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GERMANY IS GUILTY
by John Demjanjuk
First posted on  www.xoxol.org/traw/declaration.html  14-April-2010 01:14pm PST, last revised 05-May-2012 03:37pm PST
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Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs

Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive. — John Demjanjuk

Everything within the present box below is from Wikipedia and serves to supplement some of the statements that John Demjanjuk makes in his Declaration at the bottom of this page.

Epidemic disease, starvation, and cold will kill many of these Soviet prisoners of war in a camp improvised by the Germans, August 1942. Wikipedia Caption:  An improvised camp for Soviet prisoners of war.  August 1942
Original historic description:  Scherl: Seit Beginn der Frühjahrskämpfe wurden an der Südostfront über eine Million gefangene Bolschewisten eingebracht. Riesig sind auch die Materialverluste der Sowjets. Wieder füllten sich die Gefangenenlager mit Tausenden von Bolschewisten und bedecken mit ihren wimmelnden Massen weiterhin das Gelände. PK-Aufnahme: Kriegsberichter Wahner 13.8.1942 [Herausgabedatum]
Wikipedia warning concerning original historic description:  For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.


Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Nazi crimes against Soviet Prisoners of War relates to the deliberately genocidal policies taken towards the captured soldiers of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany.  These efforts resulted in some 3.3 to 3.5 million deaths, about 60% of all Soviet POWs.

Summary

During Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union (USSR), and the subsequent German–Soviet War, millions of Red Army prisoners of war were taken.  Some of them were arbitrarily executed in the field by the German forces, died under inhuman conditions in German prisoner of war camps and during ruthless death marches from the front lines, or were shipped to Nazi concentration camps for extermination.

Some 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody out of 5.7 million.  This figure represents a total of 57% of all Soviet POWs and may be contrasted with only 8,300 out of 231,000 British and American prisoners, or 3.6%.  Some estimates range as high as 5 million dead, including those killed immediately after surrendering (an indeterminate, although certainly very large number).  Only 5% of the Soviet prisoners who died were of Jewish ethnicity.  Among those who died was Stalin's son, Yakov Dzhugashvili.

The most deaths took place between June 1941 and January 1942, when the Germans killed an estimated 2.8 million Soviet POWs primarily through starvation, exposure, and summary execution, in what has been called, along with the Rwandan Genocide, an instance of "the most concentrated mass killing in human history (...) eclipsing the most exterminatory months of the Jewish Holocaust".  By September 1941, the mortality rate among Soviet POWs was in the order of 1% per day.  According to the USHMM [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum], by the winter of 1941, "starvation and disease resulted in mass death of unimaginable proportions".  This deliberate starvation, leading many desperate prisoners to resort to acts of cannibalism, was Nazi policy in spite of food being available, in accordance to the Hunger Plan developed by the Reich Minister of Food Herbert Backe.

By comparison, between 374,000 and 1 million German prisoners of war died in Soviet labor camps.

Commissar Order

The Commissar Order (German: Kommissarbefehl) was a written order given by Adolf Hitler on 6 June 1941, prior to Operation Barbarossa.  It demanded that any Soviet political commissar identified among captured troops be shot immediately; those prisoners who could be identified as "thoroughly bolshevized or as active representatives of the Bolshevist ideology" were also to be executed.

Prisoner-of-war camps

The prisoners were stripped of their supplies and clothing by ill-equipped German troops when the cold weather set in.  This resulted in fatal consequences for the prisoners.  The camps established specially for the Soviets were called Russenlager.  In others, the Soviets were kept separated from the prisoners of other countries.  The Allied regulars kept by Germany were usually treated in accordance with the 1929 Geneva Convention (signed by Germany but not by the Soviet Union).

In the case of the Soviet POWs, most of the camps were simply open areas fenced off with barbed wire and watchtowers with no housing.  These meager conditions forced the crowded prisoners to live in holes they had dug for themselves, which were exposed to the elements.  Beatings and other abuse by the guards were common, and prisoners were malnourished, often consuming only a few hundred calories per day.  Medical treatment was nonexistent and a Red Cross offer to help in 1941 was rejected by Adolf Hitler.  Some of these conditions were actually worse than those experienced by prisoners in the German concentration camps.

In the summer and fall/autumn of 1941 during the German invasion, vast numbers of Soviet prisoners were captured in about eleven different encirclements (so-called cauldrons).  Due to the rapid advance and an expected quick victory, the Germans did not want to ship these prisoners back to Germany.  Under the administration of the Wehrmacht the prisoners were processed, guarded, forced marched, or transported in open railcars.  Much like the Bataan Death March, the treatment of prisoners was brutal, without much in the way of supporting logistics.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_crimes_against_Soviet_POWs.  Links and footnote numbers removed.


Hungry Soviet prisoners of war struggle for share of food in German camp in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, June 1941 Wikipedia Caption:  Distribution of food in a POW camp near Vinnytsia, Ukraine. June 1941
Original historic description:  Ausgabe von Brot an gefangene Russen im Lager Winnica. 28.7.1941
Wikipedia warning concerning original historic description:  For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.


Emaciated Soviet prisoners of war in Mauthausen concentration camp. Wikipedia Caption:  Naked Soviet prisoners of war in Mauthausen concentration camp.  Unknown date.
Original historic description:  Österreich.- Konzentrationslager Mauthausen, Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene vor der Baracke
Wikipedia warning concerning original historic description:  For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme.




Germany is guilty of this war of destruction where 11 million of my fellow Ukrainians were murdered by the Germans. — John Demjanjuk

Invading Germans murdering six defending Ukrainians during WWII, 01 September 1941
Germany's war of annihilation in the Soviet Union resulted in millions of civilian deaths.  Here six supposed partisans are executed in September 1941.
Photograph and bottom caption are from David Stahel, Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, p. 195.

And here is another group of six victims in the same assembly-line procedure, perhaps the tenth or the hundredth group of the day, the volly having just been fired this time.  Behind the victims is a pit into which they fall after being shot.

Invading Germans murdering six more defending Ukrainians during WWII, 01 September 1941

When the moaning from the pit becomes annoying, the officer steps forward and takes potshots at anyone he sees moving.

German officer steps forward to take potshots at any still alive in the grave, WWII, Ukraine, 01 September 1941

Germans didn't just shoot Ukrainians, they also hanged them, just as they hanged Russians and Belarusans and Poles and Czechs and other Slavs.

Germans hang Slavs during WWII 1941

Germans hang Slavs during WWII January 1943

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Germans hang Slavs during WWII

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Germans hang Slavs during WWII
russian-victories.ru~

Germans hang Ukrainians in Kharkiv 25-Oct-1945
russian-victories.ru~

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Germans hang Slavs during WWII, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in retaliation for a resistance attack on German headquarters, November 1941
Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in retaliation for a resistance attack on German headquarters, November 1941  yadvashem

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in Shevchenko Street, year 1942
Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in Shevchenko Street, year 1942  yadvashem

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Men hanged by the Germans in retaliation for resistance bombing of buildings following German occupation, November 1941
Ukraine, Kharkiv, Men hanged by the Germans in retaliation for resistance bombing of buildings following German occupation, November 1941  yadvashem

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Men hanged by the Germans in retaliation for resistance bombing of buildings following German occupation, November 1941
Ukraine, Kharkiv, Men hanged by the Germans in retaliation for resistance bombing of buildings following German occupation, November 1941  yadvashem

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in retaliation for a resistance attack on German headquarters, November 1941
Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in retaliation for a resistance attack on German headquarters, November 1941  yadvashem

Germans hang Belarusans, Minsk 1941-10-26
russian-victories.ru~
In connection with the above Belarusan hangings, see also the clickable images at www.charonboat.com~



To the Germans, hanging Slavs was not obeying a horrific order, it was having fun, at least once they got used to it, and they did get very used to it.


Germans having fun hanging Slavs during WWII
russian-victories.ru/~

Germans hang Ukrainians WWII


Civilians were hanged most often in retaliation for some anti-German act committed by others or for suspected partisan activity, also sometimes for refusing to work, which is to say for refusing to collaborate, and for many other reasons, among which seems to be a woman having sex with Germans, as is said to have been the case depicted in the three photographs below which originate from www.charonboat.com~.  However, it may be wondered whether a practice as commonplace as soldiers having sex with local women would have brought on such severe punishment had it not simultaneously been characterized by something that the military command regarded as insidious and subversive, which in its most most extreme manifestation would have been the woman bewitching a senior officer, and upon that foundation strengthening both his sympathy for the conquered people and his aversion to German cruelty, and following that up with persuading him to release her arrested father or husband or son and with supplying her with food to feed her family, and in the worst nightmares of the high command, would have culminated in persuading the high-ranking officer to turn traitor to the Nazi cause and give aid the Slavic resistance.

In short, it is more plausible that the woman photographed below was hanged for using her youth and beauty to interfere with German war aims in the course of a relationship like that described immediately below than for breaking a sex rule.  Sex and rape were winked at by the German high command, but love could get a Ukrainian girl hanged.

Киянин Валентин Терно згадує, що в їхньому будинку жила красива молода жінка з маленьким хлопчиком. Вона мала роман із німецьким капітаном: "Це був високий стрункий красень, років 30, дуже ввічливий, вітався з усіма сусідами російською, – пише Терно в "Розпатланих спогадах про дивне дитинство". – Його добрі, трохи сумні очі й уважний доброзичливий погляд, здавалося, виражали співчуття поневоленим людям. Він з'являвся в той самий час із саквояжем. Дітям, яких зустрічав, роздавав карамельки. Більшість людей будинку ставилися до нього із симпатією, вважаючи його й молоду жінку ідеальною парою. Мабуть, їх пов'язувало щире кохання. Їхня подальша доля загубилася в хаосі кінця війни, що наближався".


Володимир ГІНДА, "Якби про це знав Гітлер!" Німецькі окупанти заводили романи з українками або йшли до повій gazeta.ua/articles/history-journal/434027
 

Kiev resident Valentyn Terno recollects that in their building lived a beautiful young woman with her little boy.  She had a love affair with a German captain: "He was a tall, slender, handsome man, about 30 years old, very courteous, greeted all the neighbors in Russian" writes Terno in "Tattered Memories of a Strange childhood". – "It seemed that his warm, somewhat sad eyes and alert, kindly gaze expressed sympathy for the enslaved people.  At that same time he used to appear with a duffel bag.  He would distribute caramels to the children he encountered.  Most of the people in the building regarded him with sympathy, viewing him and the young woman as an ideal couple.  Perhaps they were united in true love.  Their fate was swallowed up in the approaching chaos at the end of the war."


Volodymyr Hynda, "If Hitler found out!"  German occupiers had love affairs with Ukrainian women or frequented prostitutes

Sex and rape are winked at, but love can get a Ukrainian girl hanged: Hungarian foot-soldiers with Ukrainian girls on a Kiev beach, summer 1943
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Угорські вояки­гонведи з українськими дівчатами на київському пляжі
Hungarian foot-soldiers with Ukrainian girls on a Kiev beach
Sex and rape are winked at, but love can get a Ukrainian girl hanged: German major-general with Ukrainian girls in national costume
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Німецький генерал­майор з українськими дівчатами в національних костюмах
German major-general with Ukrainian girls in national costume
Sex and rape are winked at, but love can get a Ukrainian girl hanged: German motorcycle-soldier with Ukrainian girls
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Німецький солдат­мотоцикліст з українськими дівчатами
German motorcycle-soldier with Ukrainian girls
Sex and rape are winked at, but love can get a Ukrainian girl hanged: Hungarian soldiers with girls from the suburb Osnova near Kharkiv, approximately 1942
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Угорські військові з дівчатами зі станції Основа під Харковом
Hungarian soldiers with girls from the suburb Osnova near Kharkiv

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Some German hangings of civilians can be followed step by step, but possibly none in such detail as in the case of the unknown girl in the photographs below around whose neck a placard has been hung, and with a bearded Kiril Trus standing to her right, and with a capped 16-year-old Volodia Shcherbatsevich standing to her left, in Minsk, Belarus on 26 Oct 1941.  It has been speculated that the unknown girl might be either Masha Bruskina or Shura Linevich or perhaps Natasha the assistant nurse who worked in the Minsk Military Hospital.  The placard reads, We are partisans — we have shot at German soldiers.  This same placard being draped across other victims (compare to the placard in the "Belorussia, in the streets of Minsk, 26 October 1941" photo above) suggests that it was mass printed and used to give the appearance that the victim had been proven to have committed the act named on the placard, when in fact the placard may have served as a blanket condemnation of anyone being hanged for any reason, and in the case of an attractive young urban woman, the reason is less likely to be that she shot at soldiers, and more likely to be that she had been the victim of their verboten sexual attention:

"У нас було завдання: доставити дівчат панам офіцерам, – згадував рядовий вермахту Петер Шубер, який служив на аеродромі. – Ми вдало провели операцію: оточили всі будинки, набрали повну вантажівку дівчат. Усю ніч їх тримали пани офіцери, а вранці віддали нам – солдатам".

Ґвалтування українських жінок – іще одна "сексуальна" сторінка часів окупації. Збезчещених, щоб приховати расовий злочин, іноді вбивали. Зазвичай мотивували зв'язками страчених із радянськими підпільниками чи партизанами. Як­от в Олександрії на Кіровоградщині: ­німецький офіцер убив учительку, яка вчинила опір при спробі її зґвалтувати.


Володимир ГІНДА, "Якби про це знав Гітлер!" Німецькі окупанти заводили романи з українками або йшли до повій gazeta.ua/articles/history-journal/434027
 

"Our assignment was to provide girls for the gentlemen officers" recollects Wehrmacht private Peter Shuber, who worked at an airport.  We succeeded in carrying out the operation: we surrounded all the buildings and collected a full truckload of girls.  The gentlemen officers kept them all night, and in the morning handed them over to us — the soldiers."

The rape of Ukrainian women is yet another page, a "sexual" one, from the times of occupation.  To conceal the racial crime, the dishonored women were sometimes killed.  The victims were typically blamed for ties with Soviet agents or partisans.  In Oleksandria in Kirovohrad, a German officer killed a lady teacher who resisted an attempt to rape her.


Volodymyr Hynda, "If Hitler found out!"  German occupiers had love affairs with Ukrainian women or frequented prostitutes

Most of the photographs immediately below are from
www.charonboat.com/item/36

Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich about to be hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich about to be hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941.

Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich about to be hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Above photograph seems to have been touched up by hand, perhaps to clarify the text on the placard, and to prettify, or merely emphasize, facial features, and which has the effect of making the unknown girl's face in this photograph look different from her face in all the other photographs.

Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich about to be hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
The above version of the same photogarph, although of lower resolution, brings the advantages of not having been touched up, and of being less cropped, at least on the left and along the top.

Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich about to be hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich being hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich being hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich being hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich being hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941
Kiril Trus, unknown girl, and Volodia Shcherbatsevich hanged by Germans during WWII in Minsk, Belarus, 26 Oct 1941


As German hanging of civilians was commonplace, there is today no dearth of corroborating photographs, as is demonstrated by the following collection on the Yad Vashem web site, from which the five sepia photographs above were taken.  It should be kept in mind that GARF, the State Archive of the Russian Federation from which these photographs and captions originate, might be motivated to downplay the degree of Ukrainian suffering at the hands of the Germans by identifying hangings in Ukraine as having taken place in the USSR, or even in Russia.  Clicking on a red ampersand below will take the user to a photograph on the Yad Vashem web site where more information than the mere caption may be found; clicking on a blue ampersand will produce the same photograph, but from its storage on xoxol.org, and without the additional information that is on the Yad Vashem web site, the blue option being offered here in case the Yad Vashem version may be unavailable, or when traffic congestion might make it slower to download.  In either case, the user will have to click his BACK, or RETURN-TO-PREVIOUS-PAGE, button to return to the present page.

@  @   1   USSR, Man hanged in suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @   2   Serbia, Mass hanging of hostages, apparently by the SS but in the presence of German soldiers.
@  @   3   USSR, A man hanged by the Germans.
@  @   4   USSR, Man hanged in suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @   5   Ukraine, Bogoduchov, Hanging of two suspects of Partisan activity Shevchenko Street, year 1942.
@  @   6   USSR, Man hanged in suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @   7   Belarus, Minsk, Two men and a woman that were hanged by the Germans.
@  @   8   USSR, Three men hanged in suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @   9   Serbia, Pancevo, Hanging of local civilians by German soldiers in retaliation for killing two SS troops, 22-Apr-1941.
@  @  10   Romania, Arad, Hanging of civilians by the Germans.
@  @  11   USSR, People hanged by the Germans on suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @  12   USSR, Two men hanged by the German army.
@  @  13   USSR, Hanging of two men by German soldiers.
@  @  14   Russia, German soldiers hanging a man in the Porkhov area.
@  @  15   USSR, Two suspected of Partisan activity that were hanged by the Germans.
@  @  16   USSR, A citizen hung by the Germans, seemingly because of suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @  17   Ukraine, Kharkiv, People hanged in the street by the Germans in Shevchenko Street, year 1942.
@  @  18   Ukraine, Kharkiv, Men hanged by the Germans in retaliation for bombing buildings following German occupation, November 1941.
@  @  19   USSR, Suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans in the town square.
@  @  20   USSR, Gayvoron, Suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans in the town square.
@  @  21   Ukraine, Kharkiv, Men hanged by the Germans in retaliation for bombing buildings following German occupation, November 1941.
@  @  22   USSR, Partisan hanged by the Germans.
@  @  23   USSR, Public hanging in the presence of German soldiers.
@  @  24   Ukraine, Kiev, Man hanged by the Germans.
@  @  25   USSR, Man hanged for arson.
@  @  26   USSR, People hanged by the Germans.
@  @  27   Poland, People hanged in public by the Germans.
@  @  28   Ukraine, Kiev, A man hanged by the Germans.
@  @  29   USSR, A suspect of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans.
@  @  30   USSR, A partisan hanged by the German army.
@  @  31   USSR, Two men hanged by the German army.
@  @  32   USSR, A partisan hanged by the German army.
@  @  33   USSR, Suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans.
@  @  34   USSR, Suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans.
@  @  35   USSR, Man hanged by the Germans.
@  @  36   USSR, Orel, People hanged by the Germans in public for sabotage and for refusing to work, February 1942.
@  @  37   USSR, Two men hanged by the Germans.
@  @  38   USSR, Man hanged on suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @  39   USSR, Suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans.
@  @  40   USSR, public hanging in the presence of German soldiers.
@  @  41   Ukraine, Bogoduchov, Hanging of two suspects of partisan activity by local auxiliaries.
@  @  42   Ukraine, Bogoduchov, Hanging of two suspects of Partisan activity by local auxiliaries.
@  @  43   Ukraine, Kharkiv, Man hanged by the Germans, in suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @  44   USSR, Man hanged by the Germans.
@  @  45   Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in retaliation for a terrorist attack on German headquarters, November 1941.
@  @  46   Ukraine, Teploye, A woman hanged by the Germans for carrying ammunition in her belongings, 03-Nov-1941.
@  @  47   USSR, Man hanged by the Germans in suspicion of Partisan activity.
@  @  48   USSR, Man hanged by the Germans for looting and hiding abandoned Jewish property.
@  @  49   Ukraine, Ten hostages hanged by the Germans.
@  @  50   Poland, Lodz, Hanging of three men by the German police.
@  @  51   Ukraine, Hanging of civilians by German soldiers.
@  @  52   Ukraine, Ten hostages hanged by the Germans.
@  @  53   USSR, man hanged after refusing to work.
@  @  54   Ukraine, Sumy, Two suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans.
@  @  55   Ukraine, Sumy, Two suspects of Partisan activity hanged by the Germans.
@  @  56   USSR, men who were hanged after refusing to work.
@  @  57   USSR, men who were hanged after refusing to work.
@  @  58   USSR, Men who were hanged by the Germans near a train station.
@  @  59   USSR, Men who were hanged by the Germans near a train station.
@  @  60   USSR, Men who were hanged by the Germans near a train station.
@  @  61   USSR, Two civilians hanged by the Germans.
@  @  62   USSR, German soldiers beside men who were hanged after refusing to work.
@  @  63   USSR, A suspect in Partisan activity that was hanged.
@  @  64   Belarus, Minsk, Suspects of Partisan activity hanged in public, 1941.
@  @  65   Yugoslavia, Serbia, Mass hanging of hostages, probably by SS but in the presence of German soldiers.
@  @  66   USSR, Man being hanged by the Germans.
@  @  67   Poland, Lodz, Hanging of three men by the German police.
@  @  68   Yugoslavia, Pancevo, Hanging of locals by German soldiers in retaliation for killing two SS men, 22-Apr-1941.
@  @  69   Ukraine, Kharkiv, Civilians hanged by the Germans in retaliation for a terrorist attack on German headquarters, November 1941.


Ah, well, but surely not all German soldiers spent their time shooting civilians on the edges of pits or hanging them with placards around their necks.  Weren't some Germans employed in blameless activities at some distance from the violence, as perhaps in food procurement, as is exemplified in the photographs below?  Shouldn't the Germans shown in these photographs be recognized as merely participating in the time-honored army activity of scrounging?  Should we not recognize that the sort of work that these scroungers did was as harmless as chasing honking and flapping geese around farmyards?  Should not their congenial smiles remind us that they bore no ill will and participated in no murder?

Gemans confiscating fowls
USSR, Soldiers from the German air force with fowls that were confiscated from local peasants.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

field kitchen
USSR, German soldiers and POW's by a field kitchen.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

Sheep
USSR, German soldiers with sheep.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

cow
USSR, German soldiers leading a confiscated cow.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

And when it came to food stores, wouldn't the local farmers have been happy to share their supplies with the Germans?

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USSR, Peasants with crops, February 1942.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

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USSR, German soldiers seemingly confiscating food from the local inhabitants.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

And other soldiers not occupied with food procurement might have been put to the blameless and nonviolent work of locating and procuring accomodation such as that pictured below:

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USSR, A peasants hut used to quarter German soldiers, 29-Sep-1941.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

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Poland, Wlosow, A peasants hut used to quarter German soldiers, 10-Nov-1941.
Photo and caption from yadvashem

However, the captions above have already begun to erode the image of blameless and fun-loving Germans, for the captions speak of "confiscating" which in the present context is synonymous with "robbing," and which image of blameless Germans the analysis below quite reverses:

The fabled spectre of campaigning through a Russian winter thus assumed a certain foreboding prominence, which loomed in the minds of many Landsers as the weather began to change.  Solomon Perel, who was travelling with a group of soldiers from the 12th Panzer Division, noted that the men "had not forgotten Napoleon's defeat in 1812 and ... [t]hey were scared out of their wits".  Another soldier wrote home on 21 September, "God save us from a winter campaign in the east.  It is very cold here already and rains practically every day."  Wilhelm Prüller wrote in his diary on 28 September that it was so cold he and his comrades had to sleep in their vehicles.  He then continued, "Terribly cold.  You can't wrap yourself in too many blankets.  When I think back on the July and August days, when we simply spent the nights lying in a field on the grass, I have to mourn for the summer...  And who knows what's in front of us as far as the weather goes?"  It was a prudent question, which held dire implications not only for the operational aspects of the campaign, but also for the war of annihilation.  With a chronic shortage of housing in the forward areas of the front, German soldiers ensured they were not the ones being left out in the cold.  As Wilhelm Prüller's diary records:

You should see the act the civilians put on when we make it clear to them that we intend to use their sties to sleep in.  A weeping and yelling begins, as if their throats were being cut, until we chuck them out.  Whether young or old, man or wife, they stand in their rags and tatters on the doorstep and can't be persuaded to go...  When we finally threaten them at pistol point, they disappear for a few minutes, only to return again yelling even more loudly.

While no one was freezing to death in September 1941, the Russian peasants knew better than anyone what was coming and knew that survival depended on shelter and stores of food for the coming winter.  Without access to these the weather would soon prove fatal for countless Soviet peasants.  In this indirect way Germany's war of annihilation involved average German soldiers to a far greater extent than is often acknowledged.  Between seventeen and eighteen million Soviet civilians died in the war with Nazi Germany and most of these died not as a direct result of a German action (that is, by being shot), but rather from the conditions created by the German army and occupational forces (starvation, disease, exposure, overwork, etc.).  Accordingly, however some historians may seek to "interpret" the circumstances or apply restrictive definitions to what constituted a war crime, the fact remains that the Ostheer and its soldiers, each to varying extents participated in and contributed to the conditions which resulted in the deaths of so many.  In this sense one must keep in mind that the well-known suffering of the German army during the winter fighting had even worse results for the civilian population, especially in the areas of heavy German troop concentrations.


David Stahel, Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, pp. 332-333.

And so John Demjanjuk speaks of eleven million of his fellow Ukrainians having been murdered by the Germans, and author David Stahel speaks of between seventeen and eighteen million Soviet civilians having died in the war, but the two sorts of murderers we have glanced at above, the firing-squad Germans and the hanging Germans, could not possibly have been responsible for that many deaths.  They were brutal killers, without question, and they killed vast numbers, and they deserve the deepest contempt and the harshest punishment, and yet they could only have been the small-time killers.  And so who were the big-time killers?

The big-time killers in the German annihilation machine were those grinning confiscators we saw just above, chasing geese around the farmyard, grabbing a sheep here and there, leading off a cow, carting away sacks of wheat, slamming the door in a farmer's face.  It is these German killers who contributed most to racking up the holocaust of eleven million or seventeen or eighteen million deaths.

Here's how a few of the dispossesed tried to survive, shown suffering and dying even before the snows arrive (note the tree stripped of bark):

John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Farming families in forests eat bark off trees WWII
People had to chew the wood putty because of starvation.


John Demjanjuk, Germany is Guilty, Farming families hiding in forest, mother dies, child survives for a while, WWII
The child survived.

The two above photographs and captions are from
englishrussia.com~

Our argument has brought us to the point where it is necessary to recognize: that murder is murder whether it is accomplished by shooting or hanging or starving or freezing; that eighteen million murders is eighteen million murders whether they are committed inside barbed-wire enclosures or outside; that, as the vast mortality numbers demonstrate, confiscating a farmer's livestock and food store and house as winter approaches is indistinguishable in degree of culpability from imprisoning him in a POW death camp where his diet is worms and grass and his protection from the cold is a hole in the ground that he scrapes out with a stick.

Thus it follows that thousands of Germans alive today deserve to be prosecuted for war crimes before John Demjanjuk is prosecuted, especially since the allegation of John Demjanjuk's presence in an unknown capacity somewhere in the Sobibor area is founded on a KGB-forged Trawniki ID Card, and especially since his accusers over the past four decades have distinguished themselves by their zealous mendacity — thus it follows, I say, that thousands of Germans alive today deserve to be prosecuted before John Demjanjuk is prosecuted, starting with those Germans that we saw above murdering civilians with bullets and nooses, and including all those involved in the running of POW death camps, and continuing on to the confiscators who snatched from others the food and the habitation that were needed to sustain life, and extending finally to those who watched the snatching and understood the death sentence it pronounced, but who sat by the fire inside the ejected farmer's house and ate his food anyway.



But to return to the subject from which we started, which is the narrower allocation of guilt for the German mass murder of prisoners of war ...

Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive. — John Demjanjuk

Germans condemn Soviet prisoners to death by starvation, epidemics, and cold following Battle of Kiev during WWII
Hundreds of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were taken in the aftermath of the battle of Kiev, but very few would survive captivity.   ullstein bild — Arthur Grimm.


Photograph and bottom caption are from David Stahel, Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2012, p. 305.





John Demjanjuk protests his renewed persecution by Germans in his declaration GERMANY IS GUILTY

On John Demjanjuk’s behalf, the following Declaration was read
in the German language by his attorney, Dr. Ulrich Busch,
during the April 13th 2010 public court session in Munich, Germany.



DECLARATION
of the accused
to the criticism of the court and the prosecutors
of his behaviour during the trial:

I am personally thankful to the people who are helping me in my hopeless position as a very ill person, be it in prison or here in the courtroom.  Therefore, I especially thank the medical personnel who are very helpful in alleviating my major aches and pains and who help me to survive this trial which for me is torture.  As a matter of fact, I point out the following:

  1. Germany is guilty of the war of destruction against the Soviet Union through which I lost my home and homeland.

  2. Germany is guilty of forcing me to become a prisoner of war.

  3. Germany is guilty of creating prisoner of war camps where through purposeful denial of enough food rations I and millions of other Red Army prisoners were sentenced to die of starvation and only with God’s help did I survive.

  4. Germany is guilty of forcing me to become a slave labourer of the Germans in the prisoner of war camp.

  5. Germany is guilty of this war of destruction where 11 million of my fellow Ukrainians were murdered by the Germans and more millions of Ukrainians, including my loving wife Vera, were abducted to Germany to forced labour and slavery by the Germans.

  6. Germany is guilty of making thousands upon thousands of my countrymen unwilling German collaborators and forcing them to join in the perverse genocide program against Jews, Sinti, Roma, Slavs, Ukrainians, Poles and Russians under the threat of death as hundreds and more than hundreds that wanted to refuse this, were killed for that by the Germans.  Over and above this, hundreds of thousands were deported to Ukraine and executed by Stalin or tortured for ages in the Siberian Gulag and lowered to work as slaves for the Communists.

  7. Germany is guilty of forcing me to live a wretched life as a displaced person in a DP camp years after the war.

  8. Germany is guilty of forcibly having me deported to Germany even after 30 years of legal prosecution in Israel, the USA, as well as, Poland and after more than 10 years of imprisonment, more than 5 of those in a death cell in Israel, at the end of my life and in my 90th year.

  9. Germany is to blame for false charges of accessory to murder being levied against me at the end of my life when I am without life’s energy in violation of 65-year-old case law and also in violation of the EMRK (European Convention for Human Rights).

  10. Germany is to blame for my having to vegetate more than 9 months in Stadelheim, in a prison, isolated, not free – though innocent.

  11. Germany is to blame for my having forever lost my second homeland, the USA, without a chance to return.

  12. Germany is to blame for my having forever lost the sense of my entire life, my family, my happiness and any kind of future and hope.

I have experienced every minute, every hour, every day, every week and every month since May 12, 2009 as a prisoner of war in Germany.  I have experienced this process as a continuation of my terrible memories with Germans, as a continuation of the indescribable wrong which has been done to me by Germans.  I am again and repeatedly an innocent victim of the Germans.  I feel this as an inexpressible wrong that Germany with the help of this trial is making out of me, a prisoner of war, a war criminal.  I find it an unbearable arrogance of Germany, that Germany is misusing me to turn the attention away from the war crimes committed by Germans, to make them forgotten and against the truth to claim that the true criminals of the Nazi crimes were me, the Ukrainians and the European neighbours of Nazi Germany.

I consider this trial, which is held exclusively against me, an alleged foreign Travniki, in violation of the principles of equal treatment as provided to German SS members and to an uncountable number of “German Travnikis”, incompatible with justice and the principle of equality.  I have already defended myself against the accusation of the Munich prosecutor while in Israel.  In Israel, I was accused of being connected to Nazi crimes in Sobibor.  The Israeli Supreme Court specifically recognized that this accusation of the Israeli Prosecutor could not be proven, a legal verdict was decided on the Sobibor accusation in such a manner taking into account with special reference to the already suffered arrest of more than 7 ½ years.  I was jailed in Israel for these charges against me for 7 ½ years with 5 of those years in a death cell.

I feel it is not compatible with fairness and humanity, that for over 35 years I have had to defend myself as a constantly chased legal victim of the Office of Special Investigation of the USA and the circles behind it, especially the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre which live off of the holocaust.  Now at the end of my life and the end of my strength, the 30th or 40th trial in the same case is being made and I do not have the strength to fight.  I am helpless against this judicial war waged against me for over 30 years which the Germans are now continuing against me in place of the OSI.

My beloved wife Vera, with whom I have been married for over 50 years, also suffered in Germany.  It was the Germans who deprived my wife of her youth and took her by force to Germany for years of forced labor.  She was for years in German slave labor under cruel and inhumane conditions.

The suffering that we endured in connection with the German war of annihilation against us Slavs is not describable in measurable words.  That Germany has again and again chosen me and my family to be victimized is, for me, incomprehensible.


John Demjanjuk



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