Ivan Marchenko

marchenko 849

Ivan Marchenko, left with Ivan Tkachuk in Treblinka (Chris Webb Private Archive)

Ivan Marchenko was born on March 2, 1911, in the village of Serhijowga, Dnyepro-petrowsk, Ukraine. His parents were Iwan and Oksana. He was married to Katherina, formerly Krawtchenko, and they had three children. He worked in the mines and on the river. He served in the Russian Army and was captured by the Germans in October 1941.

A number of interrogations took place after the end of the Second World War with people that served with Ivan Marchenko in the SS Training camp at Trawniki, in Poland or at the Treblinka death camp in Poland. Marchenko was infamous because of the evil deeds he committed, where he drove helpless and innocent Jewish men, women, and children, into the gas chambers. Once crammed inside Marchenko and another Trawniki-manner Nikolay Shalayev, turned on the engines that pumped carbon monoxide into the gas chambers to murder the people inside.

Interrogation Report

Of the accused: SHALAYEV, Nikolay Yegorovich, born 1921

City of Voronezh, 20 December 1950

Question: Name persons known to you from among the traitors of the motherland who during the Great Patriotic War served with you in SS units of the German Army?

Answer: MARCHENKO ivan.

Do not know his patronymic, born in 1911, native of Dnepropetrovsk, Oblast. Before the war worked in Kryvy Rog in the mines as a miner, was not a Party member, was married had one son at that time, in 1943, was 19 years old. Was drafted into the Soviet Army at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, had the rank of a private.

Characteristics: Tall, black haired, hazel eyes, rectangular thin face, large thin straight nose; a not too noticeable slanted scar, thick set physique, broad shouldered; while walking his arms were not straight, but half bent at the elbows.

I first met him in September 1942, and worked together with him as a motorist at the motors which made the exhaust gas that was fed into the gas chambers, where the people had been herded in were killed. When i arrived at the Treblinka death camp, MARCHENKO was already working as a motorist and according to him it seems he came to this camp from the Trawniki training school for guards.

In June 1943, together with me, he left for the city of Trieste, Italy, where he guarded German warehouses at the port, guarded the Trieste prison and took part in round-up of Italian citizens for forced labour in Germany. He wore a German uniform of the 'SS' and carried a rifle. In the spring of 1944, together with a driver by the name of Grigory, he fled in an armour personnel carrier from the city of Fiume, to the partisans in Yugoslavia. I never saw him after that and do not know where he is.

Interrogation Report

Of the accused: RYABEKA, Fyodor Yakoviech

Kiev 31, August 1961

Ivan Marchenko is much younger than I. He served in the Treblinka death camp as a motorist of the gas chambers -'dushehubka.' He arrived in Treblinka before I did and when i was transferred from that camp in March 1943, he remained in that camp working at his former job.

Marchenko took a particularly active part in the killing of people as he was always near the gas chambers and he turned on the motor - the exhaust gas of which asphyxiated the people. However, that was not all, Marchenko directly took part in the herding of the people into the gas chambers. In so doing Marchenko viciously beat the people with his feet or whatever was at hand. Also he was armed with a pistol, however, I do not remember whether he used it.

Marchenko was constantly drunk in the camp. Once I was in the village of Vulka and met Marchenko who struck me with his fist. He was in a very intoxicated state and the next day said that he did not remember what it was all about. Also, it seems Marchenko was friends with Franz and was always hanging around the German guards.


Ivan Marchenko's Personalbogen from Trawniki (Chris Webb Private Archive)

KULAK, Nikolay

1 March 1947

Of the wachmen who were with me in the Trawniki school I know:

Marchenko, Ivan. I don't know his patronymic, age 30, Ukrainian worked in the Donbas before the war; served in the Red Army; In 1941, was captured by the Germans; was in prisoner of war camp 'A' in Chelm, Poland. In October 1941, was sent from Chelm to the training school for wachmen in Trawniki. While at the training school for wachmen, in May 1942, he took part in guarding the Jewish ghetto in the city of Lublin, thereafter he was transferred to the Treblinka death camp, where he worked as a motorist of the gas chambers, in which Jews were killed; he took part in mass firing squad executions.

As a motorist, while filling the gas chambers he beat with a lash those condemned to death, shouting, 'go quickly to the bath-house, or the water will get cold.' While the motor was running he would look through a window to see how the asphyxiation process was coming along. The last time that I saw him was in Autumn 1943, he remained at the camp. Where he is now, I do not know.

His characteristics: Above average in stature, heavy-set build, broad shouldered, brown hair, hazel eyes, oval face, had a long scar on his right cheek or neck, long straight nose, large mouth, thick lips, protruding adam's apple, large ears.

Interrogation Report

RYABTSEV, Prokofiy Nikolayevich born 1915

City of Vinnitsa, 17 April 1961

The condemned entering into the corridor of the 'dushehubka' were herded into the gas chambers. This was done as a rule by the Germans, the motorists SHALAYEV, Nikolai and MARCHENKO, Ivan. I also saw the zugwachmanner YEGER and BINEMAN* go in there. I personally did not herd the condemned into the gas chambers, but I stood at my post near the entrance and from there I could see what was happening inside the 'dushehubka.' The filled chambers were hermetically sealed, and then SHALAYEV, Nikolai and MARCHENKO, Ivan engaged the motor from which the gas entered the chambers.

SKYDAN, Grigory

16 February 1950

During this time people were being killed by various means, they were shot, axed, beaten by lashes, and iron switches. All this work was performed mostly by the Germans , head wachmen and some by some amateurs among the wachmen. From among the wachmen, the motorists Shalayev, Nikolay and Marchenko, Ivan had the greatest 'prestige' in the camp. They personally directed the whole process of mass killing of people.

In addition Shalayev had a cavalryman's sword and his personal dog and Marchenko always walked around the camp with a 1 1/2 or 2 meter long waterpipe. Shalayev sometimes lopped off breasts of the Jewish women, cut off their noses and ears, with one stroke of the sword, he would virtually cut a man through; he enjoyed setting his dog on the naked people marching to the gas chambers - 'Dushehubka,' who would tear off pieces of flesh of living, men, women and children.

Marchenko was an expert in killing people with the water-pipe. I personally saw how with one blow of the pipe, Marchenko killed a physically strong man. Oberwachman Robertus and others, whose names I do not recall, once hacked with axes members of a work crew. In despair one of the workers cut Robertus on the neck with a razor. For this transgression practically the whole crew was executed by firing squad. It is characteristic that all the wachmen and head wachmen who had ever been wounded by desperate prisoners condemned to death, on returning from the hospital killed and tortured at every turn, those in the work details and the 'cloak rooms,' wherever they came upon members of the Jewish nationality without regard for age or sex.

LELEKO, Pavel Vladimirovich

21 February 1945

When the procession of the condemned approached the gas chambers, the motorists of the gas chambers would shout, 'Go quickly or the water will get cold.' Each group of women or men were hurried along  from the rear by some Germans and very often the Kommandant himself - Franz accompanied by a dog. As they approached the gas chambers the people began to back away in terror. Oftentimes they tried to turn back. At that point lashes and clubs were used. Franz immediately set upon the condemned, his dog which was specially trained to snap at their sex organs.

At each gas chamber there were 5-6 Germans besides the motorists with their dogs. With clubs and lashes they drove the people into the corridor of the gas chambers. In this the Germans would compete with the motorists in brutality towards the people selected to die. Marchenko for instance had a sword with which he mutilated the people. He cut off the breasts of women.

After the chambers were filled they were slammed shut with hermetically sealed doors. The motorists Marchenko and Nikolay would turn on the motors. Through pipes, exhaust gas was fed into the chambers. The process of asphyxiation began. Some time after starting the motor, the motorists would look into the chambers through special observation slits along side each door, to see how the killing process was going. When questioned what they see there, the motorists answered that the people are writhing, twisting one another. I also tried to look in through the little window into the chamber, but somehow I did not succeed in seeing anything. Gradually the noise in the chambers subsided. After about fifteen minutes the motors were turned off, an unusual calm set in.


Interrogation Reports - Holocaust Historical Society

Photograph and Document: Chris Webb Private Archive

Copyright Holocaust Historical Society, July 31, 2019