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Survived Hitler, murdered by Putin


A 96-year-old Holocaust survivor, Borys Romanchenko, was killed Friday by a Russian strike on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Romanchenko’s death was confirmed by the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial institute in a series of tweets.

Romanchenko survived the camps at Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen during World War II, the memorial said, adding that it was “stunned” by news of his death.

It said Romanchenko worked “intensively on the memory of Nazi crimes and was vice-president of the Buchenwald-Dora International Committee.”. . .

Romanchenko’s granddaughter told the memorial he was living in an apartment block in Kharkiv that was hit during a Russian attack.

In 2012, Romanchenko attended an event commemorating the liberation of Buchenwald, where he read an oath devoted to “creating a new world where peace and freedom reign,” the memorial said.

In 2018, a Kharkiv newspaper reported on his visit to Buchenwald on the 73rd anniversary of the camp’s liberation by US forces.

“The event was attended by the last surviving Buchenwald prisoners from Ukraine and Belarus — Borys Romanchenko from Kharkiv, Oleksandr Bychok from Kyiv and Andriy Moiseenko from Minsk,” the report said.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, addressed Romanchenko’s death on his Telegram account.

“This is what they call the ‘operation of denazification,'” he said, alluding to Russia’s claim that its invasion of Ukraine is designed to save the country from Nazi elements.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Romanchenko’s death an “unspeakable crime” on Twitter.

“Survived Hitler, murdered by Putin,” he wrote.

“But this is how it is done: first just one ordinary barn, brightly whitewashed—and here they proceed to asphyxiate people. Later, four large buildings, accommodating twenty thousand at a time without any trouble. No hocus-pocus, no poison, no hypnosis. Only several men directing traffic to keep operations running smoothly, and the thousands flow along like water from an open tap. All this happens just beyond the anaemic trees of the dusty little wood. Ordinary trucks bring people, return, then bring some more. No hocus-pocus, no poison, no hypnosis.

Why is it that nobody cries out, nobody spits in their faces, nobody jumps at their throats? We doff our caps to the S.S. men returning from the little wood; if our name is called we obediently go with them to die, and—we do nothing. We starve, we are drenched by rain, we are torn from our families. What is this mystery? This strange power of one man over another? This insane passivity that cannot be overcome? Our only strength is our great number—the gas chambers cannot accommodate all of us.”

Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen

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