which the corpses were already laid out, is that right?

MARKOV: Quite right. Near these 'opened graves were exhumed corpses already laid out there.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were the necessary conditions for an objective and comprehensive scientific examination of the corpses given to the members of the commission?

MARKOV: The only part of our activity which could be characterized as a scientific, medico-legal examination were the autopsies carried out by certain members of the commission who were themselves medico-legal experts; but there were only seven or eight of us who could lay claim to that qualification, and as far as I recall only eight corpses were opened. Each of us operated on one corpse, except Professor Hajek, who dissected two corpses. Our further activity during these 2 days consisted of a hasty inspection under the guidance of Germans. It was like a tourists' walk during which we saw the open graves; and we were shown a peasant's house, a few kilometers distant from the Katyn wood, where in showcases papers and objects of various sorts were kept. We were told that these papers and objects had been found in the clothes of the corpses which had been exhumed.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were you actually present when these papers were taken from the corpses or were they shown to you when they were already under glass in display cabinets?

MARKOV: The documents which we saw in the glass cases had already been removed from the bodies before we arrived.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were you allowed to investigate these documents, to examine these documents, for instance, to see whether the papers were impregnated with any acids which had developed by the decay of the corpses, or to carry out any other kind of scientific examination?


1 July 46

MARKOV: We did not carry out any scientific examination of these papers. As I have already told you, these papers were exhibited in glass cases and we did not even touch them.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But I would like you nevertheless to answer me briefly with "yes" or "no," a question which I have already put to you. Were the members of the commission given facilities for an objective examination?

MARKOV: In my opinion these working conditions can in no way be qualified as adequate for a complete and objective scientific examination. The only thing which bore the character of the scientific nature was the autopsy which I carried out.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But did I rightly understand you, that from the 11,000 corpses which were discovered only 8 were dissected by members of the commission.

MARKOV: Quite right.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer the next question. In what condition were these corpses? I would like you to describe the state in which they were and also the state of the inner organs, the tissues, et cetera.

MARKOV: As to the condition of the corpses in the Katyn graves, I can only judge according to the state of the corpse which I myself dissected. The condition of this corpse was, as far as I could ascertain, the same as that of all the other corpses. The skin was still well preserved, was in part leathery, of a brown-red color and on some parts there were blue markings from the clothes. The nails and hair, mostly, had already fallen out. In the head of the corpse I dissected there was a small hole, a bullet wound in the back of the head. Only pulpy substance remained of the brain. The muscles were still so well preserved that one could even see the fibers of the sinews of heart muscles and valves. The inner organs were also mainly in a good state of preservation. But of course they were dried up, displaced, and of a dark color. The stomach showed traces of some sort of contents. A part of the fat had turned into wax. We were impressed by the fact that even when pulled with brute force, no limbs had detached themselves.

I dictated a report, on the spot, on the result of my investigation. A similar report was dictated by the other members of the commission who examined corpses. This report was published by the Germans, under Number 827, in the book which they published.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would like you to answer the following question. Did the medico-legal investigations testify to the fact that the corpses had been in the graves already for 3 years?


1 July 46

MARKOV: As to that question I could judge only from the corpse on which I myself had held a post mortem. The condition of this corpse, as I have already stated, was typical of the average condition of the Katyn corpses. These corpses were far removed from the stage of disintegration of the soft parts, since the fat was only beginning to turn into wax. In my opinion these corpses were buried for a shorter period of time than 3 years. I considered that the corpse which I dissected had been buried for not more than 1 year or 18 months.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Therefore, applying the criteria of the facts which you ascertained to your experiences in Bulgaria- that is, in a country of a more southern climate than Smolensk and where decay, therefore, is more rapid-one must come to the conclusion that the corpses that were exhumed in the Katyn forest had been lying under the earth for not more than a year and a half? Did I understand you correctly?

MARKOV: Yes, quite right. I had the impression that they had been buried for not more than a year and a half.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 2 July 1946 at 1000 hours.]


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