December 07, 2023

The Soviet officer who saved countless lives in the early days of North Korea

In the chaos after World War II, Georgiy Fyodorov took decisive action to stop mistreatment of Japanese and Koreans

One of the most inspiring things about history is that even under the most horrible regimes one can always find people who oppose the system. There are many examples: SS officer Kurt Gerstein and Japanese diplomat Sugihara Chiune, who risked their careers to save people from the Nazis. Private Newton Knight who took up arms to free slaves from the Confederacy. South African judge Richard Goldstone who used his power to fight against apartheid.

Soviet officer Georgiy Fyodorov was one such good man. As a lieutenant colonel in Stalin’s army after World War II, he used his position to call out the mistreatment of Japanese and Koreans in the Soviet occupation zone on the northern half of the Korean Peninsula, at considerable risk to himself.