Friday, 27 June 2014

Feb 1944, Nazi Gas Van Cartoon

Below is how British cartoonist Giles pictured a Nazi gas van in a cartoon which was published in a British national newspaper in early February 1944. The Soviet show-trial of three German prisoners of war and one Russian "traitor to the motherland" had taken place in Kharkov between December 15th and 18th, 1943; at which, all four defendants had confessed to being complicit in the murder of peaceful Soviet citizens in gas vans:

"Among the people being loaded into the gas vans were old men, children, old and young women. These people would not go into the machine of their own accord and had therefore to be driven into the gas vans by S.S. men with kicks and blows of the butt ends of automatic butts."
- Wilhelm Langheld, Kharkov trial, December 16, 1943
"Inside the machine was lined with sheet iron, in the floor was a grating through which entered the exhaust gases of the motor which poisoned the people inside the van."
- Hanz Ritz, Kharkov trial, December 16, 1943
"I personally took part only twice in putting people in the gas van, but I frequently had occasion to see the gas van because I went daily on a round inspection of Kharkov prison."
- Reinhard Retzlaff, Kharkov trial, December 16, 1943
"In January, 1942, such a van arrived at our garage from Germany. The Germans called those vans Gasenwagen. ... I had occasion to repair and clean it. When cleaning it and sweeping the inside of the body I saw there children's caps and tiny shoes which had evidently fallen off the murdered children."
- Mikhail Petrovich Bulanov, Kharkov trial, December 16, 1943

All quotes from The People's Verdict: A full Report of the Proceedings at the Krasnodar and Kharkov German Atrocity Trials, London: Hutchinson & Co., 1944, pp. 65-66; 69; 82, and 85, respectively.

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