The German 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 years old.
The Buchenwald camp memorial said Monday that Romanchenko, who survived Buchenwald and camps in Benimuende, Dora and Bergen-Belsen, was killed on Friday. She said that according to his granddaughter, the multi-storey building in which he lived was hit by a shell.
The memorial said Romanchenko devoted his life to commemorating Nazi crimes and was deputy head of the Buchenwald Dora International Committee.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky noted the sad irony of Romanchenko’s death.
“Just imagine how long it has been!” Zelensky said in a video address late Monday. “He survived Buchenwald, Dora, Benemoende and Bergen-Belson, who were the death-carriers created by the Nazis. He was killed by a Russian shell that hit an ordinary Kharkiv skyscraper. With each day of this war, it becomes more and more clear what they (the Russians) mean by the word “eradication.” Nazism”.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Catherine Goering-Eckhardt praised Romanchenko at the opening session of the German parliament on Tuesday.
She said Romanchenko was taken to Dortmund, Germany as a forced laborer in 1942 and sent to concentration camps after an escape attempt in 1943. Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
“His death reminds us that Germany bears a special historical responsibility towards Ukraine,” Göring Eckhardt said. Boris Romanchenko is one of the thousands of people killed in Ukraine. Every life 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 observed a minute’s silence in memory of Romanchenko and other war victims.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Romanchenko “survived four concentration camps and is now killed in Russia’s aggressive war on Ukraine”. “His fate shows the criminal character of Russian policy, why Germany stands in solidarity with Ukraine, why we must show solidarity.”