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Faces of Auschwitz: Iwan Rebałka

IWAN REBAŁKA was born on February 6, 1925 to Nastasja and, his father, Maksym Rybałka. At the time, the family lived in Syrowatka, Kreis Krasnopilla, Russland—an area which is now the sovereign territory of Ukraine. According to documents recovered from KL Auschwitz, Iwan belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church and was a milkman by trade when he was arrested in Bielowody, Kreis Myropilla, Russland. 

Iwan and 56 other individuals were deported to the concentration camp on August 20, 1942. Once there, he was registered as a Russian political prisoner and assigned the number 60308. All told, an estimated 1500 Russian political prisoners—civilians—were sent to KL Auschwitz before the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army’s 322nd Rifle Division on January 27, 1945. At the time that the Soviets took control of the camp, there were estimated to be only 7000 prisoners left behind its walls, all of whom were in poor health or dying. 

Sadly, Iwan was not among those rescued. 

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Iwan died on 1 March 1943. His death certificate attributes the cause of death to a perinephric abscess, however, this information was, almost always, false. Iwan was actually murdered with a phenol injection into his heart: on 1 March 1943 Rapportführer Gerhard Palitzsch took at least 82 boys aged 13 to 17 from Birkenau to the main camp (Poles, Jews, and Russians). They were placed in a room in Block 20 (one of the camp infirmary blocks) and, in the evening, were all killed with phenol injections by SS-Unterscharführer Scherpe. Iwan was among them.
 

A list of numbers of boys murdered on 1 March 1943:

29502, 30559, 32924, 37112, 44114, 47831, 57296, 60308, 60460, 73614, 73963, 78174, 79662, 80451, 82074, 82192, 82357, 82613, 82633, 82747, 82763, 82764, 82767, 2782, 82783, 84960, 87924, 88138, 88217, 90044, 90062, 91059, 93446, 93941, 95086, 95095, 95099, 95267, 95272, 95338, 95424, 95909, 96159, 96198, 96661, 96720, 97242, 97301, 97830, 98079, 98525, 98529, 98562, 98590, 99278, 99429, 99639, 99711, 100184, 100211, 100220, 100268, 100309, 100330, 100368, 100573, 100642, 101189, 101368, 101527, 102535, 102566, 102567, 102585, 102691, 102845, 103419, 103462 i 103504 as well as 86453 & 100252. 

 A page from the surgery block of the camp hospital - Iwan was admitted there on 30 November 1942.

A page from the surgery block of the camp hospital - Iwan was admitted there on 30 November 1942.


Special thanks to Auschwitz Memorial and Museum for collaborating with me on this project and providing all the information above.

Author: Séamus Bellamy.
Editor: Marina Amaral
Sponsored by: Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund.