Feodor Fedorenko

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Feodor Fedorenko after his escape to the U.S.

Feodor Fedorenko, or Fyodor Federenko (Ukrainian: Федір Федоренко; Fedir Fedorenko; Russian: Фёдор Демьянович Федоренко; 17 September 1907 – c. July 1987) was a war criminal serving at Treblinka extermination camp in occupied Poland during World War II. As a former Soviet citizen admitted to the United States under a DPA visa (1949), Fedorenko became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1970. He was discovered in 1977 and denaturalized. Subsequently, he was extradited to the USSR, sentenced there to death for treason against his nation and participation in the Holocaust, and executed.[1]

Federenko was born in the village of Sivash, in southern Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire). He was mobilized into the Soviet army in June 1941,[1] around the time of the Nazi German Operation Barbarossa. He was a truck driver.

War record[edit]

Fedorenko had no previous military training; and, in the next two or three weeks, his group was encircled twice by the German army. He escaped the first time, but he was captured three days later by the Germans and transported to Zhytomyr, then Rivne, and finally to Chelm, Poland.

One day at Chelm, the Germans assembled the Soviet prisoners and walked down the line selecting 200 to 300 of them for training as auxiliary police for service with Nazi Germany in the General Government. They were sent to Trawniki concentration camp SS division. Federenko was among them. There, he was trained by the Germans and then posted to Treblinka extermination camp as a guard (Wachmann) in approximately September 1942.

Escape to USA[edit]

After the end of the war, Fedorenko fled to the United States in 1949 and settled in Philadelphia, where he worked in a factory. He settled in Waterbury, Connecticut, before moving to Miami Beach, Florida.

Arrest and denaturalization trial[edit]

In 1978, he was arrested and brought for a denaturalization trial in Fort Lauderdale.

At his subsequent denaturalization hearing in June 1978, Fedorenko testified over three days in greater detail. He denied that he had actually entered the section of the camp where the gas chambers were located but admitted that he had once been posted on a guard tower overlooking this section of the camp. "I saw how they were loading up dead people, loading them on the stretchers. ...And they were loading them in a hole." Later in his testimony, he reconfirmed that this part of the camp "is where there was the workers that took the bodies and buried them or stacked them in the holes. This is where the gas chambers were." Concerning the unloading of Jews from the trains, he testified: "Some were picked for work and the others, they went to the gas chambers".[2]

Judge Norman C. Roettger said that the 71 year old had himself been a “victim of Nazi aggression.” He ruled that the prosecutors had failed to prove that Mr. Federenko committed any atrocities while at the camp, and that he could keep his United States citizenship.


However, on January 21, 1981, the United States Supreme Court overturned this verdict [3] and Federenko became the first Nazi war criminal to be deported to the Soviet Union in December 1984.[4] A Crimean court in June 1986 found him guilty of treason and taking part in mass executions.[5] He was sentenced to death and his execution by shooting was announced in July 1987.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Feodor FEDORENKO, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES.". Supreme Court: 449 U.S. 490 (101 S.Ct. 737, 66 L.Ed.2d 686) No. 79-5602. Cornell University Law School. Decided: Jan. 21, 1981. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  2. ^ Christopher R. Browning, "Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution." Emory University 2013.
  3. ^ "Death camp guard stripped of citizenship", Montreal Gazette, January 22, 1981, p69
  4. ^ "Nazi death camp guard deported to Soviet Union", Gettysburg Times, December 24, 1984, p1
  5. ^ a b WILLIAM J. EATON. "Soviets Execute Ex-Nazi Guard Deported by U.S.", Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1987, p1