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Special pleading

“They were taken away in groups of ten, past the trees. There, the first ten men dug themselves a common grave (the required amount of shovels had been arranged), and a brief volley of automatics rang out. The next ten were ordered to cover the grave with earth and to dig a new one. Thus it went on till the end. All died in silence, only one suddenly fell down with a heart-rending cry. He crawled across the ground to the legs of the soldiers who were coming to get the next ten. ‘Don’t kill me, my mother is Ukrainian!’ he screamed. They booted him hard, kicked his teeth out, and dragged him away under his arms. He fell silent, his bare feet dragging.” – Leonid Volynskii (quoted by Karel C. Berkhoff in Harvest of Despair)

Published inThe Second World War

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