28th October 1943: The Russian people continue to suffer atrocities - even as the Wehrmacht retreats
As the Germans pulled back in Russia the Soviet authorities were uncovering the evidence of many atrocities. Nobody who had survived in the areas that had been occupied had been unaffected, and many were deeply traumatised.
Large numbers of people remained in the occupied areas and for them the changing fortunes of war only made matters worse. Now that the Germans were on the back foot they were, if possible, even more ruthless in seeking to deter partisan activity in the rear areas.
… we had no partisans in the village and nobody took part in any partisan activities, since there was nobody left. Only old people and small children were left in the village,
The following is the evidence of one survivor, Jacob Grigoriev1, who was cross-examined by Colonel Smirnov, one of the Soviet prosecutors at the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg after the war:
Q. Please tell us, witness, in which village you lived before the war?
A. In the village of Kusnezovo, Porkhov Region, district of Pskov.
Q. In which village were you overtaken by the outbreak of war ?
A. In the village of Kusnezovo.
Q. Does this village exist to-day?
A. It does not.
Q. Please tell the Tribunal what happened.
A. On the memorable day of 28th October, 1943, German soldiers suddenly raided our village and started murdering the peaceful citizens, shooting them, chasing them into the houses.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to World War II Today to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.