Re: The Katyn testimony of Marko Antonov Markov

David Thompson wrote:

On 1-2 Jul 1946, Marko Antonov Markov testified at the IMT proceedings in regard to Soviet allegations that the Germans had committed the massacre of Polish POWs at Katyn Forest.  His testimony can be found in volume 17 of the IMT proceedings, available on-line at the Avalon Project of the Yale University School of Law, at:


This is Part 1 of 2:

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I beg the Tribunal to allow me to call as witness Marko Antonov Markov, a Bulgarian citizen, professor at the University of Sofia.

[The interpreter Valev and the witness Markov took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Are you the interpreter?

LUDOMIR VALEV (Interpreter): Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you give us your full name?

VALEV: Ludomir Valev.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear before God and the Law-that I will interpret truthfully and to the best of my skill-the evidence to be given by the witness.

[The interpreter repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: [To the witness.] Will you give us your full name, please?

DR. MARKO ANTONOV MARKOV (Witness): Dr. Marko Antonov Markov.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear- as a witness in this
case-that I will speak only the truth-being


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aware of my responsibility before God and the Law-and that I will withhold and
add nothing.

[The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

MR. DODD: Mr. President, this witness is examined, I would like to call to the attention of the Tribunal the fact that Dr. Stahmer asked the preceding witness a question which I understood went: How did it happen that the interpreters had the questions and the answers to your questions if you didn't have them before you? Now that question implied that Dr. Stahmer had some information that the interpreters did have the answers to the questions, and I sent a note up to the interpreters, and I have the answer from the lieutenant in charge that no one there had any answers or questions, and I think it should be made clear on the record.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think so, too.

DR. STAHMER: I was advised of this fact outside the courtroom. If it is not a fact, I wish to withdraw my statement. I was informed outside the courtroom from a trustworthy source. I do not recall the name of the person who told me, I shall have to ascertain it.

THE PRESIDENT: Such statements ought not be made by counsel until they have verified them.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: May I begin the examination of this witness, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: The examination, yes.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Witness, I beg you to tell us briefly, without taking up the time of the Tribunal with too many details, under what conditions you were included in the so-called International Medical Commission set up by the Germans in the month of April 1943 for the examination of the graves of Polish officers in the Katyn woods.

I beg you, when answering me, to pause between the question I put to you and your own answer.

MARKOV: This occurred at the end of April 1943. While working in the Medico-Legal Institute, where I am still working, I was called to the telephone by Dr. Guerow.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness must stop before the interpreter begins. Otherwise, the voices come over the microphone together. So the interpreter must wait until the witness has finished his answer before he repeats it.

Now, the witness has said - at least this is what I heard - that in April 1943 he was called on the telephone.


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MARKOV: I was called to the telephone by Dr. Guerow, the secretary of Dr. Filoff who was then Prime Minister of Bulgaria. I was told that I was to take part as representative of the Bulgarian Government, in the work of an international medical commission which had to examine the corpses of Polish officers discovered in the Katyn wood.

Not wishing to go, I answered that I had to replace the director of my Institute who was away in the country. Dr. Guerow told me that according to an instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had sent the telegram, it was precisely in order to replace him that I would have to go there. Guerow told me to come to the Ministry. There I asked him if I could refuse to comply with this order. He answered that we were in a state of war and that the Government could send anybody wherever and whenever they deemed it necessary. Guerow took me to the first secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Schuchmanov. Schuchmanov repeated this order and told me that we were to examine the corpses of thousands of Polish officers. I answered that to examine thousands of corpses would take several months, but Schuchmanov said that the Germans had already exhumed a great number of these corpses and that I would have to go, together with other members of the commission, in order to see what had already been done and in order to sign, as Bulgarian representative, the report of the proceedings which had already been drafted.

After that, I was taken to the German Legation, to Counsellor Mormann, who arranged all the technical details of the trip. This was on Saturday; and on Monday morning, 26 April, I flew to Berlin. There I was met by an official of the Bulgarian Legation and I was lodged at the Hotel Adlon.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer the next question: Who took part in this
so-called International Commission, and when did they leave for Katyn?

MARKOV: On the next day, 27 April, we stayed in Berlin and the other members of the commission arrived there too.


MARKOV: They were the following, besides myself: Dr. Birkle, chief doctor of the Ministry of Justice and first assistant of the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Criminology at Bucharest; Dr. Miloslavich, professor of forensic medicine and criminology at Zagreb University, who was representative for Croatia; Professor Palmieri, who was professor for forensic medicine and criminology at Naples; Dr. Orsos, professor of forensic medicine and criminology at Budapest; Dr. Subik, professor of pathological anatomy at the University of Bratislava and chief of the State Department for Health for


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Slovakia; Dr. Hajek, professor for forensic medicine and criminology at Prague, who represented the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; Professor Naville, professor of forensic medicine at the University of Geneva, representative for Switzerland; Dr. Speleers, professor for ophthalmology at Ghent University, who represented Belgium; Dr. De Burlett, professor of anatomy at the University of Groningen, representing Holland; Dr. Tramsen, vice chancellor of the Institute for forensic medicine at Copenhagen University, representing Denmark; Dr. Saxen, who was professor for pathological anatomy at Helsinki University, Finland.

During the investigations of the commission, a Dr. Costeduat was missing; he declared that he could attend only as a personal representative of President Laval. Professor Piga from Madrid also arrived, an elderly gentleman who did not take any part in the work of the commission. It was stated later that he was ill as a result of the long journey.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were all these persons flown to Katyn?

MARKOV: All these persons arrived at Katyn with the exception of Professor Piga.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Who besides the members of the commission left for Katyn with you?

MARKOV: On the 28th we took off from Tempelhof Airdrome, Berlin, for Katyn. We took off in two airplanes which carried about 15 to 20 persons each.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Maybe you can tell us briefly who was there?

MARKOV: Together with us was Director Dietz, who met us and accompanied us. He represented the Ministry of Public Health. There were also press representatives, and two representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I beg you to stop with these details and to tell me when the commission arrived in Katyn?

MARKOV: The commission arrived in Smolensk on 28 April, in the evening.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: How many work days did the commission stay in Smolensk? I stress work days.

MARKOV: We stayed in Smolensk 2 days only, 29 and 30 April 1943, and on 1 May, in the morning, we left Smolensk.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: How many times did the members of the commission personally visit the mass graves in the Katyn wood?


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MARKOV: We were twice in the Katyn wood, that is, in the forenoon of 29 and 30 April.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I mean, how many hours did you spend each time at the mass graves?

MARKOV: I consider not more than 3 or 4 hours each time.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were the members of the commission present at least once during the opening of one of the graves?

MARKOV: No new graves were opened in our presence. We were shown only several graves which had already been opened before we arrived.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Therefore, you were shown already opened graves, near which the corpses were already laid out, is that right?

MARKOV: Quite right. Near these 'opened graves were exhumed corpses already laid out there.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were the necessary conditions for an objective and comprehensive scientific examination of the corpses given to the members of the commission?

MARKOV: The only part of our activity which could be characterized as a scientific, medico-legal examination were the autopsies carried out by certain members of the commission who were themselves medico-legal experts; but there were only seven or eight of us who could lay claim to that qualification, and as far as I recall only eight corpses were opened. Each of us operated on one corpse, except Professor Hajek, who dissected two corpses. Our further activity during these 2 days consisted of a hasty inspection under the guidance of Germans. It was like a tourists' walk during which we saw the open graves; and we were shown a peasant's house, a few kilometers distant from the Katyn wood, where in showcases papers and objects of various sorts were kept. We were told that these papers and objects had been found in the clothes of the corpses which had been exhumed.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were you actually present when these papers were taken from the corpses or were they shown to you when they were already under glass in display cabinets?

MARKOV: The documents which we saw in the glass cases had already been removed from the bodies before we arrived.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were you allowed to investigate these documents, to examine these documents, for instance, to see whether the papers were impregnated with any acids which had developed by the decay of the corpses, or to carry out any other kind of scientific examination?


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MARKOV: We did not carry out any scientific examination of these papers. As I have already told you, these papers were exhibited in glass cases and we did not even touch them.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But I would like you nevertheless to answer me briefly with "yes" or "no," a question which I have already put to you. Were the members of the commission given facilities for an objective examination?

MARKOV: In my opinion these working conditions can in no way be qualified as adequate for a complete and objective scientific examination. The only thing which bore the character of the scientific nature was the autopsy which I carried out.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: But did I rightly understand you, that from the 11,000 corpses which were discovered only 8 were dissected by members of the commission.

MARKOV: Quite right.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Please answer the next question. In what condition were these corpses? I would like you to describe the state in which they were and also the state of the inner organs, the tissues, et cetera.

MARKOV: As to the condition of the corpses in the Katyn graves, I can only judge according to the state of the corpse which I myself dissected. The condition of this corpse was, as far as I could ascertain, the same as that of all the other corpses. The skin was still well preserved, was in part leathery, of a brown-red color and on some parts there were blue markings from the clothes. The nails and hair, mostly, had already fallen out. In the head of the corpse I dissected there was a small hole, a bullet wound in the back of the head. Only pulpy substance remained of the brain. The muscles were still so well preserved that one could even see the fibers of the sinews of heart muscles and valves. The inner organs were also mainly in a good state of preservation. But of course they were dried up, displaced, and of a dark color. The stomach showed traces of some sort of contents. A part of the fat had turned into wax. We were impressed by the fact that even when pulled with brute force, no limbs had detached themselves.

I dictated a report, on the spot, on the result of my investigation. A similar report was dictated by the other members of the commission who examined corpses.

This report was published by the Germans, under Number 827, in the book which they published.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would like you to answer the following question. Did the medico-legal investigations testify to the fact that the corpses had been in the graves already for 3 years?


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MARKOV: As to that question I could judge only from the corpse on which I myself had held a post mortem. The condition of this corpse, as I have already stated, was typical of the average condition of the Katyn corpses. These corpses were far removed from the stage of disintegration of the soft parts, since the fat was only beginning to turn into wax. In my opinion these corpses were buried for a shorter period of time than 3 years. I considered that the corpse which I dissected had been buried for not more than 1 year or 18 months.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Therefore, applying the criteria of the facts which you ascertained to your experiences in Bulgaria- that is, in a country of a more southern climate than Smolensk and where decay, therefore, is more rapid-one must come to the conclusion that the corpses that were exhumed in the Katyn forest had been lying under the earth for not more than a year and a half? Did I understand you correctly?

MARKOV: Yes, quite right. I had the impression that they had been buried for not more than a year and a half.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

[The Tribunal adjourned until 2 July 1946 at 1000 hours.]


Tuesday, 2 July 1946

Morning Session

[The witness Markov resumed the stand.]

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Witness, when did you, together with the other members of the commission, perform the autopsies of these eight corpses? What date was it exactly?

MARKOV: That was on 30 April, early in the day.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And, on the basis of your personal observations, you decided that the corpses were in the ground 1 year or 18 months at the most?

MARKOV: That is correct.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Before putting the next question to you, I should like you to give me a brief answer to the following question: Is it correct that in the practice of Bulgarian medical jurisprudence the protocol about the autopsy contains two parts, a description and the deductions?

MARKOV: Yes. In our practice, as well as in the practice of other countries, so far as I know, it is done in the following way: First of all, we give a description and then the deduction.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Was a deduction contained in the record you made regarding the autopsy?

MARKOV: My record of the autopsy contained only a description without any conclusion.


MARKOV: Because from the papers which were given to us there I understood that they wanted us to say that the corpses had been in the ground for 3 years. This could be deduced from the papers which were shown to us in the little peasant hut about which I have already spoken.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: By the way, were these papers shown to you before the autopsy or afterward?

MARKOV: Yes, the papers were given us 1 day before the autopsy.


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MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: So you were. . .

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, you are interrupting the interpreter all the time. Before the interpreter has finished the answer, you have put another question. It is very difficult for us to hear the interpreter.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Thank you for your indication, Mr. President.

MARKOV: Inasmuch as the objective deduction regarding the autopsy I performed was in contradiction with this version, I did not make any deductions.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Consequently you did not make any deduction because the objective data of the autopsy testified to the fact that the corpses had been in the ground, not 3 years, but only 18 months?

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, you must remember that it is a double translation, and unless you pause more than you are pausing, your voice comes in upon the interpreter's and we cannot hear the interpreter.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Very well, Mr. President.

MARKOV: Yes, that is quite correct.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Was there unanimity among the members of the commission regarding the time the corpses had been in the graves?

MARKOV: Most of the members of the delegation who performed the autopsies the Katyn wood made their deductions without answering the essential question regarding the time the corpses had been buried. Some of them, as for instance, Professor Hajek, spoke about immaterial things; as for instance, that one of the killed had had pleurisy. Some of the others, as for instance, Professor Birkle from Bucharest, cut off some hair from a corpse in order to determine the age of the corpse. In my opinion that was quite immaterial. Professor Palmieri, on the basis of the autopsy that he performed, said that the corpse had been in the ground over a year but he did not determine exactly how long.

The only one who gave a definite statement in regard to the time the corpses had been buried was Professor Miloslavich from Zagreb, and he said it was 3 years.

However, when the German book regarding Katyn was published, I read the result of his impartial statement regarding the corpse on which he had performed the autopsy. I had the impression that the corpse on which he had performed the autopsy did not differ in its stage of decomposition from the other corpses.

This led me to think that his statement that the corpses had


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been in the ground for 3 years did not coincide with the facts of his description.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would like to ask you to reply to the following question. Were there many skulls found by the members of the commission with signs of so-called pseudocallus?

By the way, inasmuch as this term is not known in the usual books on medical jurisprudence and in general criminalistic terminology, I should like you to give us an exact explanation of what Professor Orsos, of Budapest, means by the term pseudocallus.

THE PRESIDENT: Would you repeat that question?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Were there many skulls with signs of so-called pseudocallus which were submitted to the members of the commission? Inasmuch as this term is not known in the usual books on medical jurisprudence, I should like you to give us a detailed explanation of what Professor Orsos means by the term pseudo callus.

THE PRESIDENT: What are you saying the skulls had? You asked if there were many skulls with something or other.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I see this term for the first time, myself, Mr. President. It is pseudocallus. It seems to be a Latin' term of some sort of corn which is formed on the outer surface of the cerebral substance.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you spell the word in Latin?


[The prosecutor submitted a paper to the President.]

THE PRESIDENT: What you have written here is p-s-e-r-d-o. Do you mean p-s-e-u-d-o, which means false?

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, that is right, pseudo.

THE PRESIDENT: Now then, put your question again, and try to put it shortly.


[Turning to the witness.] Were there many skulls with signs of so-called pseudocallus shown to the members of the commission? Will you please give an exact explanation of this term of Professor Orsos'.

MARKOV: Professor Orsos spoke to us regarding pseudocallus at a general conference of the delegates. That took place on 30 April, in the afternoon, in the building where the field laboratory of Dr. Butz in Smolensk was located. Professor Orsos described the term pseudocallus as meaning some sediment of indissoluble salt, of calcium, and other salts on the inside of the cranium.

Professor Orsos stated that, according to his


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observations in Hungary, this happened if the corpses have been in the ground for at least 3 years. When Professor Orsos stated this at the scientific conference, none of the delegates said anything either for or against it. I deduced from that that this term pseudocallus was as unknown to the other delegates as it was to me.

At the same conference Professor Orsos showed us such a pseudocallus on one of the skulls.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I should like you to answer the following question: What number did the corpse have from which this skull with signs of pseudocallus was taken?

MARKOV: The corpse from which the skull was taken and which was noted in the book bore the Number 526. From this I deduced that this corpse was exhumed before our arrival at Katyn, inasmuch as all the other corpses on which we performed autopsies on 30 April had numbers which ran above 800. It was explained to us that as soon as a corpse was exhumed it immediately received a consecutive number.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Ten me this, please. Did you notice any pseudocallus on the skulls of the corpses on which you and your colleagues performed autopsies?
MARKOV: On the skull of the corpse on which I performed an autopsy, there was some sort of pulpy substance in place of the brain, but I never noticed any sign of pseudocallus. The other delegates - after the explanation of Professor Orsos - likewise did not state that they had found any pseudocallus in the other skulls. Even Butz and his co-workers, who had examined the corpses before our arrival, did not mention any sign of pseudocallus.

Later on, in a book which was published by the Germans and which contained the report of Butz, I noticed that Butz referred to pseudocallus in order to give more weight to his statement that the corpses had been in the ground for 3 years.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is to say, that of the 11,000 corpses only one skull was submitted to you which had pseudocallus?

MARKOV: That is quite correct.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I should like you to describe to the Tribunal in detail the state of the clothing which you found on the corpses.

MARKOV: In general the clothing was well preserved, but of course it was damp due to the decomposition of the corpses. When we pulled off the clothing to undress the corpses, or when we tried to take off the shoes, the clothing did not tear nor did the shoes fall apart at the seams. I even had the impression that this clothing could have been used again, after having been cleaned.


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There were some papers found in the pockets of the clothing of the corpse on which I performed the autopsy, and these papers were also impregnated with the dampness of the corpse. Some of the Germans who were present when I was performing the autopsy asked me to describe those papers and their contents; but I refused to do it, thinking that this was not the duty of a doctor. In fact I had already noticed the previous day that with the help of the dates contained in those papers, they were trying to make us think that the corpses had remained in the ground for 3 years.

Therefore, I wanted to base my deductions only on the actual condition of the corpses. Some of the other delegates who performed autopsies also found some papers in the clothing of the corpses. The papers which had been found in the clothing of the corpse on which I performed the autopsy were put into a cover which bore the same number as the corpse, Number 827. Later on, in the book which was published by the Germans, I perceived that some of the delegates described the contents of the papers which were found on the corpses.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I should like to ask you to reply to the following question. On what impartial medico-judicial data did the commission base the deduction that the corpses had remained in the earth not less than 3 years?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you put the question again? I did not understand the question.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I asked on what impartial medico-judicial data were the deductions of the protocol of the International Medical Commission based, which stated that the corpses had remained in the ground not less than 3 years?

THE PRESIDENT: Has he said that that was the deduction he made-not less than 3 years?

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): He has not said that.

THE PRESIDENT: He has not said that at all. He never said that he made the deduction that the corpses remained in the ground not less than 3 years.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: He did not make this deduction; but Professor Markov, together with the other members of the commission, signed a report of the International Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: I know; but that is why I ask you to repeat your question. The question that was translated to us was: On what grounds did you make your deduction that the corpses had remained in the ground not less than 3 years - which is the opposite of what he said.

Now will you put the question again?


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[Turning to the witness.] I am not asking you about your personal minutes, Witness, but about the general record of the entire commission. I am asking you on what impartial medico-judicial data were the deductions of the entire commission based, that the corpses had remained in the earth not less than 3 years. On the record of the deductions your signature figures among those of the other members of the commission.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Now, then, Colonel Smirnov, will you put the question again.


[Turning to the witness.] I was asking you on what impartial medicojudicial data were the deductions of the commission based- not the individual report of Dr. Markov, in which there are no deductions-but the deductions of the entire commission, that the corpses had remained not less than 3 years in the ground?

MARKOV: The collective protocol of the commission which was signed by all the delegates was very scant regarding the real medicojudicial data. Concerning the condition of the corpses, only one sentence in the report was stated, namely that the corpses were in various stages of decomposition, but there was no description of the real extent of decomposition.

Thus, in my opinion, this deduction was based on the papers found on the corpses and on testimony of the witnesses, but not on the actual medicojudicial data. As far as medical jurisprudence is concerned, they tried to support this deduction by the statement of Professor Orsos regarding the finding of pseudocallus in the skull of corpse Number 526.

But, according to my conviction, since this skull was the only one with signs of pseudocallus, it was wrong to arrive at a definite conclusion regarding the stage of decomposition of thousands of corpses which were contained in the Katyn graves. Besides, the observation of Professor Orsos regarding pseudocallus was made in Hungary; that is to say, under quite different soil and climatic conditions, and withal in individual graves and not in mass graves, as was the case in Katyn.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: You spoke about the testimony of witnesses. Did the members of the commission have the opportunity personally to interrogate those witnesses, especially the Russian witnesses?

MARKOV: We did not have the opportunity of having any contact with the indigenous population. On the contrary, immediately upon our arrival at the hotel in Smolensk, Butz told us that we were in a military zone, and that we did not have the right to


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walk around in the city without being accompanied by a member of the German Army, or to speak with the inhabitants of the place, or to make photographs. In reality, during the time we were there, we did not have any contact with the local inhabitants.

On the first day of our arrival in the Katyn wood, that is to say, on 29 April, in the morning, several Russian civilians were brought under German escort to the graves. Immediately upon our arrival at Smolensk some of the depositions of the local witnesses were submitted to us. The depositions were typed. When these witnesses were brought to the Katyn wood, we were told that these witnesses were the ones who gave the testimonies which had been submitted to us. There was no regular interrogation of the witnesses which could have been recorded, or were recorded. Professor Orsos started the conversation with the witnesses and told us that he could speak Russian because he had been a prisoner of war in Russia during the first World War. He began to speak with a man, an elderly man whose name, so far as I can remember, was Kiselov. Then he spoke to a second witness, whose last name so far as I can remember was Andrejev. All the conversation lasted a few minutes only. As our Bulgarian language is rather similar to the Russian, I tried also to speak to some of the witnesses...

THE PRESIDENT: Don't you think that should be left to cross-examination? Can't these details be left to cross-examination?
MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Yes, Mr. President. I would ask you, Witness, to interrupt the reply to this question and to answer the following one: At the time you signed this general report of the commission, was it quite clear to you that the murders were perpetrated in Katyn not earlier than the last quarter of 1941, and that 1940, in any case, was excluded?

MARKOV: Yes, this was absolutely clear to me and that is why I did not make any deductions in the minutes which I made on my findings in the Katyn wood.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Why did you sign then this general report, which was incorrect in your opinion?

MARKOV: In order to make it quite clear under what conditions I signed this report, I should like to say a few words on how it was made up and how it was signed.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Excuse me, I would like to put a question to you which defines more accurately this matter. Was this report actually signed on 30 April 1941 in the town of Smolensk or was it signed on another date and at another place?

MARKOV: It was not signed in Smolensk on 30 April but was signed on 1 May at noon, at the airport which was called Bela.


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MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Will you please tell the Tribunal under what conditions it was signed.

MARKOV: The compilation of this record was to be done at the same conference which I already mentioned and which took place in the laboratory of Butz in the afternoon of 30 April. Present at this conference were all the delegates and all the Germans who had arrived with us from Berlin: Butz and his assistants, General Staff Physician Holm, the chief physician of the Smolensk sector, and also other German Army officials who were unknown to me. Butz stated that the Germans were only present as hosts, but actually the conference was presided over by General Staff Physician Holm and the work was performed under the direction of Butz. The secretary of the conference was the personal lady secretary of Butz who took down the report. However, I never saw these minutes. Butz and Orsos came with a prepared draft to this conference, a sort of protocol; but I never learned who ordered them to draw up such a protocol. This protocol was read by Butz and then a question was raised regarding the state and the age of the young pines which were in the clearings of the Katyn wood. Butz was of the opinion that in these clearings there were graves too.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Excuse me for interrupting you. Did you have any evidence that any graves were actually found in these clearings?

MARKOV: No. During the time we were there, no new graves were opened. As some of the delegates said they were not competent to express their opinion regarding the age of these trees, General Holm gave an order to bring a German who was an expert on forestry. He showed us the cut of the trunk of a small tree and from the number of circles in this trunk, he deduced the trees were 5 years old.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Excuse me; I interrupt you again. You, yourself-can you state here that this tree was actually cut down from the grave and not from any other place in the clearing?

MARKOV: I can say only that in the Katyn wood there were some clearings with small trees and that, while driving back to Smolensk, we took a little tree with us in the bus, but I do not know whether there were any graves where these trees were standing. As I have already stated, no graves were laid open in our presence.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: I would request you to continue your reply, but very briefly and not to detain the attention, of the Tribunal with unnecessary details.

MARKOV: Some editorial notes were made in connection with this protocol, but I do not remember what they were. Then Orsos


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and Butz were entrusted with the final drafting of the record. The signing of the record was intended to take place on the same night at a banquet which was organized in a German Army hospital. At this banquet Butz arrived with the minutes and he started reading them, but the actual signing did not take place for reasons which are still not clear to me. It was stated that this record would have to be rewritten, so the banquet lasted until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. Then Professor Palmieri told me that the Germans were not pleased with the contents of the protocol and that they were carrying on telephone conversations with Berlin and that perhaps there would not even be a protocol at all.

Indeed, having spent the night in Smolensk without having signed the record, we took off from Smolensk on the morning of 1 May. I personally had the impression that no protocol at all would be issued and I was very pleased about that. On the way to Smolensk, as well as on our way back, some of the delegates asked to stop in Warsaw in order to see the city, but we were told that it was impossible because of military reasons.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: This has nothing to do with the subject. Please keep to the facts.

MARKOV: Around noon we arrived at the airport which was called Bela. The airport was apparently a military airfield because of the temporary military barracks I saw there. We had dinner there and immediately after dinner, notwithstanding the fact that we were not told that the signing of the minutes would take place on the way to Berlin, we were submitted copies of the protocol for signature.

During the signing a number of military persons were present, as there were no other people except military personnel on this airfield. I was rather struck by the fact that on the one hand the records were already completed in Smolensk but were not submitted to us for signing there, and on the other hand that they did not wait till we arrived in Berlin a few hours later. They were submitted to us for signing at this isolated military airfield. This was the reason why I signed the report, in spite of the conviction I had acquired during the autopsy which I had performed at Smolensk.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: That is to say, the date and the locality which are shown in the protocol are incorrect?

MARKOV: Yes, that is so.

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: And you signed it because you felt yourself compelled to?

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Smirnov, I don't think it is proper for you to put leading questions to him. He has stated the fact. It is useless to go on stating conclusions about it.


2 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Very well, Mr. President. I have no further questions to put to the witness. 

THE PRESIDENT: Does anyone want to cross-examine him?

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I should like to ask a question concerning the legal proceedings first. Each side was to call three witnesses before the Court. This witness, as I understand it, has not only testified to facts but has also made statements which can be called an expert judgment. He has not only expressed himself as an expert witness, as we say in German law, but also as an expert. If the Court is to listen to these statements made by the witness as an expert, I should like to have the opportunity for the Defense also to call in an expert.

THE PRESIDENT: No, Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal will not hear more than three witnesses on either side. You could have called any expert you wanted or any member of the experts who made the German examination. It was your privilege to call any of them.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, how long have you been active in the field of medical jurisprudence?

MARKOV: I have been working in the field of medical jurisprudence since the beginning of 1927 in the faculty for medical jurisprudence of the University in Sofia, first as an assistant and now I am professor of medical jurisprudence. I am not a staff professor at the university. My position can be designated by the German word "Ausserordentlicher Professor" (university lecturer).

DR. STAHMER: Before your visit to Katyn did your government tell you that you were to participate in a political action without consideration of your scientific qualification?

MARKOV: I was not told so literally, but in the press the Katyn question was discussed as a political subject.

DR. STAHMER: Did you feel free in regard to your scientific "conscience" at that time?

MARKOV: At what time?

DR. STAHMER: At the time when you went to Katyn?

MARKOV: The question is not quite clear to me; I should like you to explain it.

DR. STAHMER: Did you consider the task you had to carry out there a political one or a scientific one?

MARKOV: I understood this task from the very first moment as a political one and therefore I tried to evade it.

DR. STAHMER: Did you realize the outstanding political importance of this task?

MARKOV: Yes; from everything I read in the press.


2 July 46

DR. STAHMER: In your examination yesterday you said that when you arrived at Katyn the graves had already been opened and certain corpses had been carefully laid out. Do you mean to say that these corpses were not taken from the graves at all?

MARKOV: No, I should not say that, inasmuch as it was obvious that corpses were taken out of these graves and besides I saw that some corpses were still in the graves.

DR. STAHMER: Then, in order to state this positively, you had no reason to think that the corpses inspected by the commission were not taken from these mass graves?

THE PRESIDENT: He did not know where they came from, did he'

MARKOV: Evidently from the graves which were open.

DR. STAHMER: You have already made statements to the effect that, as a result of the medicojudicial examination by this International Commission, a protocol, a record was taken down. You have furthermore stated that you signed this protocol.

Mr. President, this protocol is contained in its full text in the official data published by the German Government on this incident. I ask that this evidence, this so-called White Book, be admitted as evidence. I will submit it to the Court later.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal rules that you may cross-examine this witness upon the report, and the protocol will be admitted in evidence, if you offer it in evidence, under Article 19 of the Charter. That, of course, involves that we do not take judicial notice of the report under Article 21 of the Charter but that it is offered under Article 19 of the Charter and therefore it will either come through the earphones in cross-examination or such parts of the protocol as you wish to have translated.

DR. STAHMER: Witness, was the protocol or the record signed by you and the other experts compiled in the same way in which it is included in the German White Book? 

MARKOV: Yes, the record of the protocol which is included in the German White Book is the same protocol which I compiled. A long time after my return to Sofia I was sent two copies of the protocol by Director Dietz. These two copies were typewritten, and I was requested to make necessary corrections and additions if I deemed it necessary, but I left it without corrections and it was printed without any comments on my part.


2 July 46

MR. COUNSELLOR SMIRNOV: Just a moment Dr. Stahmer . . .

Mr. President, I believe that there is a slight confusion here. The witness is answering in regard to the individual protocol, whereas Dr. Stahmer is questioning him on the general record. Thus the witness does not answer the proper question.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I would have cleared this matter up on my own account.

[Turning to the witness.] Do you mean your autopsy protocol?

MARKOV: I mean the protocol I compiled myself and not the general record.

DR. STAHMER: Now, what about this general protocol or record? 'hen did you receive a copy of it?

MARKOV: I received a copy of the general record in Berlin where as many copies were signed as there were delegates present.

DR. STAHMER: Just a little while ago you stated that Russian witnesses had been taken before the commission in the wood of Katyn, but that, however, there had been no opportunity afforded the experts to talk with these witnesses concerning the question at hand.

Now, in this protocol, in this record, the following remark is found, and I quote:

"The commission interrogated several indigenous Russian witnesses personally. Among other things, these witnesses confirmed that in the months of March and April 1940 large shipments of Polish officers arrived almost daily at the railroad station Gnjesdova near Katyn. These trains were emptied, the inmates were taken in lorries to the wood of Katyn and never seen again. Furthermore, official notice was taken of the proofs and statements, and the documents containing the evidence were inspected."

MARKOV: As I already stated during the questioning, two witnesses were interrogated on the spot by Orsos. They actually said that they saw how Polish officers were brought to the station of Gnjesdova and that later they did not see them again.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal thinks the witness ought to be given an opportunity of seeing the report when you put passages in it to him.


THE PRESIDENT: Haven't you got another copy of it?

DR. STAHMER: I am sorry, Mr. President, I have no second copy; no.


2 July 46

THE PRESIDENT: Can the witness read German?

MARKOV: No, but anyhow I can understand the contents of the record.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean you can read it?

MARKOV: Yes, I can also read it.

THE PRESIDENT: Can the witness read German, do you mean?

MARKOV: Yes, I can read German.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, may I make a suggestion?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, if you have only got one copy, I think you had better have it back. You can't have the book passing to and fro like that.

DR. STAHMER: I should like to make the suggestion that the cross-examination be interrupted and the other witness be called, and I will have this material typed in the meantime. That would be a solution. But there are only a few sentences...

THE PRESIDENT: You can read it. Take the book back.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I propose to read only a few short sentences.

[Turning to the witness.]

Yesterday you testified, Witness, that the experts restricted or limited themselves to making an autopsy on one corpse only. In this report the following is set down - I quote:

"The members of the commission personally performed an autopsy on nine corpses and numerous selected cases were submitted for post-mortem examination."

Is that right?

MARKOV: That is right. Those of the members of the commission who were medical experts, with the exception of Professor Naville, performed each an autopsy on a corpse. Hajek made two autopsies.

DR. STAHMER: In this instance we are not interested in the autopsy, but in the post-mortem examination.

MARKOV: The corpses were examined but only superficially during an inspection which we carried out very hastily on the first day. No individual autopsy was carried out, but the corpses were merely looked at as they lay side by side.

DR. STAHMER: I should like to ask you now what is meant in medical science by the concept "post-mortem examination."

MARKOV: We differentiate between an exterior inspection, when the corpse has to be undressed and minutely examined externally, and an internal inspection, when the inner organs of the


2 July 46

corpse are examined. This was not done with the hundreds of bodies at Katyn, as it was not physically possible. We were there only one forenoon. Therefore, I consider that there was no actual medicojudicial expert examination of these corpses in the real sense of the word.

DR. STAHMER: A little while ago you talked about the trees that were growing there on these graves, and you said that an expert explained the age of the trees by the rings counted on a trunk. In the protocol and the report the following is set down. I quote: ,

"According to the opinion of the members of the commission and the testimony of forest ranger Von Herff, who was called in as an expert on forestry, they were small pine trees of at least 5 years of age, badly developed because they had been standing in the shade of large trees and had been transplanted to this spot about 3 years ago."

Now, I would like to ask you, is it correct that you undertook a local inspection and that you convinced yourself on the spot whether the statements made by the forestry expert were actually correct?

MARKOV: Our personal impression and my personal conviction in this question only refer to the fact that in the wood of Katyn there were clearings where small trees were growing and that the afore-mentioned expert showed us a cross section of a tree with its circles. But I do not consider myself competent and cannot give an opinion as to whether the deductions which are set forth in the record are correct or not. Precisely for that reason it was judged necessary to call in a forestry expert, for we doctors were not competent to decide this question.

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