Holocaust Survivor Boris Romantschenko Killed in Russian Attack on Ukraine

On March 21 2022, popular posts on Imgur and elsewhere referenced the death of 96-year-old Boris Romantschenko, a Holocaust survivor, in Charkiv, Ukraine:

In the above post (“KZ Survivor Boris Romantschenko was killed in Charkiw”), a caption stated:

Fact Check

Claim: Holocaust Survivor Boris Romantschenko Killed in Russian Attack on Ukraine

Description: The claim implies that Boris Romantschenko, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor who endured Nazi camps including Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald, was killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Rating: True

Rating Explanation: The claim has been confirmed by multiple reputable sources including Newsweek and CNN, and was originally reported on by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation.

He had survived Nazi KZ Mittelbau-Dora, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald. He was killed by a Russian Bomb in Charkiw last Friday [March 18 2022.]

A second post featured a screenshot of a March 21 2022 tweet:

The tweet, which was translated by Twitter, was originally shared by a Holocaust memorial account in Russian (and German):

Google Trends data indicated that searches for Boris Romantschenko began registering during the early morning hours of March 21 2022. News outlets picked the story up on March 21 2022, citing the tweet as a source.

In “Nazi Concentration Camp Survivor Boris Romantschenko Killed in Ukraine,” Newsweek.com reported:

A Nazi concentration camp survivor has reportedly been killed by Russian shelling at his home in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Boris Romantschenko, 96, survived the Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during World War II.

“Now he has been killed by a bullet that hit his house,” the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation tweeted, announcing his death.

The Times of Israel quoted the translated tweet in a March 21 2022 liveblog segment, and the UK’s Sky News added:

A 96-year-old who survived being held in four concentration camps during the Second World War has been killed during the Russian attack on Kharkiv.

Boris Romanchenko, who lived through Nazi imprisonment at Buchenwald, Peenemunde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen, was killed on Friday [March 18 2022] in the block of flats where he lived.

A March 21 2022 CNN.com article included additional details about Romantschenko’s life and later involvement with Holocaust remembrance efforts:

In 2012, Romanchenko attended an event commemorating the liberation of Buchenwald, where he read an oath devoted to “creating a new world where peace and freedom reign,” the memorial said.

In 2018, a Kharkiv newspaper reported on his visit to Buchenwald on the 73rd anniversary of the camp’s liberation by US forces.

“The event was attended by the last surviving Buchenwald prisoners from Ukraine and Belarus — Borys Romanchenko from Kharkiv, Oleksandr Bychok from Kyiv and Andriy Moiseenko from Minsk,” the report said.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, addressed Romanchenko’s death on his Telegram account … Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Romanchenko’s death an “unspeakable crime” on Twitter.

“Survived Hitler, murdered by Putin,” he wrote.

News of Boris Romantschenko’s death in Kharkiv came to widespread notice after the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora memorial account provided information via Twitter. During World War II, Romantschenko survived imprisonment at death camps in Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dora, and Peenemünde. Romantschenko was one of the “last surviving Buchenwald prisoners from Ukraine and Belarus.”