Allied Atrocities: Entire families were liquidated

Published: 1989-01-01

First report of three judges from the military court at Prague, Hans Boetticher, Georg Hurtig, and Horst Reger. The report dated 29 September 1939 describes their work in the province of Posen between 18 and 28 September:

"Witness depositions were not limited to ethnic Germans but also extended to Polish persons. Polish soldiers, especially the infantry, were much involved in the murders. In the majority of case the victims were first arrested under some pretext... most often following German air attacks. The following are the most common grounds for the arrests, when grounds were at all given: alleged possession of weapons, ammunition, and secret transmitters; giving light signals to German planes; espionage; and giving shelter to spies. But in many case it sufficed for the arrest if the victim affirmatively answered the question whether he was German and of the Lutheran faith. From the entire province of Posen the ethnic Germans, who had evidently been arrested according to a special list, were driven toward Kutno. During the march continuous abuses were committed by the military escort... primarily against those who because of weakness or advanced age or disease could not walk fast enough.

"In addition to the victims of these deportations there were killings of ethnic Germans in other parts of the province, especially in the eastern and southern districts, where some extraordinarily brutal murders were committed. Entire families were liquidated. The men were not always merely shot but frequently slaughtered with all sorts of tools before the eyes of their relatives, who had also been advised of their impending death. Many of the corpses were discovered with severe mutilations. At Tarlova near Kolo, Polish soldiers hunted down with machine guns a large number of Germans. Witnesses reported finding some 130 corpses strewn about on the field like hares after the hunt.

"In three cases it could be established that the Polish Army did not treat members of the Luftwaffe who had jumped out of their stricken planes as prisoners of war but shot them instead. Only some of the witnesses have been interrogated thus far, because many who had particularly gruesome experiences are still psychically so shaken that taking depositions did not appear advisable."

Alfred M. de Zayas, The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. 1989. p. 133-34

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Alfred M. De Zayas
Title: Allied Atrocities: Entire families were liquidated
Sources: Alfred M. de Zayas, "The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945", University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. 1989. p. 133f.
Published: 1989-01-01
First posted on CODOH: June 29, 1995, 7 p.m.
Last revision:
Comments: Excerpt
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