Romania

Question:

In June 29 ,1941 the romanian and german troups committed a pogrom against the jews at Jassy, Romania. Do you have any documentation regarding this event ? Thank you, Eugene Barad

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

Thank you for your recent request for information.

I am one of the persons at the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our readers. It is possible that you will receive other responses from my colleagues.

The best sources in English for the sad events that took place in Romania are the several books on the Holocaust in Romania written or edited by Randolph L. Braham, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, The City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he serves as Director of the Rosenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.

I will quote some heavily edited text from one of his books:

The Tragedy of Romanian Jewry
Randolph L. Braham (Editor)
c. 1994, Columbia University Press
ISBN 0-88033-301-4

pp. 131

"At the outbreak of the war, Jassy had a population of slightly over 100,000 inhabitants, approximately 50,000 of whom were Jews. The city was very close to the frontier with the Soviet Union, and even before launching the anti-Soviet war on June 22, 1941, a number of secret anti-Semitic measures had been initiated in Romania. Between June 20 and 26 the Jews of Jassy were forced to dig two large mass graves in the Pacurari Jewish cemetery. [FN-37]. About the same time, the Soviet air force bombed Jassy twice, the seco0nd time inflicting serious damage. The rumor spread that Soviet paratroopers were active throughout the city and that these paratroopers were being given shelter by the Jews.

[...]

"On the morning of 29 June, 1941, Jews were formed into columns and marched from Tatarasi, Pacurari, Sararie, and Nicolina Streets to police headquarters. Most of the prisoners were men but among them were also some women with children. Some were dressed, others were in their night clothes many had been beaten and had bruises and open wounds. [...] Civilian onlookers as well as soldiers and gendarmes, Romanian and German spat at them and hit them with stones, broken bottles, clubs, crowbars and rifle butts. [...] Civilians joined the police and the military in dragging Jews out of their homes.

[...]

"All told, thousands of Jews were herded into the courtyard of the Jassy police headquarters. [...] In another report, addressed to the Minister of the Interior, Lieutenant-Colonel Chirlovici, reported 1,000 Jewish prisoners at 9:00 a.m. and 5,000 by nightfall. He stated that at noon there were 3,500 Jews in the courtyard. [FN 54]

[...]

"At about 1:30 PM German soldiers and Romanian gendarmes and soldiers surrounded police headquarters and an area close by , ... [...] At about 2:00 p.m., the German and Romanian soldiers began to fire directly into the crowds; they were joined by some civilians ... [...] They used machine-guns, automatic weapons, or rifles. Crazed with terror some Jews tore down the fence of the courtyard and tried to take refuge near the Sidoli cinema ... They too were mowed down without mercy.

[Note: several long paragraphs realistically describing the slaughter of innocents are not included, even in abbreviated form, due to their graphic nature - HWM]

[...]

"The massacre continued intermittently until 6:00 p.m. [...] It is difficult to establish the number of victims of the massacre at police headquarters. [...] Four trucks and 24 carts transported the corpses; it took two whole days to move them.

[...]

"Approximately 2,500 Jews survived the massacre in the police headquarters courtyard. At about 8:00 p.m. the process of getting them to the railroad station began. [...] Two thousand five hundred Jews were herded were herded into freight cars. [...] The train left Jassy on June 30, 1941 between 3:30 and 4:15 a.m. At about 4:00 a.m. the same morning, a second group of approximately 1,900 Jews to be evacuated were rounded up at police headquarters.

[...]

"Two death trains left Jassy between 3:30 and 4:15 a.m. on Monday, June 30, 1941. The first one ... consisted of from 33 to 38 sealed freight cars and contained between 2,430 and 2,530 Jews.

[...]

"When the train was emptied there were 1,076 survivors.

[...]

"The history of the second car is ... equally horrifying. On June 30, 1941 at about 6:00 A.M., 1,902 Jews were loaded onto a second train comprising 18 cars.

[...]

"Of the 1,902 Jews put on the train, 1,194 died and were buried in the Podul Iloaei cemetary.

[...]

"The total number of victims of the Jassy pogrom cannot be established with certainty. While the number of victims on the trains is known and relatively accurate, it is not known how many Jews in Jassy were buried in communal graves, how many such graves there were, and how many corpses weresimply thrown onto garbage heaps or into the Bahlui River. German diplomats estimated at least 4,000 victims... [...] The most reliable source seems to be documents from the archives of the Romanian Ministry of the Interior which ... place the number at over 8,000."

If you have an academic interest in this subject I suggest that you ask your local library to obtain the books by Brabham. Other equally useful books are unfortunately in Romanian, which I can read but only with some effort.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE

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