Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics-Information Bulletin.
The following note was issued by Vyacheslav M. Molotov, People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R., to all ambassadors and ministers of countries with which the Soviet Union maintains diplomatic relations. The note was made public in Kuibyshev January 7, 1942.
ON INSTRUCTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS I HAVE THE HONOR TO INFORM YOU OF THE FOLLOWING:
The liberation by the Red Army, in the course of its continuing successful counter-offensive, of a number of towns and rural localities which had been temporarily in the hands of the German invaders has revealed and continues to reveal increasingly every day an unheard-of picture of pillage, general devastation, abominable violence, outrage and massacre, perpetrated by the German fascist occupants upon the noncombatant population during the German offensive, occupation and retreat.
Abundant documentary material at the disposal of the Soviet Government testifies to the fact that plunder and ruination of the population, accompanied by bestial outrage and massacre, are widespread in all districts which have fallen under the Nazi heel. Irrefutable facts prove that this regime of plunder and bloody terrorism against the noncombatant population of occupied villages and towns represents a definite system, devised beforehand and encouraged by the German Government and German Command, who consciously let loose among the officers and soldiers of their army the basest bestial instincts, and that it is not a matter of excesses by isolated, undisciplined military units nor by individual German officers and soldiers.
Every step of the German fascist army and its allies on captured Soviet territory of the Ukraine, Moldavia, Byelorussia, Lithuania Latvia, Estonia, and Karelian and Finnish territory and Russian districts and regions involves the devastation and destruction of innumerable material and cultural values of our people, loss by the noncombatant population of their property accumulated by persistent labor, institution of a regime of forced hard labor, famine and bloody massacres, before the horrors of which the most terrible crimes ever known in human history fade into insignificance.
The Soviet Government and its organs keep detailed records of all the villainous crimes of Hitler's army, for which an indignant Soviet people justly demands retribution and will attain it.
The Soviet Government deems it its duty to bring to the knowledge of all civilized humanity, of all honest people in the world, its statement of facts illustrating the monstrous crimes committed by Hitler's army against the peaceful population of captured territories of the Soviet Union.
Wherever the German invaders have set foot on Soviet territory they have brought destruction and devastation to our towns and villages. They have devastated and even burned to the ground scores of towns and thousands of villages in temporarily occupied districts of the U.S.S.R.
Many instances have been registered of bandit devastation and destruction by German troops of city buildings, factories and other structures, including whole city blocks, as happened in Minsk, Kiev, Novgorod, Kharkov, Rostov, Kalinin and other towns. The towns of Istra, Klin and Rogachevo, in the Moscow Region; Epifan, in the Tula Region; Yelna, in the Smolensk Region and a number of others have been reduced to ruins.
The German invaders erased hundreds of villages in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, and in the Moscow, Leningrad, Tula and other regions of our country. In the village of Dedilovo, of the Tula Region, the occupants burned down 960 houses out of 998. In the village of Pozhidayevka, of the Kursk Region, they burned 554 houses out of 602. In the village of Ozeretskoye, in the Krasnaia Polyana District of the Moscow Region, 225 houses were burned out of 232. The village of Kobneshki, of the same district, which numbered 123 houses, was completely burned out. In the Vyssokovo District of the Moscow Region, 85 houses out of 99 were burned in the village of Nekrassino, and 66 out of 69 in the village of Baklanovo.
When they evacuated the villages of Krasnaia Polyana, Myshetskoye, Ozherelye and Vyssokovo in the Moscow Region, the Germans detailed automatic riflemen to pour gasoline over houses and set them on fire. When residents tried to put out the fires, the Germans shot at them with automatic rifles. Of 80 houses in the village of Myshetskoye, only five remain. Of 200 in Ozherelye, eight remain. Of 76 in Vyssokovo, three remain.
A 77-year-old peasant named Grigoryev was shot because he said, "Don't burn my house!"
This base and criminal destruction of our towns and villages gives expression to the dark Hitlerite hatred of our country, of the labor and achievements of the Soviet people, and of what has already been done to improve the life of peasants, workers and intellectuals in the U.S.S.R. These villainous crimes are everywhere perpetrated by the invaders in accordance with orders from their superiors.
An order-of-the-day of the 512th German Infantry Regiment, signed by Colonel Schitnig and recently captured near the town of Verkhovye, of the Orel Region, says with unbounded cynicism: "The zone which, depending on circumstances, should be evacuated, must be a desert after the withdrawal of our troops. In places where full destruction is to be effected, all houses must be burned. For this purpose all houses should be filled with straw beforehand, especially those made of stone. Stone buildings must be blown up. In particular, all cellars should be destroyed. Measures for the creation of a devastated zone should be prepared and carried out ruthlessly and in full."
Devastating our towns and villages, the German Command orders its troops to create "desert zones" in all Soviet territories from which Red Army troops succeed in ousting the invaders. And wherever the occupants remain on our territory they continue committing their vile banditry, converting populated localities into "desert zones." They blow up and burn public buildings, factories, mills, schools, libraries, hospitals and churches.
In villages occupied by the German authorities, the peaceful peasant population is subjected to unrestrained pillage and violence. The peasants are deprived of their property, accumulated by decades of persistent labor. They are robbed of their houses, cattle, grain, clothing and everything down to the last baby's shirt and handful of grain.
Often the rural population, including old folk, women and children, is evicted from its houses immediately after the German occupation and compelled to seek shelter in dugouts and trenches in the forest, or simply in the open. In broad daylight the occupants strip anyone they meet on the roads, including children, of clothing and footwear, and cruelly suppress all those who attempt to protest or offer any resistance to plunder.
In villages of the Rostov and Voroshilovgrad Regions of the Ukraine, later liberated by the Red Army, peasants were repeatedly plundered by the occupants. As various German military units passed through a given locality, each of them began anew the searches, violence, arson and executions for failure to surrender food. The same thing happened in the Moscow, Kalinin, Tula, Orel, Leningrad and other regions, from which Red Army troops are now driving the remnants of the German invaders.
Thus, in the village of Maslovo, of the Tula Region, German officers and soldiers confiscated all foodstuffs and created a situation in which one or two persons died daily of starvation in that village. Such German-occupied villages can be found everywhere.
Everywhere in the villages, the German invaders take away all stocks of food, slaughter the cattle and poultry, carry off the grain and other produce and, like petty thieves, steal all domestic utensils, clothing, underwear, footwear, furniture and children's toys.
In the village of Golubovka, of the Voroshilovgrad Region, the population, already robbed of all its food stocks, was again plundered by the Germans, who took away from the women and children their last remnants of food and all domestic utensils clothing, pillows, blankets and kitchen utensils which they could carry.
The following instances are typical: In the village of Golubovka, the Germans took away from collective farmer Leschenko, mother of three small children, all the children's shirts and coats, and all their remaining food. In the same village a German officer and several soldiers broke into the house of school teacher Matienko and took away all her clothing and children's things and hacked to pieces with axes the furniture which they could not carry off.
In the village of Prudnoye, of the Tula Region, German soldiers broke into a house where 150 invalids were sheltered and took away all their warm clothing and food, threatening these helpless people with arms. On December 7, not long before the liberation of the village of Kolodeznaia, of the Tula Region, by the Red Army, the Germans shot 32 men and women in this village because they allegedly failed to surrender to the Germans all their warm clothing.
In the village of Vlassovo, of the Moscow Region, a woman collective farmer who resisted the robbers when they were stealing her cabbage and potatoes was wounded by a shot from an automatic rifle. When the wounded woman shouted and cursed the Germans, calling them bandits and robbers, they shot her to death with a burst of fire from the automatic rifle. After this they began shooting at the whole population of the village, which had gathered there.
Everywhere, the German Army has instituted a regime of bloody reprisals under the pretext that not all food had been surrendered, that not all warm clothing had been brought to them, or that delivery of these things was not carried out with sufficient alacrity. Attempts to lodge complaints with the German authorities against marauders and robbers are regarded as "Communist propaganda" and sympathy with the Soviet Government, entailing new reprisals.
In order not to let collective farm property and cattle out of their hands, the German invaders placed on the collective farms their Nazi managers, recruited in Germany from among members of the Nazi Party anxious to make their fortunes by any dirty methods, or sometimes from among vile degenerates. In their orders, the German occupants insolently state: "Collective farm land and property pass into the possession of the German Army."
In one such order dated July 9, the German Command stated: "Within 48 hours after publication of this order all former collective farm property in the hands of peasants should be surrendered to the appropriate managers. Non-compliance will be punished by shooting." In this way the rapacious plunderers deal with our peasants and their property.
The urban population in districts temporarily occupied by the Germans is also subjected to unrestrained robbery. Everywhere, in the towns they have captured, German officers and soldiers have broken into houses of local workers, office employees, intellectuals, and superannuated pensionaires and, disregarding everything and hesitating at no law, have seized whatever caught their eye, from valuables down to mere kitchen utensils.
The marauders accompanied this pillaging with bloody reprisals. Thus, in the center of Orel, the Germans put up a gallows and hanged an old man who protested against plunder. Beside him they hanged several citizens who refused to assist the Hitlerites in robbing the population of clothing and underwear.
In Rostov-on-Don, later liberated by the Red Army, the Germans ransacked all shops; stripped passers-by in the streets of their clothing, footwear, watches and valuables; pillaged houses wholesale, and senselessly destroyed everything they found difficult to carry away.
In the town of Istra, of the Moscow Region, the occupants robbed the population literally of their every belonging: underwear, clothing, crockery, furniture. Right in the streets they stripped local men and women workers of their clothes and footwear. Local residents were evicted en masse from their houses and deprived of fuel. On December 10 the Germans herded about 2,000 residents of the town, together with their children, into a church in the village of Darno, where many of them died of cold and hunger. On retreating from Istra, the Germans burned the town, thus completing the abominable list of their crimes perpetrated there.
German officers and soldiers engage in orgies of plunder in all captured Soviet districts. The German authorities have legalized looting by their army and encourage pillage and violence. The German Government regards this as a realization of the bandit "principle" it once enunciated, according to which every German warrior must have a "personal, material interest in the war."
Thus, secret instructions dated July 17, 1941, addressed to the commanders of all propaganda companies of the German Army and found by Red Army troops when they routed the 68th German Infantry Division, directly order: "Foster in every officer and soldier of the German Army the consciousness of personal, material interest in the war"
Such orders, pushing the army to mass pillage and murder of the peaceful population, are issued also in the armies allied with the Germans. Thus, Order No. 24,220, issued by the Chief of Staff of the 14th Rumanian Division, Colonel Nikolaescu, states: "Grain, large and small horned animals, and poultry should be confiscated from the population for the use of the army. Thorough searches should be carried out in every house, and everything must be taken away without leaving anything. In case of the slightest resistance, the people are to be shot on the spot and the
With increasing frequency one encounters on the German-Soviet front, particularly at the approaches to Moscow, officers and soldiers wearing plundered clothing, with stolen articles in their pockets, carrying in their tanks clothing, footwear and underwear torn from their victims, who are women and children.
The German Army is more and more turning into an army of predatory robbers and marauders, who devastate and ransack the flourishing towns and villages of the Soviet Union, and pillage and destroy the property and all the belongings accumulated by the working population of our villages and towns. The facts testify to the utter moral degradation and corruption of Hitler's army, which by plundering, stealing and marauding, has deserved the wrathful curse and scorn of the whole Soviet people.
Wherever German troops and German authorities have appeared on Soviet territory they have immediately instituted a regime of the cruelest exploitation and most arbitrary deprivation of rights against the defenseless civilian population. The occupants have instituted a regime of forced hard labor for the peaceful population, which is ruined and deprived of all means of subsistence.
Disregarding their age and the state of their health, the Hitlerites throw many Soviet citizens into concentration camps, after occupying or destroying their houses, and force them under pain of torture, shooting and starvation to perform without pay various hard tasks, including work of a military nature. On many occasions, after civilians have been used for some kind of work of a military nature, all of them have been shot in order to preserve secrecy.
Thus, in the village of Kolpino, in the Smolensk Region, the occupants compelled all the peasants to build bridges and fortifications for the German troops. After the construction of the fortifications was complete; all the peasants were shot. In order to keep secret the erection of fortifications on the right bank of the Dnieper River near the Ukrainian village of Kryakov, the Germans shot 40 local residents who took part in the construction work.
Residents of a number of districts liberated by the Red Army and situated far apart, state unanimously that the Germans used the civilian population for the particularly dangerous work of extracting mines from areas and objectives in front of the advancing German troops. Several documents of the German Command, taken by Red Army troops during the offensive at Rostov, prove that exploitation of the local population for particularly dangerous military work is provided for by special instructions of the German Command.
Thus, in an order-of-the-day of October 11, issued by the 76th German Infantry Division, Article 6, on Extraction of Mines, says: "Prisoners of war and individuals from the local population should be used for work entailing danger to life." This is but one of many base violations of all international regulations and all human morality with which the German Command has stained itself.
Peaceful residents forcibly set at compulsory work are called "prisoners of war" by the German authorities, and the same regime is instituted for them as for prisoners of war. It has been established that, in reports of the German Army Headquarters, peasants and other peaceful residents driven to compulsory work are automatically classed as "captured prisoners of war," thus artificially and illegitimately swelling the number of war prisoners. The inhuman regime instituted by the German fascist authorities for prisoners of war also becomes the lot of the civilian population.
Near the town of Plavsk, in the Tula Region, the Germans set up a camp where prisoners of war and the civilian population of the surrounding villages were kept together. Among the peasants detained in the camp were adolescents and old men. Their food ration consisted of two potatoes and a small quantity of boiled barley daily. The peasants detained in the camp were not given water and were ordered to quench their thirst with snow. The death rate in the camp reached 25-30 a day. If the inmates gathered in a group the Germans shot at such groups without warning.
In the village of Bereznyaki, in the Poltava Region, the German Command posted an order stating that failure of local residents to report for work would be punished by shooting. Many thousands of peaceful residents in this vicinity were taken away by the occupants not only for compulsory labor nearby, but were also taken deep into the German rear to starve while performing slave labor for German landlords.
Hundreds of peasants from the villages of Luchane, Semitsa, Dubrovetskoye, Korolevshchina, Abramovshchina, in the Ilyinsky District of the Smolensk Region alone) were taken away for compulsory labor and disappeared without a trace. On November 22, when the Germans entered the village of Faustovo, in the Zvenigorod District of the Moscow Region, the German authorities gathered the whole population, picked out the men and stronger women, and sent them far to the rear.
During their retreat, the Germans drove to the rear the populations of the villages of Ershovo, Skokovo and Funkovo, in the Zvenigorod District, and the village of Yessipovo, in the Solnechnogorsk District. Before leaving they set fire to all these villages. The same thing occurred in many other villages of the Moscow, Kalinin, Tula, Ryazan and Orel Regions, now liberated from the Germans.
While retreating from the Ukrainian villages of Khudoyarovo, Novy Liman and various other villages of the Shevchenko District of the Kharkov Region, the Germans burned these villages to the ground and carried away the whole adult population.
A similar regime of forced hard labor and concentration camps is practiced by the Germans in larger Soviet towns. Thus, after the occupation of Kiev, the Germans drove to work the whole civilian population from 11 to 60 years old, irrespective of occupation, condition of health, or nationality. Invalids who could not stand on their feet were fined 50 rubles a day for each day they did not report for work.
In another Ukrainian town, Pyatikhatka, in the Dniepropetrovsk Region, the Germans forced the whole population to work 20 hours a day without bread or water. Old men and women who collapsed from exhaustion were beaten with rifle butts and compelled to resume work under pain of cruel punishment and shooting.
In Kharkov the occupants decided especially to humiliate the local Ukrainian intellectuals. On November 5 an order was issued for all actors to appear for registration at the Shevchenko Theater building. When the actors gathered, they were surrounded by German soldiers, who harnessed them to carts and drove them along the most crowded streets to the river to haul water.
In all occupied regions the German Government established as local Nazi rulers all kinds of crooks from the Hitlerite party, who disregard all civil rights and all national customs of the population and attempt to Germanize everything and exterminate malcontents. These German authorities do everything to destroy all trace of the existence of the Republics which flourished as part of the Soviet State-the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia; Estonia, Moldavia. The German invaders know that these Soviet Republics accomplished a tremendous work for the rebirth of the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Moldavian peoples, for the extensive development of the national cultures of these peoples, similar to that accomplished by all peoples living in the fraternal community of the Soviet Union. The thick-headed fascists will yet realize that they will never succeed in Germanizing and subjugating these peoples.
The German invaders know no bounds in their hatred of the freedom-loving Russian people and the freedom-loving peoples of the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldavia. The destruction of the Ukrainian, Byelorussian and other national cultures, the destruction of their national memorials, schools and literature, and the forcible Germanization of the populations irrespective of nationality follow German occupation everywhere with the same criminal regularity as do plunder, violence, arson and mass murder.
In their malicious persecution of Russian culture, the German invaders revealed the utter vileness and vandalism of German fascism. For a month and a half the Germans occupied world-famous Yasnaia Polyana, where one of the greatest geniuses of humanity, Leo Tolstoi, lived and engaged in creative work. This glorious memorial of Russian culture, cleared of invaders on December 14 by Red Army troops, was devastated, soiled, and finally set on fire by the Nazi vandals. The great writer's grave was defiled by the occupants.
Irreplaceable relics connected with Leo Tolstoi's life and creative work-manuscripts, books, pictures-were either stolen by the German soldiery or thrown out and destroyed. In reply to a request by the museum staff to discontinue using personal furniture and books of the great writer as fuel for heating the house and to use for this purpose available firewood, a German officer named Schwartz said: "We don't need firewood. We will burn everything connected with the name of your Tolstoi."
On December 15, when Soviet troops liberated the town of Klin, it was revealed that the house in which the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky lived and engaged in creative work had been devastated and pillaged by Nazi officers and soldiers. In a building of the museum, the brazen occupants had set up a garage for motorcycles and had used for heating this garage the manuscripts, books, furniture and other museum exhibits-some of which, by the way, were stolen by the German invaders. In doing so, the Nazi officers knew that they were deriding the most: remarkable memorial of Russian culture.
During their occupation of the town of Istra, the German troops set up an ammunition dump in the famous, ancient Russian monastery known as Novy Ierussalim, which was founded in 1654 and restored in the 18th Century by the great architects Rastrelli and Kazakov. The Novy Ierussalim Monastery was the outstanding historical and religious memorial of the Russian people, renowned as a great and beautiful structure. This did not prevent the German fascist pogromists from blowing up their ammunition dump in Novy Ierussalim when they retreated from Istra, turning the irreplaceable memorial of the history of the Russian church into a heap of ruins.
Among other cultural monuments of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. destroyed and defiled by the German vandals must be named the monument to the great Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in the town of Kanev in the Ukraine, the house of the great Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov in the town of Tikhvin and the house of the world famous Russian writer Chekhov in Taganrog. These, like many others, were destroyed by the occupants.
The German occupants stopped at nothing in the occupied districts of the Soviet Republics in order to offend in every way the national sentiments of Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Letts, Lithuanians, Estonians and Moldavians, as well as of individual representatives of other nationalities inhabiting the U.S.S.R., whom they subjected to similar outrages and violence when they encountered them on their bloody path-Jews, Georgians, Armenians, Uzbeks, Azerdaijanians, Tajiks, and other representatives of the Soviet peoples welded together by feelings of fraternal friendship and collaboration in the Soviet Union.
Posing as representatives of an allegedly "superior race," and demanding submissiveness and slave labor from the freedom-loving peoples of the Soviet Union, the Hitlerites, by their whole base and oppressive behavior, have aroused the indescribable indignation and hatred of all peoples and all strata of society in the Soviet Union. The German occupants, who, under the flag of a "superior race," want not only to oppress their own people but also to enslave other peoples, bring to the occupied Soviet districts not only forced labor, devastation and famine, but also outrage of human dignity and national sentiments.
The German Army invaded our territory in order to destroy the free life and culture of the peoples of the Soviet Union, to Germanize and enslave these peoples. For this very reason the peoples of the Soviet Union rallied into an inflexible and impregnable force against the hateful German Army of oppressors. There is no limit to the popular wrath and indignation called forth from the whole Soviet population and the Red Army by the innumerable instances of base violence, abominable outrage of the honor of women, and mass murder of Soviet men and women committed by the German fascist officers and soldiers.
Wherever the German bayonet begins its rule, it institutes an unbearable regime of bloody terrorism, excruciating tortures and brutal murders. The pillaging in which German officers and soldiers everywhere engage is accompanied by beatings and murders of a tremendous number of absolutely innocent people. For failure to comply with a demand to surrender all food down to the last grain or to surrender all clothing down to the last shirt, the occupants torture and hang old and young, women and children. During forced labor, they beat and shoot people who fail to accomplish the work quotas which the Germans have established.
On June 30 the Hitlerite bandits entered Lvov, and on the very next day arranged a massacre under the slogan: "Kill the Jews and Poles." Having murdered hundreds of people, the Hitlerite bandits staged an "exhibition" of those killed in the passageway of a building. The first place at this horrifying "exhibition" was occupied by the body of a woman whose baby was nailed to her with a bayonet. Such were the monstrous brutalities of the Hitlerites at the very beginning of the war.
Wading through streams of blood, the Hitlerite scoundrels continue their vile crimes. On December 2, in the village of Krasnaia Polyana, near Moscow, the German fascist scoundrels gathered all the working population from 15 to 60 years old and locked them in the building of the district executive committee, unheated and with broken windows, and kept them without bread or water for eight days. Women workers Zaitseva, Gudkina, Naletkina and Mikhailova, of the Krasnaia Polyana factory, who were subjected to this torture, saw their babies die in their arms.
Cases are not infrequent of Hitlerites using Soviet children as targets for shooting practice. In the village of Bely Rast, in the Krasnaia Polyana District, a group of drunken German soldiers put the 12-year-old boy Volodya Tkachev on the porch of a house as a target and opened fire with automatic rifles. The boy's whole body was riddled with bullets. After that the bandits opened disorderly fire at the windows of houses. They halted collective farmer Mossolova, who was passing down the street with her three children, and shot her on the spot, together with the children.
In the village of Voskresenskaye, in the Dubinin District, the Hitlerites used a three-year-old boy as a target for machine-gun practice. In the district center of Volovo, in the Kursk Region, where the Germans stayed four hours, a German officer dashed the head of the two-year-old son of a woman named Boikova against a wall and killed him because he was crying. In the Zhlobino rural Soviet, in the Orel Region, the fascists killed the two-year-old child of collective farmer Kratov because its crying disturbed their sleep.
In the village of Semenovka, in the Kalinin Region, the Germans raped 25-year-old Tikhonova, wife of a Red Army man and mother of three children, who was in the last stage of pregnancy. They tied her hands with a piece of string. After raping her the Germans cut her throat, stabbed both her breasts, and drilled them in a sadistic manner. In the same village the occupants shot a 13-year-old boy and carved a five-cornered star on his forehead.
In November, telegraph operator Ivanova went with her 13-year-old son Leonid to visit relatives in the village of Burashovo, near Kalinin. As they left the town they were noticed by Hitlerites, who opened fire at them from a distance of 60 yards and killed the boy. The mother made several attempts to lift and carry away her boy's body, but at each attempt the Germans fired at her, and she was forced to abandon the body. For eight days the German soldiers did not allow her to remove the body. It was taken away and buried by Ivanova only after this locality was occupied by our troops.
In Rostov-on-Don, Vitya Cherevichny, 15,-year-old pupil of a vocational school, was playing in a courtyard with his pigeons. German soldiers passing by began to take away the pigeons. The boy protested. The Germans took him out and shot him at the corner of 28th Avenue and First of May Street because he did not give them the pigeons. The Hitlerites stamped on the boy's face with their boots and deformed it beyond recognition.
The village of Basmanovo, of the Glinka District of the Smolensk Region, liberated by our troops early in September, was only a heap of ashes after the German occupation. On the first day, the fascist fiends chased into a field over 200 schoolboys and girls who had come to the village to take part in the harvesting and there surrounded and brutally shot them. They carried away a large group of schoolgirls to the rear for the "gentlemen officers."
German occupation of a town or village usually begins with the erection of a gallows, on which the German hangmen execute the first peaceful residents they can lay hands on. They let the gallows with the hanging bodies stand for many days, even for several weeks. They also leave untouched for many days the bodies of those whom they shoot in the streets of towns and villages. After the capture of Kharkov the Germans hanged several persons in the windows of a large house in the center of the city. Also in Kharkov, on November 16, the fascists hanged 19 persons, including one woman, on the balconies of several houses.
In Cherepets, rural soviet of the Velikie Luki District of the Kalinin Region, the occupants shot and burned several large peasant families. In the town of Tikhvin, in the Leningrad Region, the body of Army Surgeon, 1st Rank, Ryazantsev was found in a house. His nose had been cut off, his arms dislocated, his head scalped and there were several bayonet wounds in his neck. In the village of Voronki, in the Ukraine, the Germans placed 40 captured and wounded Red Army men and nurses in a former hospital. They took away from the medical personnel all dressing materials, medicines, food and other property. The nurses were raped and shot. The Germans placed guards near the wounded and for four days allowed no one to approach them. Some of the wounded died and the rest were later thrown in the river. The local population was forbidden to remove the bodies.
No German is held responsible for the murder of a Soviet citizen, however senseless it may be. On the contrary, murders are encouraged by the German authorities.
Base outrage of women and girls occurs everywhere in the occupied districts. In the Ukrainian village of Borodayevka, in the Dniepropetrovsk Region, the fascists raped all women and girls without exception. In the village of Berezovka, in the Smolensk Region, drunken German soldiers raped and carried away all women and girls aged 16 to 30. In Smolensk the German Command opened a brothel for officers in a hotel, to which they drove hundreds of girls and women. These women were mercilessly dragged over the pavement by the hands or hair.
Everywhere the German bandits bestially break into houses, rape women and girls before the eyes of their relatives and children, humiliate those whom they rape, and brutally murder their victims on the spot. In Lvov 32 women workers of a clothing factory were raped and then killed by German stormtroopers. Drunken German soldiers dragged Lvov girls and young women to Kostyushko Park and brutally raped them. When an old priest named Romaznev, holding a cross in his hands, tried to prevent the rape of girls, the fascists beat him, tore off his cassock, burned his beard and bayoneted him to death.
Near the town of Borisov, in Byelorussia, 75 women and girls who fled before the troops fell into Hitlerite hands. The Germans raped and brutally murdered 36 women and girls. On orders of a German artillery officer, the soldiers took 16-year-old Melchukova into the forest and raped her. Later, other women also taken into the forest saw the dying Melchukova nailed with bayonets to boards propped against a tree. In the presence of these other women, Alferenko and Bereznickova, the Germans cut off her breasts.
During their retreat from the village of Borovski, in the Zvenigorod District of the Moscow Region, the fascists forcibly carried away several women, separating them from their small children despite their entreaties and protests. In Tikhvin, in the Leningrad Region, 15-year-old Kolodetskaya, wounded by a shell splinter, was taken to a hospital in a former monastery where wounded German soldiers were staying. Despite her wound, Kolodetskaya was raped by a group of German soldiers, which caused her death.
Reports of abominable outrages committed against women and girls, schoolgirls and children during the days of the occupation arrive daily from villages and towns recently liberated from the German invaders, in particular from various districts of the Moscow, Leningrad, Kalinin, Tula, Orel, Kursk, Voroshilovgrad, Stalino and Rostov Regions. In many cases the ravishers also murdered their victims.
The Hitlerites did not confine themselves to murders of individual Soviet citizens. Outstanding in the history of fiendish Hitlerite cruelty, ravages and terrorism in occupied Soviet territory were mass murders of Soviet citizens, which as a rule accompanied temporary occupation of towns and villages and other populated places. Here are several examples of wholesale, bloody massacres of whole populations of villages perpetrated by the German occupants:
In the village of Yaskino, in the Smolensk Region, the Hitlerites shot all old men and adolescents and burned the houses to the ground. In the village of Pochinok, in the same region, the Germans herded all old men, women and children into the house of the collective farm board, locked the door, and burned them all. In the Ukrainian village of Emelchino, in the Zhitomir Region, the Germans locked 68 persons in a small house and boarded up the windows. As a result, all of them suffocated.
In the village of Ershovo, in the Zvenigorod District of the Moscow Region, now liberated by our troops, the Germans, while evacuating the village, herded about 200 peaceful residents and wounded Red Army men into the church, locked them in, and blew up the church. On November 16 in the village of Agrafenovka, in the Rostov Region, the fascists arrested all men aged 16-70 and shot every third man.
A horrible massacre and pogrom were perpetrated by the German invaders in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Within a few days the German bandits killed and tortured to death 52,000 men, women, old folk and children, dealing mercilessly with all Ukrainians, Russians and Jews who in any way displayed their fidelity to the Soviet Government. Soviet citizens who escaped from Kiev gave an agonizing account of one of these mass executions:
A large number of Jews, including women and children of all ages, was gathered in the Jewish cemetery of Kiev. Before they were shot, all were stripped naked and beaten. The first persons selected for shooting were forced to lie face down at the bottom of a ditch and were shot with automatic rifles. Then the Germans threw a little earth over them. The next group of people awaiting execution was forced to lie on top of them, and shot, and so on.
Many mass murders were also committed by the German occupants in other Ukrainian towns. These bloody executions were especially directed against unarmed and defenseless Jewish working people. According to incomplete figures, no less than 6,000 persons were shot in Lvov, over 8,000 in Odessa, over 8,500 killed or hanged in Kamenets-Podolsk, over 10,500 persons shot down with machine guns in Dniepropetrovsk, and over 3,000 local residents shot in Mariupol, including many old men, women and children, all of whom were robbed and stripped naked before execution. According to preliminary figures, about 7,000 persons were killed by the German fascist bandits in Kerch.
The Nazi blood lust at Rostov gained wide notoriety. Having established themselves in Rostov for 10 days, the Germans murdered not only individuals and families, but in their bloody zeal annihilated scores and hundreds of residents, especially in the workers" districts of the city. Near the building of the railway administration, in broad daylight, the Germans shot down 48 persons with automatic rifles. On the sidewalk of a central street of Rostov, the Hitlerite murderers shot 60 persons. In the Armenian cemetery they killed 200 persons. Even after they were driven from Rostov by our troops, the German generals and officers publicly boasted that they would return for the specific activity of taking a bloody revenge on Rostov civilians who had actively helped to oust their sworn enemies from their native city.
In addition to all the above, the Soviet Government possesses documentary material concerning a frequently repeated, fiendish crime of the German fascist command-the use of peaceful Soviet citizens as a shield for German troops fighting the Red Army.
On August 28, 1941, while crossing the River Kaput, German fascist troops, unable to overcome the staunch resistance of the Red Army, gathered the population of the Byelorussian town of Dobruzh, in the Gomel Region, and, under pain of execution, drove women, children and old men in front of them while they deployed their forces for an attack. The same base crime against the civilian population was repeated by the German Command near the Vybory state farm, in the Leningrad Region, and in the Yelnya District of the Smolensk Region.
The fascist blackguards have again resorted to this bestial and cowardly stratagem in recent days. On December 8 the Hitlerites covered their retreat from the village of Vamnoye, in the Tula Region, with the local population. On December 12, in the same district, they gathered 120 old men and children and sent them ahead of their troops during fighting against advancing Red Army units.
When our troops fought to liberate the town of Kalinin, units of the 303rd Regiment of the 162nd German Division, in an attempt to launch a counter-attack, gathered the women of a suburban village, placed them to the fore, and went into action. Fortunately, the Soviet troops succeeded in beating off this attack, drove a wedge between the Hitlerites and their victims, and saved the women.
There is no limit to the cruelty and bloodthirstiness of the German fascist army which has broken into our territory. The Hitlerite army wages not an ordinary war, but a bandit war to exterminate the peace-loving peoples standing in the way of the German fascist criminals' aspiration for domination over other peoples and over the whole world. The Hitlerite Government of Germany, which treacherously attacked the Soviet Union, ignores all provisions of international law in making war, and all requirements of human morality. It wages war, in the first place, against the peaceful, unarmed population-women, children and old folk-thus revealing its wild, bandit nature. This bandit government, which recognizes only force and banditry, must be broken by the all-crushing strength of the freedom-loving peoples, in the ranks of which the Soviet peoples will fulfill to the end their great task of liberation.
Not only the Red Army, but the whole of our multi-millioned people is filled with burning hatred and craves merciless revenge for the blood and shattered lives of Soviet citizens. The Soviet people will never forget the brutalities, violence, devastation and humiliation which the bestial bands of the German invaders inflicted and continue to inflict on the peaceful population of our country. They will not forget and pardon.
Informing all governments with which the U.S.S.R. maintains diplomatic relations of all these brutalities perpetuated by the German invaders, the Soviet Government declares that it places the whole responsibility for these inhuman, bandit actions of the German troops upon the criminal Hitlerite Government of Germany. At the same time, the Government of the U.S.S.R. declares with unshakable confidence that the struggle of the Soviet nation for liberation is a struggle not only for the rights and liberty of the peoples of the Soviet Union, but for the rights and liberty of all freedom-loving peoples of the world, and that this war can end only in utter defeat of Hitler's troops and complete victory over Hitlerite tyranny.
Moscow, January 6, 1942