Arsch, bitte!

Published: 2012-09-20

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Document 343-USSR, OKW Decree, 20 July 1942: All Soviet Prisoners of War Are to Be Tattooed for Identification Purposes. IMT Vol. 39, pp. 488-491

Document 343, OKW Decree, 20 July 1942:

Photocopy of a mimeograph, certified by the Soviet prosecutors, in two parts.

First page: 1 next to "Certified True Copy" at *; round stamp with national emblem: ,"Secret State Police, Secret Police Agency" (mimeograph) 11 right stamp beneath date: ,,EK, AK, PIC, SK SB" (all under each other), ,"Agency VI, time of day, Annexes, 3. AUG. 1942, VI E 1'' (number handwritten); through lower stamp, margin two paragraphs illegible

The Chief of the Security Police, Berlin, 30 July 1942 and SD IV Alc-BNr. 9587/42. To:
all State Police central offices,
all Criminal Police central offices,
SD- (central) sections,
the Commanders of the Security Police and SD.,
the liaison leaders at the POW Commander in the SS-Stubaf. L I s k a in L u b l i n,
the liaison leaders at the POW Commander in Military District I -KK. W a 1 t e r -in Königsberg,
the Commanders of the Security Police and SD.,
the Chiefs of Einsatzgruppen B, D, Sonderkommandos 7a, 7b, 4a, 4b, 10a, lob,
Einsatzkommandos 8, 9, llb, 12.
For information: to: the Reichs Security Main Office, Distributor C.,
the Reichs Ministry for the Interior, Division I Ra,
the Chief of the regular police force,
the higher SS-and Police leaders,
the Inspectors of the Security Police and SD.,

Concerning: Marking [Kennzeichnung] of Soviet POWS with mark [Merkmal].

Reference: none. Annex: -1-

Enclosed in annex please find a copy of an order from the Armed Forces High Command, dated 20.7.42 –ref. 2 f 24.82 h Chief POWS/Medical/General. (Ia)/Org. (IVc) no. 3142142 for information.

In representation: signed Müller, Office employee

[lack of italics indicate that Müller has not signed the document]


Certified: Arndt

[italics indicate handwritten signature by “Arndt”, whoever he is]

Page 2: Red line from *' to *"


Armed Forces High Command, ref. 2 f 24.82h Chief POW Medical Service / General ( I a ) / Org. (I V c) Berlin-Schöneberg, 20.7.1942. Badensche Str.51. Nr. 3142142 -

Concerning: Marking of Soviet POWs with a mark.

1) Soviet POWs are to be marked by a special permanent mark.

The mark shall consist of an open sharp angle of about 45 º and 1 cm in length [ONE QUARTER INCH!] on the left buttock (^), about a hand’s breadth from the cleft between the buttocks. It is to be applied by means of lancets, which are available among all bodies of soldiers. India ink is to be used as dyestuff.

Application of the mark is to be performed as follows: superficially scratch the taut skin and wet with India ink, using a lancet previously sterilized by heating ["Oberflächliches Ritzen der gespannten Haut mit der mit chinesischer Tusche benetzten, vorher ausgegluhten Lanzette"].

[This is a very strange tattooing technique. It stresses sterilization of the lancet, but says nothing about the danger of contaminating the ink. I think in the end you would wind up simply making an incision and rubbing ink into the wound with your fingers. - C.P.]

Avoid making cuts that bleed profusely. Since we do not possess sufficient experience of the durability of the mark at the present time, the marks must be examined and redone, if necessary, first, at intervals of 14 days, [then] after 4 weeks and one quarter year (see Number 7).

2) [there is no paragraph 2]

3) The marking should not be considered a surgical procedure. Due to the shortage of medical personnel, therefore, German medical personnel should not be assigned to perform the marking. On the other hand, there is no objection to having the marking performed by Soviet POW medical personnel under German supervision. Sufficient numbers of such auxiliary personnel should be instructed in the practical execution of the procedure in accordance with this order.

4) In the interest of rapid completion, lancets and India ink should be commandeered to all responsible stores of medical equipment.

5) The marking is to be performed:

a) upon Soviet POWs captured in future in the areas under the Supreme Command of Armed Forces in the Ostland and Ukraine and the military commanders in the Generalgouvernement following bodily cleansing and initial delousing, and

b) upon all other POWs in the area of the OKW [Armed Forces High Command] by Sept.1942. Confirmation of execution to OKW by 15 0ct.1942 to 0KW.

6) The work service should not be disrupted by this measure; the marking of POWs assigned to work commandos should, if possible, be performed in the barracks of the work commandos or during the next delousing.

7).The completed marking should be immediately recorded on the staff card, in the column “Special Marks”, with “[date] 1942", with notation of any necessary repetition of the mark (see number 2).

*' 8) For the marking of Soviet POWs under the Army High Command [OKH], the OKH General Headquarters will take the necessary steps.

Notification of all dispositions is requested.

Distributor: See next page.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,

In representation.

Signed signature. [i.e., there is no signature on the document]


by Carlos W. Porter

This is an absolutely typical Nuremberg "document" -- a "photocopy" of an unsigned "copy" of a "mimeograph" "certified authentic" by the Soviets. This is the only "German" document ever found that even MENTIONS the tattooing of prisoners.

If this Soviet-certified "photocopy" is authentic, there should be thousands of originals lying around in Germany and elsewhere, since the mimeograph was allegedly sent, with cover letter, to every police agency and army unit in Germany and the East.

Second, the tattoos were ONE QUARTER INCH LONG, and were applied to the LEFT BUTTOCK of SOVIET POWS only.

There is no mention of "numbers for identification purposes", or of Jews. This didn't stop at least one Jewish "witness" from baring her arm at the SAME TRIAL and regaling the court with the usual fairy tale (the "witness" Schmagalevskaya, IMT VIII 319).

So the Germans had to pull everybody's pants down to search for a mark that wouldn't even be easy to see, but where it would get infected easily, partly because a tattoo needs to be exposed to air while it heals and should be protected from friction.

There should also be millions of ex-Soviet citizens (including emigrants to America) visiting high schools, grade schools and universities -- not to mention TV -- pulling their pants down and baring their asses to exhibit a tiny upside down "V", at an angle of 45 degrees, on their left buttock (TV close-up, please!).

What an edifying spectacle. It might be interesting to raise this question the next time a "Hoaxoco$t survivor" shows up at your kid’s school.

Arsch, bitte! [Ass, Please]

[Source: Volume 39 of on-line version of IMT transcript, .

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Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Carlos Whitlock Porter
Title: Arsch, bitte!
Sources: Smith's Report, No. 193, September 2012, pp. 5f.
Published: 2012-09-20
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 21, 2012, 7 p.m.
Last revision:
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