Krasnodar is a city northwest of the Caucasus Mountains, today with over a million inhabitants, but much less during the Second World War. It was occupied by German forces in August of 1942. After the defeat during the Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943, German forces withdrew from the Caucasus area in order to avoid getting cut off.
The Soviets subsequently reoccupied the area and prepared a Stalinist show trial against eleven local Soviet citizens accused of having collaborated with the Germans, among other things by assisting them in killing civilians “by hanging, mass shootings, and use of poison gases.” The latter was said to have been committed by the use of so-called gas vans.
The trial itself took place between 14 and 17 July 1943. The conditions of the Krasnodar Trial were of the worst kind imaginable. It was a stage show following a preordained script, where every actor played a theatric role. The defendants had been abused and tortured so much that, during the trial, they were either completely apathetic, or they enthusiastically embraced their charges. Defense lawyers were additional prosecutors, and the entire trial was geared toward teaching all Soviet citizens a lesson that collaborating with the Germans, which happened on a grand scale throughout the war, would be punished with the death penalty or decades-long jail time in Siberia.
The prosecution claimed that more than 6,000 civilians were poisoned in trucks with carbon monoxide using their Diesel-engine exhaust gas, although that exhaust gas is unsuited for executions due to its lack of toxicity. A certain witness Kotov claimed to have survived a gas-van gassing by ripping off his shirt, peeing on it, and holding that urine-soaked rag to his mouth and nose. However, carbon monoxide does not get absorbed by moisture, urine or not, so it wouldn’t have had any effect. This all shows that these charges have been freely invented and backed up with fraudulent arguments and testimonies by perjurious witnesses.
The prosecution claimed moreover that they had exhumed and forensically investigated the remains of the victims extracted from mass graves. The Soviet forensic experts allegedly managed to prove the presence of carbon monoxide in the victims’ blood. However, after several months of decomposing in mass graves, it can be safely ruled out that anyone was able to establish anything about remnants of carbon monoxide in severely rotten tissue samples.
Krasnodar is not mentioned in any report by the Einsatzgruppen. The only proof the Soviets could come up with was a series of photographs allegedly showing exhumed victims near Krasnodar. However, the photo with the most bodies visible shows perhaps 100 to 150 bodies arranged haphazardly on the ground.
Therefore, there is little if any proof that there was any kind of massacre in that city during the brief German occupation.