During the International Military Tribunal, held at Nuremberg after the war to try German war criminals, a German engineer who was an eyewitness to a massacre of Jews in the Ukraine, where Ukrainian guards were used, dryly described what proved to be a relatively routine event.
On 5th October 1942, when I visited the building office at Dubno my foreman told me that in the vicinity of the site, Jews from Dubno had been shot in three large pits, each about 30 metres long and 3 metres deep. About
1,500 persons had been killed daily. All the 5,000 Jews who had still been living in Dubno before the pogrom were to be liquidated. As the shooting had taken place in his presence, he was still much upset.
Thereupon I drove to the site accompanied by my foreman and saw near it great mounds of earth. about 30 metres long and 2 metres high. Several trucks stood in front of the mounds. Armed Ukrainian militia drove the people off the trucks under the supervision of an S.S. man. The militiamen acted as guards on the trucks and drove them to and from the pit. All these people had the regulation yellow patches on the front and back of their clothes, and thus could be recognized as Jews.
My foreman and I went directly to the pits. Nobody bothered us. Now I heard rifle shots in quick succession from behind on one of the earth mounds. The people had got off the trucks—men, women and children of all ages— had to undress upon order of an S.S. man, who carried a riding or dog whip. They had to put down their clothes in fixed places. sorted according to shoes, to clothing, and underclothing. I saw a heap of shoes of about 800 or 1,000 pairs. great piles of underlinen and clothing.
Without screaming or weeping these people undressed, stood around in family groups, kissed each other, said farewells, and waited for a sign from another S.S. man, who stood near the pit, also with a whip in his hand. During the 15 minutes that I stood near I heard no complaint or plea for mercy… .
At that moment the S.S. man at the pit shouted something to his comrade. The latter counted off about 20 persons and instructed them to go behind the earth mound… . I walked around the mound and found myself confronted by a tremendous grave. People were closely wedged together and lying on top of each other so that only their heads were visible. Nearly all had blood running over their shoulders from their heads.
Some of the people shot were still moving. Some were lifting their arms and turning their heads to show that they were still alive. The pit was already two-thirds full. I estimated that it already contained about 1,000 people. I looked for the man who did the shooting. He was an S.S. man, who sat at the edge of the narrow end of the pit, his feet dangling into the pit. He had a tommy-gun on his knees and was smoking a cigarette.