TESTIMONY OF COL. ALBERT BEDENK, JOHANNISBERG IM RHEINGAU,
GERMANY (THROUGH INTERPRETER ECKHARDT VON
Chairman Madden. Will you give us your address, please?
Colonel Bedenk. Albert Bedenk; 55 years old; Johannisberg im
Mr. Flood. Were you at any time ever identified with the German
armed forces ?
Colonel Bedenk. I was a German soldier from 1914 to March 28,
Mr. Flood. Directing your attention to the outbreak of hostilities
between Germany and Soviet Russia, in wdiat rank and capacity were
you serving at that time ?
Colonel Bedenk. In October 1940 I took over the Signal Regiment
537, with the rank of lieutenant colonel and was commanding officer
of the regiment to November 21, 1941.
Mr. Flood. Directing your attention to the hostilities on the eastern
front, were you ever, in your official capacity, in the armed services,
serving in that area?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes; I was. I went to that area as regimental
commander of the Signal Regiment No. 537, and it was my duty to
arrange all the communications between the various armies belonging
to the central Army group.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever serve in the area of Smolensk in that
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I did.
Mr. Flood. Will you tell us when you first entered the Smolensk
area, from where you came, and when you got there?
Colonel Bedenk. The staff headquarters of the center army group
was located in Borissow from July to approximatelv September 20,
Mr. Flood. When did you move into Smolensk?
Colonel Bedenk. During all the fighting around Smolensk, the
army group has been thinking of where they could possibly get billets,
and then they had decided on the area of Smolensk, to set up their
headquarters there. Through this I had the opportunity of getting to
Smolensk first because I had to see that all connnmiications would be
established by the time the army group would move into the area,
so that they would find all the communications ready and at their
disposal, in proper working order.
Mr. Flood. How close was your movement behind the lines of the
actual combat forces in that area on the day you got there ?
Colonel Bedenk. Smolensk had already been taken some time ago,
and the first-run troops had already gone as far as Vyazma, hundreds
of kilometers east of Smolensk, in the direction of Moscow. The first
time I got to that area was on July 28-29, 1941. On that day I had
a conversation. It was with the signal chief of the army, not of the
army group—at that time, still Col. General von Kluge. I had to
supervise the work of my construction companies, who were establishing
all the communications, and went right into the Smolensk area
and surveyed the whole area.
Mr. Flood. What was the name of the chief military unit in the
Smolensk area, and who was the commanding general?
Colonel Bedenk. It was the center army group, under the command
of Field Marshal von Bock.
Mr. Flood. Wliat was the capacity of General von Kluge at that
Colonel Bedexk. At that time, General von Kluge was commander
in chief of the fourth army, belonging to the center army group.
Mr. Flood. How many armies were in that army group under Bock?
Colonel Bedexk. At the time of the advance, we had four armies
within the center army group.
Mr. Flood. Where was von Kluge's headquarters set up with relation
to the city of Smolensk ?
Colonel Bedexk. It was located west of Smolensk to the south of
the River Dneiper.
Mr. Flood. Who was the communications chief?
Colonel Bedenk. Major General Gercke.
Mr. Flood. Who was your immediate superior?
Colonel Bedenk. Major General Oberhaeuser.
Mr. Flood. Who was chief of intelligence in the Smolensk area at
that time, if you know ?
Colonel Bedenk. They did not have a direct chief of intelligence,
but they had a 1-C, as he was called in the German Army.
Mr. Flood. Who was that?
Colonel Bedenk. At that time, still Lieutenant Colonel von Gersdorff;
later on, major general.
Mr. Flood. Where did you set up your regimental command headquarters?
Colonel Bedenk. I put my regimental staff into a building approximately
4 kilometers west of the headquarters of the staff of the Center
Armv Group, in a house which was right on the banks of the River
Mr. Flood. Did the building in which your staff was housed have
any particular name in the area ?
Colonel Bedenk. There was some talk in the region that the building
had been sort of a recreation home for the commissars in Smolensk.
Mr. Flood. What did the people in the area call the place? Did it
have any particular name of any kind?
Colonel Bedenk. There was some talk of the G. P. U. house.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever hear of a place called either the "Little
Dnieper Castle'' or the "Dnieper Castle," or the "Red Castle"?
Colonel Bedenk. No.
]Mr. Flood. Did you ever hear of the forest or the town of Katyn ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes; because we were actually billetted in the
forest of Katyn.
Mr. Flood. Do you mean this regimental staff headquarters that
you just described was actually in the forest of Katyn?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I do.
Mv. Flood. What was the name and number of vour regiment at
Colonel Bedenk. The official designation Avas Signal Regiment 537
of the Center Army Group.
Mr. Flood. And you were the first colonel to take that outfit into
the Katyn Forest, were you not?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I was.
Mr. Flood. When did you get there ?
Colonel Bedenk. We transferred from Borrisow with the regimental
staff approximately in the middle of August. It may have been
the beginning; approximately the middle.
Mr. Flood. When did you turn over the command of that regiment
to your successor ?
Colonel Bedenk. Colonel Ahrens came out to the eastern front on
October 20, 1941, and during the period from between October 20 and
November 20, I told my successor, who at that time was still Lieutenant
Colonel Ahrens, all he ought to know about things there, and
actually prepared him for his new job.
Mr. Flood. On what date did you turn it over to Colonel Ahrens?
Colonel Bedenk. I did not actually hand over on a specific day;
this handling over business stretched over a whole month.
Mr. Flood. When did you relinquish the command of the regiment?
Colonel Bedenk. On the 20th of November 1941.
Mr. Flood. How many men did you have on your staff when you
were in this headquarters in the Katyn Forest—with particular attention
to the number of officers and noncommissioned officers?
Colonel Bedenk. The total strength was approximately 17, of which
5 or 6 were officers and 4 were noncommissioned, and the rest enlisted
Mr. Flood. About how many enlisted men did you have serving at
the staff headquarters?
Colonel Bedenk. For security reasons, to do guard duty, I had
requested and received two postal constructural units, which actually
belonged to the regiment, and they had been detailed to my staff
Mr. Flood. I do not mean that kind of personnel; I mean enlisted
personnel actually on the staff at headquarters.
Colonel Bedenk. I don't remember the actual numbers; some
drivers and cook and "flunkey."
Mr. Flood. How many? Can you give us an educated guess.
Colonel Bedenk. About 9 or 10 men, including NCO's.
Mr. Fi^oD. Did you have any natives of the area, Russian peasants,
male or female, working in any capacity at the staff headquarters?
Colonel Bedenk. I had brought with me from Borrisow three Russian
POW's, one a carpenter, the other two, agricultural laborers who
had been working for me, and I took them along to Katyn, to my
Mr. Flood. Did you employ any natives of the immediate area of
Katyn, of Smolensk ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I did. First, for kitchen duty, I had taken
on some women fiom Smolensk, and later on, some women from the
near vicinity, because Smolensk was too far away.
Mr. Flood. Will you describe, in as complete detail as you recall,
the physical lay-out of this building, which was your regimental staff
Colonel Bedenk. The building was located approximately 1,000 to
1,200 meters away from the highway, right on the banks of the Dnieper
Mr. Flood. Between what two big towns nearest did the highway
Colonel Bedenk. The two towns were Orscha and Smolensk.
Mr. Flood. Did it appear to be a new highway, or an old highway,
a new road or an old one ?
Colonel Bedenk. It was an old road.
Mr. Flood. Tell us more about the layout of this building inside and
outside, around the area.
Colonel Bedenk. It was a double-story house. It was surrounded
by continuous balconies right around the building, on both floors'.
There was a main building and some outbuildings. On the lower floor
there were 2 very large rooms measuring approximately 20 by 40 feet
each, and 4 or 5 smaller rooms. The upper floor had only one of
those lai'ge rooms, the same mentioned as downstairs, and also 4 or 5
smaller rooms, which could have been used as guest rooms.
The main outbuilding contained the kitchen and a number of
smaller rooms, 6 to 8 of them, not of equal size, some smaller, others
a bit larger, which could also accommodate several people, up to 4
people, for instance, overnight.
Mr. Flood. How far was the house from the highway?
Colonel Bedenk. As I said before, between 1,000 and 1,200 meters.
Mr. Flood. Do you know of the station or the town of Gniezdowo ?
Colonel Bedenk. I don't remember it.
Mr. Flood. How far was the house from the city or the town of
Colonel Bedenk. Approximately 8 to 9 kilometers—that is five to
Mr. Flood. How far was the house from the town or the village of
Colonel Bedenk. Between 4 and 5 kilometers, about—about 13 or
Mr. Flood. Will you descrilie just briefly the area in the forest
within 500 meters of the hoirse?
Colonel Bedenk. The house, as seen from the highway, was located
in a dense ]Dine forest. Partly it was mixed forest. There were no
clearings, that I noticed. It was a typical Russian forest, not well
kept, just the ordinary Russian forest.
Mr. Flood. Tlie witness shows the committee a small photogi'aph,
which indicates in the front of the photograph a river, with a wooded
shore on an elevation of about 15 degrees, and, on the top, what
appears to be a fairly large-sized wooden building, with a castle-like
tower on the left.
I am not concerned so much Avith the appearance of the forest between
the honse and the river; I am concerned now with the appearance
of tlie forest witliin 1,000 meters on the other three sides.
Colonel Bedenk. The house was also surrounded on the other three
sides by a dense mixed forest, pines and also evergreen trees.
Mv. Flood. Did you ever take any walks in the forest for recreation
or other purposes cluring the period you were there ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I did.
Mr. Flood. Alone, or with others ?
Colonel Bedenk. I frequently took walks with General Oberhaeuser
whenever we had something to discuss with reference to our duties.
Mr. Flood. During the course of those walks in any part of the
Katyn woods in any area of this house, did you ever see any mounds
of any kind or earth piles of any sort that attracted your attention?
Colonel Bedenk. On the occasion of such walks, l)oth I and General
Oberhaeuser did notice some small mounds, which were about 1 to 2
meters long—that is, 3 to 6 feet long—and about 3 centimeters—that
is one foot— high. But altogether, the country was slightly undulating.
Ml-. Flood. How far, if you recall, from the headquarters house were
any of these mounds of earth?
Colonel Bedenk. Between 80 and 150 meters.
Mr. Flood. Did they resemble in any way freshly dug graves or
earth piled up over freshly dug graves ?
Colonel Bedenk. No. We never had that impression.
Mr. Flood. Did you or General Oberhaeuser ever comriiicnt to each
other or to anybody else, that you recall, in connection with those
mounds or graves?
Colonel Bedenk. No, we did not, either.
Mr. Flood. Were there any odors of any kind emanating from the
area, that were particularly noxious, if you recall, that you noticed?
Colonel Bedenk. No. If I had noticed anything like that I would
never have set up my staff headquarters there.
Mr. Flood. If there had been any you would have noticed it, would
Colonel Bedenk. Yes; definitely.
Mr. Flood. During the time when you first moved into the Katyn
area, did you see or have any reports of Polish prisoners at that time?
Colojiei Bedenk, I never heard anything of that kind.
Mr. Flood. Did you see any Polish prisoners in the area yourself ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I did not.
Mr. Flood. Did you occupy any Russian prison camps?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I did not. I never saw a prison camp.
Mr. Flood. You told me that you had some Russians from the area
wlio were woi-king in your staff headquarters somehow or other, domestic
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Flood, And you said that you had several Polish POW's
working around there.
Colonel Bedexk. Not Polish ones; Russian POW's.
Mr. Flood. Did you have any conversations, or did you not hear
from any of tlie people tliat worked for you, or any of your soldiers
or anybody, at any time, any stories about Polish prisoners or Poles
being killed, or anytliing of that kind ?
Colonel Bedenk. My Russian prisoners told me that they had
been told by Russian civilians of that area that shooting had taken
place in the Katyn Forest, a lot of shooting, but they never referred
to any Polish prisoners having been shot.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever receive, from any German superior officer,
or did you ever hear of orders issuing through the German command,
to kill Polish officers or commissars or Russian officers or commissars?
Colonel Bedenk. No, never.
Mr. Flood. You never heard discussed, at any time from higher
echelons, any discussion or question among your brother officers about
orders from superior German command for that purpose ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, never.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever order any Polish prisoners killed yourself ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I never saw any.
Mr. Flood. Who was Von Eichborn ?
Colonel Bfdenk. Von Flichborn was communications expert with
the Chief of Communications of the Central Army Group.
Mr. Flood. Was he ever stationed with you at your regimental
staff headquarters, in residence ?
Colonel Bedenk. Von Eichborn did not live at my staff headquarters.
He lived about four kilometers away, but very frequently
came to my staff headquarters because I also had an officer working
on the same thing, also an expert on communications, and these two
had to do qu'ie a bit of work together.
Mr. Flood. Who was Lieutenant Hodt?
Colonel Bedenk. First Lieutenant Hodt was sometimes detailed to
my staff from one of the companies as orderly officer attached to me.
Mr. Flood. As an experienced colonel in the army at that time, if
you knew or had heard that tliere were graves or a grave containing
several thousand bodies in a certain place in a forest, would you have
placed your regimental staff command residence within 5*0 to 100
kilometers of that spot, had you known ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I would not.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever put up or give quarters to any groups of
(lerman soldiers of any other outfits, up to the number of 25 or 30,
during the entire period you were at the staff headquarters?
Colonel Bedenk. No, never. I never had any other troops there.
Mr. Flood. Were there any Einstazgruppe Kommandos in your
area in Smolensk when you moved in?
Colonel Bedenk. I am unable to say. I don't know. I didn't see
Mr. Flood. What were the general security orders, if any, that you
gave in the area of you)' regimental staff headquarters ?
Colonel Bedenk. In the daytime, I had a double guard posted on
the highway at the spot where the road to my house branched off.
Mr. Flood. Why?
Colonel Bedenk. First of all, for the purpose of catching units of
mv reirinient, or dispatch riders, or officers looking lor me, to put them
on the rio-ht road to my house, because the house Avas so hidden among
the trees that it could not be seen from the highway.
Mr. Flood. How many guards in any one day, m any period ot time
you were there, would you have posted? 1,1
Colonel Bedenk. In daytijne, I had only those two guards posted
at the highway, and, at night, I had a patrol of two men going around
the house all tlie time.
1 <• i .1 ;,. n,^
Mr Flood. Did you ever throw up a coidon of tinned guards m tlie
entire forest area with relation to the highway, tlie river, 1,000 meters
from the house, your house, at any time you were there <
Colonel Bedenk. No, never. • , r
Mr. Flood. Was the area verboten to everybody, incJudmg cni-
^'^Colonel Bedenk. The area was not a verboten area. It was all
open, particularly in view of the fact that near the house there was
a crossincr point for the river where the peasants used to cross over
in boats *and there was always some civilian traffic passing by.
Mr Flood. Was there much traffic, military or civilian, or both, on
the highway passing in both directions within 1.000 meters ot your
house during the time you were there ^ 10 ^ u
Colonel Bedenk. During the first time, m August and September,
traffic was very heavy.
Mr. Flood. Day and night ?
Colonel Bedenk. Day and night. ^^ ^ ^ i-^
Mr Flood. Did you have any electric lights or any kind of higUpowered
lights erected on trees in the area of your headquarters or
within 1,000 meters of your headquarters in the forest m any
direction? ^^ ^ ^ 4. ^^
Colonel Bedenk. No, we had no electric lights at all.
Mr Flood. Did you ever have any staff conferences as high as
division or group level at your headquarters while you were there?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, there was one conference in September when
all of the communications chiefs of the army group were convoked
to my staff headquarters for a conference.
Mr. Flood. Was your outfit armed ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, it was.
Mr. Flood. What did they carry?
(Colonel Bedenk. Carbines, and the postal construction companys
only carried pistols.
Mr. Flood. What did the NCO's carry?
(^olonel Bedenk. They only had pistols.
. « 1 j
Mr. Flood. How many NCO's did you have at your staff headquarters
Colonel Bedenk. Six or eight. i i. 9
Mr Flood. Who were these postal workers you are talking about?
(\)lon('l Bedenk. Hiey were half civilians and half soldiers.
Mv Flood. What kind" of bread is that? ,
(\,l()iud Ih-.DEXK. Thov were construction groups, civilians employed
by tlie (ieniian lieich Post and working on the telephone and
te]e<rra])h lines, and were detailed from the postal authorities to the
anil}' and had been put in uniform and were doing the same work out
tliere tliat they were doing at home in ordinary times.
Mr. Flood. You mean the post office just turned them over to the
army en masse and the army put uniforms on them, and there they
Colonel Bedenk. Xot quite as roughly as that. As long as the
German Army was still within the territory of the former Reich, the
postal authorities were still running all these lines and looking after
them, and so the}^ were just attached to whichever regiment or division
Mr. Flood. You wouldn't call them ver}' skilled marksmen, would
Colonel Bedenk. Piobably there must have been a number of old
soldiers among them.
Mr. Flood. Among the postal workers?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes.
Mr. Flood. Now, Colonel, the Soviet report on a commission convened
by tlie Soviet to investigate the Katyn massacres, and the indictment
at Nuremberg of one Goering, which contained the Katyn
matter, and the Soviet prosecution of that indictment at the Nuremberg
trials, charged tliat these murders were committed by Construction
Regiment 537 under the command of a Colonel Ahrens.
Colonel Bedexk. This accusation is wrong in every detail.
Ml'. Flood. "When did Colonel Ahrens take over from you, to repeat
for the record.
Colonel Bedenk. Colonel Ahrens took over the regiment from me
on November 20, 1941.
Mr. Flood. So, Colonel Ahrens was not in connnand in tliat area
for several months prior to November, was he ?
Colonel Bedenk. That's correct. He took over the regiment on
November 20 although he had already arrived one month prior to
that date, October 20, in order to get ready and to know about things
and what duties he would have, and he had no executive power.
Mr. Flood. According to the Soviet report and the Soviet prosecution
at Nurenberg, these murders were committed during a time and
by a regiment of the same number as yours during the period of tune
when you were in command in that area.
Colonel Bedenk. I know that the Soviets came out with this
Mr. Flood. I ask you two final questions.
Did you receive or give any orders for the execution of any prisoners
of war, particularly Polish officers, in the Katyn Forest during the
time you were in command there?
Colonel Bedenk. No.
Mr. Flood. If any such executions or murders had taken place,
being done by anybody else, especially Germans, day or night. in that
area during the period of time you were in command, could it possibly
have been done without your knowing or hearing about it ?
Colonel Bedenk. If any firing had taken place at all, I would have
known about it immediately because it would have been reported to me straight away.
Mr. Flood. Did you see any executions? Did you ever hear of
any such executions, or were reports of any ever made to you?
Colonel Bedexk. No. The first I heard about the shooting of these
Polish officers was after the graves had been opened.
Mr. Flood. What was the answer to my question—yes or no?
Colonel Bedenk. No.
Mr. Flood. That's all.
Mr. Machrowicz. Are you now serving in any capacity for the
Colonel Bedexk. No. I am war disabled and live on a pension.
Mr. Machrowicz. Have you, before you were called to this committee,
consulted with anyone regarding your testimony?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I did not.
Mr. Machrowicz. Have you been instructed by anyone other than
this committee in any way regarding your testimony today?
Colonel Bedenk. No, by nobody.
Mr. IMachrgwicz. Have you read the official Russian report on the
Katyn Forest ?
Colonel Bedenk. I merely read the articles which were published
in the periodical Spiegel and in the Schwabischer Nachtrichter, and
found quite a few details were incorrect in them.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you notice in that official Russian report
the statement that the building you described as your headquarters
was used as a place of orgy for German officers?
Colonel Bedenk. No.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did. you read that report?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I never read it.
]\Ir. Mactirowicz. Do you know Oberleutnant Rekst?
Colonel Bedenk. Rekst was my regimental adjutant and he was
also regimental adjutant at the time of Colonel Ahrens.
Mr. Machrowicz. Do you know that a Russian official by the name
of Anna Aleksiejewa stated in her affidavit in the Russian report that
Oberleutnant Rekst was the adjutant of Colonel Ahrens? Is that
Colonel Bedenk. Yes.
Mr. Machrowicz. Do you know Lieutenant Hodt ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I do.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was he under your command?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, he was in my regiment.
Mr. Machrowicz. And also a man by the name of Lumert?
Colonel Bedenk. That was the staff corporal sitting in the regimental
office doing the secretarial work. Later on, he was made an
officer, but not at that time.
Mr. Machrowicz. I'll mention a few other names she noted in her
affidavit and ask you if you remember them.
Rose, who had charge of the electric plant.
Colonel Bedenk. That's possible. We had a pumping station. It
might be this one here on this picture.
Mr. Flood. The witness shows the committee a picture of what is
obviously a pum]iing house or power house, with two soldiers standing
there, obviously employed in some capacity with that machinery.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was Oberleutnant Ahrens in the Katyn area at
the same time you were?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, he was there for one month together with
me, from October 20 to November 20. I left the area after handing
over the regiment to him on November 21.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you have a man there whom you used as an
interpreter whose first name was Johann ?
Colonel Bedenk. That might have been my flunky, but his first
name was Josef.
Mr. Machrowicz. For your information, Aleksiejewa claims that
Johann, at the request of Ahrens, instructed the peasants in the area
not to say anything about the shooting they had been hearing while
you were in charge. Is there any truth in that statement?
Colonel Bedenk. I do not know, but it is possible, in my opinion,
that this Johann or Josef was later on taken into the staff of the
regiment, but that was after I had gone, so I do not know about that.
Mr. Machrowicz. You have testified previously that you were told
by some of the local people that shootings had taken place in this
forest, is that correct?
Colonel Bedexk. Yes, that's correct.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did they tell you when those shootings had
been taking place ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, they did not give any details.
Mr. Machrowicz. Didn't you consider it important to inquire?
Colonel Bedenk. No, for the simple reason that I assumed that all
this shooting was in connection with the fighting that had taken place
around about there—that they meant that.
Mr. Machrowicz. Didn't these mounds that you saw in the area
stir any suspicion in your mind ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, none.
Mr. Macpirowicz. Did you ever investigate what those mounds
were there for ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, I didn't, because I wasn't interested in that.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you find in the area of Katyn within, say,
ten or twelve kilometers, any encampments ?
Colonel Bedenk. I didn't find any encampment in my region, but
it is possible that where tlie army group was billeted, that being old
army territory, there might have been some encampment, and something
was being said about a childrens' recreational institution located
in that area before the war.
Mr. MACHR0^^^[cz. The Russians claimed that there were three
camps within a close proximity of this Katyn Forest and that the
Polish officers were located in these three camps and were left behind
them when the Germans advanced forward. Now, do you know
anything about the existence of any camps which might answer that
Colonel Bedenk. I never saw any such installations which might
have been camps.
Mr. Machrowicz. You had charge of communications for how
many miles in that area ?
Colonel Bedenk. My communications stretched over hundreds of
kilometers, as far a Vyazma and Orel and north to the Ninth Army
and even to a tank army that was operating hundreds of kilometers
Mr. Machrowicz. If there were any camps of that type near the
railroad line wouldn't you have known about them?
Colonel Bedenk. Along the railroad lines, no, because we never
used the railroad. We had nothing to do with them.
Mr. Machrowicz. If thpy were along the lines of communication,
Avoulcl you have knoAvn?
Colo7iel Bedenk. But we had only something to do with communications.
Mr. Machrowicz. Do you know what the first railroad station is,
west of Smolensk?
Coloned Bedexk. I do not recollect exactly. Something like
Krosny Bor, I believe.
Mr. Machrow^icz. Do you remember wdiat the second station was?
Colonel Bedenk. I do not recollect. I was never on the railroad,
so I do not know.
Mr. Machrowicz. Does the name Gniezdowo bring any recollection
to you ?
Colonel Bedenk. The village of Gniezdowo was near this highway
and near Katyn.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you ever return to the place where the graves
were, after you had left there in November ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I returned to this area in August 1943, to
check out with General Obei'haeuser because I had been transferred
at that time.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was that after the graves were found?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, after the graves had been found and after
the exhumations had taken place and the whole business was finished.
Ml". Machrowicz. Did you see any of the bodies?
Colonel Bedenk. No, everything was closed up by the time I got
jNIr. Machrowicz. What kind of soil was there in this forest?
Colonel Bedenk. As far as I know and remember, sandy soil.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was it a light soil or a dark soil?
Colonel Bedenk. A light colored soil, and light soil.
Mr. Machrowicz. I believe you testified also, previously, that it
was a dense forest, is that correct?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes. In parts fhe forest was very dense, and it
was mostly young trees in those parts.
Ml'. Maciirow^icz. In the parts which you later learned the graves
were found, was it thick or thin?
Colonel Bedenk. I don't know where the graves are, because I
never w^ent there.
Mr. Machrowicz. You were there in August 1941, just a few
months after they were exhumed?
Colonel Bedenk. Only in the area to report to General Oberhaeuser,
who was living 4 kilometers away from that spot. I didn't go to the
Mr. Machrowicz. Well, because of the fact that you had previously
been in that area in 1941, didn't it interest you to find out where those
graves were found?
Colonel Bedenk. No. We were in a very great hurry because we
were beinc: transferred with the whole staff headquarters of the Army
to the Balkans, and we had to hurry to Smolensk to catch a plane to be
flown down to the Balkans, so we Avere in a very great hurry.
Mr. IVIachkowicz. Did you ever employ 500 Russian prisonei's of
war in the work in the Katyn forests?
Mr. Machrowicz. Are you familiar with the fact that in the Russian
charge it is claimed that the officer in command hired 500, or
rather, employed, 500 Russian prisoners of war to help dig the graves?
Colonel Bedexk. No, I don't know.
Mr. Machrowicz. At any rate, during the time that you were there
you claim you never employed 500 Russian prisoners of war or any
figure near that ?
Colonel Bedenk. The most I ever employed were 3 prisoners I always
had there, that I brought along from Borisow.
Mr. Machrowicz. I think you mentioned before that Rose was one
of the officers in your detachment.
Colonel Bedenk, I don't know Rose.
Mr. Machrowicz. You never heard the name Rose?
Colonel Bedenk. No.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was there a mechanic employed by you by the
name of Greniewski?
Colonel Bedenk. I don't know, but not at my time ; definitely not.
Mr. Machrowicz. The reason I ask you that question, witness, is
because in the Russian charge one Michailowa claims that when she
and some others came near the place where the graves were subsequently
found, a noncommissioned officer Rose and a mechanic Greniewski
chased them away and threatened them if they came near that scene.
Colonel Bedenk. I know nothing about that. The name of Rose
is unknown to me, and the name of Greniewski too. That must have
happened after I had gone away from there, if it happened.
Mr. Machrowicz. The name "Greniewski" is spelled G-r-e-n-i-e-ws-
Who was your billeting officer ?
Colonel Bedenk. At that time it was a Captain of the reserves,
Mr. Machrowicz. Who was Irvin Algier?
Colonel Bedenk. I don't know him.
Mr. Machrowicz. That is all.
Chairman Madden. Any further questions ?
Let me ask you this. I don't think you have testified to it.
Oh, pardon me; go ahead.
Mr. O'KoNSKi. As the Germans started their offensive against the
Russians, was it the policy of the Russians to leave behind any amount
of able-bodied men, whether they were Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians,
Estonians, or Russians ?
Colonel Bedenk. I don't know anything about that, as I was never
with the first fighting troops, or with the first-line troops.
Mr. O'KoNSKi. Do you know any order of any disposition that
might have been made in case they did, for instance, capture 15,000
Colonel Bedenk. No.
Mr. O'KoNSKi. Just one more question.
If disposition had been made of some 15,000 Polish officers, with the
German economy as it was at that time is there any likelihood that
the Germans would have done them the honor of burying them with
brand new overcoats and a brand new pair of boots ? Or do you think
that those might have been removed ?
Colonel Bedenk. I cannot answer that question. I don't know
how to answer that question.
Mr. Machrowicz. In the Russian charge there are also affidavits of
about 4 or 5 local people who testify under oath that in the fall of
1941 they frequently heard much shooting in those forests. Was
there any shooting going on in that forest at that time ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, there was no firing going on wdiatever in the
fall of 1941.
Mr. Machrowicz. You where there during all of the fall of '41,
were you not ?
Colonel Bedenk. I spent the whole fall of '41 there.
Mr. Machrowicz. And were you in charge ?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes, I was in charge.
Mr. Machrowicz. Up to November of that year?
Colonel Bedenk. Yes.
Mr. Machrowicz. The charge also states that some of those shootings
took place in the beginning of September of 1941. Do you know
anything about that ?
Colonel Bedenk. I cannot understand that ; I know nothing about
Mr. Machrowicz. The witness Aleksiejewa also charged in her affidavit
that she herself saw, in the fall of 1941, while she was on her
way to work, how the German officers sent a great number of Polish
prisoners to the forests and later several shots were heard. Do you
know anything about that incident ?
Colonel Bedenk. That is a clear invention. That is impossible.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you ever read these affidavits ?
Colonel Bedenk. No, never.
Mr. Machrowicz. That is all.
Chairman Madden. I don't think you mentioned the size of this
Katyn Forest. How large was this forest area? How large?
Colonel Bedenk. It was about 1200 meters from the high road to
the house. There was dense forest on both sides, but it was generally
called the Katyn Forest. But how large that forest was, and how
Chairman Madden (interposing) . How many meters thick, through
Colonel Bedenk. I don't know, because I never went to the other
end of the forest.