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Holocaust survivor, 96, killed in Ukraine after Russian forces shell apartment

Boris Romanchenko had survived several concentration camps, including Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.
Buchenwald Memorial Commemorates 70th Anniversary Since Liberation
Six survivors, including Boris Romanchenko (second right) gather together to mark the 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation at the Buchenwald memorial, near Weimar, Germany, on April 12, 2015.Jens Schlueter / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

A Holocaust survivor was killed in Ukraine when Russian forces shelled his apartment building in the eastern city of Kharkiv, a memorial foundation said Monday.

Boris Romanchenko, 96, survived several Nazi concentration camps, but died Friday after the attack burned his building, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation said.

Romanchenko had served on a committee for Holocaust survivors, the group said.

Romanchenko, who was born in northeastern Ukraine, was deported to Dortmund, Germany, in 1942, the organization said. After a failed escape, he was sent to four camps — Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Mittelbau and Bergen-Belsen.

More than 100,000 people combined were killed in Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.

“We mourn the loss of a close friend,” the foundation said. “We wish his son and granddaughter, who gave us the sad news, a lot of strength in these difficult times.”

The group added that Romanchenko’s death illustrated the threat posed to other Holocaust survivors living in Ukraine. According to the non-profit Jewish United Fund, there are an estimated 10,000, many of them homebound.

The memorial, along with dozens of other similar groups, has helped organize food and medicine drives for survivors, as well as pick-ups from the Ukrainian border and accommodations elsewhere in Europe.

A network of Jewish and non-Jewish grassroots groups have been trying to help survivors flee the war-ravaged country.

Recent images of Kharkiv published by The New York Times show the devastation the city of 1.4 million has endured since Russia’s invasion began last month, including the destruction of residential buildings, a regional administrative office and a university.

The city’s emergency services office said that 500 people were confirmed dead, though as rescue workers dig through rubble that number will likely grow, The Times reported.

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