The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/d/danilchenko.ignat.t/danilchenko.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Ivan Dem'yanyuk at Sobibor 
Summary: Soviet interrogation record placing Dem'yanyuk in service of
         the SS at Sobibor
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Demjanjuk,Dem'yanyuk,Sobibor,Danil'chenko

Archive/File: holocaust/poland/reinhard/sobibor dchenko.001
Last-Modified: 1994/08/11
Source: United States Department of Justice


    November 21, 1979                        City of Tyumen'

The department Procurator, Procuracy of the USSR, Senior Legal Counsel N.P.
Kolesnikova, in connection with the request from the organs of justice
of the USA for legal aid in the case of the suspected Nazi war
criminal Dem'yanyuk, in accordance with the requirements of Articles
158 and 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR, in the
offices of the Procuracy of Tyumen Oblast', questioned as witness:

      Danil'chenko, Ignat Terent'yevich, born 1923, native of the
      village of Grechino, Tsarichan Rayon, Dnepropetrovsk Oblast',
      Ukrainian, citizen of the USSR, secondary education, retured,
      residing in the 4th district, No. 6, Apartment No. 8, city of

The responsibilities of a witness provided for by Article 73 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR were explained to I.T.
Danil'chenko, and he was warned of his criminal responsibility for
deliberately giving false statements, refusal to give statements or
evasiveness in doing so under Articles 181 and 182 of the Criminal
Code of the RSFSR.

Signature of Witness: (signature)

Upon explanation of Article 17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of
the RSFSR, I.T. Danil'chenko stated that he is fluent in the Russian
language and that he would give his statement in the Russian language.

Signature of Witness: (signature)

Questioning began: 10:00 A.M.

In response to the questions asked, I.T. Danil'chenko stated: I served
as an SS guard in the Sobibor concentration camp in Poland from March
of 1943 through March or April (I cannot now precisely remember) of
1944. The camp was located near a small railroad station called
Sobibor, near the edge of a forest, and was designed for mass killing
of persons of Jewish nationality from the Soviet Union, Poland,
Holland, and other nations occupied by the Nazis. Jews from Germany
were also killed here. The camp covered approximately four square
kilometers and was surrounded by four rows of barbed wire 3 m. high.
There were two entrances into the camp which were closed by wooden
gates on the side of the wire barrier facing the railroad siding. One
gate was designed to admit railroad trains into the camp, while the
other was designed for trucks. There was a smaller gate in the second
gate through which Germans and guards passed. A railroad platform was
built in the camp, near the railroad siding, on a level with the doors
on the freight cars. This was the spot where the people brought to the
camp in railroad cars to be killed were unloaded. The platform was
separated from the general territory of the camp by a single row of
barbed wire. A passage, also surrounded by barbed wire, led from the
platform to an area where the prisoners were ordered to leave their
belongings. Another passage 30-40 m long, surrounded by barbed wire,
led from this spot. The people were led along this passage to
so-called "dressing rooms", where they were forced to strip naked. The
women's hair was also cut off here. The Germans and the guards took
valuables (gold rings, earrings, watches, etc.) from the prisoners. A
passage approximately 3 m wide densely surrounded by barbed wire
intertwined with twigs and branches led from the dressing rooms. The
naked people were driven along this passage to a large stone building
with was called the "showers". Actually, this was a gas chamber where
the arriving Jews were killed in six gas chambers (250 persons in
each) by exhaust gasses from diesel engines which were located near
the gas chamber. I remember hearing from other guards (I cannot
remember their names) that there were two such diesels, supposedly
from tanks. I did not personally see these engines, and I do not know
precisely where they were located in the area of the gas chamber. This
final passage was densely surrounded by armed guards on both sides,
right up to the very doors of the gas chamber. When the doors of the
gas chamber were opened, the people were driven into the chambers by
Germans and guards from a special detachment which worked only in this
area of the camp. The guards guarded the prisoners from the moment the
freight cars were unloaded right up to the gas chamber in order to
prevent attempts to escape and to eliminate panic and disorder which
might arise among the prisoners. With the aid of the guards, when
unloading the freight cars the Germans announced to the Jews that they
would be disinfected in Sobibor and then sent to work. Therefore, in
the majority of cases the people walked calmly along the passages,
right up to the doors of the gas chamber. Armed guards stood on both
sides of the passages, ready to open fire at the slightest sign of
resistance among the prisoners. From conversations with the guards I
know that after the people were killed in the gas chamber their bodies
were loaded on trolleys which ran up to the "showers" on a railroad
branch line and then hauled a short distance from the area of the gas
chamber, stacked on a trestle of rails and burned. A special
detachment of 50 men consisting of German Jews who were prisoners in
the camp burned the bodies under the supervision of the Germans. The
Jews from this detachment lived in a barracks in the area of the gas
chamber. The outside of the barracks was guarded round-the-clock.

The gas chamber building and the place where the bodies were burned
were carefully camouflaged by the Germans with trees. However,
everyone always knew when bodies were being burned, since the flame
blazed over the camp, the glow could be seen for several kilometers
and the unique stench of burnt flesh could be smelled in the air.

I do not know who ran the diesel engines. It is possible that they
were guards, but I do not know who specificaly they were.

As a rule, all Jews brought to the camp were killed on the very same
day. Actually, this was a factory for the mass killing of people. For
six months after my arrival at the camp, an average of one or two
trains delivered prisoners to the camp daily. There were approximately
25 freight cars in each train, more or less. Each car contained
roughly 50-60 prisoners. All of the Jews delivered were killed on the
very same day, and those who were not healthy enough to walk to the
gas chamber themselves were shot in the area of the gas chamber in a
so-called "infirmary". Approximately 1500 Jews were killed in the camp
each day. It is difficult for me to provide a more precise estimate of
the number of prisoners killed each day, but there were at least 1500
of them. These included women, elderly persons and children. In
addition, Jews from nearby ghettos were delivered in 5-6 trucks, with
20-25 persons in each. By late 1943 the trains full of prisoners had
begun to arrive more rarely, and by the spring of 1944 they had
completely stopped arriving. During this period Jews who were still
being delivered from the ghettos were killed in the camp, but
deliveries of prisoners from the ghettos also became more rare.

The superintendent of the camp was a German SS officer, whose name and
rank I have forgotten. At that time he was 35-40 years old, tall and
well-built; I cannot now specify his other features, since so many
years have passed since then. There was a company of SS guards
consisting of approximately 120 men in the camp. The company consisted
of four platoons with approximately 30 men in each platoon. The
company commander was a German SS officer. The platoon leaders were
guards of German nationality. The commander of the 1st. Platoon in
which I served was also of German nationality. I remember that he was
either from the Donbass or from Zaporozhe. I do not remember his last
name, but he was called Karl. Because he was short, the guards gave
him the nickname "Karlik"*. I do not remember the other platoon
leaders. The platoons were formed according to height. Guards at least
180 cm tall served in the 1st platoon. At that time I was 184 cm tall.
Of the guards who served with me in the 1st platoon I remember Ivan
Ivchenko, who was our cook, and Ivan Dem'yanyuk. When I arrived at
Sobibor, Dem'yanyuk alrready served in the camp as a private in the SS
guards. I do not know Dem'yanyuk's patronymic. From conversations with
Dem'yanyuk I do know that he was from Vinnitsa Oblast'. He was roughly
2-3 years older than I, had light brown hair with noticeable bald
spots at that time, was heavyset, had gray eyes and was slightly
taller than I, roughly 186-187 cm tall. I remember Dem'yanyuk's
appearance well, and I could possibly identify him. I do not know
directly from where and when precisely Dem'yanyuk arrived at Sobibor.
From what Dem'yanyuk said I know that like all of us (the guards) who
served in Sobibor he had been trained at the SS camp in Travniki. I
saw Dem'yanyuk for the first time when I arrived at Sobibor; he was
already there. Dem'yanyuk told me that he had served in the Soviet
Army and had been taken prisoner by the Germans early in the war. I do
not know under what circumstances he was taken prisoner. It is
possible that Dem'yanyuk told me about this, but I cannot remember
now. I do not know whether he had any wounds. I personally did not see
any traces of wounds on Dem'yanyuk. At Sobibor, Dem'yanyuk served as a
private in the SS guard and was dressed in a black SS uniform with a
gray collar. He was always armed with a loaded rifle. While standing
guard outside the camp Dem'yanyuk, like the other guards, was issued a
submachine gun and ammunition. While at his post he was obligated to
make sure that there were no attempts by outside persons to enter the
camp or attempted escapes from it. Dem'yanyuk, like all guards in the
camp, participated in the mass killing of Jews. I also participated in
this crime and I was convicted and punished for it. While I was at the
camp I repeatedly saw Dem'yanyuk, armed with a rifle, together with
other guards and, in many cases, myself, guard prisoners in all areas
of the camp, from the unloading platform to the entrance into the gas
chamber. Dem'yanyuk escorted people until they reached the gas chamber
to avoid violations by the prisoners of the "procedure" in which they
were sent to be killed. I cannot specifically say under what
circumstances or how many groups of prisoners Dem'yanyuk escorted to
the gas chamber during his service at the camp, since this was
constant, daily "work". I did not see whether Dem'yanyuk shot anyone
while they were being sent to the gas chamber. Such cases occurred in
the camp if the prisoners showed any kind of resistance. It is
difficult for me to say who shot the sick and weak prisoners in the
"infirmary". It is possible that they were shot by guards on orders
from the Germans, but at present I can state nothing specific about
this. I do not know whether Dem'yanyuk participated in the shootings
of sick prisoners. Together with Dem'yanyuk, I had to guard the place
where the prisoners were unloaded from the railroad cars. I saw
Dem'yanyuk and other guards push the Jews with rifle butts and hit
them; this was a common occurrence during unloading. It is therefore
difficult to single out the actions of Dem'yanyuk in treating the

Dem'yanyuk was considered to be an experienced and efficient guard.
For example, he was repeatedly assigned by the Germans to get Jews in
surrounding ghettos and deliver them in trucks to the camp to be
killed. I did not receive any such assignments, since I did not have
sufficient experience. Dem'yanyuk also guarded the outside of the
barracks for the special detachment which serviced the gas chamber. I
saw him at this post many times, carrying a rifle. I do not know
whether he served guard duty inside the gas chamber zone. As I
remember, Dem'yanyuk was frequently granted leave because he
conscientiously carried out all orders from the Germans.

In March or April of 1944, Dem'yanyuk and I were sent from Sobibor to
the city of Flossenburg in Germany, where we guarded an aircraft
factory and a concentration camp for political prisoners. In case we
were wounded, all of the guards at this camp, including Dem'yanyuk,
were given a tattoo on the inside of the left arm, above the wrist,
designating their blood type. I still have this tattoo, the German
letter "B", designating my blood time. I do not know what letter
designated Dem'yanyuk's blood type.

In late autumn of 1944, in October or November, Dem'yanyuk and I
(among other guards) were sent to the city of Regensburg, or rather
from the concentration camp located 18-29 km from Regensburg. Until
April of 1945 we guarded the prisoners in this camp, who did
construction work. In April of 1945, due to the approach of the front,
the entire camp was evacuated and marched toward the city of
Nuremberg. I escaped along the way, but Dem'yanyuk continued to
accompany the prisoners. I suggested that he escape with me, but he
refused. I have never seen Dem'yanyuk since then and his fate is
unknown to me. I also know nothing about the fate of the prisoners who
were on that march.

The questioning was completed at 6:15 P.M. The questioning was
conducted with a rest break.

I have read the record and my statements were recorded faithfully into
the record from my words. I have  no additions or corrections to make.

Signature of Witness: (Signature)
Questioned by: Department Procurator, Senior Legal Council
				(Signature) N.P. Kolesnikova
Xerographic copy authentic: Deputy Chief of Office, Procuracy of the
USSR (Signature) P.I. Ryakhovskikh


* Translator's Note: diminutive of the name Karl, also meaning "dwarf"
  in Russian

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