"Downs Says USSR Will Make Nazis Pay for Every Atrocity"
From the Kansas City Kansan, January 26, 1944:
Standing in back of the Allied conferees at the peace table will be the shadows of 10 to 15 million Russians—tortured, maimed, killed by the Nazi invaders—said Bill Downs, CBS correspondent just back from Moscow.
At a luncheon yesterday, Downs said that in viewing this war we are missing an important point—that the atrocities committed by the enemy are actually happening and are not just the propaganda of World War I.
And they are going to be used by the Russians to exact retributions "for every single thing" the Nazis have done in Europe.
Downs revealed that the Soviet Union is keeping a complete and precise dossier of atrocities. Well known doctors are on the Atrocity Commission and they are examining every body found for causes of death and giving each an honored place in the black book.
300 Bodies in Grave
Here is what Downs saw:
- Bodies of Russian prisoners of war brutally killed in Stalingrad.
- An entire family—a grandmother, two young boys and a girl—machine-gunned in a house in Rzhev.
"We have to understand that side of the war in order to understand how and why the Russians are fighting," he said.
- One-third of a re-opened grave in Orel that alone contained more than 300 bodies.
"My guess is that after the war there will be no unemployment in Germany. The Germans will be in Kharkov, Kiev and other cities they have destroyed, paying for every bestial thing they did."
At Kiev, where he saw evidence of 50,000 to 100,000 Jews slain by the Nazis in the Baba [sic] Yar ravine, he spoke with one of the 100 Russians who had been forced to act as grave diggers.
The victims were thrown into the vast, shallow grave. Some were not yet dead. As the dirt was piled on the bodies, it kept moving from the struggles underneath.
At this point in the recital, the Russian broke down and cried:
"I can't stand it! I can't stand it! The earth is moving."
Russia's role in the postwar world was also discussed by Downs. He said:
"Russia will play an important part in the post-war world. We can do business with her—if we want to. We can co-operate or we can compete. If we want co-operation, we can have it; if we want competition, we can have it."