Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (3)

The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (1)

The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (2)

As mentioned in the first blog of this series, a large part of the Soviet documentary "The Atrocities committed by German Fascists in the USSR", screened at the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal on 19 February 1946 (and unfortunately no longer viewable on Youtube), shows Nazi crimes committed outside the territory of the USSR in its borders as of 22 June 1941.

The film sequences outside the USSR where shot at the Lublin Castle prison, the Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps, the Lamsdorf POW camp, the Oberwalde sanatorium and the Sonnenburg prison, and also at the Danzig Anatomical Institute, where Soviet and Polish investigators falsely believed to have found evidence that the Germans manufactured soap from human bodies (see in this context Dr. Joachim Neander's excellent article No End of History for the "Jewish Soap" Myth?). The sequences shot at the Danzig Anatomical Institute are not included in the collection of film stills below.

Lublin Castle prison

The following information about the Lublin Castle prison is included in the book Odilo Globocnik, Hitler's Man in the East, by Joseph Poprzeczny (pp. 229-230):

Zamek Lubelski, or Lublin Castle, which overlooks the city’s historic old quarter, was the district’s main jail - Gefängnis der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD Lublin - and was used by the Sipo-SD. It was instituted at the beginning of November 1939, at about the time of Globocnik’s arrival in Lublin, and liquidated on 22 July 1944, when German forces fled west. Based at the Zamek were Globocnik’s subordinates. Because the Zamek was his district’s central jail, it held both men and women. Though its capacity was some 700 people, it in fact generally held up to 2,500, and on some occasions this rose to even 3,000 detainees. German documents show prisoner numbers during January 1944 were: Jan. 8th, 2,436 (women, 418); 14th, 2,304 (418); and 22nd, 2,336 (442). These levels and proportions remained until 20 July, when the jail held 2,124 inmates. Many of these were executed during the Zamek’s last days. Records show that inmates were often dispatched to camps like Auschwitz, Majdanek, Sachsenhausen, and even Ravensbrück. Although Poles outnumbered others, even Polish Jews, Soviet citizens and even German Communists were held as detainees. Although mainly from across Lublin District, prisoners also came from other parts of Poland. It is impossible to give the exact number of prisoners who passed through the Zamek’s gates, for estimates vary between 40,000 and 80,000, a huge range. Even if the smaller number was the case, little wonder that the jail gained such a horrifying reputation among the district’s and city’s citizenry, including within the ranks of the Polish Underground. One Polish study, which gives the jail’s prisoner population as 40,000, says this figure broke down as follows: 18,600 deported to other camps, with 3,600 of these perishing within them; 4,500 executed by shooting or gassing; 2,200 dyng during interrogations or in the Zamek, 10,000 released, escaped, or liberated; and 4,700 unaccounted for.

Lublin Castle or Lublin’s Fortress Prison was inquired about by the British who captured Globocnik’s Lublin SS-und Polizeiführer successor, Jakob Sporrenberg, in Oslo. A summary of his interrogations, which in all likelihood refers to the later months of 1943, says:

«The prison, apart from being the German prison, was also the Polish town prison of Lublin. When Sporrenberg went to inspect it he was struck by the fact that a large number of inmates were Polish juveniles in their 12th, 13th and 14th years, and it was explained to him that they were Polish "footpads." The overcrowding was alarming and when PW (Sporrenberg) saw the Commandant, Ostuf Dominik, a quiet Justizsekretär from East Prussia, he demanded that something should be done about the congregation. PW states that this Commandant tried to make the very best of the unfortunate situation and that this was realized by the Polish prisoners, and PW never heard any complaints of ill treatment and cruelty in the fortress.»

The massacre in Lublin Castle prison on 22 July 1944 was one of many such massacres that took place in the occupied Polish and Soviet territories during the German retreat. Another massacre, with 138 victims, had taken place three days before at the Gestapo detention center in Lublin known as Pod Zegarem ("Beneath the Clock") (Poprzeczny, as above p. 231). In his book Verfolgung und Massenmord in der NS-Zeit 1933-1945, German historian Dieter Pohl writes the following as concerns NS prison massacres (2nd edition, page 148, my translation):

Many inmates of prsions and camps in Eastern Europe suffered a similarly murderous fate during the retreat. In numerous Gestapo and judicial prisons in Poland and the Soviet Union the Gestapo shot the inmates shortly before the retreat, for instance in Kharkov and Minsk, in Bialystok, Lublin and Łódź in Poland, and even in Hohenstein (Eastern Brandenburg). The total number of victims goes into tens of thousands. While the decision in the occupied Soviet territories was mostly taken by the regional police, in the Generalgouvernement there was the general order not to let any inmate fall "into the hands of the enemy"

The Lublin prison massacre seems to have been the subject of at least one trial before a West German court. On 24.08.1949 the Munich Court of Assizes/District Court (Landgericht München) sentenced Andreas Hoffmann to 12 years in prison. The subject of the proceeding was «Mishandling of Jewish prisoners (in some cases with fatal results) and shooting of the inmates of the Lublin prison, shortly before the arrival of the Russian troops» (see the Justiz und NS-Verbrechen website, list of trial summaries by volumes and case numbers, Volume V, Case Nr. 165).

Part of the Soviet footage showing the victims of the Lublin Castle Massacre is included in a contemporary British newsreel.

Majdanek concentration and extermination camp

Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp

The Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps are so well known that they need no introduction. It is also well known that early Soviet and Polish reports about these camps – on which the Soviet documentary’s narrative is based – were somewhat less than accurate in certain respects, namely as concerns each camp’s death toll.

The Polish-Soviet commission that investigated the Majdanek camp concluded in its 1944 report that "during the four years the Majdanek Extermination Camp was in existence the Hitlerite butchers, on thc direct orders of their criminal government, exterminated by means of wholesale shooting and wholesale asphyxiation in gas chambers of about one million five hundred thousand persons-Soviet prisoners of war, prisoners of war of the former Polish army, and civilians of different nationalities, such as Poles, Frenchmen, Italians, Belgians, Netherlanders, Czechs, Serbs, Greeks, Croatians and a vast number of Jews". This estimate, as is now known, was hugely exaggerated. The earliest postwar investigation report reduced the Majdanek death figure to about 360,000, and according to the latest estimate by Polish researcher Tomas Kranz, "only" about 78,000 people died in that camp.

The 1944 report suggests that the main reason for the overestimate made at that time was a crude assessment of cremation capacities followed by the assumption that the number of people killed had corresponded to these capacities. The overestimate may also have been influenced by the huge amounts of personal effects found at the camp, which the 1944 report mentioned as follows:

The huge shoe store discovered in field No. 6 at the camp contains boots and shoes bearing the labels of shops in Paris, Vienna, Brussels, Warsaw, Triest, Prague, Riga, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Kiev, Cracow, Lublin, Lvov, and many other towns, shoes of different shapes and sizes, men's women's, juveniles' and infants', army boots, civilian town shoes and peasants' topboots. In addition to boots and shoes a large quantity of ripped footwear (separate soles, uppers and heels) were fouud, sorted and piled in stacks ready to be shipped to Germany.

The Commission established that in the "Extermination Camp" alone the footwear of children, men and women who were tortured to death and killed in the camp runs into over eight hundred and twenty thousand pairs.

In an enormous warehouse of the Gestapo in Chopin Street, in Lublin, the Commission found large stocks of various kinds of men's, women's and children's underclothing, and also a large variety of other personal belongings. For example: several shelves of balls of knitting wool, thousands of pairs of spectacles, tens of thousands of pairs of various kinds of men's, women's and children's footwear, tens of thousands of men's neckties bearing the labels of shops in different cities, such as Paris, Prague, ienna, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels, tens of thoueands of women's belts, part of which were sorted and ready for shipment, bath robes, pyjamas, bedroom slippers, numerous children's toys, rubber teats, shaving brushes, scissors, knives and a vast quantity of other household utensils. Here also were found numerous suitcases of various types belonging to Soviet citizens, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs, Belgians, Netherlanders, Greeks, Croatians, Italians, Norwegians, Danes and also Jews from different countries.

Contrary to what the Polish-Soviet commission obviously assumed, most of these personal effects had belonged not to people murdered at Majdanek, but to victims of the Aktion Reinhard(t) extermination camps Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka. The judgment LG Hagen vom 20.12.1966, 11 Ks 1/64 (partial translations in my RODOH posts 12342 and 12344) mentions the following procedure (emphases added):

For exploiting the Jewish labor force and recycling the belongings left behind by the Jews killed there came into being within the scope of Aktion Reinhard, according to the order and the ideas of the National Socialist leadership under Globocnik, a network of workshops important for the armament industry, the so-called Ostindustriebetriebe (Osti-enterprises) – formerly called the Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke (DAW) -, which were distributed over the sometimes quite large ghettos of the Lublin District and over newly founded work camps, such as the Lublin concentration camp [= Majdanek, RM], the Belzec concentration camp, Dorohucza, Sawin, Krychow and others. Himmler’s repeated visits in Lublin and the district’s camps clearly shows his and the leadership’s interest in and knowledge of these installations. In these enterprises there were mainly collected and recycled the enormous amounts of clothing, utensils and valuables left behind by the Jews killed in masses.
The mentioned Lublin concentration camp was already in existence before Aktion Reinhard began. It was complemented by the camp section "Alter Flugplatz" ("Old Airport"). The air plane hangars in that section were used to store the goods accruing in the extermination camps. For this Jewish camp inmates were used as labor force.
The staff of Aktion Reinhard, attached to the SSPF’s staff in Lublin, was headed by SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Höfle, who in 1962 committed suicide in Austria while in custody awaiting trial. Within the scope of his activity he had the task of assisting in the distribution of transports with Jews to the operation’s individual camps in cooperation with competent entities of the General Government, the Eastern Railways and the RSHA. He was furthermore in charge of collecting in the collection camp "Lublin Old Airport" the valuables and utensils that accrued in the extermination camps, estimating these objects and transferring them, namely to the Economics and Administration Main Office of the RSHA.
A special working group sorted the clothes according to their usefulness, another separated Stars of David from usable clothing. Other workers had to thoroughly search clothes for incriminating signs and for hidden valuables, collect them according to the use they were suited for (children’s, women’s and men’s clothing) and bundle them, whereupon they were stored in one of the barracks until transportation to the Lublin central camp "Alter Flugplatz" ("Old Airport"). The defendant Lambert in his plea described that in the autumn of 1942 he had to stiffen the walls of former airplane halls in the "Alter Flugplatz" camp, which were filled to bursting with such objects from the extermination camps of Aktion Reinhard.

The combined actual death toll of Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka, as established by current historical research, is very close to the figure that the Soviet-Polish commission estimated for Majdanek in 1944. A total of about 1.4 million people were murdered at these three camps.

The narration accompanying the Auschwitz sequences inevitably contains the claim that 4 million people were killed at Auschwitz. How this overestimate came about is explained in Franciszek Piper’s review of Fritjof Meyer’s article "Die Zahl der Opfer von Auschwitz. Neue Erkentnisse durch neue Archivfunde". The first to challenge this overestimate was camp commandant Rudolf Höss, who in 1946 told his Polish interrogators the following (my translation, emphasis added):

I myself never knew the total number, and I have no reference points that would allow me to render it. I only recall the numbers of the larger actions, which were mentioned to me repeatedly by Eichmann or his deputies.

From Upper Silesia and the General Government 250 000
Germany and Theresienstadt 100 000
Holland 95 000
Belgium 20 000
France 110 000
Greece 65 000
Hungary 400 000
Slovakia 90 000

The numbers of the smaller actions I no longer recall, but they were insignificant in comparison to the above numbers. I consider the number 2.5 million to be much too high. The possibilities of extermination had their limitations even in Auschwitz. The numbers given by former inmates are products of fantasy and lack any foundation.

The numbers given by Höss add up to 1,130,000. This total matches the order of magnitude of Auschwitz-Birkenau’s death toll that historiography has established, even though Höss’ partial figures differ from those established by historical research.

Regarded with skepticism at best by most western historians (some of them, like Reitlinger and Hilberg, dismissed it in favor of a number in the order of one million or lower as early as the 1950s and 1960s), the Soviet overestimate was conclusively and finally refuted by the results of Franciszek Piper’s research published in 1990, which are summarized in section II of the Van Pelt Report:

Given the fact that 1,095,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz, and 205,000 were registered as inmates in the camp, it follows that 890,000 Jews who arrived were not registered. Of these some 25,000 would have been Durchgangs-Juden, which leads to the conclusion that 865,000 Jews were killed on arrival.
The mortality of the registered Jews is more difficult to determine. It is clear that, of the registered inmates, 190,000 were transferred to other concentration camps--most of them after the death marches of January 1945. A total of 8,000 inmates were liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945, some 1,500 inmates were released, and some 500 escaped. This means that some 199,500 inmates, or roughly half of all the registered inmates, are accounted for. The rest, or 200,000, must have died in the camp. According to Piper, the mortality rate for the general camp population (mainly Poles and Jews), was around 50 per cent over the life of the camp--for the Soviet prisoners- of-war and the Romani it was much higher. As a result Piper came to a rough estimate of 100,000 registered Jews that died in the camp. The result is that the total mortality of Jews in Auschwitz was 960,000.
Added to this number are a number of other victim groups, such as unregistered Poles sent for execution to Auschwitz by the Gestapo Summary Court, registered Polish inmates, unregistered Romani, registered Romani, unregistered Soviet prisoners-of-war sent for execution, registered Soviet Prisoners-of-war, and others (Czechs, Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Yugoslavs, Frenchmen, Germans, Austrians and so on):

1. Jews: 860,000 unregistered and 100,000 registered inmates. Total 960,000 victims.
2. Poles: 10,00 unregistered and 64,000 registered inmates. Total 74,000 victims.
3. Romani: 2,000 unregistered and 19,000 registered inmates. Total 21,000 victims.
4. Soviet prisoners-of-war: 3,000 unregistered and 12,000 registered. Total 15,000 victims.
5. Others: 12,000 registered inmates. Total 12,000 victims.
Total: 1,082,000 victims.

Piper’s figure was corrected downwards by the research of German historians Gerlach and Aly regarding the fate of the Hungarian Jews, which is addressed in Sergey Romanov’s blog The number of Hungarian Jews gassed upon arrival at Auschwitz.

It is hard to understand that to this day one finds figures much higher than those established by historical research on at least one site that claims to provide reliable information about Auschwitz-Birkenau and other Nazi camps. On the page Auschwitz-Birkenau - "The Death Factory" of the site The Forgotten Camps one reads the following:

Estimated number of victims: 2,1 to 2,5 million (This estimated number of death is considered by historians as a strict minimum. The real number of death is unknown but probably much higher, maybe 4 millions)

The person mentioned as maintaining this site has been contacted, pointed to the results of historical research and requested to correct the numbers on his website, which apart from misleading the public play into the hands of "Revisionist" propaganda. He didn’t react.

Lamsdorf POW camp

In 1941 the Auschwitz concentration camp received a contingent of Soviet prisoners of war from the Lamsdorf POW camp in Silesia, who were supposed to build a POW camp at Birkenau. Their state upon arrival at Auschwitz and their fate there were described by Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss in the memoirs he wrote in Polish captivity. The following is an excerpt from Constantine FitzGibbon’s translation of these memoirs (Commandant of Auschwitz, 1995 Phoenix Press, London, pp. 122-124).

It was with these prisoners, many of whom could hardly stand, that I was now supposed to build the Birkenau prisoner-of-war camp. The Reichsführer SS ordered that only the strongest of the Russian prisoners, those who were particularly capable of hard work, were to be sent to me. The officers who accompanied them said these were the best available at Lamsdorf. They were willing to work, but they were incapable of doing so because of their weakened condition. I remember very clearly how we were continually giving them food when first they arrived at the base camp, but in vain. Their weakened bodies could no longer function. Their whole constitution was finished and done for. They died like flies from general physical exhaustion, or from the most trifling maladies which their debilitated constitutions could no longer resist. I saw countless Russians die while in the act of swallowing root vegetables or potatoes. For some time I employed 5,000 Russians daily unloading trainloads of swedes. The railway tracks were blocked, mountains of swedes lay on the lines, and there was nothing to be done about it. The Russians were physically all in. They wandered aimlessly about, crept into a safe corner to swallow something edible that they found – which was a great effort for them, or sought a quiet spot where they might die in peace. The worst time was during the mud-period at the beginning and end of the winter of 1941-42. The Russians could endure the cold more or less, but not the damp and being constantly wet through. In the unfinished, simple stone barracks, hastily constructed in the early days of Birkenau, the death rate constantly rose. Even those who had hitherto shown some powers of resistance now declined rapidly in numbers day by day. Extra rations were of no avail; they swallowed everything they could lay their hands on, but their hunger was never satisfied.
On the road between Auschwitz and Birkenau I once saw an entire column of Russians, several hundred strong, suddenly make a rush for some nearby stack of potatoes on the far side of the railway line. Their guards were taken by surprise, overrun, and could do nothing. I luckily happened to come along at this moment and was able to restore the situation. The Russians had thrown themselves on to the stacks, from which they could hardly be torn away. Some of them died in the confusion, while chewing, their hands full of potatoes. Overcome by the crudest instinct of self-preservation, they came to care nothing for one another, and in their selfishness now thought only of themselves. Cases of cannibalism were not rare in Birkenau. I myself came across a Russian lying between the piles of bricks, whose body had been ripped open and the liver removed. They would beat each other to death for food. Once, riding past the camp, I saw a Russian hit another on the head with a tile, so as to snatch a piece of bread which the man had been secretly chewing between a heap of stones. I happened to be outside the wire and by the time I found the gate and reached the spot the man was dead, his skull bashed in. When the foundations for the first group of buildings were being dug, the men often found the bodies of Russians who had been killed by their fellows, partly eaten and then stuffed into a hole in the mud.
The mysterious disappearance of many Russians was explained in this way. I once saw, from a window of my house a Russian dragging a food-bucket behind the block next to the command building and scratching about inside it. Suddenly another Russian came around the corner, hesitated for a moment, and then hurled himself upon the one scrabbling in the bucket, and pushed him into the electrified wire before vanishing with the bucket. The guard in the watchtower had also seen this, but was not in a position to fire at the man who had run away. I at once telephoned the duty block leader and had the electric current cut off. I then went myself into the camp, to find the man who had done it. The one who had been thrown against the wire was dead, and the other was nowhere to be found.
They were no longer human beings. They had become animals, who sought only food.
Of the more than 10,000 Russian prisoners of war who were to provide the main labour force for building the prisoner of war camp at Birkenau, only a few hundred were still alive by the summer of 1942.

A Polish webpage contains the following information about Stalag 318/VIII F (344) Lamsdorf, the "Russian camp" of the Lamsdorf camp complex:

However, the most tragic moment in the history of the place came along with the Second World War. There existed here a camp meant to accommodate the Soviet POWs, who were the most numerous group - at the same time - receiving the harshest treatment from the Germans. For many of the POWs the camp turned out to be a place of extermination: out of 180-200 thousand interned during the years of the War, about 40 thousand died at Lamsdorf. The area to be occupied by the camp was marked out in the late spring of 1941, but construction works were not commenced then. Soldiers of the Red Army, who were brought here beginning in July, were left to live under the open sky. It was not until the fall that year that they started putting up huts. Since it was impossible to finish the construction before the onset of winter, the POWs were forced to seek shelter in makeshift pits they dug themselves in the ground. The basic part of the construction works was not finished until 1942.

During the four years of its existence, the camp went through various organizational changes. Up to the fall of 1941, it functioned as Stalag 318, then - Stalag VIII F Lamsdorf. In the middle of 1943, its independence was removed and the camp was subordinated to the nearby Stalag VIII B Lamsdorf, which - in turn - was renamed Stalag 344 Lamsdorf. Due to the presence of the large number of the Soviet POWs there, the camp was popularly called "Soviet camp" (Russenlager). Yet, beside the Soviet ones, there were also detained POWs of other nationalities there, such as: Italians, Yugoslavs, Greeks, as well as Poles, French and Romanian (the three last groups being smaller in numbers). In 1944, soldiers of the Warsaw Uprising (about 6 thousand) and the Slovakian Uprising (1.5 thousand) were brought here. The first group included, among others, poets and prose writers like Roman Bratny, Stanisław Ryszard Dobrowolski and Józefa Radzymińska, a historian Aleksander Gieysztor, and also Captain of Horse Witold Pilecki, known for his courageous revealing the truth of the KL Auschwitz in the time of the War.

The living conditions in the camp were much harder than those in the neighboring "British camp". The POWs detained here had to fight against hunger, cold, illnesses; they had to live over extremely crowded space, work hard, beyond their capacity, and suffer an exceptionally bad treatment from the camp authorities. Their cultural and educational activity and religious practices (performed by the Soviet POWs on a very limited scale, though) offered the only relief and helped survive the harsh reality.

Like the POWs of the "British camp", the ones detained in the Russenlager were evacuated in January 1945. Those able to walk were forced to go on foot; the sick, mostly the Soviet POWs, were left behind. The majority of the latter had died before, on 17 March, detachments of the Red Army reached the place.

A German webpage informs that the Lamsdorf camp complex held about 300,000 Allied POWs during World War II and that many of them died, including about 40,000 Soviet prisoners of war.

The same page mentions the use of Lamsdorf as a camp for German internees in the years 1945/46. Polish court files, according to this page, reveal that 6,488 German internees were brutally murdered there by Polish militia. In 2001 the former Polish camp commandant Czeslaw Gemborski was charged with "crimes against humanity", although he had been acquitted in 1959. Due to the defendant’s state of health the trial was not carried out to the end. Gemborski died in June 2006.

Oberwalde sanatorium

One of the first trials regarding the killing of mentally ill persons was the trial before the jury court at the Berlin Court of Assizes/District Court (Landgericht Berlin), in which in March 1946 the physician Dr. Hilde Wernicke and the nurse Helene Wieczorek were sentenced to death for the killing of mentally ill children and adults with morphine-scopolamine injections in 1943 and 1944 at the Meseritz-Oberwalde sanatorium in Brandenburg. Both defendants appealed against the sentence, essentially alleging that they had not been conscious of the illegality of their actions. The appeal was rejected on grounds that killing people suffering from incurable mental illness because they were permanently unable to work violated generally acknowledged ethical principles. Both defendants were executed on 14.01.1947.

The above information was taken from Hanno Loewy, Bettina Winter (editors), NS-»Euthanasie« vor Gericht. Fritz Bauer und die Grenzen juristischer Bewältigung, pp. 36-38.

The judgment at the trial against Wernicke and Wieczorek is published in Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, Vol. I, Case Nr. 003.

Sonnenburg prison

Information about the Sonnenburg concentration camp and the later prison at that place can be found on pages 200-203 of Der Ort des Terrors. Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, Vol. 2, edited by Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel.

The Sonnenburg concentration camp near Küstrin in the Neumark existed from 3 April 1933 to 23 April 1934 in the building of a former Prussian prison that had been closed in 1931 due to its catastrophic hygienic conditions. During this time well over 1,000 men were detained and tortured there, including prominent opponents of the Nazis like Erich Mühsam and Carl v. Ossietzky. Sonnenburg stood out among other Nazi concentration camps for its extraordinary cruelty, being known at the "Folterhölle", the hell of torture.

After the concentration camp was closed down in the spring of 1934, Sonnenburg again became a prison, subordinated first to the Reich Ministry of Justice and then to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, the Reich Main Security Office. Besides criminals the prison also held political prisoners, later deserters, forced laborers and citizens of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Luxembourg detained according to the "Night and Fog" Decree of 7 December 1941.

In the night of 30 to 31 January 1945, 20 SS-men shot more than 800 of the about 1,000 prisoners held at Sonnenburg at the time, before they fled westward. SS-Obersturmführer Heinz Richter, then head of the Gestapo in Frankfurt/Oder, and SS-Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Nickel, who commanded the execution detachment, were acquitted in 1971 by a jury court in Kiel. The Kiel District Court’s judgment, dated 02.08.1971, is published in Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, Vol. XXXVI, Case Nr. 758.

The Sonnenburg prison massacre is especially remembered in Luxembourg, whose Lë tzebuerger Journal published an article on 1 February 2011 with the title Das Massaker von Sonneburg bleibt unvergessen (The Sonneburg massacre remains unforgotten). The article includes the following information (my translation):

This Sunday, like every year at the end of January, at the "Kanounenhiwwel" an in the crypt of the cathedral, the "Fédération des Enrôlés de Force, victimes du nazisme" and the "Comité Directeur pour le souvenir de l’enrôlement de force" remember the massacre at Sonnenburg, which like no other crime of World War II forged the Luxembourger’s collective subconscious.

In the night of 30 to 31 January 1945, at the Sonnenburg concentration camp and prison (near today’s German-Polish border), 91 young Luxembourg refractaries, who had been forcibly recruited into the Wehrmacht and deserted, were killed by a shot in the neck. The massacre's victims in total were 823 young men, Poles, Frenchmen, Belgians, but also members of the German opposition, who were waiting for their liberation by the approaching Russian army, and who were in the end shot by an SS special detachment, within four hours, in groups of ten in the prison yard.


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