[Caution: links lead to graphic images.]
The (main) bones of "k0nsl"’s contention were a photo of a mass grave in the Bikernieki forest near Riga, shown in the blog Photos from the German East, and one of the three photos in the Yad Vashem photo archive linked to below, which are also linked to in the blog June 22, 1941:
USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave.
USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave.
USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave.
The last three photographs, captioned by Yad Vashem as pertaining to the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre of Jewish deportees from Hungary and Ukrainian Jews in late August 1941, show pits full of naked dead bodies. These people have obviously been shot; in one of the photos, what looks like brain matter emerging from broken skulls can be seen – presumably the result of bullets from infantry rifles or machine pistols hitting the head at close range. The photographs must have been taken by participants in or authorized bystanders to the killings, shortly after the same. No information is provided on the respective Yad Vashem page about how, when and by whom the photos were originally obtained, or on what basis the location was established as being the Kamenets-Podolsky killing site, but I hope to find out more about the provenance of these photos from Yad Vashem. What can be seen on the photos is in line with what becomes apparent from other evidence regarding the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre.
The Kamenets-Podolsky massacre, as pointed by historians like Andrej Angrick (The Escalation of German-Rumanian Anti-Jewish Policy after the Attack on the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941, pp. 24-25; Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord. Die Einsatzgruppe D in der südlichen Sowjetunion 1941-1943, pp. 203-204), Dieter Pohl ("Schauplatz Ukraine. Der Massenmord an den Juden im Militärverwaltungsgebiet und im Reichskommissariat 1941-1943", in: Christian Hartmann et al, Der deutsche Krieg im Osten 1941-1944. Facetten einer Grenzüberschreitung, pp. 162-164) and Klaus Michael Mallmann (Mallmann/Pyta/Riess, Deutscher Osten 1939-1945. Der Weltanschauungskrieg in Photos und Texten, p. 85) – was the first massacre of Jews by Nazi forces with a five-digit number of victims, and also the first one in which Jews were indiscriminately murdered regardless of age or sex. It was thus a milestone in the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews.
Considering the historical importance of this massacre, I shall in this blog try to put together a list, based on the sources available to me, of the published evidence to this massacre. Like the Index of published evidence on mass extermination in Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau posted by one of my fellow bloggers, this list isn’t claimed to be complete, and readers of this blog are also encouraged to propose any additions and/or corrections they may consider appropriate.
1. Documentary evidence
1.1 - "Notes concerning the conference that has taken place on the OKH concerning the transfer of a part of the Ukraine to the civil administration", International Military Tribunal, Document 197-PS (Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, pp. 210 – 213, relevant text on p. 211):
Near Kamenez-Podolsk, the Hungarians have pushed about 11,000 Jews over the border. In the negotiations up to the present it has not been possible to arrive at any measures for the return of these Jews. The higher SS and Police leader (SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Jeckeln) hopes, however, to have completed the liquidation of these Jews by the 1.9.1941.Original German text of relevant passage (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, Verbrechen der Wehrmacht. Dimensionen des Vernichtungskrieges 1941-1944. Ausstellungskatalog, p. 132):
Bei Kamenez-Podolsk hätten die Ungarn etwa 11.000 Juden über die Grenze geschoben. In den bisherigen Verhandlungen sei es noch nicht gelungen, die Rücknahme dieser Juden zu erreichen. Der Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer (SS-Obergruppenführer Jeckeln) hoffe jedoch, die Liquidation dieser Juden bis zum 1.9.1941 durchgeführt zu haben.
1.2 - Teletype message sent by the Higher SS and Police Leader for Southern Russia to Himmler on 29.8.1941, Military Historical Archive Prague, KDOS RF SS, copy YVA M.36/22.2, facsimile shown on the Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk – German Reports. Relevant original text:
[ ... ]Tätigkeiten[ ...] Stabskp. HSSUPF Russland Süd hat Aktion unter Leitung v. SS-Obergruf. Jeckeln in Kamenez Podolskij, abgeschlossen.[... ] Erfolge: [ ... ] Stabskp. erschiesst erneut 7000 Juden, somit Gesamtzahl bei der Aktion in Kamenez Podolskij liquidierten Juden rund 20 tausend. Änderung zu Tätigkeitsbericht v. 26. und 27.8.41 statt Pol.Batl. 320 setzen Stabskp. i.d. Meldung v. 27.8. statt 5 tausend 11 tausend. Pol. Batl. 320 war nur zur Absperrung eingesetzt.[ .. .]My translation:
[ ... ]Activities[ ...] Staff Company Higher SS and Police Leader for Southern Russia under command of SS-Obergruppenführer Jeckeln completed Kamenets Podolsky operation.[... ] Successes: [ ... ] Staff Company shot another 7,000 Jews, thus total number of Jews liquidated in Kamenets Podolsky operation around 20 thousand. Change to activity reports of 26 and 27.8.41 instead of Police Battalion 320 insert Staff Company, in the report of 27.8 instead of 5 thousand 11 thousand. Police Battalion 320 was only used for cordoning [the site].[ .. .]
1.3 - Teletype message sent by the Higher SS and Police Leader for Southern Russia to Himmler on 30.8.1941, Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives) NS 33/22. Relevant text quoted in Verbrechen der Wehrmacht, p. 134.:
Nachtrag die Zahl der durch Stabskomp. HSSUPF. Russl. Sued. In K a m e n e z Po d o l s kj liquidierten Juden erhoeht sich auf 23 600. [ ...]My translation:
Supplement the number of Jews liquidated by Staff Company Higher SS and Police Leader for Southern Russia in Kamenets Podolsky rises to 23 600. [ ...]
1.4 - Operational Situation Report USSR No. 80, YVA TR.3/1468, facsimile shown on the Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk – German Reports. Relevant original text:
Von einem Kommando des Höheren SS- und Polizeifuehrers sind in Kamenez-Podolsk in drei Tagen 23 600 Juden erschossen worden.My translation:
By a commando of the Higher SS and Police Leader 23 600 Jews were shot in three days in Kamenets-PodolskA translation of this report and other Operational Situation Reports USSR can be found on the Axis History Forum thread Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports USSR.
1.5 - Note about a meeting at Army Group South on 2.9.1941, document NOKW-1554, mentioned in Pohl, Schauplatz Ukraine (Hartmann et al, Der deutsche Krieg im Osten 1941-1944, p. 164, fn. 46). Pohl writes the following (my translation):
It should be noted that the British secret service listened to German police radio messages and quite certainly got to know about the mass murder. Also the command of Army Group South, the highest military authority in Ukraine, was immediately informed about the number of victims.
The document in question is mentioned in the Prosecution's Closing Statement at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals' High Command Case, in the following context (Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, Vol. XI, p. 363, emphasis added):
During the month of August 1941, 44,000 Jews were killed by units of the Higher SS and Police Leader. (NO-3146, Pros. Ex. 943.) This dignitary was the representative of the Security Police and the SD in von Roques' area. (Tr. p. 5294.) He usually had his headquarters in the same locality as the defendant. and frequently dined with him and his officers. (Tr. p. 5471.) But, strangely enough, von Roques did not learn what the tasks of this man were. Twenty-three thousand of those 44,000 victims of von Roques' dinner partner were killed in Kamenets Podolsk during 3 days. (Tr. p. 1145, NO-3154, Pros. Ex. 940.) On 2 September von Roques' chief of staff had a conference at the headquarters of Army Group South in which the figures "concerning the settlement of the Jewish question in Kamenets Podolsk" were discussed. (NOKW-1554, Pros. Ex. 938.)
1.6 - Photos showing Jews on their way to the Kamenets-Podolsky killing site, taken by Gyula Spitz, an Hungarian Jew from Budapest who served as a driver in the Hungarian army. These photos can be viewed on the USHMM website, where the following information is provided:
Gyula Spitz, a Hungarian Jew from Budapest, was a cab driver in a suburb of the city prior to his conscription into the Hungarian army. For reasons unknown to him, Spitz was not forced into the Hungarian labor service, as were most Jews, but rather assigned to a regular army unit. He served as a driver from 1940 to 1942 and was responsible for transporting valuables, including furs, pianos, and paintings plundered from occupied territory by Hungarian officers. In return, Spitz was allowed to take home some items for his family. During his military service, Spitz was stationed in Kamenets-Podolsk, where he witnessed the mass killing of Jews by SS, Hungarian, and German military personnel on August 27-28, 1941. Spitz was eventually arrested by the Germans, despite his status as an Hungarian soldier, and was sent to Mauthausen where he perished.
1.7 - Photos in the Yad Vashem photo archive mentioned and shown at the beginning of this article:
USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave.
USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave.
USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave.
Note that the Yad Vashem pages incorrectly attribute the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre to Einsatzgruppe D, which was not involved in these killings. [Update, 17.12.2016: The current captions by Yad Vashem no longer contain this mistaken claim.] For further information about the participants in the massacre see Massimo Arico, "Seht euch diesen Mann an". Kamenec Podolski 27-29 August 1941.
2. Witness testimonies
The testimonies here collected refer to the large-scale massacre in late August 1941 (note that witnesses may mistakenly have recalled that the massacre took place in September of that year). Testimonies about massacres in the Kamenets-Podolsky area at a later time, as well as testimonies regarding which it is uncertain which of the massacres in the Kamenets-Podolsky area they refer to, are not included.
2.1 - Testimony of Ksenia Prodanchuk, born 1925, Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK) report dated May 13, 1944, translation on Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk - ChGK Soviet Reports:
In 1941, in September, I do not remember the exact date, but it was on a Wednesday morning, Germans from the killing unit were taking a group of 8,000 defenseless Hungarians [Jews], who came to us in Kamenets-Podolsk from Hungary. They walked in rows of four and had their children with them or carried them in their arms, heading toward the road to [the town of] Dunaevtsy. These Hungarians were surrounded by a German killing unit. Soon afterwards I heard shots from automatic weapons and terrible, penetrating cries of the people that was like an inhuman roar. I did not see how the Hungarians were shot. Later in the evening, when shots were no longer heard, Germans from the killing unit took back [to the city] at gun point ten girls and four men. All of them were terrified....
On the second day, Thursday, once again a crowd of 18,000 peaceful inhabitants of Kamenets-Podolsk was passing our house in the direction of the road to Dunaevtsy. Among them I saw a neighbor who used to live in the same courtyard as I did, a certain Mrs. Shvartsman, her husband, their daughters Liza and Basya, and their relatives, who went arm-in-arm, silently, without uttering a sound, their heads lowered toward the ground. Liza, who saw me, waved to me and shouted: "Senia, we are lost." The old people who could not move and lagged behind were beaten to death by Germans, afterwards they were picked up by carts that followed, loading 20-30 people into each cart and transporting them, as I know, to the shooting site. I could not believe that the German monsters would shoot the civilian population, but was soon convinced that they could. Together with my neighbor, Sonia Kotlyamchuk, I hid behind the moving population and ran in the direction of Dembitsky village; we both stayed hidden in the bushes. Although this was far away, I could see how the children, women, and men were forced to undress and to jump into the grave in groups of 10. Some of them resisted since they did not want to undress. They were beaten with rifle butts, stabbed with bayonets and, dragged by their legs and arms, were pulled to the grave. The babies were snatched away from their mothers and stabbed with bayonets.
My house was also passed by trucks filled with people: women, children, and old people. They made a tremendous noise. I counted 10 such trucks. The trucks were closely surrounded by Germans armed with rifles. Some of the people jumped out of the moving trucks and started to run, but the trucks stopped and the Germans jumped down, chased the fugitives, and shot them on the spot. ...
2.2 - Testimony of Sergey Sputannyi, born 1882, Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK) report dated May 17, 1944, translation on Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk - ChGK Soviet Reports:
... On August 28, 1941 in Kamenets-Podolsk more than 8,000 local inhabitants - women, children, and old people - were assembled at the central square and guarded closely by the gendarmerie. The men were taken by the Pochtovyi descent over the Old Bridge through Poslkie Folvarki toward the old prison, where, from 10 AM to the evening, the shots of automatic weapons was heard: the shooting of the Kamenets inhabitants - children, women, old people, and men - was carried out there. ...
2.3 - Testimony of Ivan Chaykovskiy, born 1904, Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK) report dated May 15, 1944, translation on Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk - ChGK Soviet Reports:
...During my service in the police I participated three times in the mass shootings of peaceful Soviet citizens. The first time was, I think, on August 28, 1941 when, in the area of Belanovka (on the outskirts of the city of Kamenets-Podolsk), no fewer than 4,000 Soviet citizens of Jewish nationality were shot.
On the day of the shooting, in the morning, German soldiers and "schutzmanner" (local auxiliary policemen) went around the houses and drove the Jews out onto the street. Then they were lined up in a 4-row wide column and, under German guard, were taken to the shooting site in the direction of Belanovka. I personally did not participate in the round up of the civilians from their houses since I had the day off. After the civilians were taken outside the city by the Germans, police chief Razumovskiy met me and told me to join the other policemen at the shooting place outside the city. We got into cars that took us to a field in the Belanovka area, to which the civilians of Jewish nationality had already been taken.
All the "schutzmanner" who had arrived were placed in a cordon around the Jews to guard them and, under no circumstances, allow them to get away. We were armed with rifles. At that time the people we were guarding were forced to undress and were taken by Germans, in groups of 5-6, to a grave where two German accomplices shot them. In this way all of the people taken there were shot. Subsequently, the grave was covered by [local] people mobilized for this task and we returned to the city. The Germans took for themselves the possessions of the people who were shot....
2.4 - Testimony of Klara Moskal, born 1924, Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK) report dated May 16, 1944, translation on Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk - ChGK Soviet Reports:
...On August 28, 1941 at dawn, they started to drive the Jews out off their apartments, telling to take with them their most valuable possessions. We were driven out of our apartment to the square, where we were surrounded by Germans and Hungarians. Whoever of us carried bags on our shoulders was beaten and [our bags] were thrown aside. Later, we were lined up 6-8 in a row and told that the way was going to be difficult and long and, therefore, there was no point in taking many belongings with us. We were taken first in the direction of Polskie Folvarki, [where] we were divided into two groups. One group was taken through Polskie Folvarki toward a pit while the other was stopped at a bridge near a rock and ordered to lie down. We sat down, while those who were tired lay down. In the meantime the Germans set up machine guns. One German put on a protective vest, a helmet, and gloves and lay down next to the machine gun, while other Germans armed with light machine guns surrounded us. Some "schutzmanner" were there as well. After they had ordered all this to be done, the Germans surrounded us and started to take pictures of us. Then they took us back to the Old Town. At several minutes past noon we were once again assembled in the center of the city. I asked the policemen "Where is that part of the people who were taken away?, my parents were among them." "You are going to be evicted from the city" he replied. ...
After the people were assembled, we were taken to Polskie Folvarki. Those unable to walk were beaten. There were German trucks and those who had been beaten were lifted up, put into trucks, and driven to the shooting site. On the way I understood that we were going to be shot and all those walking [with me] understood this as well. When we were close to the pit, the Germans ordered us to undress. At some distance from the grave they ordered us to leave our shoes, as well as money, gold, and other valuables. ... With every minute the line got closer to the grave, accompanied by cries and by terror. Germans silenced the cries by [hitting people on the head] with their rifle butts. The abuse of the young boys and girls cannot be imagined. The Germans shouted "komsomoltsy" ["Young Communists"] and split their heads open with their rifle butts. ... When I saw such brutalities, I didn't want to suffer them so I approached the grave on my own. When one henchman saw that I was going to the grave on my own, he approached me and hit my shoulder with his rifle but I raised my hand against him. At this time a translator approached and started to ask me what the matter was. I answered that my father was a Russian and that our house had been destroyed by a bomb and we did not have time to reach the New Town, and that I become mixed with the group of Jews when I was standing in the bread line. I asked the approaching German commandant to let me and my mother go since we were Russian. The commandant believed me and let me go, telling me to go over to a car. ... Standing on the car's footboard, I saw a grave across which planks had been laid, and the Germans standing around. The people approaching the grave were forced by the Germans to run along the planks; they were beaten with sticks and rifle butts and fell alive into the grave. ...
2.5 - Testimony of Katarina (Ekaterina) Ginchuk, born 1892, in German, Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK) report dated June 26, 1944, translation on Yad Vashem page Kamenets-Podolsk - ChGK Soviet Reports:
..On August 25 a new order was issued stating that all Hungarian Jews should assemble in a certain place early on August 26. At this time the chief of the local police demanded from the Jews 40,000 pengö [a large amount of Hungarian money], which was to be collected by the morning of August 26. Afterwards, all the Hungarian Jews were transferred to the new town, to the barracks near the train station. There they were locked in and no one was allowed to leave the building. A man named Veinblatt from Kassan entered at night to bring water but he was killed by the guards. At 5 AM two German soldiers went through each hall and ordered all [the Jews] to assemble outside but to leave all their belongings behind. Two other German soldiers ordered all the Jews who were German subjects to remain. Outside German soldiers armed with whips stood 10 steps apart and beat the Jews who ran past them. I do not know what else happened on this day. Altogethter there were 6,500-7,000 Jews...
2.6 - Testimony of Bina Tenenblat, born 1928, Yad Vashem video interview.
2.7 - Testimony of Mikhail Melnik, born 1926, Yad Vashem video interview.
2.8 - Testimony of Ilya Kelmanovich, born 1930, Yad Vashem video interview.
2.9 - Testimony of Gabor Mermelstein, driver and serviceman in a Hungarian army labor unit, translation in Massimo Arico, "Seht euch diesen Mann an". Kamenec Podolski 27-29 August 1941:
As we approached to the border town of Kamenec Podolski, we began to hire intermittent gunfire [...]. I suspected that this operation must have been of a greater magnitude than the ordinary minor executions or Nazi rampages.
The gunfire become louder, and soon we encountered a group of women. We stopped the convoy to ask what was happening nearby. In broken speech mingled with muffled sobs, the women told us that not too far way, people were being slaughtered by the hundreds. I asked them if the victims were Jews. They answered amid wails and uncontrollable weeping, that both Jews and Poles were being murdered.
We than drowe for about two miles in direction of the gunfire, until we came upon the edge of the forest. Here we saw hundreds of people undressing. We slowed down and begun moving along a line of birches - we were practically on top of the mass of nude bodies. The contour of the forest began to turn in a semicircle, and suddenly we came within sight of a quadrangular ditch, lined with people on all four sides. It was here that hundreds of innocent people were being toppled by monotonous rounds of machinegun fire.
I will never forget what I saw and what I felt: the terrified faces, the unresisting bodies, heaps of men, women and children going knowingly to their graves. My reaction was a combination of panic, outrage and inconsolable pain [...]. As the slaughter proceed, the drivers of the convoy - eighty percent of whom were Jewish - sat in their trucks weeping. The German officer sitting next to me noticed that I was crying. He looked at me placidy, glancing at my yellow armband, and said: "What are you crying about?"
I responded: "How could I possibly not cry?"
"Oh, don't worry", said the officer, "there will still plenty of Jews in the world.
2.10 - Testimony of Frimmer Hermann, a Jew from Budapest who, like Mermelstein, was a driver for the Hungarian army, quoted on the webpage The First Massacre: Kamenets-Podolsky of the Hungarian National Committee for Attending Deportees:
When we crossed this area by car, they [the Hungarian Jews] were being collected and we were almost caught, too, but we managed to make the Germans believe that we were not Jews, so we were not touched. When we crossed that place on the way back home there was not even a single Jew alive."
2.11 - Testimony of Herbert H., former member of Police Battalion 320, on 15.1.1960, BAL (Bundesarchiv Aussenstelle Ludwigsburg = German Federal Archives, Ludwigsburg Branch), 204-AR-Z 48/58, Vol. 7, p. 1051-1054). Excerpt quoted in Mallmann et al, Deutscher Osten, pp. 85-86, my translation.
I recall an address by our company commander Scharway before the gathered company, whereby the whole battalion was to be deployed for a Jew action in Kamenets-Podolsk. It became clear from his address that the Jews were to be shot. His address was like a political training for us, and he expressed unmistakably that the Jews had brought unrest into the world, that they shied from work and had to be removed. I can no longer reproduce his words literally, but that was their meaning. In any case he tried to convince us through his address of the necessity of this measure. […] Scharway also mentioned in his address that he could not give any of us individually the order to take part in the shooting. After the company had again been authorized to stand down, I went to Scharway and asked him in private to release me from taking part in this action, as he had also mentioned that he could not give any of us individually an order to take part in the action. I called Scharway’s attention to the Hague Rules of Land Warfare and invoked the provision[s] contained therein whereby it was not allowed to shoot at defenseless people, and also to my not being able to reconcile this with my conscience. I further called his attention to the fact that during my training in Eilenburg I had been instructed about the Hague Rules of Land Warfare. Scharway thereupon merely replied that I was sick and for this reason already didn’t have to participate in the Jew action. 'It’s all right, H., you may stand down.'[…] It is not known to me that other company members also had themselves released from this action. Of our company's other members I didn’t get the impression that they were despondent, but they seemed to accept this measure as a necessary evil. […] In the officers I also didn’t notice that they were very depressed after this address.
2.12 - Testimony of Wilhelm W., formed member of Police Battalion 320, on 4.1.1961, BAL, 204 AR-Z 13/60, Vol. 2, pp. 10,13. Excerpt quoted in Mallmann et al, Deutscher Osten, p. 87, my translation.
Throughout the Jews had luggage with them, which was wrapped in blankets. I believe I spoke to some Jews. The Jews themselves thought they were going to be resettled. At this time I didn’t know myself that the Jews were to be shot. Due to the Jews' chatter I rather thought as well that indeed a resettlement was to take place. The Jews were taken by us outside the city. We walked about one kilometer or some more out of the city. In what direction, I can no longer say. The march went through uneven terrain. There we encountered a cordon. From far away we already saw many people standing in the area. We also heard machine pistol fire from afar. The Jews were taken by us into the cordon that consisted of policemen. Inside this cordon there were already several thousand Jews. Thereafter we reinforced the cordon as ordered. […] I still know that about 6 Jews were kept out of the shootings until the end. These 6 Jews Jeckeln ordered to line up between the two bomb craters. Then J. held a short speech before us. I think I remember that in his speech he especially pointed to a Jew who wore a grey suit and made a particularly groomed impression. In a very dramatic manner he called this Jew by name and said something like: 'Take a look at this man. This is a typical Jew, who must be exterminated so that we Germans may live.'
2.13 - Testimony of Hermann K., former head of workshop and motor park at the staff of Higher SS and Police Leader Southern Russia, BAL, 204 AR-Z 13/60, Vol. 1, pp. 403-404, excerpt quoted in Verbrechen der Wehrmacht, p. 135, my translation.
In the large execution at the end of August 1941 in Kamenets-Podolsk I took part. I remember that many Jews were shot there. The Jews were shot in several pits shaped like craters. These were probably bomb craters. The pit where I took part had a diameter of about 20-30 m and a depth of about 5 – 6 m. Already while driving to the execution site Jeckeln told Lueschen, Wedekind an me that we were to remain at readiness as we were driving to an execution. When we arrived the execution had not yet begun. Several execution detachments were formed, each of them with a strength of 4 men. One execution detachment consisted of Lueschen, Wedekind, myself and an unknown policeman. We were equipped with machine pistols, which must have been of Czech origin. The execution site had been cordoned off by police units. The execution detachments were formed by members of police and SS. The Jews came in a long trek. I, Lueschen, Wedekind and the unknown policeman were ordered by Jeckeln to enter one of the pits. The Jews were brought in continuously. They sometimes had to lie down, sometimes they were killed by us standing, in either case by a shot in the neck. There were men, women and children, but I only shot men. Interruptions there were none. I often went out of the pit because my nerves could no longer take it and I tried to shirk this assignment. But every time I was ordered to go back into the pit. In total I was shooting there for 1 or 2 hours. Then we were relieved by a police detachment. If I'm asked how many Jews I shot, I cannot tell exactly. Maybe 50 or 100. I don’t know. A doctor who established the victims' death was not present. I still remember how one Jew was shot not fatally and lost consciousness. When he recovered consciousness he screamed that he be shot. He then received the coup de grace. I furthermore remember that a young girl aged about 20 and a young boy about 12 years old told Sturmbannführer Meyer that they were not Jews and asked him to spare their lives. Meyer thereupon spoke to Jeckeln and both were released. I still remember how the boy jumped up high with joy because his life had been spared. The girl was also very happy. The execution lasted from 10 hours in the morning until 16 hours in the afternoon on the first day.
2.14 - Testimony of Karl R., BAL (formerly ZStL = Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Aufklärung nationalsozialistischer Verbrechen = Central Office of the [Federal] State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes), 204 AR-Z 48/58, Vol. 23, pp. 3774-77, mentioned in Angrick, Escalation, pp. 24-25, in the following context:
The victims were forced to run through a line of guards made up of regular police from Police Battalion 320, the so-called "hosepipe, " to the craters; there they had to throw their possessions to one side, and some were also ordered to disrobe. Finally, they were compelled to climb down into the crater, lie down on top of the bodies of those who had already been murdered, and were then killed instantaneously by a shot to the base of the skull. "Forbearance" was only shown for the riflemen: if any marksman was unable (or no longer able) to kill small children, he could ask to be relieved, drink some schnapps, take a break, and then return if possible to resume work at the pit.
Karl R. = Karl Raddatz. Testimony was given on 11.11.1960 (Angrick, Einsatzgruppe D, p. 204, fn. 254).
2.15 - Testimony of Herbert St. BAL (formerly), 204 AR-Z 48/58, Vol. 23, pp. 3829-31, mentioned by Angrick, as previous item. Herbert St. = Herbert Stephan. Testimony was given on 11.11.1960 (Angrick, Einsatzgruppe D, p. 204, fn. 254).
3. Assessments of physical evidence
I have not yet been able to find any reports about crime site investigations conducted by the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission regarding the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre in late August 1941. However, considering this commission’s practices at other Nazi crime sites on the territory of the former Soviet Union (e.g. those mentioned in the blog articles Mass Graves in the Polesie, Neither the Soviets nor the Poles have found any mass graves with even only a few thousand bodies …, Drobitski Yar, The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (1) and The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (2)), it doesn’t seem improbable that crime site investigations involving opening of mass graves and exhumation of human remains were also conducted in connection with the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre.
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the above list of published evidence isn't claimed to be complete. Information about further evidence would be appreciated, especially as concerns Soviet crime site investigations hypothesized under item 3 of the list as well as site investigations and/or witness interviews conducted by Yahad in Unum.
Having contacted Yad Vashem on the provenance of the photographs mentioned under item 1.7, I was informed that the attribution of these photographs to the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre is based on the testimony of Rabbi Baruch Jehoszua Rachmiel Rabinowicz, who was deported from Hungary to Ukraine in the summer of 1941, and who stated the following: "I have photos from the killing site. In these photos you can see the entire technique. I got them from Hungarian officers, who took them. They did not forbid photography. To the contrary, they wanted photos to be taken and brought to the world’s attention. Then they waited for reaction, but it never came." Yad Vashem have doubts as to the accuracy of the witness's information about the provenance of the photographs and hence about whether the photographs actually pertain to the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre. They will thus change the captions of these photographs to "USSR, dead bodies in a mass grave" and mention that according to the testimony of Rabbi Rabinowicz the photos pertain to the Kamenets-Podolsky massacre. This modification will take some time to appear on the internet database.
Broken links to images in the Yad Vashem Photo Archive were replaced by working links, and captions of images were changed to the changed captions in that archive.