Category Archives: Jake Denbigh’s weblog

All lies and propaganda

Newspaper article: Nazi chiefs to hang
Newspaper cutting: October 2 1946
Newspaper article: Nazi war criminals die on scaffold
Newspaper cutting: October 16 1946

This is what we did to their leaders. What about ours? What about the war criminals Churchill and Roosevelt? What about Berlin? What about Dresden? This is all lies and propaganda. David Garrick-Smith’s book Damned Lies: The politics of truth and the politics of persuasion will tell you what’s really going on here. The Nazis were fighting a war. They were trying to put down Stalin. They had to execute terrorists and insurgents, same as we do now.

This is what I’ve got

Jake- This is what I’ve got.

Katarina Bahaikuk: (former resident of the village of Zialony Luh)
The shootings began here in 1937. At first, three times a day, dawn, early afternoon and in the evening. They bought truck-loads of people into the forest and shot them. We were children. We used to hide in the forest and watch what they were doing. They threw the corpses into deep pits that had been dug there and when the pit was full, they covered it with sand. I remember the yellow sand piled high and the blood on the ground. In my memory, sometimes the sand heaved, as if the grave was breathing. But maybe that is just a child’s nightmare. Later, they enclosed the site, and the shootings became more frequent. We could hear the trucks arriving all through the nights.

Mikhail Piatrovic:
The graves were dug in the first part of the day. The people were shot in batches. They were lined up in front of the pit, and gags were put in their mouths. The executioners wore NKVD uniforms. They fired their rifles from the side, into the head of the end person, so that the bullet went through two people.

There was a great deal of blood, and groans. Even those who were buried still groaned.

What the volunteers did

Dear Mr Denbigh

I have seen your query and I have some information you may find useful. I have not been able to track down your Marek Lange, but I have access to the archives at Hrodna where such information may be kept.

I am an archivist here in Minsk, and I have access to many papers relating to the last war. Your talk of the Auxiliary Police Battalions brings bad memories to those of us whose families lived through the war. I have attached a picture — you can see the original in our museum here, the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. This is what happened in Minsk, under the rule of the Nazis. This is what the ‘volunteers’ did.

If you should ever travel to Belarus in the course of your researches, I would be happy to assist you in any way.

Yours most sincerely

Adam Zuygev.

hanging in Minsk
hanging in Minsk

Ukraine, 1941

I’m working on my doctorate on the occupation of Ukraine 1941-1944, and I came across this when I was going though some original documents from the occupation of 1941- any use? [I have translated this from the original German]

Application by Kube, Generalkommissar of Byelorussia, to Lohse concerning the condition of German Jews in Minsk:
My Dear Hinrich
I wish to ask you personally for an official directive for the conduct of the civilian administration towards the Jews transported from Germany to Byelorussia. Among these Jews are men who fought at the Front and have the Iron Cross. I am certainly a hard man and willing to help solve the Jewish question, but people who come from our own cultural sphere are just not the same as the brutish hordes in this place. Is the slaughter to be carried out by the Lithuanians and the Letts, who are themselves rejected by the population here? I couldn’t do it. I beg you to give clear directives.
With heartfelt greeting
Heil Hitler!
Yours truly, Wilhelm Kube

Best, KC, Sheffield Uni.