The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nikolai Malagon
Fedorenko, Marchenko, the Infirmary, killing the Jews...

Record of Questioning of Witness City of Zaporozh'ye, March 18, 1978

[Interrogation of] Malagon, Nikolai Petrovich, born in 1919, native and resident of the village of Novo-Petrovka, Berdyansk Rayon, Zaporozhe Oblast', Ukrainian, citizen of the USSR, manual worker, married.

Most probably he was a Pole, because he spoke Polish well. The commander of our squad was Brovt, I do not remember his first name and patronymic; he was a teacher by profession and lived before the war in the Volga area. The commanders of the other companies were likewise Germans.

In the Trawniki camp it was explained to us that we were to be trained for service in the German army to guard camps. Two or three weeks after their arrival at the Trawniki camp all four companies of war prisoners gave a pledge of loyalty. A German officer read the text of the pledge, a translator translated and then each war prisoner signed his name under the text of the pledge and left a finger print.

The pledge said something like the following: "We war prisoners enter voluntarily into the German 'SS' troops and will defend the interests of Great Germany". Then we learned that we were to be trained to become wachmans, i.e. guards or sentries. At first we wore our own clothing, then we were given the uniform of Belgian soldiers, a sometime later we were all given a special uniform: a black suit /trousers and jacket/, a black overcoat with grey collar and cuffs and black forage caps. We were also given buttons on which was engraved a skull and crossed bones. These buttons were sewn to the cap.

In the camp we were trained by the company commanders; we were mainly engaged in drill exercises. We walked about the streets, sang German songs and at the same time were given military drill training. We did not attend shooting practice. We were not given weapons during training, but during this time we studied the parts of a German rifle. After having completed my training in the Trawniki camp, I was given the rank of "wachman". I remained in the Trawniki camp from October-November 1941 to March 1942 and ten, together with ten other wachmans, we were sent to the small town of Zamoscie, where we guarded the property of a colonel.

After a month we returned to the Trawniki camp, but of the four companies of guards, nobody was left except the servicing personnel. As I learned later, part of the guards had been sent to the Treblinka concentration camp and the rest to the Belzec and Lublin camps. After some time I was also sent to the Lublin camp where a team of guards (wachman) was being collected. After about five days some 50 men were assembled and we went to Warsaw where we took on guard duty for an entire train, the cars of which contained Jews: men, women and children.

At that time I was armed with a French rifle with about 30 cartridges in it. Our team was headed by a certain Komarkin, the first name and patronymic of whom I do not know, but he spoke Polish well. We brought the train with the Jews to the Treblinka camp, which was situated near the station of Treblinka on Polish territory. A one-track railroad extended from the railroad station to the camp. Some of the train's cars were driven into the territory of the camp and part remained at the station.

When we arrived to the camp, other guards were already in the cordon and these began to receive the Jews we had brought. From this day I started my service in the Treblinka camp. This camp was created by the Germans with the express purpose of destroying citizens of Jewish nationality. I saw that trains carrying citizens of Jewish nationality: men, women, children, old man and woman arrived regularly at the camp. These citizens were driven into a special barrack, where they removed all their cothing and threw their valuables into specially placed suitcases. Then they were chased naked to the gas chambers through special passages made of barbed wire covered with pine branches. Pipes carrying exhaust gas from running diesel motors were installed in the gas chambers and the people inside perished. The dead were then thrown into special pits and later burnt on pyres.

This work was performed by special teams composed of individuals of Jewish nationality. In this camp there was also a so-called "infirmary" which was situated near the barrack where the people arriving undressed and not far from the unloading area. The infirmary was in appearance an area fenced in by barbed wire which as camouflaged with pine branches. In this area there was a pit; there were no other constructions on the on the territory of the infirmary. Those among the newly arrived were placed in the infirmary who could not reach by themselves the barracks in which they undressed and gave away their valuables.

The principle worker in the infirmary was a man by the last name of Rebeka, I do not know his first name and patronymic; he resembled a Jew. This was the man who exterminated in the infirmary the citizens who were ailing and could not walk without help. Rebeka sometimes boasted that he worked so hard the barrel of his sub-machine gun had become red.

I did not participate personally in the shooting of the Jews brought in, but was only in the cordon, took part in the unloading of the Jews from the train cars, and mostly, together with the team, prepared pine and fir branches that camouflaged the barbed wires, a single line of which extended around the entire camp, and the wire of which were made the passages leading from the barracks to the gas chambers. The barbed wire around the so-called infirmary was similarly camouflaged with branches.

I remained in the Treblinka camp at least three or four months and saw that at least one trainload of citizens of Jewish nationality arrived there every day and were then exterminated in the gas chambers and in the infirmary. During this time many Jews died there, but I cannot state the exact number. There were cases when the Jews brought to the camp for extermination made armed resistance: shot from pistols or threw grenades. There was no rioting among the prisoners during my time of service in the Treblinka camp. I heard that some sort of revolt had taken place, but at that time I was no longer employed in the camp.

The Treblinka camp had no accomodations in which to keep the prisoners brought there, because those that arrived were immediately exterminated. On the territory of the camp there were only two barracks in which the working teams lived. I can draw an approximate plan of the Treblinka camp which I request to be attached to the present report of the interrogation. On this plan I only cannot determine the location of the countries of the world.

I met guard Fedorenko, I do not recall his first name and his patronymic, in the Trawniki as well as in the Treblinka camps. I met him only seldom, because he served in another platoon. I remember well his person and therefore can identify him on a photograph. In the Trawniki camp Fedorenko was also trained to be a guard (wachman) and wore a special "SS" uniform. After he had completed his training in the Trawniki camp, Fedorenko was given the title of wachman (guard). Each wachman was given 10 marks per month for tobacco. I cannot easily say how Fedorenko came to be in the Trawniki camp undergoing training for the duties of a wachman, because I did not speak to him about this.

I did not meet Fedorenko in the Chelm camp and therefore I cannot say from which camp precisely he was sent to be trained in the Trawniki camp. I also met Fedorenko in the Treblinka camp, but I cannot at present remember if he was employed in this camp or brought there Jewish citizens for extermination. I remember Fedorenko only with the rank of wachman, and I do not know whether he was promoted to higher ranks and what was the attitude of the German authorities toward him. I find it difficult to say whether Fedorenko participated in the extermination of citizens of Jewish nationality in the Treblinka camp because I was not present at this. After the Treblinka camp in 1943 I did not meet Fedorenko again and his subsequent fate is unknown to me.

When the prisoners were brought to the Treblinka camp, the trains were unloaded by Germans and guards with the rank of oberwachman, zugwachman who chased the prisoners from the cars with whips and pistols, beat them and shot at them. I hesitate to say whether Fedorenko participated or not in such actions, because I did not see this. I also did not see Fedorenko shoot down prisoners in the barracks or near the gas chambers. When the trains carrying the Jews arrived, the guards were usually in cordon formation, and the Jews were escorted to the barracks by Germans, while the Jews were exterminated by the working teams under the supervision of Germans.

Near the diesel engines by the gas chambers there worked a guard (wachman) by the name of Nikolay Marchenko, and wachman Rebeka worked in the so-called "infirmary". I remember that Marchenko wore a leather jacket and carried a pistol. These two guards did exterminate prisoners, who else among the guards took part in the extermination of prisoners I find difficult to say. When one of the prisoners on the unloading area threw a grenade, one of the guards was killed. The other guards standing in cordon formation immediately retaliated against the prisoners who had thrown the grenade, that is they shot them then and there. Who of the guards participated in this action and was Fedorenko among them I do not know.

The guards with the rank of oberwachman, zugwachman, and rotenwachman were closer to the Germans, they participated in the unloading of the Jews from the train cars, and in doing so they threw people out of the train cars and shot some of them right there. Together with the Germans they also escorted the prisoners to the barrack where these removed their clothes and handed over their valuables. I cannot personally say how many prisoners were exterminated daily in the camp, but the camp had no facilities to accomodate the prisoners. All the prisoners who arrived were exterminated on the day of arrival in the gas chambers. The bodies were thrown into pits and later burned. At least a trainload of people arrived everyday, but how many doomed persons it contained I find it difficult to say.

I do not know whether Fedorenko was given the rank of oberwachman and rotenwachman; I did not see him in these ranks. I also did not personally see Fedorenko take a personal part in the extermination of prisoners in the gas chambers or in the "infirmary". I was not in the camp at the time the prisoners rioted and therefore I cannot say whether Fedorenko took part or not in the quelling of this riot. About March-April 1943 I started service at Oswiecim and then at Buchenwald.

I do not know how the Treblinka camp was liquidated and where Fedorenko was sent on service after that. I did not meet Fedorenko after the war. I cannot speak in detail of the activity of Fedorenko in the Trawniki and Treblinka camps because we served in different platoons and companies, also met only a few times and moreover were not in close relationship. I was not present at any action of Fedorenko and other guards toward the prisoners and therefore I cannot say whether Fedorenko also stole from the prisoners or not.

I cannot add anything more concerning the questions asked. The testimony is written down correctly and was read personally by witness Malagon, N.P.

A map-diagram of the Treblinka camp is appended to the report.

The interrogation was completed at 1.00 p.m.

Interrogation was conducted by Senior Investigator of the Procuratorate of the Zaporozh'ye Region, Senior Councillor of Justice Ya . V. Litvinenko

The xerox copy is true: Chief of USSR Procuratorate's Office G.M. Shvydak

[Transcription note: Malagon's map and explanations of characters used within it are included with the testimony. knm]

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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