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Fedorenko Executed

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Feodor Fedorenko, the Nazi guard at the Treblinka death camp deported in 1984 from the United States to the Soviet Union and sentenced to death last year, has been executed, according to a report from the Soviet news agency Tass. The report did not indicate when the 79-year-old Fedorenko was executed.

Fedorenko was the first Nazi war criminal to be deported from the U.S. to the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian, who came to America in 1949, was charged by the U.S. government with failing to disclose his wartime activities when he entered the country, and when he applied for U.S. citizenship, granted him in 1970. The prosecution charged him with having beaten and shot Jewish inmates.

Fedorenko was the first Nazi war criminal to be judged by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the first time a U.S. Attorney General had taken part in the proceedings.

In 1981, Fedorenko, who had been a factory worker in Philadelphia, himself applied to live permanently in the Soviet Union, where he had family, after the Supreme Court revoked his U.S. citizenship in January of that year for lying about his past when he immigrated to the U.S. He was ordered deported in February 1983. At the time, he faced no charges in the Soviet Union, and he lived as a free man for approximately a year before being arrested and charged with wartime crimes.

Fedorenko himself admitted at his original denaturalization trial that he had been an SS guard at Treblinka, according to Eli Rosenbaum, former prosecutor at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. And he admitted, said Rosenbaum, joining his fellow guards in shooting “in the direction of” escaping Jewish prisoners during the Treblinka uprising in 1943. The Soviet court in the city of Simferopol passed the death sentence on Fedorenko on June 19, 1986 after finding him guilty of treason and the mass execution of citizens from many countries at Treblinka.

In April, the U.S. deported Nazi concentration camp guard Karl Linnas to the Soviet Union, where he had been sentenced to death in absentia in 1962 for his crimes. Linnas died earlier this month before a decision was made to confirm that sentence.

It was during several photo-spread reviewing sessions by Treblinka survivors being asked to look at photos in the Fedorenko case that the survivors instead pointed to a photo of John Demjanjuk, identifying him as “Ivan the Terrible” from Treblinka. Demjanjuk’s picture was on the spread only because the government had needed photographs of eight men of similar appearance.

Demjanjuk at the time was under investigation for crimes committed at the Sobibor death camp. Monday, Demjanjuk began testimony in his own defense at his trial in Jerusalem.

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