7 Jan. 46

COL. POKROVSKY: You have told us that certain operations during the struggle against the partisans were conducted by officers and generals of the Wehrmacht, and I now ask you if you can name some of the officers and generals?

VON DEM BACH-ZELEWSKI: Yes, some of the generals I have already mentioned. In addition I remember Major General Hartmann, in central Russia. One large-scale anti-partisan operation was either led by him or at least directed by him from his headquarters. I also remember Colonel General Reinhardt in whose rear zone there were important partisan groups. I might even say that there was not a single general in the rear zone who did not participate in the struggle against the partisans. I cannot, of course, remember all the names; but if I hear them mentioned, I can tell you whether or not they participated.

COL. POKROVSKY: Could you tell us what undertaking was commanded by General Ackmann?

VON DEM BACH-ZELEWSKI: No, I cannot remember that.

COL. POKROVSKY: Were there any general orders relating to prisoners of war, the civilian population, or the partisans?

VON DEM BACH-ZELEWSKI: Unfortunately there were no general instructions which clearly stated how the partisans or the population were to be treated. That was the complaint I made: That no instruction was issued on the treatment of the partisans and that we were not even told who was to be considered a partisan. When anything happened and the German Wehrmacht was attacked, there were never clear orders on what was to be done by way of reprisals.

COL. POKROVSKY: Am I to understand that in the absence of direct orders commanders were given a clear field and had the right to declare any person they wished a partisan and treat him accordingly?

VON DEM BACH-ZELEWSKI: The commanders certainly had to and could act and decide independently. No precise control was possible in individual cases, but the activities of all the troops used were always clearly known to the High Command, because the individual reports of the troops contained all details of the counter measures taken against the partisans — that is, they had to contain the number of partisans killed in combat, the number of partisans shot, of partisan suspects shot, and the number of our own losses. At the same time captured weapons had to be listed in detail, so that each leader could therefore see clearly how an operation worked out in practice.

COL. POKROVSKY: That means that each commander decided for himself whether there was any reason to suspect a man and to execute him?