TESTIMONY OF ALBERT PFEIFFER, BEHAMPTSTRASSE, MUNICH,
Mr. Flood. Will you state your name ?
Mr. Pfeiffer, Albert Pfeiffer.
Mr. Flood. Were you ever a member of the German armed forces ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes ; I was.
Mr. Flood. Were you ever serving in that capacity on the eastern
or Russian front?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes.
Mr. Flood. When did you arrive in the Smolensk area ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. At the end of October or at the beginning of November
Mr. Flood. Did you ever hear of Lieutenant Voss ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes ; I did.
Mr. Flood. Were you with his unit ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes; for 2 years.
Mr. Flood. What were the duties of the unit and what were your
duties in it?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The unit had security duties in the vicinity or the
surroundings of the staff headquarters of the center army group and
to watch over the civilians in that area, and they also had the care of
the civilians who were working in the different German units and
Mr. Flood. What do you mean by "watch over" the civilians in the
Mr. Pfeiffer. Our activities were confined to patroling the near
vicinity of the staff headquarters and see that no strangers would como
into this area; that those pepole who lived there and who had been
registered were actually there.
Mr. Flood. How many men were in Lieutenant Voss' unit?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Our unit had been split up into two halves. The
one to which 1 belonged was in Gluschtschenki. "VVe nmnbered five
and the others that went to Gniezdowo numbered from five to seven.
Mr. Flood. Do you speak Russian ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes. I was employed as an interpreter.
Mr. Flood. Did you have any conversations with any of the Russians
in the area of Katyn ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes; with the civilians of Gluschtschenki and the
near vicinity of the staff headquarters, but not with those of Katyn
because I only went to Katyn once.
Air. Flood. When did you first hear about Katj'n?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The first time I lieard anything about Katyn was in
February 1943 when I was confined to the infirmary.
Mr. Flood. Where?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The infirmary was with the staff headquarters. My
buddy, Roeske, who was also an interpreter, came to me and told
me that investigations would have to be made after some Poles who had
Mr. Flood. Were you identified with the exhumations in any way ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes; from the very first day.
Mr. Flood. What was your assignment, and who assigned you to it ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I had been detailed for this duty by Lieutenant Voss
in the capacity of interpreter, and it was my duty to explain to the
Russian civilian w^orkers, who had been brought to that spot, to explain
to them what kind of work they had to do there and that now
they had to go about the exhumation.
INIr. Flood. Weie ^^ou there the first day that the digging started?
Were you present when the first work was begun ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes ; when the first spade entered the ground I was
Mr. Flood. Had you ever been in that immediate vicinity at any
other time before that first day ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Not in the area.
Mr. Flood. Will you describe the appeai-ance of the grave and its
immediate surroundings within a very few feet before the first spade
was put into the ground ?
JNIr. Pfeiffer. It was a clearing in the forest, and the mound of
earth was up to a heiglit of 3 feet, overgrown with small fir trees and
heather and bushes and scrub.
Mr. Flood. Indicate with your hands, from the floor, the height of
the trees you saw on this mound or grave the first day you appeared
there, when the excavations began.
(The witness indicated a height from the floor.)
Mr. Flood. The witness indicates about—what; 3 1/2 feet?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The largest were about that size [indicating].
Ml-. Flood. The witness indicates from the floor a height of 3 1/2 feet.
Were these small trees all over the mound of earth ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. They were scattered. You could clearly see that they
liad not been planted according to any plan and they were not numerous.
Mr. Flood. Were they removed before the digging began ?
Mr. Flood. I now show the witness exhibit No. 5 and ask him if he
can identify the officers on that exhibit ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I know two of them. On the left side is First Lieutenant
Slovenczik and in the middle is Field Police Secretary Voss,
my superior, my commander.
Mr. Flood. Have the stenographer mark this next photograph as
(The photograph referred to was marked "Exhibit 11" and is shown
on p. 1325.)
Mr. Flood. I now show the witness marked for identification Exhibit
Xo. 11 and ask him whether or not he can identify the peopleon
that photograph; I just want him to tell me how many of that
group were on Lieutenant Voss' squad.
Mr. Pfeiffer. Among this group were some that belonged to the
unit of Lieutenant Voss.
Mr. Flood. What are their names?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The one, I do not want to name because I know
that he Avould object. The second one is Pfc. or Corp. Karl Nikolatz,,
our driver, and in front, sitting on the ground, myself..
Mr. Flood. Who is the female in the picture I
Mr. Pfeiffer. Mrs. Irina Erhardt.
Mr. Flood. What was her duty ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. She had to translate the documents and diaries
found on the dead bodies because she knew Polish well.
Mv. Flood. I will ask the stenographer to mark for identification
exhibit No. 12, which is another photograph.
(The photograph referred to was marked "Exhibit 12" for identification
and is shown on p. 1325.)
IVIr. Flood. I now shoM' the witness marked for identification Exhibit
No. 12, a photograph, and ask him whether or not that properly
depicts the grave site and the grave after the trees had been removed
and just as the first digging commenced?
ISIr. Pfeiffer. The picture could, of course, have been taken anywhere.
I do recognize people wearing clothes as they usually wear
them in Russia.
In view of the fact that the picture only shows a very small area,
I am not in a position to say that it is actually one of the Katyn
graves; but the character of tlie place looks very much like the site
of the graves at Katyn.
Mr. Flood. How far down, after the digging commenced, did they
go before they struck the first bodies; how many meters?
]Mr. Pfeiffer. Two-and-a-half meters.
Mr. Flood. How many graves were opened during the period of
time that you were there ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I do not recollect the exact number of graves, but I
do recollect exactly three graves.
Mr. Flood. What were your duties after the graves had been
opened and the bodies had been removed ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I had to go through the pockets of the clothes of the
dead bodies and to remove the items found in them and had to
identify the dead bodies from the documents found on them.
Mr. Flood. How long did you work at that job?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Right to the end of the exhumations.
Mr. Flood. When was that?
Mr. Pfeiffer. It was approximately in the beginning of June. It
may have been even at the end of May, but, at any rate, it was not
later than the 11th of June.
Mr. Flood. Can you give us the exact date, the day and month
and year, when the exhumations began ?
Mr. Pfelffer. Not the day.
Mr. Flood. How close can you come ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The second half of March 1943.
Mr. Flood. Were any visitors or visiting delegations of personages
received at the Katyn grave area during any period of time that
you were working there?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes. There were commissions; among others, one
of them, officers who were prisoners of war, British, French, and
Polish ; then the Commission of International Physicians, either from
neutral countries or countries fighting on the side of the Germans, and
then a very large number of Russian civilians and German soldiers.
Mr. Flood. After the first days, where did you do your work on
Mr. Pfeiffer. In the hut which was built onto a Russian house,
in the village or in the hamlet of Gluschtschenki, where I was billeted.
It was about 20 meters away from the place where I was actually
Mr. Flood. Wait a minute. You had better spell that for the
Mr. Pfeiffer. G-1-u-s-c-h-t-s-c-h-e-n-k-i.
Mr. Flood. Wliat was the nature of your work with the docmnents
at this hut ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I took the documents out of their envelopes and
dictated to a mate every item I discovered, and attempted to establish
the name of the individual, usually on the strength of the pay
books which I had discovered.
Mr. Flood. What procedure did you use for preserving the documents
Mr. Pfeiffer. No procedure.
Mr. Flood. Did you separate them? Did you put them all in
one pile? Did you keep them in relationship to one name? What
did you do?
Mr. Pfeiffer. The documents were put back into their own envelopes
and numbers put on them, and the identical number that was
on the dead body was put on the envelope, and then, all the envelopes
with the numbers on them were put into a large chest and stored
away, and certain documents and items were picked out and I exhibited
them outside of this hut.
Mr. Flood. Do you know what disposition was made by the Germans
at the end of the exhumations in the summer? Where did
the chests of documents go, if you know ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. It was said that they would be taken to Krakow
so as to distribute them among the next of kin and the relatives of
the murdered men.
Mr. Flood. How many chests of documents were there ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I estimate four. I do not know exactly, but I estimate
Mr. Flood. Did you make a close examination of the documents
of various kinds that came to your hut ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes ; certainly ; I did examine them very carefully.
Mr. Flood, Was there anything significant with reference to any
of the documents that came to your attention, especially?
Mr, Pfeeffer. The one significant fact that struck me was that
these documents were comparatively in a very good state of preservation
and the most interesting part of the documents found were
Mr. Flood. Do you have any comment to make with reference to
the dates on any of the documents ?
Mr, Pfeiffer. Yes. The letters and post cards and also some newspapers
found on the dead bodies all carried dates and the dates never
went beyond April 1940.
Mr. Flood, I now have the reporter mark for identification exhibit
13, a photograph ; exhibit 14, a photograph ; exhibit 15, a photograph
and exhibit 16, also a photograph.
(The documents referred to were marked: "Frankfurt Exhibit No.
13," "Frankfurt Exhibit No. 14," "Frankfurt Exhibit No. 15," "Frankfurt
Exhibit No. 16.)
Mr. Flood. T show you exhibit 13 and ask you if you can identify
Mr. Pfeiffer. Those were our billets.
Mr. Flood. Where ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Gluschtschenki, opposite the headquarters of the
Mr. Flood. Is that near Katyn ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Half-way between Smolensk and Katyn.
Mr. Flood. I now show you exhibit 14 and ask you if you can
Mr. Pfeiffer. That's the large grave, the mass grave after the end
of the exhumations and after we had reburied the dead bodies and
rearranged the burial place.
Mr. Flood. I would like to ask you this: The Soviet statement
indicates that when the Soviet began the exhumations of their commission
there was only one grave. Will you tell us how many graves
were there, in number, at the time the Germans finished the exhumations
and the Polish Red Cross reburied the bodies in the summer of
Mr. Pfeiffer. I only recollect three graves, but I know that we
were talking about more graves.
Mr. Flood. The photograph, exhibit 14, that I now show you shows
how many graves and how many crosses ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I want to apologize. I believe that you are meaning
something different than what I mean ; that we are mixing up the old
graves and the new graves.
Mr. Flood. Then, let's go back.
What I mean is this : The Polish Red Cross, it was just testified to
by the general, participated in the exhumations and the burials, do
you recall that ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes. Two Poles worked with me on the identification
of the bodies all the time, too,
Mr, Flood. The Polish Red Cross and the Germans worked together
on the exhumations and the reburials ?
Mr. Pfelffer. Yes.
]\Ir. Flood. And after all the exhumations had been completed and
after all the reburying had been done, how many graves were there
then shown ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. After that period, there were the old open graves
left and the new ones, but I do not recollect the number of the new
Mr. Flood. I mean just the new ones. Do you remember the number
of the new ones ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. No ; I cannot.
Mr. Flood. Well, at least three or four are showing on exhibit 14
that I just showed you.
Mr. Pfeiffer. I was there once more in September, 1943, but, in
spite of that, I am unable to give the exact number of graves.
Mr. Flood. You will be interested in knowing that the vice president
of the Polish Red Cross, who was there and did this work, was before
this committee and testified that when the Polish Red Cross finished
the work there were seven graves.
Mr. Pfeiffer. That is quite possible. T recollect that Voss had
been deliberating whether to bury all the dead bodies discovered there
in one huge mass grave or whether to make several smaller graves,
and then it was decided for reasons of piety, to make several graves.
Mr. Flood. It is of interest to the committee in view of the fact
that the Soviet report states that when they came to Katyn to open
the mass grave there was only one grave there.
I now show you Exhibit 15 and ask if you can identify that.
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes. This is a photostat of the first page of a Polish
pay book as we found them by the thousands, and I do not recall the
name but there were chaplains, one or several chaplains, among the
dead. It is the typical first page of a Polish pay book and there were
thousands of them.
Mr. Flood. I now offer the reporter to be marked "Exhibit 17."
(The above-described document was marked: "Frankfurt exhibit
Mr. Flood. Are you aware that the bodies of two Polish general
officers were discovered at Katyn? Did you ever hear of that?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes ; right in the beginning.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever hear that the Polish Red Cross, when the
reburials were being made, buried the two generals each in a separate
grave marked by a separate smaller cross ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Now that you mention it, I recall that very clearly.
Before, I did not.
Mr. Flood. I now show you exhibit 17 and ask you whether or not
this picture shows six Avhite crosses on six newly made graves with
one large grave in the front Avith a cross and two small crosses on two
separate smaller graves?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I recognize the burying place with the graves and
the two small crosses indicate the new graves of the two Polish
Mr. Flood. We are describing the reburial of the bodies discovered
at Katyn—these are the newly reburied graves, is that it ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Exactly.
^ Mr. Flood. I now show you exhibit 10 and ask you if you can identify
the people shown on that picture.
Mr, Pfeiffer. On this picture I only recognize Voss and the exliibits
which I put out in front of this so-called hut.
Mr. Flood. I now offer in eA'idence exhibits 11 to 17, inclusive.
(Exhibits 11 to 17, inclusive, are as follows
Group of German soldiers, membors of exhumation and identification squad at Katyn,
Site of mass sraves before exhumations.
Quarters of German soldiers near Katyn.
Dedicated graves of reburicd Katyn victims.
Page of a rolisli ofScer's pay book.
Lieutenant Voss showing possessions oi victims.
Reburial place for Polish murdered.
Mr. DoNDEKO. One question : When you reburied these bodies, did
you rebury tliem right where you found them or did you move them
Mr. Pfeiffer. We reburied the dead bodies in a different spot which
was about 100 meters away from the original phice where we found
them, in the direction of the higliway that was coming from Katyn..
Mr. DoNDERO. That's all.
Mr. O'KoNSKi. Will you tell the committee how many Russian workers
were used in this exhumation proceedings that you carried on?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I am only in a position to give the exact number of
the first day when we started. That was 30 Russian peasants from the
Mr. O'KoNSKi. Will you tell the committee if ever as many as 500
Russians were used for that purpose?
Mr. Pfeiffer. That is absolutely out of the question. Never simultaneously.
Mr. O'KoNSKi. The reason why I state that is that in the Russian
report they state that 500 Russians were used for that purpose and
they were all shot by the Germans after they completed their work.
What comment do you have on that?
Mr. Pfeiffer. It is possible that over the whole period of exhuming
the bodies 500 workers were used successively, but never at one
time, and that these 500 workers were shot, I do not believe and it is
Mr. O'KoNSKi. Will you tell the committee if any bodies of Polish
women soldiers were found in the graves of the bodies you exhumed.
Mr. Pfeiffer. No. Exclusively officers, ranking from lieutenant up
Mr. O'KoNSKi. What was the total number of bodies that was exhumed
from the graves at Katyn ?
Mr. Pfeiffer. I ought to be able to give you the exact figure because
I actually numbered all the exhumed bodies and put the same number
on the documents, but I do not, at this time, recollect the exact number,
but I am certain it was between 4,500 and 5,000.
Mr. O'KoNSKi. That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Madden. One question : Did you notice in these papers
that you removed from the bodies medical certificates like vaccination
or innoculations for typhus?
Mr. Pfeiffer. Yes ; I did find such medical certificates.