British Prosecutor Shawcross

British Chief Prosecutor Sir Hartley Shawcross makes a final plea to the International Military Tribunal.


12,000,000 men, women and children have died thus, murdered in cold blood, millions upon millions more today mourn their fathers and mothers, their husbands, their wives and their children. What right has any man to mercy who has played a part - however indirectly - in such a crime? Let Graebe speak again of Dubno: The people who had got off the trucks - men, women and children of all ages - had to undress upon the orders of an SS-man, who carried a riding or dog whip. They had to put down their clothes in fixed places, sorted according to shoes, top clothing and underclothing. I saw a heap of shoes of about 800 to 1,000 pairs, great piles of under-linen 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 SS man, who stood near the pit, also with a whip in his hand. During the fifteen minutes that I stood near I heard no complaint or plea for mercy. I watched a family of about eight persons, a man and a woman, both about fifty, with their children aged about one, eight and ten, and two grown-up daughters of about twenty to twenty-four. An old woman with snow-white hair was holding the one-year-old child in her arms and singing to it and tickling it. The child was cooing with delight. The couple were looking on with tears in their eyes. The father was holding the hand of a boy about ten years old and speaking to him softly, the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed to the sky, stroked his head and seemed to explain something to him. At that moment the SS man at the pit shouted something to his comrade. The latter counted about twenty persons and instructed them to go behind the earth mound. Among them was the family which I have mentioned. I well remember a girl, slim and with black hair, who as she passed close to me, pointed to herself and said, 'Twenty-three'."


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
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