Putin = War Criminal
- Apr 18, 2013
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Monday morning at the Buchenwald Memorial -- which honors the lives lost at the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp -- began with a shock, writes Jens Christian-Wagner. We received the news from Ukraine that our friend Boris Romantschenko, a survivor of Buchenwald and three other concentration...
Holocaust survivor Boris Romantschenko (center) stands next to other former prisoners of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp
during a commemoration ceremony in April, 2015.
The work week at the Buchenwald Memorial -- which honors the lives lost at the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp -- began Monday with a shock: In the morning, we received the news from Ukraine that our friend Boris Romantschenko, a survivor of Buchenwald and three other concentration camps, had died when a Russian missile struck his multi-story apartment building in Kharkiv. Romantschenko was 96 years old. In the concentration camp he had fought with his fellow Russian prisoners against the SS. Since his liberation in 1945, Romantschenko had been committed to preserving the memory of Nazi terror and to peace. Now, this brave man, whose mother tongue was Russian, has become a victim of the Russian invasion of Ukraine -- a tragedy and a shame. Like so many other Soviet concentration camp survivors, Romantschenko was forced to serve as an occupying soldier in the Red Army in East Germany. He was expected to prove himself there and demonstrate that he was an upright Soviet citizen. He was not allowed to return to his home in eastern Ukraine until 1950. Back in Ukraine, Romantschenko had a day-job as a typist. He traveled to Germany many times and participated in commemorative events at the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora memorials.
No one could have imagined that Romantschenko, who had survived the concentration camps and Second World War, would be killed in a Russian air strike. He is survived by his son and granddaughter, who lovingly cared for him over the last months when fear of the Coronavirus had forced him to stay in his apartment. Hitler could not defeat our friend Boris. Now another fascist dictator, Vladimir Putin, has killed him. But Putin is not a new Hitler. Despite all the outrage over the ruler in Moscow, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine and is not squeamish about brutally oppressing his own people, we should be careful not to draw false historical analogies between Nazi terror and the crimes committed by Putin and his vassal states. It also should be clearly stated that Putin's claim of wanting to "denazify" Ukraine is a brazen lie created to justify his aggressive imperialism, a lie rooted in the 19th-century idea of a Greater Russia. The absurdity of this lie is demonstrated by the thousands of Ukrainian survivors of Nazi terror who fought with their Russian comrades against the Nazis in the Second World War and who are now being threatened and, in the case of Boris Romantschenko, murdered by Russian bombs.
Putin is killing so many Russian speakers in Kharkiv, Sumy, Mariupol, Melitopol, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Kyiv that these cities must use long-trenched mass-graves to bury his Russian speaking victims.