Nuremberg (Jan. 3)
Major General Otto Ohlendorf, former aide of Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, today testified before the International Military Tribunal here that 90,000 Jews were “liquidated” in Russia by his unit alone in the first year of the war.
Some of the Jews, he stated, were shot in anti-tank ditches and gullies, while others were killed in gas vans. He admitted that he himself had given orders for the mass-execution of Jews and said that he was personally present when some of the executions were carried out.
The Nazi police general told the tribunal that special SS units attached to the German Army on the eastern front had orders to kill every Jew. The high command of the German Army had full knowledge of the orders, he declared, adding that he had frequently conferred with army commanders on the execution of these instructions which were issued by Hermber.
“I was present at the mass executions,” he testified. “A local einsatz commander would collect all the Jews in one area. They would be rounded up on the pretext that they were to be relocated. After registration, the Jews were collected at certain places, then transported to the place of execution, which was usually an anti-tank ditch or a natural gully. The Jews were transported in trucks and executed immediately. The time during which the victims knew what was going to happen to them was kept as short as possible.”
An affidavit by Bertrus Gerdes, district leader of the Gestapo troops in Bavaria, was read in court, revealing that Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the Nazi Security Police and one of the defendants, had ordered the “liquidation” of two Jewish camps at landsberg and Mushldorf “by the air force.” The order could not be carried out and the Jewish inmates of the Landsberg camp were marched to Dachau to be exterminated there, the affidavit said.