Malagon Interrogation

18 March 1978                                                                                       

City of Zaporozh’ye

Justice Litwinenko – Senior Investigator of the Procuratorate of the Zaporozh’ye Region.

Witness – Nikolay, Petrovich Malagon

Born 1919 native and resident of the village of Novo- Petrovka, Berdyansk District, Zaporozh’ye Region. Citizen of USSR , Ukrainian manual worker, married.

The interrogation started at 3.30am

Before the interrogation started the witness declared that he knows the Russian language well and wishes to testify in Russian.

The witness gave the following elucidations to the questions asked;

In February 1941 I was called up for active service in the Soviet Army by the Berdyansk district military committee. When the Great Patriotic war began I was with my unit in the Cherkassy city area and subsequently we were transferred to the Kiev city area, where I took part in the defence of the capital of the Ukraine. In August 1941, in the area of the village of Borshchigovka, I was wounded in the head and together with other soldiers of our unit fell a prisoner to the Germans.  At first I was held in the Prisoner of War camp in the city of Zhitomir, then was transferred to a camp in the city of Rovno. A day later we were loaded into railroad cars and transferred to the Prisoners of War camp near the city of Chelm on Polish territory. About two months after our arrival, about October – November 1941 we were aligned near the barracks and a man in civilian clothes, who he was I do not know, but he had no stripes on his sleeves, started to pick out prisoners to be sent to work projects. At that time he did not tell us where precisely and what type of work would have to be done by the prisoners selected. This man selected in all about 60-70 men from among the prisoners at his discretion and we were transported in three trucks to the camp of Trawniki.

In the Trawniki camp, four companies consisting of prisoners of war were formed, with about 100 men in each, but I do not remember the exact number at present. Three companies consisted of prisoners of war of Ukrainian nationality, one of young Russians. The commanders of these squads were Germans residing on USSR territory and then made prisoners. I was in the third company, the commander of which was Mayevskiy. I don’t recall his first name and patronymic. 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 Trawniki camp all four companies of prisoners of war gave a pledge of loyalty. A German officer read the text of the pledge, a translator translated and then each prisoner signed his name under the text of the pledge and left a finger- print. The pledge said something like the following:

“We prisoners of war enter voluntarily into the German SS troops and will defend the interests of Greater Germany”.

Then we learned that we were to be trained to become Wachmann’s, 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 special uniforms: A black suit – trousers and jackets, a black overcoat with grey collars and cuffs and black forage caps. We were also given buttons on which was engraved a skull and crossed bones. These buttons were sewn onto the cap.In the camp we were trained by the company commanders – we were mostly 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 then, together with ten other Wachman, we were sent to the small town of Zamosc, 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 service 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 sent to the Lublin camp where a team of guards were 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 don’t 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 at 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 men and women arrived regularly at the camp. These citizens were driven into a special barrack, where they removed all their clothing 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 was camouflaged with pine branches. In this area there was a pit – there was no other construction 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 principal worker in the ‘infirmary’ was a man by the last name of Rebeka (Fyodor Ryabeka). 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 / Ryabeka sometimes boasted that he worked so hard that the barrel of his sub-machine gun had become red. I did not participate personally in the shooting of 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 wire, a single line of which extended around the entire camp, and the wire 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 accommodations in which to keep the prisoners brought there, because those who 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.I met guard Federenko, 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 Federenko was also trained to be a guard and wore a special SS uniform.After he had completed his training in the Trawniki camp, Federenko was given the title of Wachman. Each Wachman was given 10 marks per month for tobacco. I cannot easily say how Federenko came to be in the Trawniki camp undergoing training for the duties of a Wachman, because I did not speak with him about this. I did not meet Federenko 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 Federenko 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 Federenko 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 towards him.

When the prisoners were brought to the Treblinka camp, the trains were unloaded by German’s 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 Federenko participated or not in such actions, because I did not see this. I also did not see Federenko 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 guards by the name of Marchenko, Nikolay and Wachman Rebeka(Ryabeka) 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 it 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 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 Federenko among them I do not know.

The guards with the rank of Oberwachman, Zugwachman, and Rottenwachman 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 barracks where they 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 accommodate 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 every day, but how many doomed persons it contained I find it difficult to say. I do not know whether Federenko was given the rank of Oberwachman and Rottenwachman. I did not see him with these ranks.I also did not personally see Federenko 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 Federenko 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 Federenko was sent on service after that. I did not meet Federenko after the war. I cannot speak in detail of the activity of Federenko 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 Federenko and other guards toward the prisoners and therefore I cannot say whether Federenko 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.

 The interrogation was completed at 1.00pm


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