From the testimony of Hermann Friedrich Graebe, 3 October 1965, Yad Vashem

Georg Marschall was the Gebietskommissar [District Commander] of the area. I thought I ought to introduce myself to him, because I needed assistance, such as food, for my local workers. I visited him in his official residence, and he was surprised to see that I was not in uniform. I explained that I worked for the railways and had urgent orders to fill and was employing thousands of workers. I asked that supplementary food rations be allocated for them, because I had discovered that the Jews received about 50% of the food rations and about 80% of the pay of the other workers….The Gebietskommissar seemed (at least for appearance’s sake) to agree to my suggestions and promised to discuss the issue with his officers. However, only after a few minutes did I understand what kind of a person he was….

Then Marschall asked me how I liked Zdolbunow, and remarked that I had probably realized that the Jewish population lived in constant fear, and justifiably so. 'Are you aware that in the beginning of August 200-300 Jewish men (I don’t remember the exact number he used) were shot right here, in the cement factory?’ I responded that I had no knowledge of it. He explained that a SS Kommando had conducted the shootings. It was a systematic operation to shoot a certain percentage of the Jewish population – men only. He added: 'this operation had not fully been thought through, and was brutal and inhuman. It should never be repeated.' Hearing this, I deduced that I had to do with an honest, responsible man, and was about to respond in the same vein, when he went on: 'In the future we will act differently, in a more humane way: we will not shoot only the men, but also the women and children. This is the only proper way to do it. We cannot leave behind women, children and old people in hospitals. This is the best solution to the Jewish question. We have to totally eliminate them'.

Seeing my shocked reaction, he said: 'yes, Mr. Graebe, life is tough. We have to do what the Party leadership and Hitler wish'

I therefore asked him if a similar operation would be soon conducted in Zdolbunow. He gave a positive answer, and I therefore said that I would like to protest right away, since I need the people for work. The Gebietskommissar looked at me somewhat astonished and responded that he didn't think that it could be helped. I told him: 'You know, Mr. Marschall, that I am under the authority of the Wehrmacht [German army] and that I have pressing orders to complete projects. I am responsible for keeping the schedules, and if I don't complete the work in time, I could be court-martialed.' He responded: 'There is nothing I can tell you at the moment, but I will let you know. Maybe it will be possible that you keep the men and we will eliminate the women and children.'

Yad Vashem Archive, O.3/2875