“Vertujeni”
Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Romania, Volume 2
(Vertiujeni, Moldova)

48°00' / 28°32'

Translation of “Vertujeni” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Romania

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1980


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to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania, Volume II,
page 351, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1980


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[Page 351]

Vertujeni

Translated by Ala Gamulka

In Romanian it is called Vertujeni and in Russian - Vertiujeni. It was a village in Soroka province on the Dniester about
10 km from the capital and 25 km from the Markolesht train station. This was an Jewish agricultural settlement.

Jewish Population

Year Numbers % of Jews in
the population
1859 697  
1897 1,047 99
1930 1,843 91

 

Up to the End of World War I

The settlement was founded in 1838 on purchased land. It covered 390 Disiatin (1 Disiatin = 11 Dunam). Each of the 47 families had, on average, 8.5 Disiatin. There were 27 families without any land. Later, an additional 104 families settled in Vertujeni. They, too, did not own any land, but they earned their living by commerce and craftsmanship. They comprised 58.4% of the population. Vertujeni was well-known among the Jewish settlements for the large number of families that came there from nearby villages, but did not do any farming. There were many hamlets nearby with a large Jewish population and they eventually came to Vertujeni. Land was not distributed evenly – two families owned more than 32 Disiatin each. Nine families had lots of 8-16 Disiatin and 16 families owned 4-8 Disiatin. Four families had less than 1 Disiatin. Land had to be leased from nearby villages in order to solve the issue of lack of farming lots. At the end of the 19th century the Jews of Vertujeni were leasing 632 Disiatin.

Most of the land was used to grow wheat and some corn. Vineyards and fruit orchards occupied the remainder. As in other settlements, in Vertujeni, too, horses and not oxen were used as the work animals. For every 8.9 Disiatin there was 1 horse. However, 46.8% of the total (22 families) did not have any horses. Tools were plentiful. The settlement did not have any sheep herds and the number of cows was small -145.

The farmers of Vertujeni planned the vineyards according to the urban scheme. For 10 years after the 1898 census dozens of vineyards were being added.

There were 3 synagogues and one mikve. The latter was also used as a bathhouse. In 1899 Rabbi Avraham Yosef Frizman was appointed the village rabbi. Early in the 20th century a school was opened by the Jewish Colonization Association and in 1909 a second Jewish school was established. Several charitable organizations existed. They were “Help for the Poor”, “Help for the Sick” and a Savings and Loan Fund.

 

Between the Two Wars

During the pogroms in Russia and the Civil War in 1917 Vertujeni became a transit point for the refugees from Ukraine escaping to Romania. The gendarmerie officer Morescu was responsible for the murder of hundreds of Jews. He sent his agents to Ukraine to encourage wealthy refugees to cross the border into Romania. After they came over the Dniester they were robbed of their money and then murdered. The bodies were thrown into the river. In 1922 Morescu was brought to trial and he was severely punished.

Anti-Semitism activity did not miss Vertujeni. Koza’s people attacked a Jewish home in May 1930. The owner was badly beaten.

In July 1933 six bodies of young Jews were discovered near Vertujeni. Among them were two young women. The authorities blamed the Nazis who were active in the Soroka district.

 

Holocaust

We do not have specific information about the fate of the Jews of Vertujeni. In 1941, after the war broke out, Jewish residents abandoned the settlement and fled to the Russian side of the Dniester. Their houses were broken into and robbed by the local peasants. An “inventory” of the properties of the Jews who “escaped” to the Soviet Union was done. It was an excuse to hide the murder of the local Jews. In Vertujeni, 325 homes, 600 hectares of vineyards, 352 hectares of arable land and one oil press were taken. The “inventory” taker forgot to deduct the cost of the tin roofs of the houses. The tin had been removed by Romanian officers. They made out of it boxes to be filled with oil which they sent to their families.

After the first wave of murders in Soroka and other provinces, the Jews who remained alive were brought to Camp Vertujeni. It had been erected by the Romanian military authorities. Many people were murdered there and others were expelled to Transnistria where they were killed.

Z.A.G


Bibliography

Yad Vashem Archives PKR/III

 


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