Sunday, March 22, 2020

Unique pics taken on Poltava Trial of 1947

The Poltava Trial was a war crimes trial held in front of a Soviet military tribunal in November 1947 in Poltava, Soviet Union. Defendants included German military, police, and 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf" personnel responsible for implementing the occupational policies during the German-Soviet War of 1941–45. Units of the German Wehrmacht first occupied Kharkiv on 18 September 1941. Four Abwehr reconnaissance school were deployed in Poltava in 1941-1943. The fact that in the summer of 1942 Admiral Canaris, the chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, visited Poltava was a proof of the importance of these schools for GermansGerman forces, including the Einsatzgruppen (mobile death squads), killed tens of thousands of Jews, as well as Communists, Soviet prisoners of war, and other "undesirables". Shooting, hanging, and gas vans were used. Without a doubt, the main accused at the Poltava trial was the last commander of the 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf", Major General Hellmuth Becker.  He was sentenced to 25 years of forced labor for war crimes. 

Brigadeführer SS Helmuth Becker

While serving his sentence, Becker "tried his jailers' patience" by attempting to manufacture explosives, leading to his retrial. "The personification of the brutal Landsknechts who formed the high-ranking officers of the Waffen-SS", he was convicted and executed in February 1953 in the prison camp No. 337 located in Sverdlovsk. A few rare pics taken in Poltava during the trial were found recently in some private archives.