The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/treblinka/savenko.001

Archive/File: camps/aktion.reinhard/treblinka savenko.001
Last-Modified: 1994/10/07
Source: The United States Department of Justice

                Of Interrogation of Witness

   City of Simferopol                   5 January 1978

On instructions from the Procuratorate of the USSR concerning the
request for legal assistance in the case of Federenko, F.D. made by
the organs of Justice of the USA, and in accordance with the
requirements of Articles 85, 167 and 170 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure of the Ukrainian SSR, First Deputy Procurator of the Crimean
Region Kuptsov interrogated in his office in the capacity of witness

      Savenko, Yakov Kliment'yevich, born in 1915, native of the
      village of Novo-Grigor'yevka, Pologskiy district, Zaprozh'ye
      Region, Ukrainian national, citizen of the USSR, having a
      7-grade education, a manual worker, residing in the village of
      Svetloye, Dzhankoy District, Crimean Region.

Witness Savenko Ya.K. was informed of his duties and he was warned of
criminal responsibility encurred accoding to Art. 179 of the Ukrainian
Criminal Code for avoiding to testify or according to Article 178 for
knowingly giving false testimony.

Before the beginning of the interrogation the witness declared that he
wished to testify in the Russian language in which he is fluent. When
told to relate everything he knew concerning the circumstances in
connection with which he was called up for interrogation witness
Savenko Ya.K. testified as follows:

   On the second day after the treacherous attack of Hitlerite Germany
   on the Soviet Union I was called up for duty in the Red Army and
   sent to the front. I was drafted from my permanent residence in the
   village of Svetloya in Dzhankoy district where I worked as a

   The military unit in which I was in August 1941 was caught in a
   German encirclement to the west of the city of Zhitomir, near the
   village of Vysokaya Pech'. Finding ourselves in a hopeless
   situation, I as well as other Red Army men fell prisoners. The
   Germans drove the prisoners to the edge of the city of Zhitomir and
   three or four days later sent them on trucks to the city of Rovno,
   where we were kept in camps for prisoners of war for about two
   weeks. Then the prisoners were sent by railroad to the Polish city
   of Chelm, to a large concentration camp. From the conversations of
   those around me, I knew that this camp contained up to 100 thousand
   prisoners. When we were still trying to escape from the
   encirclement I had become acquainted with Dorofeyev Nikolay,
   Stoletniy Grigoriy, Prokhorenko Kirill and Fedorenko Fedor. They
   all came from the Dzhankoy district in the Crimean Region. My
   fellow-countrymen all served in the army as drivers, which brought
   us closer together and we tried to keep together, especially since
   we were prisoners.

   In the Chelm camp, the prisoners were made to building housing and
   various constructions for the need of the camp. We lived in
   barracks dug into the ground, like mud huts. Inside it was cold and
   damp. The prisoners were fed very poorly, and therefore many died
   of hunger. Everyday the bodies of dead war prisoners were removed
   from the camp in carts to the neighboring forest where they were

   In very late autumn 1941 or at the beginning of the winter of 1942,
   I do not remember precisely, some men in military uniform and some
   in civilian clothes came to the camp and started to pick out those
   prisoners who looked more healthy. I looked very ill, was thin and
   worn out because of illness, and therefore I was not taken. All my
   fellow-countrymen, that is Fedorenko, Stoletniy, Dorofeyev and
   Prokhorenko fell into the number of prisoners picked out. I did not
   wish to become separated from them and as soon as I found a good
   occasion, I ran over and stood in one line with them. None of the
   Germans noticed this. We were soon put into trucks and sent to the
   small town of Trawniki. Meanwhile nobody explained to us where we
   were being taken and our consent was not asked. We, the prisoners,
   decided that we were being taken to work. Actually we were brought
   to the Trawniki camp where guards were trained. This camp was being
   constantly complemented by new war prisoners and those who had
   completed their training were sent to guard camps, to escort trains
   and to perform various types of work.

   In Trawniki, as I was by specialization a driver, and a mechanic, I
   was assigned to construction work and my fellow-countrymen were
   trained to become wachmen, or guards. I also was considered to be a
   guard. We were all given a black German uniform. Our trousers were
   inserted into our boots or hung free; we wore black field jackets
   with grey collars and cuffs. Our overcoats were black as were our
   forage caps that had a button in front.

   Those who were part of worker's crews were not given weapons.

   In addition there were also drill teams, in which the guards were
   given rifles of various models: German, Polish, French. All the
   guards pledged loyalty. This was done as follows: We were called in
   groups of several men to the headquarters where we signed some sort
   of paper written in German. I do not remember its content.

   QUESTION: What can you say of Fedorenko Fedor during the period
   you were with him in the German camps?

   ANSWER: Fedorenko Fedor was at first together with the Crimean
   fellow-countrymen previously mentioned and in the Trawniki camp he
   was placed in the drill team in which he was trained to be a guard
   and wore arms. Subsequently he was sent to guard some sort of
   concentration camp.

   Once in the fall of 1942, some 500-600 people of Jewish nationality
   were driven from nearby populated places into the Trawniki camp and
   were locked up in a place that was not large enough for them and
   where they were apparently suffocating because noise and screams
   came from the place. This place was guarded by the wachman guards.
   Several days later a train came to fetch the prisoners. Somebody
   told me that Fedor Fedorenko had arrived with the train. Together
   with two other war prisoners I went to see Fedorenko. The train
   consisted of several freight cars in the center of which was a
   passenger car in which the guards were quartered. Fedorenko was in
   this car. He was in the uniform I have described before and had a
   rifle. His mood was good. Fedorenko told me that he worked in the
   Treblinka death camp and had come here to get Jews. Fedorenko said
   nothing concrete about the Treblinka camp and about his work and I
   did not ask because I understood that the Germans exterminated
   people in this camp. He invited us into his car and we sat there
   for several minutes and then Fedorenko discovered that he had lost
   his wallet, with money in it and began to accuse me. I declared
   that I had not taken his wallet, and was offended and left. My
   companions also left with me. On the way back one of them told me
   that it was he who had picked up the wallet belonging to Fedorenko
   in the railroad car and showed me its contents. It contained three
   thousand zloty. I wondered where he could have obtained so much
   money and decided that Fedorenko had stolen it from the Jews
   because he could not have earned such a sum with honest work. In
   general Fedorenko was remarkable for being of an uncommunicative
   nature yet at the same time always out to make some profit and did
   not miss an opportunity to acquire something.

   I did not meet Fedorenko again after this incident, because I was
   sent from Trawniki to Lublin to work in the garage of the "SS"
   troops and the police. From there I fled to a Polish guerrilla

   After the end of the war I met Dorofeyev, Prokhorev and Stoletniy,
   but did not happen to meet Fedorenko. I heard from Stoletniy that
   Fedorenko now resides in the USA. I know nothing more of him.

   QUESTION: Describe the appearance of Fedorenko Fedor. Could you
   identify him on a photograph?

   ANSWER: So far as I remember, Fedorenko was tall, about 180-185cm.
   I remember this well, because I am 180cm tall, and he was slightly
   taller. As to age he must be a few years older than I am. In 1942
   he was 35-36 years old. Fedorenko's hair was dark brown, he has a
   large nose. I also remember that he had long hands. At the present
   moment I cannot say with certainty that I can identify Fedorenko on
   a photograph.

The interrogation was started at 10. a.m. and competed at 1 p.m.

The record has been read to me upon my request, the testimony is
written down correctly from my words, I have no additions and no
corrections to make.

First Deputy Procurator of the Crimean Region V.M. Kuptsov

The copy is true

Chief of the USSR Procuratorate's Office G.M. Shvydak

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.