Four-time Holocaust concentration camp survivor killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv

22 March 2022, 12:49

Mr Romantschenko was killed on Friday in Kharkiv.
Mr Romantschenko was killed on Friday in Kharkiv. Picture: Twitter

By Emma Soteriou

A 96-year-old Holocaust survivor has been killed after Russian strikes obliterated his apartment block in Kharkiv.

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Boris Romantschenko - who survived Buchenwald, Mittelbau-Dora, Bergen-Belsen and Peenemünde concentration camps - died on Friday, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation said.

The foundation shared a statement saying: "We are deeply saddened by the death of Romantschenko.

"We mourn the loss of a close friend. We wish his son and granddaughter, who brought us the sad news, a lot of strength in these difficult times."

Mr Romantschenko was the Vice-President of the Buchenwald-Dora International Committee in Ukraine and regularly got involved in memorial and remembrance parades.

His death comes as Russia continues to target civilians in highly populated cities in Ukraine, with them also having hit a shopping centre in the capital of Kyiv.

At least 500 civilians have now been killed in Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials say.

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Reflecting on his work, the foundation said Mr Romanchenko "campaigned intensively" for the memory of the Nazi crimes.

It said on Twitter: "In 2012, during the commemoration event marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp, Boris Romanchenko (second from the right in the photo) read out Buchenwald's oath to 'build a new world of peace and freedom'."

On Tuesday morning, the German parliament stood for a minute's silence, commemorating Mr Romantschenko and all victims of the war in Ukraine.

Federal Parliament Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt said: "His death reminds us that Germany also bears a historical responsibility for Ukraine."

After an escape attempt in 1943, he was interned one after the other in the four concentration camps.

The Nazi regime is believed to have murdered over six million Jewish people across Europe between 1941 and 1945.