740.00116 European War 1939/1086: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Standley) to the Secretary of State

1308. A Soviet newsreel which played for some time in local cinemas, pictures the trial and execution of the Soviet citizens53 convicted in July of treasonable complicity with the German invaders in Krasnodar krai.54

The film shows in great detail the actual hanging by withdrawing of motor vehicles on which stood the prisoners sentenced to death and gives the impression of great popular rejoicing at the public spectacle.

It is believed that the film is of interest in view of the Soviet campaign regarding punishment of Axis war criminals55 who, it was pointed out in the account of the Krasnodar trials, were the instigators of the traitors’ deeds.

Such public executions are a novelty in the Soviet Union.56

  1. Eleven Soviet accomplices were tried in Krasnodar, July 14–17, 1943, of whom 8 were sentenced to death by hanging, and 3 to exile and penal servitude for 20 years each.
  2. Territory.
  3. The Soviet press had already published a note of July 29, 1943, to Sweden and Turkey warning against the granting of asylum to war criminals who might seek refuge in neutral countries to escape answering for their crimes. A full account of President Roosevelt’s statement made at his press conference on July 30, concerning refuge in neutral countries for Axis leaders and on the turning over of Axis war criminals for trial after the war, was likewise published; for text of this statement, see telegram No. 644, July 30, 2 p.m., to the Ambassador in Turkey, vol. i, p. 461.
  4. Very soon after the carrying out of the sentences, the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow printed 17,100 copies in English translation of a brochure (40 pp., 2 rubles, illustrated) entitled: The Trial in the Case of the Atrocities Committed by the German Fascist Invaders and Their Accomplices in Krasnodar and Krasnodar Territory, July 14 to 17, 1943.