20. August 1946
20 Aug 46. All the occasional relief cannot hide the fact that we are lawless labour slaves. A captain gets 5 years imprisonment for refusing to work, which he is perfectly entitled to under the Geneva Convention. 2 men get 2 days of punishment platoon for not fulfilling the norm, although it was a mistake of norms. The Soviet Union never again has the right to denounce exploitation, war crimes or crimes against humanity. All too often they have violated these themselves.
Comrades tell:In the main camp Smolensk, 2400 out of 6000 men died of hunger, dysentery and typhus in the summer of 1944 alone. In the winter of 1944/45, outdoor work was carried out at -30 to -35° C (violation of Geneva!), and at that in scanty, ragged clothing and some without shoes. everal Panje carts full of dead were taken out of the camp every day. - Oberfeldwebel Vogt beats a comrade to death with a club for defying his orders. Smolensk winter 44/45: Day record 87 dead.
A civilian prisoner (abducted civilian! Geneva!) from Gdansk tells how his flat neighbour had to stand in the room, one of his children on each hand, and watch as his wife, lying on the floor in front of him, was raped by 7 Russians. - Russian tanks awaken the population, and as they pour into the street, they are fired upon with machine guns. - Rape on the run.
Zirnke recounts: When captured, line up at a trench, Russian sets up machine gun, and only a senior Russian officer prevents them all from being shot. Nevertheless, some are shot. A sergeant is shot after looking through his pay book. - Officer with his head nailed to a tree, eyes gouged out, genitals cut off. Shot in the neck, beaten to death. Zinke recounts: After capture, the order is: officers out on the right, Hiwis (Russian auxiliaries to German troops) out on the left. They are shot, the column marches on.
Sept. 45. Russian doctor gets 5 days in jail (Arrest) because she was in bed with a German officer. - The heroes' cemetery in Libau is vacated. In Nica it still stands. - German officer disguised as a woman escapes with a Latvian girl. On the way the Latvian girl is stopped and molested by Russians. The German becomes nervous and flees, gets shot. His grave is tended by Latvians. The graves of Gise and Werthen (Werschem?) in Bernati tended by Latvians. - There is a service in the Riga church (which one?). - In Windau Russian posts and German POWs steal clothing together. - Königsberg, Vistula and Oder fronts: prisoners or wounded who can no longer walk or go limp are shot. - Driving tanks into columns of prisoners was apparently a common crime. - Prisoners are stripped of their felt boots; they have to walk barefoot. - Repeated rape of women. A 14-year-old Latvian girl. - Königsberg: 6 Landser and 2 Red Cross nurses, hidden in the cellar, discovered by Russians. Nurses are raped. 2 Landser jump to the rescue, are stabbed with bayonets. East Prussia: In one room 30 German women with their eyes gouged out, ears and noses cut off. One woman has an umbrella thrust into her vagina. - Women taken out of refugee columns and raped 5 metres from the road.
(Own addition: From my own relatives and acquaintances two women were raped by Russians, i.e. by a group of Russians).
For every 5 who escaped from the camp, 10 men were shot in front of the camp staff. - The wife of Alfons Kaletha (Kalescha) was raped. - Latvian officers are treated worse than German officers. - A forest commando (German woodcutting brigade) goes to the village on Sundays to dance. Peasants good-natured. Townspeople more incensed. End of reports.
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- From the preface: I cannot necessarily vouch for the truthfulness of the "Comrades recount" sections. With such reports, exaggerations and pomposity on the part of the narrators cannot be ruled out, although I personally do not doubt the truth of these reports in principle from my own knowledge and experience.
- In the original "Giese"; presumably meaning Colonel Freiherr Ernst August Maximilian Josef von Gise, commander of the group Oberst von Gise (last division-ranking command authority in the author's last position area), who fell near Bernati on 08.05.1945.