S.R.G.G. 1158 (C)
The following conversation took place between: --
CS/1952 – Generalmajor BRUNS (Heeres-Waffenmeisterschule I, BERLIN), Capt’d GÖTTINGEN (8 Apr 45) and other Senior Officer PW[s] whose voices could not be identified.
Information received: 25 Apr 45
BRUNS: As soon as I heard those Jews were to be shot on Friday I went to a 21-year old boy and said that they had made themselves very useful in the area under my command, besides which the Army MT park had employed 1500 and the 'Heeresgruppe' 800 women to make underclothes of the stores we captured in RIGA; besides which about 1200 women in the neighborhood of RIGA were turning millions of captured sheepskins into articles we urgently required: ear-protectors, fur caps, fur waistcoats, etc. Nothing had been provided, as of course the Russian campaign was known to have come to a victorious end in October 1941. In short, all those women were employed in a useful capacity. I tried to save them. I told that fellow ALTENMEYER(?) whose name I shall always remember and who will be added to the list of war criminals: "Listen to me, they represent valuable man-power." "Do you call Jews valuable human beings, sir?". I said: "Listen to me properly, I said 'valuable man-power'. I didn't mention their value as human beings." He said: "Well, they're to be shot in accordance with the FÜHRER's orders. I said: "FÜHRER's orders?" "Yes", whereupon he showed me his orders. This happened at SKIOTAWA(?), 8 km. from RIGA, between SIAULAI and JELGAVA, where 5000 BERLIN Jews were suddenly taken off the train and shot. I didn't see that myself, but what happened at SKIOTAWA(?) - to cut a long story short, I argued with the fellow and telephoned to the General at HQ, to JAKOBS and ABERGER(?), and to a Dr. SCHULTZ who was attached to the Engineer General, on behalf of these people; I told him: "Granting that the Jews have committed a crime against the other peoples of the world, at least let them do the drudgery; send them to throw earth on the roads to prevent our heavy lorries skidding." "Then I'd have to feed them." I said: "The little amount of food they receive, let's assume 2 million Jews - they got 125 gr. of bread a day - if we can't even manage that, the sooner we end the war the better." Then I telephoned, thinking it would take some time. At any rate on Sunday morning I heard that they had already started on it. The Ghetto was cleared and they were told: "You're being transferred; take along your most essential things." Incidentally it was a happy release for those people, as their life in the Ghetto was a martyrdom. I wouldn't believe it and drove there, to have a look.
? [Unidentified P.O.W.]: Everyone abroad knew about it; only we Germans were kept in ignorance.