Who was Ivan the Terrible? Treblinka guard and his terrible history explained

Photograph of Ivan the Terrible
Photograph of Ivan the Terrible. Pic credit: Netflix

For anyone interested in the Holocaust, Netflix’s new docu-series, The Devil Next Door, gives a fascinating glimpse into the world of a man who was so good at being invisible that he almost got away with being part of one of the worst genocides in human history.

The man accused of being the Nazi guard was John Demjanjuk, a Ukranian retired autoworker who lived in Cleveland. But the person he was accused of being was truly a horrifying individual.

His seemingly endless appetite for torture earned him the moniker Ivan The Terrible. But who exactly was this Nazi guard that would haunt the memories of millions?

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The Devil Next Door | Main Trailer | Netflix

Who was Ivan The Terrible (Treblinka Guard)?

According to Newsweek, John Demjanjuk was convicted of being Ivan The Terrible, but according to differing accounts, Demjanjuk could have been a victim of the worst case of mistaken identity in recent times.

Reportedly, members of the Russian army insist that the man known as Ivan the Terrible was not Demjanjuk (even though he was a Nazi), but was actually Ivan Marchenko. Even unearthing new evidence, one thing is for sure, both Demjanjuk and Marchenko were involved in the mass murder of millions of Jewish people. And one of them was so awful, he became known as Ivan the Terrible by most who crossed his path.

So what made him so terrible? Outside of gas chambers, which are a horrific blight on human history no matter what, Ivan the Terrible would use his sword to attack the already near dead victims as they entered the gas chambers that would bring their final breaths. He wanted to have a more physical involvement in bringing an end to countless innocent lives, including the disabled, women, children, and the elderly.

The Case of John Demjanjuk | People & Politics

Using his sword was not enough for this man so thirsty for blood. The Jewish Virtual Library goes on to explain that he also wanted to be the one who ran the gas chambers after he had mocked and mutilated them with his sword. Treblinka, the camp where Ivan the Terrible earned his name, was made for one purpose — to murder millions of people that Adolf Hitler decided were either enemies of the state, or not of a pure German bloodline.

Ivan the Terrible Treblinka guard was not the first to be known as Ivan the Terrible because before the Treblinka guard was Ivan the Terrible, another man was called by that name. According to All That’s Interesting, the original Ivan the Terrible was a Russian ruler who took pleasure in some of the most hideous acts of evil imaginable.

Partly due to a lack of a genuine childhood, and partly due to a thirst for power, Ivan would become so callous and angry, he would murder his child without a thought. Not only this, he went to war with multiple countries and refused to leave any survivors once he had trampled on every resource his victims might have had.

Considering the original Ivan the Terrible, comparisons to the Treblinka guard seem appropriate. Whether Ivan the Terrible was Demjanjuk or Marchenko, it is clear the Ivan the Terrible guard at Treblinka left his mark on the heartbroken victims who live with the scars he inflicted on their souls.

The Devil Next Door is now streaming on Netflix.

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