Krasnodon trial of the Nazis and their accomplices

 The Krasnodon district of the Voroshilovgrad region of the Ukrainian SSR was occupied by Germans, Romanians and Italians from July 1942 to February 1943. Before the war, about 80,000 miners (20,000 of them in Krasnodon itself) and collective farmers lived here, far from all were able to evacuate. Dissatisfied with the "New Order" was dragged to the police, tortured, killed. According to the ChGK, 242 people were killed, 3471 were stolen in Germany, 532 were missing. In Krasnodon, on September 28, 1942, the Nazis buried 32 miners alive in the park for refusing to work for the occupiers, for participating in fighter units and partisan activities. The very next day, the underground organization Young Guard was created (it included separate resistance groups and newcomers), so about a hundred young men and women from 14 to 25 years old decided to take revenge on the invaders. Their actions have attracted the attention of the Germans, but the reasons for their failure remain a mystery to this day. According to the version of the Krasnodon trial, the traitor Pocheptsov reported to the police, and in January 1943, after a terrible torture, most of the underground members were shot at a pit, and all the wounded and killed were thrown into the mine.

Photocopy of handwritten leaflets distributed by the Young Guard among the population Source: Koshevaya E. A Tale of a Son. M, 1947.

A lot has been written and filmed about the struggle and death of the Young Guard. Little is known about their killers, who were tried in four trials. About 70 people participated in interrogations, tortures, and executions of the Young Guard: Germans from the field commandant’s office and Soviet traitors from the auxiliary police (their role in the atrocities was central). In hot pursuit, only three involved were caught. G. Pocheptsov, a member of the Young Guard, was afraid of arrest and decided to write a denunciation, on the advice of his experienced step-father V. Gromov (a secret German informant nicknamed Vanyusha). Their testimony was taken by the senior police investigator M. Kuleshov, who also participated in interrogations of the Young Guards with the help of torture (as Voroshilovgradskaya Pravda wrote: “With the hatred towards the Soviet government and our people inherent in the fierce enemy, Kuleshov especially raged while conducting an investigation into the case“ The Young Guard. ”According to his instructions,“ impressive ”interrogations of the Young Guards were conducted.”) In an effort to whitewash themselves, the traitors blamed the commissioner of the "Young Guard" V. Tretyakovich, allegedly he could not stand the torture (gouging eyes, etc.) and told everything. The investigation in the case of the traitors lasted five months - confrontations, testimonies of witnesses. The Krasnodon process itself lasted three days, August 15-18, but not all meetings were open. The inhabitants of Krasnodon came as spectators and acted as witnesses, appealed, appealed to the court with a request to pronounce a harsh sentence. The military tribunal of the NKVD troops of the Voroshilovgrad region tried without defense, the materials of the process were not published, local newspapers wrote about it only after the fact and in general terms. Kuleshov, Pocheptsov and Gromov were shot in public, about 5000 inhabitants of Krasnodon were present. Unfortunately, the commission of the Komsomol Central Committee believed the slander of the traitors and the name of the innocent V. Tretyakevich (who even got his eyes gouged out of torture) was deleted from award sheets and newspapers, this suspicion was confirmed by A. Fadeyev in the novel “The Young Guard”, portraying him as a traitor Stakhovich. The hero was rehabilitated only in 1959. After the war, 13 executioners were found, including the initiator of the execution, captain of the gendarmerie E. Renatus. Minister of State Security V. Abakumov planned to arrange an open trial over them in Krasnodon from December 1 to 10, 1947, in the wake of other processes. To this end, on November 18, 1947, he sent memorandum No. 3428 / A to I. Stalin, V. Molotov, and Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B.) A. Kuznetsov. Their reaction is unknown, but the process took place in a closed form. The sentence to the murderers was milder than the traitors: from 15 to 25 years in the camps (after the death of Stalin, German war criminals were sent home). All materials were classified, even for relatives of the dead Young Guard. Other executioners skillfully disguised themselves. Policeman V. Podtynny escaped from the Krasnodon with the Wehrmacht, corrected passport details, got into the Red Army, had a military wound and awards. After the war he returned to the Donbass, started a family, became chairman of the village council and member of the CPSU. In 1959, a fellow countryman recognized Podtynny - arrest. A year later, he was openly tried in Lugansk and sentenced to death. Policeman I. Melnikov personally gouged out the eyes of the Young Guard. He also forged documents, fought in the Red Army, received the medal “For Courage”. Then he was hiding on the collective farm of Odessa region. Found, convicted in an open trial in Krasnodon December 14-16, 1965, shot in 1966. Some executioners were never found. For example, the police chief V. Solikovsky was hiding in Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany, lived in New York until 1967, then moved to the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, where he died in the 1970s. Only a small part of the judicial materials of 1943-1965. was published. Perhaps that is why the story of the Young Guard is still controversial. In Ukraine, it comes to the incredible - since the 1990s there has been a version that the “Young Guard” was the “national-communist” cell of the OUN, it hated Hitler and Stalin! OUN member E. Stakhiv called himself in interviews and books the very same Stakhovich from the “Young Guard” A. Fadeev. All this directly contradicts the facts.
One of the executioners of the Young Guard I. Melnikov before the court
Sleeves of executioner rifles found at the place of execution of the Young Guards

Testimony of torture Source: Glazunov G. It was in Krasnodon / Inevitable retaliation. M .: Military Publishing, 1979. - Alexandra Vasilevna Tyulenina told the court how the police mocked her: “Two days after my arrest, on the orders of Zakharov, the police undressed me and laid me face down on the floor. They began to beat with whips. They beat for a long time. At this time, someone said: "Take him here, now he will tell everything." My son Sergei was brought into the room. His face was bruised. I was questioned about partisans and weapons. I replied that I did not know anything about the partisans, and there were no weapons in our house. After such an answer, they began to torture the son. One of the gendarmes put Sergey’s fingers in the door jamb and began to close it. Through a gunshot wound on the son’s hand, a hot rod was pierced. Needles were driven under the nails. Then they hung him on the ropes. They beat me again and then doused with water ... I repeatedly lost consciousness. According to the testimony of Maria Andreevna Borts, on January 1, 1943, gendarmes came to their apartment, and the policeman Zakharov demanded that Maria Andreevna tell her where her daughter Valya was hiding, with whom she had gone. After receiving a negative answer, he turned white with anger. His small, fast-running eyes filled with blood. Zakharov grabbed the gun, brought it closer to the woman’s face and, pushing her foot, yelled: “I’ll shoot, you bastard!” After a search of the apartment, Maria Andreevna was taken to the police as a hostage, searched, and a questionnaire was filled out. Then they brought to Solikovsky for questioning. Before him on the table lay a set of lashes: thick, thin, wide, with lead tips. Vanya Zemnukhov, mutilated beyond recognition, was standing by the sofa, with sore red eyes and bruises on his face. His clothes were in blood. Puddles of blood were blushing on the floor beside him. Solikovsky, a man of high stature, strong physique, rose limply from the table. Black hat pulled over his forehead. The voice is domineering, loud. He asked: "Where is the daughter?" Borts replied that she knew nothing. Then he shouted: “And you also know nothing about grenades and mail?” - And with terrible force he began to beat her in the face. Davidenko, who was standing right there, jumped up to Maria Andreevna and also began to beat her. Barely on her feet, she was thrown into the cell, which was placed opposite Solikovsky’s office. With a sinking heart, she listened to cries and groans coming from the office, terrible swearing and the clang of iron. Policemen ran along the corridor. They dragged one victim after another for interrogation. This went on until morning. - Which of the Young Guard were you in the cell with? Asked the presiding Maria Andreevna. She replied that she was with Lyuba Shevtsova, Ulyana Gromova, Shura Bondareva, Tonya Ivanikhina (sister of Lilia Ivanikhina), Nina Minaeva, Klavdia Kovaleva and Tosya Mashchenko. The girls in the police were repeatedly tortured, they were brought from interrogations half-dead. They suffered not only physical suffering. Ulyana Gromova said that it was easier to bear physical pain than the humiliation to which the executioners subjected her. The girls were stripped naked, mocked at them. Sometimes Solikovsky’s wife was here, who usually sat on the couch and burst into laughter.
Mine bathhouse, in which the Young Guard was tortured before execution Source: Koshevaya E. A Tale of a Son. M, 1947.
A letter from the parents of the Young Guard to the military tribunal Source: Journal of Socialist Legality, No. 3, 1959, P. 60. Cit. by: Young Guard. Documents, memoirs / comp. V.N. Borovikova, I.I. Grigorenko, V.I. Potapov. Donetsk: Publishing house "Donbass", 1969. 
August 1943.
 You are now investigating the facts of crimes committed by a handful of traitors to our country. We, the parents of our children, who died at the hands of fascist executioners and their accomplices, who are currently sitting in the dock, cannot listen without shudder when these fascist bastards tell you how they killed our children with their cold-blooded hand of brutal executioners, for our homeland, for liberation from the fascist hordes. These fascist mercenaries did not escape the hands of Soviet justice. We, the parents of our children who died, join our voice in revenge on the cursed executioners and ask the tribunal to pronounce a harsh sentence on these bastards and carry out the death penalty in the square so that all the people of Krasnodon can see what these villains deserved. And let those fascist henchmen who lurk somewhere, let them see how the reckoning awaits those who betray our Soviet Motherland and its people.
Source: Koshevaya E. A Tale of a Son. M, 1947