The Origins and Onset of the Romanian Holocaust
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Wayne State University Press
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The Romanian Holocaust began in late June 1941. On the twenty-seventh of that month officers and soldiers of the Romanian 6th Cavalry Regiment executed 311 Jews (men, women, and children) at a place called Stânca Rosnovanu in northeastern Romania. Next evening, June 28, in the nearby city of Iaşi, the government’s intelligence service, ...
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This is a brief study of the origins of the Romanian Holocaust and the first mass killings of Jews by Romanian authorities. It addresses two questions. First, why did the Antonescu government set out to exterminate Jews, those who lived in Romania and those in areas annexed by Romania during the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II? ...
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Elie Wiesel spoke at the National Theater in Iaşi in late June 1991, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the pogrom and death trains. As he began, a woman sitting in the front row shouted out that he lied. Wiesel paused for a moment while she was escorted out of the building and then calmly went on speaking. ...
2. Unification and the Jewish Question
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The creation of Romania was advanced in 1859 when parliaments in the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia each elected Alexandru I. Cuza its prince. Independence came with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1877 and recognition of statehood by European powers was conferred in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. ...
3. Romanian Jews
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Jews have lived in the region now called Romania for centuries. Some were there before and others came during and following the Roman conquest of the early second century: from the Jewish Khazar state centered on the lower Volga from the eighth to the late tenth centuries and after being expelled from Hungary in 1367 and Spain in 1492. ...
4. Fascism and Antisemitism in the 1930s
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Between the world wars public institutions to which Romanian Jews had appealed for relief from persecution or support in their struggle for political rights declined or disappeared, or, like the government, church, law courts, and press had become united against them. Beneficial influences from the west, which had brought some advantages to Romanian Jews in the past, ...
5. The Rumble of Violence
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For Romanian Jews the turn of the century was a time of deepening economic hardships and unsettling news from abroad. In nearby Russia the nineteenth century went out and twentieth came in on waves of violence that swept across the Pale of Settlement leaving many Jews murdered and much property destroyed: ...
6. War and the Mass Execution at Stânca Rosnovanu
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Max Gaer, a trade-school graduate and active Zionist, born in Iaşi in 1911, recalled the spring of 1941 as a time of growing tensions in the Jewish community. Engineer Moşe Herşcovici recalled that in the months before the war “we were soon afraid to go out on the streets, especially after the retreat of troops from Bessarabia, ...
7. Duminica ceea (That Sunday)
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Saturday, June 28, signs of trouble in Iași: Aron Stievel, part owner of a textile factory with an office on Stradă Stefancel Mare, described the Sabbath morning as “heavy with silence.” Ordinarily he would have gone to the factory in order to pay workers but decided to have two of his Christian employees take and distribute the money. ...
8. Trenurile mortuare (The Death Trains)
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Arrangements to carry out General Antonescu’s late Saturday night order that all Jews be deported from Iaşi began to be carried out Sunday afternoon when killing in the chestură courtyard was most intense.1 Around 2:00 p.m. Prefect (district commander of gendarmes) Colonel Captaru was informed, “on behalf of Gen. Stavrescu,” ..
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The burial of Jews murdered in the Iaşi pogrom began Sunday morning June 29. Vlad Marievici, the city’s sanitation chief, on his way to work that morning counted nine cadavers lying in the streets. Because of the continuing violence he decided to keep his workers idle for the time being. ...
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In 1990 I asked Dr. Caufman, at the time president of the Jewish community in Iaşi, to help me set up interviews with survivors of the pogrom. He graciously accepted but warned me that each survivor would give a different account of what happened. True enough. ...
11. The German Connection
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In 1939–40 Romania became a main trading partner of Germany, joined the German-Italian-Japan pact (November 1940), and began inviting German military missions into the country to build up its defenses against the Soviet Union.1 On their side German leaders, though they did not anticipate much in the way of military support from Romania ...
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Adrian Radu-Cernea (Zwieback) was one of only five Jews admitted to the University of Iaşi for the 1939 fall term, and he was one of the few Jews who not only escaped from the chestură courtyard when the shooting began but was not recaptured and returned to the ongoing massacre. ...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013