GERMAN ARMY engineer-colonel Walter Bruns was stationed near Riga in November 1941, when he witnessed a mass shooting of Jews, including a thousand just arrived from Berlin.
In British captivity in April 1945, Bruns, by then a Major-General, was overheard by hidden microphones [the verbatim transcripts are accessible from our Index at right] whispering to fellow prisoners what he had seen.
There is no question whatever about the authenticity of these files, which ("Holocaust denier") David Irving was the first to find and use them in his works on Hitler (1977, 1991), Goering (1987), Goebbels (1996), and the Nuremberg Trial (1997). He has also read them out to scores of audiences around the world and drawn the attention of Holocaust historians like Gerald Fleming to them.
From the general's description of the dimension of the pits, they could have held perhaps one to two thousand victims each. This gives a dimension to this particular atrocity.
What is interesting is Hitler's distant role in this. Bruns talks vaguely of a "Führer order," but does not describe it. In fact when his superiors complained about the atrocity to Hitler's headquarters (see final paragraphs) the order came from there to halt such mass executions immediately.
The documents can be found in the Public Record Office, London, as file number WO.208/4169.
No mass graves were investigated, though, and a Memorial is to be erected.
What is the validity of this "chitchat declaration"? Of course that its judicial validity is nil, but anyway it's confusing, IF THEY TRANSCRIBED WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAID!