"It is not the Red Army that is coming, it is destroyed by the Germans, but the Americans, the British and mostly negros."

"The military tribunal of the 12th army in Ukraine, in the Donbass, in the city of Kadievka (then this city was called Sergo), in 1942 considered an absolutely unusual case. I participated in this trial as secretary of the Military Tribunal and I remember all the details. Judicial review always built in such a way that everything in court must be uttered aloud by all participants in the process.
In the same case, everything was done in silence, everything was written on paper. The chairman of the Military Tribunal of the 12th Army wrote a military lawyer of the 1st rank Trofimchuk, the prosecutor, the accused, and experts wrote. All exchanged notes, not words.
A young soldier Ukrainian Lyalko was slightly wounded and contused. The injury was received in the little finger on his left hand. He understood that he would soon again be at the forefront. At this time in the Donbass were stubborn fighting.Lyalko, being in the hospital, explained with signs that as a result of the concussion he lost the opportunity to speak and hear.
Doctors of the hospital noticed that the registration card of the wounded or, as it was called, "card of the advanced area" with which he arrived at the hospital was filled with his words, i.e., that after the contusion he spoke and heard. The doctors at the hospital gave him an injection. He lost control of his mind, and in a dream began to swear. Doctors decided that Lyalko pretended to be a deaf-mute, to avoid returning to his military unit, which was in combat positions.


The material on the behavior of Lyalko was transferred for investigation to the Military Prosecutor's Office of the 12th Army. He got to the military investigator Dovzhik, my classmate at the Moscow Law Institute, and in the postwar years, a colleague at the Moscow advocacy. In the case, a medical examination was appointed as part of the surgeon, otolaryngologist and neuropathologist.
The experts in their conclusion wrote that all the organs of hearing and speech from Lyalko are in perfect order and that he does not speak and pretends that he does not hear just because he decided to feign deafness and shy away from fulfilling his military duty.
Lyalko, in response to all the questions that were addressed to him in writing, wrote on sheets of paper: "I would be glad to say, I cannot." Sometimes someone came up behind him, suddenly clapped his hands and he seemed to shudder. Employees of the Military Prosecutor's Office were convinced that Lyalko was a simulator. They said: "they will shoot him, he still will not speak." Yet doubts remained.
At the end of the investigation, the case against Lyalko was submitted to the military tribunal for consideration by us and preparations began for his hearing. First of all, based on the fact that, perhaps, Lyalko is a person with a physical disability (deaf-mutism), according to the law, a lawyer should have participated in the trial. The case was considered in the frontline town, where there were no lawyers.



I had to bring a lawyer from Voroshilovgrad (Lugansk). It was the only regional center of Ukraine, at that time not yet occupied by the Germans. At the hearing attended a medical examination. In her conclusion, she indicated that Lyalko had a persistent installation behavior and there is no doubt that he is a simulator.
He continued to write all the written questions: "I would be glad to say, I can't." When the death sentence was announced, all eyes in the courtroom were turned to Lyalko.He did not react to the verdict. I put the essence of the sentence on paper, and he wrote again in reply: “I’d be glad to say I can’t.”
The verdict of the military tribunal of the army on the execution could be carried out only after its approval by the Military Council of the army, i.e., the Commander and member of the Military Council.
In approving this verdict, the Commander of the 12th Army, Major General A. A. Grechko, and a member of the Military Council of the 12th Army, said that they offered to speak on behalf of the Military Council of the Lyalko army and then they would replace him with imprisonment, will speak, then the sentence will be carried out.
For many hours the prosecutor conducted correspondence with him in Russian and Ukrainian, but the written response was still the same: “I’d be glad to say I can’t.” Lyalko was shot. Those who were present during the shooting, including the military investigator Dovzhik, argued that Lyalko had become so involved in his role, in his installation behavior, that he did not change his behavior during the shooting.

I remember the case when three Soviet soldiers were killed at once - a lieutenant colonel, a foreman and a soldier. All three died at the hands of a Soviet officer and Soviet soldiers.
In the spring of 1942, a column of heavy tanks stood on the asphalt road Voroshilovgrad - Voroshilovsk in the Donbass. There was a strong slush. Near the highway - impassable dirt.
In the American-made high-speed car "Willis", a communications officer of the army headquarters is a lieutenant colonel carrying military orders to forward units. The driver was a driver behind the wheel of the Willis. The lieutenant colonel stopped the car and went to the foreman from the crew of a heavy tank that was standing on the highway and blocked his way.
He asked the foreman to push the tank aside and give him the opportunity to drive. The foreman refused. Then the lieutenant colonel took out a pistol and shouted to the foreman: "I am carrying military orders to the advanced troops. You detain me. If you don’t move the tank back, you will shoot."

The foreman did not obey. The lieutenant colonel, in a temper, shot and killed the foreman. After that, I quickly came to my senses, got into the Willis, shouted to the driver, “Drive!”, And they drove along the side of the highway through the mud, but they didn’t get stuck, but slipped through.
Meanwhile, the remaining members of the tank crew, seeing that their foreman was killed, and thinking that the lieutenant colonel, possibly a disguised German, had deployed the tank and destroyed the Willis and those in it from a cannon.
The lieutenant colonel - a liaison officer and a driver-soldier were killed.And in some Siberian or Moscow region village, the mother of the driver-soldier received a notice that her son died "the death of the brave for the Soviet homeland in battles with the German fascist invaders."
The military prosecutor's office carried out an investigation and issued a decision not to initiate a criminal case against the crew of a heavy tank, because their actions to destroy the Willis and those who were in it flowed out of the situation and could not be blamed by them. The criminal case against the lieutenant colonel - the liaison officer who killed the tanker commander was terminated in connection with the death of the accused.

During the retreat, when there was no time for executions before the formation, sometimes the shooting was carried out not in public, but in the presence of a narrow circle of people. So it was in the case about which I am writing.
In this shooting in 1942, only the Military Prosecutor of the division, the Chairman of the Military Tribunal of the division, the Head of the divisional special department and the military doctor who recorded the death of the convict were present on the Southern Front.
But the convict was not really killed, but only wounded. A military doctor mistakenly recorded death.They did not bury him deeply, for they were in a hurry. "Shot" found the strength to dig himself out. I went into one of the neighboring houses, where wounds were bandaged for him.
After that, he went to the location of the division's Military Prosecutor's Office, to the prosecutor who was present at his execution. It was known that this military prosecutor was extremely cowardly. When a man appeared to him, during the execution of which he was present that day, one can understand what a fright he was in.

The definition of the Military Tribunal of the Southern Front, the order of the Chairman of the Military Tribunal of the Southern Front, Correspondent Lawyer Matulevich, and orders of other high front-line instances followed.
According to the definition of the Military Tribunal of the Southern Front, the convict to death was released from this measure of punishment. She was replaced on an exceptional basis by imprisonment.
By order of the Chairman of the Military Tribunal of the Southern Front and other instances, for negligence in the performance of their duties, they sent to the penal battalion all those present during the unfulfilled execution - the Military Prosecutor of the division, the Chairman of the Military Tribunal of the division, the Chief of the divisional special department, military doctor.
Such a direction for each of them was tantamount to a death sentence.I am aware of many cases in which tribunals, prosecutors and other staff officers sent to the penal battalion for the loss of important official documents or other omissions in a battle, died in the first battle.

Shortly after the Red Army liberated one of the largest cities in the Kuban of Armavir, I was appointed secretary of the Military Tribunal of the Armavir garrison of the North Caucasus Front.
Never in any of the Military Tribunals have I seen so many cases. During the German occupation of the Kuban, in all the surrounding villages, a powerful administration, police and gendarmerie apparatus was created from the local population. It was considered impossible to convict all who served in the police.
The military tribunal was instructed who and how to judge from among the former police officers. If a person served in the police, but did not show activity, he was not tried at all.
If he served in the police force and was active, then he would face imprisonment for up to 10 years. If he took part in beatings or humiliation of Soviet citizens and prisoners of war, he could be sentenced to hard labor.
If he took part in the destruction of Soviet citizens and prisoners of war, he could be sentenced to death, and after the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of April 19, 1943 came into force, to death by hanging.
I remember that when the Military Tribunal of the Armavir garrison in the exit session in one of the villages sentenced the former head of this village to be shot, he turned to the tribunal with the words: "Thank you, citizens of the judge." And then he turned his back to the witnesses who were standing nearby and said: "And with you, bastards, we will still pay."

In 1943, when it was bad with human reserves, 15 Gypsies were arrested and brought before the Military Tribunal of the Armavir garrison on charges of evading mobilization in the Red Army.
At trial, they unanimously said that they wanted to serve in the army, that they had not accidentally joined the military service, that they were excellent blacksmiths, loved horses, would shoe them and ask them to send them to the front in cavalry.
The military court, given the first conviction and expressed desire to go into the army, condemned them to imprisonment, but with a delay in the execution of the sentence and with the direction to the front.
For the execution of the sentence, these fifteen Gypsies from the Military Tribunal of the Armavir garrison were sent to the Armavir military post. At the point there was a reserve regiment and military units were formed to be sent to the front.

Almost always there were many thousands of soldiers. The Roma who arrived at the point on the very first evening on arrival arranged a big concert for everyone. They sang and danced until late at night. For a long time did not stop joking and laughter. During the concert, they told how they would serve in the army at the front, how horses would be shod.
At night, all fifteen Roma fled from the military transit point. The case took a serious turn. People who had already been convicted by the Military Tribunal escaped. In wartime, it was clear that if they were caught and brought before the Military Tribunal, they would face the death penalty.
Special measures were taken to track down the gypsies who escaped. The NKVD troops were involved in this search. Two of the Roma who escaped were found, and the Military Tribunal of the Armavir garrison sentenced them to death. Their repeated promises and requests were rejected.Special measures were taken to protect convicts to be shot. The remaining thirteen Roma were never found.

The Soviet press usually states that the first trials in which death sentences were sentenced by hanging by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of April 19, 1943 were Kharkov and Krasnodar. But it is not.
Before these trials, there was a trial in Armavir over the police chief of Armavir Sosnovsky, and he was the first to be hanged in the USSR under this Decree. Before the occupation by the fascist German forces of Armavir, one of the largest cities in Kuban, Sosnovsky was an economist in the executive committee of this city.
He was convicted of a significant number of crimes. Among them was the charge of directing actions to destroy Jews and Red Army prisoners of war, as well as Soviet paratroopers captured by the police and much more.

When in April 1943 a conviction was pronounced condemning Sosnovsky to be shot and subject to review by the Military Tribunal of the North Caucasus Front, the encrypted telegram from Krasnodar to the North Caucasian Front came in the case of Sosnovsky, which puzzled all our workers tribunal.The encryption said that the sentence of execution in respect of Sosnovsky is canceled due to the softness of the chosen measure of punishment.
The case was considered again, and in accordance with Article 1 of the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of April 19, 1943 "0 penalties for German fascist villains guilty of murder and torture of the Soviet civilian population and captured Red Army soldiers, for spies, traitors to the Motherland from among Soviet citizens and for their accomplices, "Sosnowski was sentenced to be hanged.

When the Red Army launched an offensive to expel the Germans from the Kuban and the local population heard powerful artillery volleys, the teachers in the Kuban schools explained to the children that this was not the Red Army, it was destroyed by the Germans, but the Americans, the British, and mostly negros.
Our 12th army consisted largely of maritime brigades. The sailors were dressed in black pea jackets and there were epaulets on them. When the Red Army retreated, she did not yet have a chase.
The appearance of the advancing sailors in black jackets with epaulets was unusual for the Kuban population. But when the sailors in the very first Kuban village occupied by them demonstrated a multi-storied Russian mate, it became clear that they were not Americans, not British, and not blacks, but their own.
However, the sailors are not limited to the mat. In each village, feeling hatred for collaborating with the Germans, they began to collect elders, policemen and shot them without trial.

At the same time, a group of hiding gendarmes from the village of Kaladzhinskaya was captured, and during the occupation, several partisans were hanged in this village.
The military tribunal of the Armavir garrison with my participation as secretary judged these gendarmes and, in accordance with article 1 of the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of April 19, 1943 "On penalties for the fascist villains guilty of murder and torture of the Soviet civilian population and captured Red Army soldiers, for spies, traitors of the Motherland from among Soviet citizens and for their accomplices ", sentenced them to death by hanging. They were hanged in the place where they were hanged during the German occupation of local partisans.

We arrived somehow to consider the case on charges of the camp commandant. He was tried primarily because the German prisoner of war escaped due to poor security, made his way close to the front line, and spent a lot of manpower and resources on his search and detention.
When considering this case, it turned out that in the camp for German prisoners of war there were rather loose orders. Prisoners of war, who are trusted by the administration, were released for several hours outside the camp to work as artisans in neighboring villages.
Among the Germans were skilled stove-setters, blacksmiths, locksmiths. They skillfully helped the collective farmers who lived in the vicinity of the camp and returned to the camp with village provisions, which served as a supplement to the modest camp feeding.
Moreover, many Germans received not only food, but also alcohol as a reward, not only for their professional skills, but also for replacing their husbands, who had fought in the Red Army or already laid heads on the Soviet-German front, to the collective farmers. These Germans used to brighten their loneliness to the soldiers and widows and generously rewarded them with their whole heart.

The German who had fled, because of which the commandant was tried, took from his cohabitant Russian civilian clothes and began to move to the front, taking advantage of the shelter of various women on his way, finding the way to their loving hearts.
The commandant of the camp, guilty of escaping a prisoner of war, was also accused of abuses related to furniture manufactured for sale. During the trial, only the officers of the camp were present. The commandant of the camp was sentenced to imprisonment for a short term, but should not have been sent to prison.
It was a senior lieutenant, fit for military service. The military tribunal deferred the execution of the sentence until the end of hostilities and sent it to the front, in the penal battalion, in accordance with note 2 to article 28 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR in the 1926 edition.

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