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The Testimony of Harry Konopko from the War Crimes trials of Nazi Officers Windisch and Werner

by Harry Konopko

"En route to the execution site, I said to my family, that I intended to flee. My mother pleaded with me to change my mind, as I would be shot forthwith. Thereupon I marched a way further with my family and that of my uncle, toward the execution place, and then fled alone.

 

A member of the guard ran after me and kicked me to the ground. He then shot at me a number of times with a machine pistol, of which the majority tangled in my clothes. I should state at this point, that, just in case, we had put on several sets of clothes over each other, just in case, before we were taken away. Two shots hit the back of my head. I lay, covered in blood, and pretended to be dead.

 

In reality, I was so shocked and weak I couldn’t have stood up. I lay in this site, about 100 m from the execution place. I the course of the day, I briefly looked up and toward the executions now and then. Thus I saw that the Jews were forced to disrobe a short distance from the execution site and then to walk over boards that had been laid over the graves. Then they were shot with fixed machine guns. The children were thrown in the air, in part their heads were smashed together.

 

I saw Windisch and Hanweg at the execution site. I do not know if Werner was there or if he shot at fleeing Jews. I did see how Windisch shot at a child that had been thrown in the air by a Lithuanian or Latvian with a double action gun. Then I must have lost consciousness again, at any rate, I threw up violently in the rain and night and crawled back to the ghetto, where I collapsed. On the next morning, Jews being forced to move within the ghetto found me there. These Jews brought me to Dr. Mesnik (now Dr. Mason) who gave me a shot and bandaged me."