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Soviets Sentence Fedorenko to Die for Nazi War Crimes : Was Extradited From U.S. to Face Charges

June 19, 1986|Associated Press

MOSCOW — Fyodor Fedorenko, the first person extradited from the United States for trial in the Soviet Union on charges of Nazi war crimes, was found guilty by a court in the Crimea today and sentenced to death, the official press agency Tass said.

Tass said Fedorenko, who served as a guard at the Treblinka death camp in German-occupied Poland from 1942 to 1943, was found guilty of treason, voluntary transfer to the Nazi side in World War II, and participation in mass murder of foreign citizens.

Tass, in its report from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, did not say when the sentence might be carried out or whether the 78-year-old Fedorenko will appeal.

Witnesses Report Shootings

After Fedorenko's trial opened June 10 in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, Soviets who served as Nazi camp guards in World War II testified they had seen him beating Jews on their way to the gas chambers and shooting other prisoners. About 900,000 people were put to death at Treblinka.

Captured by the Nazis weeks after they invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Fedorenko was trained at a camp in occupied Poland and then sent to Treblinka in 1942, the court was told.

While at Treblinka, Fedorenko won two promotions in guard rank from the Nazis, a fact construed by Chief Judge Mikhail Tyutyunnik and Prosecutor Zinovy Tesak as an indication of his willingness to serve the Germans.

Came to U.S. in '49

According to the indictment against Fedorenko, he worked at two other camps in occupied Poland during World War II after leaving Treblinka, then went to Hamburg, now in West Germany, toward the end of the war.

He emigrated to the United States in 1949, and was for many years a factory worker in Connecticut.

Granted U.S. citizenship in 1970, Fedorenko made two tourist trips to the Soviet Union in 1973 and 1976, when he had reunions with his wife, Praskovya, whom he married in 1929, and their two sons.

According to testimony at the trial, Fedorenko first contacted his family, left behind in his native Crimea, in 1961.

He moved back in with his wife after he returned to the Soviet Union in December, 1984, following a seven-year legal battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to retain his American citizenship and avoid deportation.

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