Fyodor Fedorenko, the first person to be deported from the United States to the Soviet Union to face charges that he committed Nazi war crimes, has been executed, the official news agency Tass reported Monday.
Fedorenko, 79, was sentenced to death by a court in the Crimea in the Soviet Ukraine in June, 1986, on charges of treason and taking part in mass executions at the Treblinka death camp in Poland.
The Tass account did not say when he was executed or provide any other details. However, the Soviet Union normally carries out death sentences by firing squad.
Fedorenko, a Ukrainian, fled to the United States in 1949 and settled in Philadelphia, where he worked in a factory. But he was sent back in 1984 to the Soviet Union after losing a seven-year legal battle to avoid deportation.
In the United States, he was charged with concealing his activities as a Treblinka guard and involvement in atrocities against prisoners.
Tass said Fedorenko surrendered to Nazi troops two weeks after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, received special training and joined a special Nazi SS unit that ran the death camp in Poland.
“Fedorenko personally took part in executions, drove people into gas chambers,” Tass said. “This command with Fedorenko’s participation destroyed at least 800,000 people.”
During legal proceedings in the United States, Fedorenko acknowledged that he had been a guard at Treblinka but denied that he killed anyone. He said he was a victim of mistaken identity.
The only other accused war criminal deported from the United States to the Soviet Union, Karl Linnas, died July 2 in a Leningrad hospital of natural causes, Tass has reported. He had been deported last April.
Linnas, who was 67, also faced a death penalty imposed on him in absentia by an Estonian court for running a Nazi concentration camp in Tartu, Estonia. He was accused of taking part in mass executions.
Tass said Linnas was seriously ill before he was returned to Soviet custody and his condition deteriorated while he was in prison in Tallinn, the Estonian capital. He died of heart, liver and kidney failure, the official news agency said.
The Soviet Union, which has accused the U.S. government of failing to extradite many other people accused of atrocities during World War II, has executed several of its own citizens in recent years on war crimes charges.