Germany honors survivors of Nazi camps, 96, killed in Ukraine

BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s parliament on Tuesday paid tribute to Boris Romanchenko, who survived several Nazi concentration camps during World War II but was killed last week during an attack in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. He was 96.

Buchenwald’s concentration camp memorial said on Monday that Romanchenko, who survived Buchenwald as well as camps at Peenemuende, Dora and Bergen-Belsen, were killed on Friday. It said that according to his grandson, the multi-storey building where he lived was hit by a projectile.

Romanchenko was dedicated to keeping the memory of Nazi crimes alive and was vice-president of the Buchenwald-Dora International Committee, the memorial said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted the sad irony of Romanchenko’s death.

“Imagine how much he went through!” said Zelenskyy in a video address late Monday. “He survived Buchenwald, Dora, Peenemuende and Bergen-Belson, the carriers of death created by the Nazis. And he was killed by a Russian grenade that hit an ordinary Kharkiv high-rise. For every day of this war, it becomes more and more obvious what they (Russians) mean ‘de-Nazification’. “

After opening a meeting of the German parliament on Tuesday, Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt paid tribute to Romanchenko.

She said Romanchenko was taken to Dortmund in Germany as a forced laborer in 1942 and sent to the concentration camps after an escape attempt in 1943. Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

“His death reminds us that Germany has a special historical responsibility to Ukraine,” Göring-Eckardt said. “Boris Romanchenko is one of thousands of dead in Ukraine. Every single life that has been taken reminds us to do everything we can to stop this cruel war that violates international law and to help people. in and from Ukraine. “

Lawmakers held a moment of silence in memory of Romanchenko and other victims of the war.

Romanchenko “survived four concentration camps and was now killed in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner said. “His fate shows both the criminal nature of Russian politics and why Germany shows solidarity with Ukraine, why we should show solidarity.”

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