The Massacres in Bessarabia, Bucovina and Dorohoi County

The Chronological Order of Events June 2, 1940 - November 15, 1941

June 1940

Approximately 800,000 Jews were living in Greater Rumania before the war. According to the last official census on December 19, 1930, there were 756,930 people. More than one third of these (314,933) lived in the counties of Bessarabia, Bucovina and Dorohoi.

Note: According to a survey carried out by the Central Statistical Office on September 1, 1941, after the first two months of the war, only 151,121 of this number had survived.

The racially based census taken on May 20, 1942 indicated that only 19,576 Jews were living in these counties. However, in the so-called "Transnistrian" camps and ghettos about 60,000 people were alive at this time.

June 29, 1940

In accordance with the execution of the agreement on the handover of Bessarabia and the northern Bucovina region, as well as a number of settlements in Dorohoi county, the [238] withdrawal of Rumanian troops began along the entire length of the border from the Ceremus to the Danube. It seems that the troops which withdrew across the bridges of the Prut from Galati to Herta, were composed and behaved decently. In any case, no extraordinary events were recorded concerning them. However, the troops which withdraw to Bucovina after crossing the Prut and the Siret, committed horrible crimes and terrifying massacres, which claimed the lives of a great number of Jewish villagers and townspeople.

The first murders were committed in Mihoreni (Dorohoi county) by a military unit under the command of a major named Gilav. For no apparent reason, the soldiers arrested and tortured Sloime Weiner, his son, User Weiner, his daughters, Roza Weiner and Fani Zekler (the latter was holding a two-year-old child in her arms). They were taken to a forest called Tureatca, where a lame cobbler, Moscovici, his wife and two children, as well as Isac Moscovici's wife and two daughters were also found. All of them were lined up at the edge of a hole and shot into it. Isac Moscovici, who had been arrested separately, was so severely beaten that he died on the way to hospital.

June 30, 1940

Part of the 16th infantry regiment, under the command of Major Valeriu Carp, withdrew from the north-western part of Bucovina towards Falticeni. Immediately after the unit had marched into the village of Ciudei (Strojinet county), a number of Jews were collected at the village centre following [239] an order by the Major. These were: Moise Schachter, Dr. Konrad Kreis, the Hessman brothers, Herman Gross, his wife, his daughter and grandchild. All of them were shot dead. Dr. Kreis was tortured with extraordinary cruelty, and his body was - literally - cut up into pieces.

June 30, 1940

A group of 18 soldiers, led by a lieutenant, broke into the house of Suhar Lax, who lived in Costina-Suceava. After torturing him, they tied him to a horse's tail and had him dragged across the village (nearly 3 km). His body, ridden with twenty bullets, was found in a nearby forest.

July 1, 1940

The withdrawing military units carried out a barbaric and murderous pogrom in the town of Dorohoi.

The morning streets of the city showed signs of extraordinary activity, and the Jews of the town began to panic. The soldiers of the 8th Rifle Regiment, who were not acquainted with the city, led by locals, were roaming the city centre and the Jewish quarter, marking Christian houses with large "C" letters. A consequence of the activity of the soldiers, or because they were secretly encouraged to do so, many Christians put crosses and icons in their windows. The soldiers mocked, jeered and abused the small number of Jews who crossed their path.

[240] The funeral of a Jewish soldier, who had died during a border incident near Herta, was taking place around noon. Many leading personalities of the local Jewish community insisted on bowing before the grave of their hero, and decided to pay their last respects to him. The Dorohoi garrison sent a guard of honour consisting of ten Jewish soldiers to the Jewish cemetery. There was also a cadet sergeant among them, but he was not the commander of the guard of honour, who was a Christian sergeant.

At around 2.00 p.m., when the coffin was being lowered into the grave, shots could be heard from the western part of the cemetery. This was the signal for the pogrom; it was rumoured in the town that the Jews had opened fire at the army. The sergeant ordered the Jewish soldiers to leave the cemetery, while the other terrified Jews fled to the funeral parlour. At the gate of the cemetery the Jewish soldiers were met by a colonel, some officers and a platoon. The colonel gave the order to disarm and execute the Jewish soldiers, who only ten minutes before had been members of a guard of honour of the Rumanian army. They were placed in row facing the wall of the cemetery and shot from behind by their comrades in full view of the colonel.

Events continued in the funeral parlour. A lieutenant, with a pistol in his hand, kicked in the door, and under the pretext of searching for people with arms, chased the terrified Jews out of the parlour, who then witnessed the horrible execution. They were lined up along Valea Campului Street (8 women, a two-year-old, a six-year-old, a seven-year-old child, and an eighty-year-old man among them), and murdered with a few rounds of machine-gun fire. The bullets [241] missed the old man, so they smashed his skull with a sharp blow. Some of the people survived by either running away across the field or by pretending to be dead.

Simultaneously with the bloodbath organised in the cemetery, the pogrom began in the town. In Regele Ferdinand, Bratianu and C. Stroici Streets the soldiers forced their way into Jewish houses, tortured, looted and murdered. Never before had Rumanian soil witnessed such bestial scenes. Avram Calmanovici was shot dead, but only after his genitals had been cut off. The elderly Eli and Feiga were shot dead, but first the woman's ears were cut off for the sake of her earrings. The breasts of Ms. Rifca Croitoru were cut off. The elderly Herscu Iona Iona's beard was pulled out hair by hair, and only then was he shot dead.

The pogrom was brought to a close by a huge rainstorm, which drove the soldiers off the streets.

The Jewish soldiers of 24th Infantry Regiment were also close to being murdered, but this was averted by a courageous intervention (perhaps that of Captain Stino).

The massacre in the provinces was also averted through the actions of General Sanatescu and Colonel Ilasievici. However, two other Jewish soldiers were shot dead near the town of Mihaileni. They were later buried by the local religious community. In Valea Campului, two more Jewish soldiers, who had come from a military unit to visit their children, were also killed.


July 1, 1940

The troops under the command of Valeriu Carp arrived in Zaharesti in Suceava county, where they rested. There was one Jew in the village. The major ordered the collection of a larger group from the surrounding areas. A number of Jews were brought in from Vorniceni, Ilisesti, Vicov and Banila, including the following: Leon Hamer, Leib Stekel, Ira Lupovici, Nuta Druckman, Moise Haller, Bartfeld, Herer, Edelstein, mother and daughter, Dr. Gingold from Vicov, as well as a few Jews evacuated from Radauti county, who were bound for Suceava. A total of thirty-six. All of them were horribly tortured, some of them had ears, fingers or tongues cut off. Finally, they were lined up beside a hole, fired on, and thrown into the hole, irrespective of whether they were dead or still alive. The major ordered the two Jewish soldiers under his command to be included in the firing squads, one of them was from Burdujeni, the other from Suceava (Fredi Dermer). The major's daughter also took part in the massacre. The beast of a major ordered the carcass of a horse to be thrown on the mass grave of dead bodies as a final act of abuse.

Encouraged by the barbarity of the soldiers, the gangs of peasants and Gendarmes also looted and murdered. In Serbauiti (Suceava county), Sergeant Bujica, the Commander of the Gendarme post, together with a peasant called Hapinciuc, who worked in the Revenue Office, broke into the house of a Jew named Smil Gheller, where, in addition to the above, were his wife, Sally Gheller, and Leib [243] Ellenbogen. They shot all three of them, and threw their bodies into the creek beside the village. These corpses were also buried in the Jewish cemetery in Suceava in January 1941.

July 3-5, 1940

Similar crimes were committed along the entire route of the army's withdrawal:

- In Comonesti-Suceava, the Zisman siblings were shot dead after being thrown out of a train. Rabbi Laib Schachter and his two sons were first tortured, and then murdered on the edge of the village. The rabbi's wife was shot dead while at prayer. Sloime Mendler was bayoneted in the nape;

- In Crainiceni (Radauti county), the Aizic siblings and Burah Wasserman were shot dead by a group of eight soldiers led by an infantry sergeant;

- Mendel Weinstein, Maratiev and Strul Feigenbaum were murdered in Adancata;

- Moise Rudich, landowner, in Gaureni-Suceava;

- Natan Somer in Liuzii-Humorului (Suceava county);

- M. Hibner, his wife and son, Iosub Hibner, and his four grandchildren were killed by soldiers and peasants in Igesti-Suceava.

A great number of murders were committed on trains, especially along the tracks of Moldova. The Jewish passengers, primarily soldiers, were shot dead, and their corpses left in the fields. A large number of Jews were thrown out of moving trains: some of them died painful deaths, others were left crippled.


February 1941

The agreement stipulating the handover of Bessarabia and Bucovina made it possible for people from returned territories to cross the border to the other side. The most important crossing points were in Galatii-Reni and Dornesti (Bucovina). In this latter province, in Burdujeni, a Russian-Rumanian joint committee had been in operation, which had ceased its activities in January, when the border was closed. The Christians who had not reached the other side by that time were sent across later, and a camp of sorts was set up for the 110 Jews who had not crossed the border (two rooms at the Burdujeni railway station). Here, they lived in horrifying poverty, a few poor Jews from Burdujeni and Suceava fed them out of pity. At times, during the night, groups of twenty or thirty Jews were taken away; border guards took them to the border and forced them, at gunpoint, to cross the border. The frontier zone was mined, and consequently, a great number of Jews fell victim to explosions. Others were killed by the bullets of Soviet border guards alerted by the border violations. And, finally, there were those who were shot dead by Rumanian border guards whilst trying to return.

In this way, by February, only fifty-eight Jews remained out of the original 110. They suffered there until May, when they were able to leave the hell of Burdujeni; they were transported to the camp in Targu Jiu.


June 30, 1941

One of the decrees of the General Command, according to which Jews had taken part in violent crimes including espionage, sabotage and attacks against individual soldiers, was an incitement to pogroms, through its order to the commanders of large units, together with their troops, to be "unmerciful" (see Doc. 4).

July 2, 1941

The attack along the entire length of the Rumanian border begins, from Bucovina to the Danube, simultaneously, a campaign is launched, during which looting and slaughter among the Jews occur on a massive scale along the path of the fascist army. The acts of looting and murder, both individual and mass, are committed by Rumanian and German soldiers, as well as civil authorities and local residents. The simultaneousness and similarity of the crimes indicate that they were executed in accordance with preprepared orders and plans.

The border village of Ciudei was one of the first settlements to be occupied. At this site, one year previously, the withdrawing batteries of the 16th Infantry Regiment, under the command of Valeriu Carp, had organised a barbaric massacre. There were only a few victims then. This time, however, the soldiers of the same regiment, with the same order and the same beast of a commander, exterminated the entire Jewish population with fire and sword. In only a few hours, 450 of the 500 Jewish villagers were shot dead.


July 4, 1941

Strorojinet was the first town to be occupied. Hardly had the soldiers marched in, than the slaughter began. Women, men, the elderly and children collected at random from houses, cellars, churches and streets, were either shot dead immediately, or only after being tortured. Some names:

Solomon Drimer, the former Vice-President of the Religious Community; his daughter-in-law, Jenni Drimer; the wife of Moritz Loebel, shot dead with her child in her arms (her husband hanged himself when he learnt of this); Mendel Schmeltzer, (shot dead together with his wife and son-in-law); Moses Iuhrman and his wife; David Greif; Simon Schefler; Smiel Fleischer and his son, Leon Fleischer; Mrs. Siegler and her daughter; Fienstein and his wife and daughter; Liebman and his wife; Baruch Altman; an elderly woman (Sonntag) was executed under the pretext that she had fired on the soldiers; a nasty farce was played out at her expense; a machinegun belt was tied to her waist, and then a photograph was taken of her; Peisah Aufleger; Coblig, the cobbler; Russ, the tailor; Mrs. Moses; Berta Leder; Schulman; M. Surchis and his wife and sons; Buci Rosner and her father-in-law, Goldberg; his daughter, Blima, was only injured, but died two days later.

July 4, 1941

In the villages near Storojinet (Ropcea, Iordanesti, Patrauti, Panca and Broscauti), the occupying troops looted and murdered the Jewish population with similar barbarity.

[247] In Ropcea, the entire family of Osias Wolf Hass is murdered. Soldiers occupying the village enjoy themselves thoroughly. They collect everybody from Hass's house, and drive them towards Siret. Old Hass is blind, and his son, Eugen, carries him on his back during the three-kilometre walk. When they reach the river, the valiant invaders force the victims to cross the water in single file on a narrow bridge. The blind man led the way, and the soldiers had great fun watching him stumble. The old man managed to get as far as the middle of the bridge, where he was shot dead, and his body fell into the water. Next in line was Rifca Schneider, with her baby in her arms. The baby was probably still alive when its mother fell off the bridge. Then all the others, one after the other, Eugen Hass, his wife, his son and daughter. (...)The little girl was only injured, and was taken to a nearby house. However, when she came to two days later and remembered the tragedy she had experienced, she asked one of the soldiers to shoot her. Her request was granted.

Also in Ropcea, the Meer siblings and Osias Rosen - among them the brother of Rabbi Dr. Mark from Chernovitz as well as his wife.

In Iordanesti, the local residents, under the leadership of Telefon-Halache, organised a bloodbath. Among many others, the following were tortured and killed; Michel Donenfeld, HaIler and his two sons, Wolloch and Heinich.


July 5, 1941

In Banila pe Siret, local residents, led by Mayor Mocaliuc and a certain Barbaza, killed 15 Jews, among them M. Satran, an eighty-year-old blind man, Iacob Fleischer and Iacob Brecher together with his daughter. Brecher's body was cut into pieces, and his blood was smeared on the axles of carriages.

Having seen so many atrocities, the priest of the Orthodox Church, Stefanovici, the pastor of Banila, did not set foot in his church the following Sunday.

July 5, 1941

The invading army organised massacres in the villages inhabited by Jews throughout Storojinet county. Eighty people were shot dead in Stanesti, among them Rabbi Friedlaender and his two sons. In Jadova Noua dozens of Jews were tortured and killed, among them Weiss Moise, his child and siblings, Weiss David and Weiss Urci.

In Jadova Veche, Rabbi Ghinsberg survived after his beard was pulled out, his head was injured in several places, and he was repeatedly bayoneted. However, Eli Schnitter and his wife, Bubi Engel, was shot dead. Many girls were raped, and the beard of every old man was cut off. It will never be known how many Jews were killed on that day, and how many later. Very few witnesses survived. The only certainty is that from among the 543 Jewish inhabitants of the two Jadovas only 80 survived the massacre and the death march to the camps in Edineti and Transnistria.

[249] In Costesti and Hunita fewer than forty of the 400 Jews survived, the rest were killed; in Budineti, 6 out of the 8 Jewish residents were killed, among them Isidor Berghof, the Secretary of the Religious Community in Storojineti (his eyes were torn out of their sockets before he was shot dead); it is not known for certain how many Jews were killed in Cires in addition to the Jungmann family, but their blood could be clearly seen in the dust of the road when the marching column of Jews from Banila passed there. In Valavca, on the instigation of a peasant called Curichi, Zeida Krigsman, Ioil Kluger, Aron Burman and his son, Bert Daubert, Zissu Lux, his wife and one of his sons, Haiche Dermer, Steinbrecher and his wife; in Milie, Dr. Iacob Geller, the leading Zionist, who was fleeing from Chernovitz, was shot dead together with his wife and one of his children, as well as the five member Mehrman family, which was bayoneted to pieces.

July 5, 1941

Following an order given by the Chief of Police in Herta, 100 Jews were collected from cellars and synagogues (to where they had fled), and executed. The corpses were buried in three mass graves.

On the same day, in the village of Horbova, in Herta county, the 10 local Jews were killed.


July 5, 1941

When the Rumanian army marched into the town of Vijnita, 21 Jews were executed.

The Rumanian troops that occupied the town called Vascauti, took 19 hostages. Their names: Dughi Wasserman, P. Haber, Leib Zeltzer and his son, Reicher and his son, Slotschewer, Machel and Ioil Singer, Strulovici, Gensler, Riezeher, Mechlovici, Engelberg, Reichman, Hans Erdreich, Moise Teller, Mendel Enzelberg and Fischel Papst. After a few hours all of them were shot dead.

July 5, 1941

In Rostachi-Vijnita, almost all the Jews were slaughtered. Ten out of 81 survived, including Dr. Stier, his wife and a child, who had fainted and were thought to be dead. The massacre was organised by local residents led by the Scimsinschi brothers, Mihai and Matae, and supported by Rumanian soldiers.

July 5, 1941

The advance guards of the Rumanian army marched into Chernovitz between 16.00 and 17.00 hrs. Some specially assigned units occupied strategically important positions and public buildings, while the rest flooded the Jewish quarter; the looting and killing began immediately.


July 6, 1941

The Rumanian troops, which the previous day had occupied Edineti, start the massacre of the Jewish population. In two days, approx. 500 Jews were killed. Jewish women and girls were raped. Some of them committed suicide as a result.

July 6, 1941

In Noua Sulita, which had been occupied by Rumanian troops before the attack was launched, the authorities raided the area and set up their headquarters; upon their orders 60 Jews were selected from the camp set up in the distillery and immediately executed.

July 6, 1941

In Chernovitz, individual soldiers and patrols continued to kill Jews at random throughout the night.

The entry of the bulk of Rumanian troops into the town began at dawn Some units flooded the lower part of the city, the Jewish quarter. The massacre there spread everywhere. In Romana, Calugareni, Cuciurul Mare, and other streets, soldiers went from house to house, killing all the Jews, young and old, without exception.

[252] In less than twenty-four hours, more than 2,000 Jews were killed in the streets, yards, houses, cellars or attics, where the unfortunate were seeking refuge.

The corpses were transported in rubbish carts to the Jewish cemetery, and buried in four enormous common graves.

While the pogrom was in progress, Gendarme patrol units searched Jewish houses in the centre of the town, especially in Iancu Zotta, Dimitrie Petrino, Miron Costin, and other streets. Approx. 3,000 Jews - men, women and children - were collected and shut into the cellar of the Gendarmerie Station. The Gendarmes, under the leadership of Major Cicondel, were engaged all night in abusing and torturing them. Late at night, the women were barbarically searched - the search also involved their genitalia. All of them were subsequently released together with the children. Naturally, all their valuables were confiscated.

In the meantime, Jews were prohibited from going out into the street. Milk sellers and greengrocers were also forbidden to enter Jewish houses.

July 7, 1941

In Edineti, the Jews killed the day before were gathered and buried in three mass graves. Then, the grave diggers, who were all Jewish, were also executed.

The Jews were prohibited from going to the market, or having any contact with the Christian population.


July 7, 1941

Following in the footsteps of German troops occupying Targu Parlit (Balti county), a few soldiers of the 5th Rumanian Infantry Regiment also crept into the town. Their first act was to seek and loot Jewish homes. In the house of Chidale Felder (22 Main Street), they found 10 Jews in the cellar; the soldiers demanded money and valuables from them. After the looting had ended, the soldiers shot all ten on the spot; four died instantly, two sometime later. It seems that the remaining four also died. After the Rumanian soldiers, one of whom was later identified by two officers, had left, the local residents set out to loot the houses of the other Jews.

Note: The Command Centre of the 11th German Army informed the Rumanian High Command of the massacre and looting. An inquiry was launched, which was conducted by the Balti Gendarmerie Legion on August 7: it concluded that other Jews had also been killed, but by German soldiers. The inquiry, naturally, was carried out in such a way that no one was found guilty, and no one was punished.

July 7, 1941

In the village of Vlad (Balti county), peasants armed with sticks and scythes attacked the houses into which part of the Jewish population of the town of Balti had fled after June 26. The Jews were dragged out of the houses, all of them beaten, some killed, and the houses burnt to the ground.


July 8, 1941

The old Jewish settlements of Briceni and Licani were destroyed by the passing hoards. It could not be established and will never be known how many Jews were killed there on that day.

July 8, 1941

One of the units of the 14th Rumanian Infantry Regiment, consisting of 20 soldiers, and led by a corporal, which had fallen behind, came across a group of 50 Jews (42 adults and 6-8 children) between the villages of Taura Veche and Taura Noua, on its way to Falesti-Chiscareni (Balti county). After everything had been taken away from them (including clothes and shoes), they were forced into a swamp, where they had to lie face down; they were shot in this position. The children were beaten to death. Only two women survived, they were found by German soldiers, who took them to hospital.

Note: It is curious that the bestial bloodletting revolted even the German soldiers who were following Rumanian units. The Command Centre of the 11th German Army informed the Rumanian High Command of the massacre, pointing out that "the behaviour of certain representatives of the Rumanian army serves no other purpose than to destroy the credibility of the Rumanian army, and at the same time, that of the German army in the eyes of world opinion.

[254] The inquiry ordered by the High Command was held on August 9, 1941, by the Balti Gendarme Legion. However, no conclusions were reached.

July 8, 1941

Rumanian troops occupying Marculesti (Soroca county), collected the entire Jewish population - men, women and children - and took them to the edge of the village. In the early hours of the occupation, 18 Jews, including the rabbi, were declared hostages, and shot dead. Then, the massacre began, claiming approx. 1,000 Jewish lives. The corpses were buried in the anti-tank ditches at the edge of the village.

One day after the departure of Soviet troops, but still before the arrival of Rumanian troops, locals, supported by the residents of nearby villages, destroyed and looted the houses of Jews.

Similar massacres were also committed by the Rumanian army in Floresti, Gura Kamenitz and Gura Cainari.

Note: Markulesti was an old Jewish agricultural settlement. Before the war, it was inhabited by 2,300 Jews and 200 Rumanians, the latter forming the staff of the Parish Hall, the Revenue Office, the Gendarme Station, etc.


July 11, 1941

In Lipcani-Hotin, the Military Police took 12 Jewish hostages, and subsequently executed them.

Also taken hostage and executed were 40 Jews in Lincauti-Hotin. They were buried outside the village of Musanet.

In Ceplauti-Hotin all the Jews (approx. 160 people) were killed.

July 12, 1941

In Climauti-Soroca, 300 Jewish men, women and children were killed. The corpses were buried at the edge of the village.


July 17, 1941

The German and Rumanian troops marched into Kishinev. Along the two routes of their entry, through Sculeni from the north, and Hancesti from the south, they carried out a horrible bloodbath. The exact number of victims is not known, nor will it ever be established. However, on the basis of the number of survivors ghettoised a few days later, the number of Jews killed during the occupation of the city can be estimated at approx. 10,000.


July 25, 1941

A consignment of 25,000 Jews is transported across the Dniester to the Ukraine. Part of it arrives in Coslar, where the Jews have to wait in an open field in horrifyingly crowded conditions. No one is allowed to leave. A Jew and his three children are shot dead after moving a little to one side.

August 1, 1941

Upon the orders of the Gestapo, 450 Jews are selected from the ghetto in Kishinev, primarily intellectuals and pretty women. They are taken to Visterniceni next to the city, where 411 are shot dead. The surviving 39 are taken back to the ghetto in order to report the story.

August 2, 1941

Those Bessarabian Jews who were taken across the Dniester were wandering along the roads of the Ukraine in miserable conditions before being transported to Moghilau. By the time the arrived, 4,000 of the original 25,000 were missing. Some may have hidden in Ukrainian villages, but a great number perished as a result of starvation and misery, and an even larger number were shot dead.


August 4, 1941

The first consignment of the Jews driven out of Storojinet arrived in Atachi, where they were supposed to cross the Dniester in order to arrive in Moghilev. The consignment of 300 people is guarded by a corporal and two soldiers. The German authorities do not allow them to cross the Dniester; consequently, the consignment is lined up again to return to Chernovitz. After passing through a village called Volcinet, the column is stopped beside a signal box at 21.30 hrs and the people are taken off the carts together with their possessions. The Jews are divided into groups of ten, and the first group is shot into the Dniester. Following their execution, the corporal promises to allow the others to live if they hand over their money and jewellery to him. One hundred rings, and also necklaces, chains, earrings and 15,000 lei were collected and handed over to the corporal. Then, all the Jews were forced into the Dniester, and shot. A number of Jews, 60 according to some witnesses, 90 according to others, who were not hit by bullets, and could swim, survived.

Note: An inquiry was launched into this massacre and its circumstances, with the aim of finding those guilty. However, the Supreme Military Judge, General Topor, decided to shelve the case.


August 6, 1941

The Jews who had been transported across the Dniester were taken to Scazinet. The old, the sick and the completely exhausted - approx. 1,000 people - were selected. They were told that they would be taken to a resting camp. All of them were shot dead, and their corpses buried in an anti-tank ditch.

August 6, 1941

Gendarmes from the 23rd Gendarme Company executed 200 Jews, and threw their bodies into the Dnester.

Note: The Gendarme Supervisory Body laconically reported this case (Report No. 80, August 13). No mention was made of either the circumstances or the location of the mass massacre. At that time, the 23rd Gendarme Company was operating in Lapusna county (Kishinev).

The Supreme Military Judge, General Topor, recorded the following decision to the above report: "into the files".

August 7, 1941

Upon the orders of the Rumanian authorities, a road inspector selected 500 Jews from the ghetto in Kishinev in order to take them to the Ghidignici work site. He also took 25 women to cook for the men. After a week, 200 completely [260] exhausted people, who were physically incapable of work, returned. The remaining 325 had disappeared forever.

August 9, 1941

According to the minutes signed by SS Untersturmfuhrer Frohlich and Ion Gh. Vetu, Captain of the Gendarme Legion in Chilia, it can be proven that the former conveyed an order to the latter in the name of General Antonescu, stipulating that the Gendarme Captain was to execute all the Jews (451) in the Tataresti camp (Chilia county), which was under his command.

The captain reported that the order had been carried out.

Note: There are other documents - in addition to the above-mentioned minutes - which bear witness to this massacre. One of these, for example, is a report compiled by a committee investigating certain aspects of the bloodbaths in Bessarabia during the time of Antonescu. This report also mentions the 451 murdered Jews, while other documents refer to 115 victims. It is an indisputable fact, however, that a trial was launched against the perpetrator of these murders, Captain Ion Gh. Vetu; not because he had murdered a few hundred innocent people, but because this time he had robbed them; he stole a couple of watches, rings and some money.


September 1, 1941

In accordance with a directive issued by the Rumanian authorities, the Central Statistical Office conducted a census in Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina. The census showed a number of 126,434 Jews in these two provinces. According to data of the previous official census, 274,036 Jews had lived on this territory.

We can conclude that two months after the commencement of military actions, at the end of the first phase of the "holy war", following the occupation of the territories which had been handed over in 1940, approx. 150,000 Jews were missing. These were either killed or perished as a result of bestial persecution, starvation, thirst, their untreated diseases and wounds, and fatigue.

September 16, 1941

The deportation to Transnistria of the Jews collected in the camps of Northern Bucovina began. A month later, following the establishment of the new camps, the counting of those interned was carried out with extreme care In certain camps (Secureni and Edineti), two counts were taken: one by military organisations, the other by village authorities. When the marching columns were started, nobody bothered to count the number of survivors.

A great number of Jews died in the camps of Secureni, Edineti, Vertujeni and Marculesti, especially in the latter [262] two. They perished for many reasons, but all were a consequence of the horrifying conditions to which the victims had been subjected. By the end of the terrible walk, which for some lasted as long as two months, people's physical and psychological resistance had evaporated. There were some cases of suicide and premature birth at the very beginning. However, with the passing of time, the number of these grew daily. Soon the diseases caused by misery appeared: enteric fever, petechial typhus, scabies, dysentery, etc. Although there were many physicians among those interned, the epidemics continued to spread, and the death rate rose rapidly, since medication and the necessary medical accessories (soap, petroleum, water) were absent. Many of those who had not fallen victim to disease, died as a result of starvation and thirst. In certain places, food was totally absent, while in others there was plenty, but it was too expensive for the impoverished people. They reached the point when they gave a watch for a loaf of bread, a blanket for two loaves, and ten shirts for a bucket of water. At times camp commanders cut off the food supply lines by prohibiting peasants from entering the camp, or the Jews from leaving it.

The lack of water usually caused cruel suffering, and often death. In the camp in Edineti, there was only one well with water suitable for drinking, the water in the other well was contaminated. Most of the internees there drank rainwater, which they collected in two holes. A group of Jews left in the forest in Barnova for eight days in the middle of August had no supplies of any food whatsoever, because the peasants were prohibited from approaching them; they drank rainwater. At the beginning of September, 70-100 [261] Jews died daily in Edineti. Some died of thirst: Pavel Grun (Stanesti), Haim Cohn (Jadova), Itic Birkenfeld (Seletin), Malca Menases, etc.

In the camps - especially in Vertujeni and Marculesti - Jews often died as a result of exhausting work, but primarily, beatings and torture. Some were killed, shot dead, purely at the whim of the commanders of the camps.

November 15, 1941

The first phase of the deportations had ended. The camps in Bessarabia as well as the ghetto in Kishinev had been emptied. Not a single Jew remained in the towns and villages of Bucovina, with the exception of Chernovitz, where 20,000 Jews were allowed to stay. At the gates to Transnistria (Moghilev, Iampol, Rabnita, Tiraspol, Iasca), the deportees were counted. It turns out from the summary report of the Transnistrian Gendarme Supervisory Body that 118,847 Jews were taken across the Dniester. Among them were the 35,000 Jews who had been deported from the counties of Southern Bessarabia and Dorohoi. The official census of September 1 showed 126,434 Jews in Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina, including the 20,000 Jews who had not been deported from Chernovitz. If the appropriate calculations are made, it turns out that during the following two months after the census a further 22,000 Jews died in Bessarabia.

A number of them died, because the starvation, thirst, misery and the suffering in the camps continued.

[263] Others died of exhaustion on their way to the Dniester. In one of the marching columns heading towards the village of Corbu from Edineti, 860 people died during one single night near Atachi. Although it was only November 15, it was freezing, and the first snow fell in the middle of the night. The people were almost naked, some wore rags or pieces of paper, their physical resistance had weakened considerably, and consequently the freezing conditions were easily able to finish them off.

However, most of the Jews were killed by accompanying Gendarmes and "premilitaries" (members of a paramilitary youth organisation - the Editor). The roads leading from the camps towards the Dniester - primarily those from Vertujeni to Cosauti., from Marculesti to Rezina, and from Kishinev to Orhei - were literally lined with corpses. One of the instructions concerning deportation was that those lagging behind had to be shot. In addition to this, those escorting the columns killed many Jews out of whims, sadism or at the request of peasants standing by the roadside, who bought the living people for 1,500-2,000 lei, and then had them shot by the soldiers so that they could take off their clothes.

After November 15, 1941, not a single Jew was killed in Bessarabia: there were none left.



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