In December 1943 the Soviet Union held the first Nazi War Crimes Trial in the recaptured Ukrainian city of Kharkov. Three members of the Wehrmacht, German SS and Security Police, as well as a Russian collaborator who were captured by the Red Army, now stood accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The former Soviet citizen was declared a traitor to the motherland by the Russian press and the Germans branded invaders who had pillaged their way into Soviet territory. The trial focused on the crimes committed in Kharkov during the two German occupations, and specifically the use of gas vans to exterminate the population, whom the Nazis deemed as undesirables. This trial would be the first of many to pass judgement on captured Nazi war criminals who would face harsh Soviet justice for the brutal crimes they had committed in the occupied eastern territory.
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