Nazi concentration camp survivor killed in Russia’s brutal attacks in Ukraine

Ukraine: Burnt out Russian convoy vehicles in Kharkiv

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Tributes have been made to Mr Romantschenko who survived multiple concentration camps during the Holocaust but was killed on Friday by Russians in the conflict in Ukraine. Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp memorial institute paid tribute to Boris on Monday announcing that he died after a Russian shell hit the block of flats where he lived.

The spokesperson for the institute said: “We are shocked to confirm the violent death of Boris Romanchenko, whose niece informed us on Monday morning that he died last Friday after a bomb or rocket hit the multistorey building where he lived in Kharkiv and his apartment was burned out.”

Adding insult to injury, the shellfire on civilian areas is claimed by Russia to be part of their operation to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. 

During the Second World War, Mr Romantschenko was both a political prisoner and a prisoner of war in the string of concentration camps he was held in.

During his time at the inhumane camps, including Bergen-Belsen where Anne Frank died, Boris was made to work on V2 rockets which were used to attack London and other cities in the latter stages of the war. 

Mr Romantschenko was born in Ukraine in 1926 and taken as a prisoner of war as a teenager when the German regime attacked the Soviet Union in 1941.

In April 2004, he recalled his experiences: “The war had completely surprised us, I wasn’t able to flee.”

Boris was forced to work in a mine in Dortmund in the Ruhr Valley and after an attempted escape, he was moved to the Buchenwald camp in 1943.

This was then followed by a move to Peenemünde to work on the rockets as well as Mittelbau-Dora and Bergen-Belsen camps.

Boris and his fellow survivors were due to be killed by poisoned food but were liberated by British and American forces in 1945.

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After the war, Mr Romantschenko decided to actively commemorate the Holocaust and was vice-president for Ukraine on the international committee at Buchenwalk-Doramemorial foundation for a number of years.

This year an event was planned to mark the Buchenwald liberation which Boris was invited to attend.

Speaking in 2015 on Buchenwald, Boris read the ‘Oath of Buchenwald’, a pledge made in Russian by survivors saying: “Our goal is to build a new world of peace and freedom.”

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