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Transnistria: Lists of Jews Receiving and Sending Support

Introduction by Zvi Bernhardt

· General Information About the Lists
· What is in the database
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database

General Information About the Lists

Transnistria is a region in the western Ukraine, between the Bug River in the east, the Dniester in the west, the Black Sea in the south, and a line beyond Mogilev in the north.  The designation "Transnistria" is an artificial geographic term, created in World War II; it refers to the part of the Ukraine conquered by German and Romanian forces in the summer of 1941, which Hitler handed to Romania as a reward for its participation in the war against the Soviet Union.

Before the war this area had a Jewish population of 300,000.  Tens of thousands of them were slaughtered by Einsatzgruppe D and by other German and Romanian forces.  When Transnistria was occupied it was used for the concentration of the Jews of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and northern Moldavia who were expelled from their homes on the direct order of the Romanian dictator, Ion Antonescu.  The deportations began on September 15, 1941, and continued, with some interruptions, until the fall of 1942.  Most of the Jews who survived the mass killings carried out in Bessarabia and Bukovina were deported to Transnistria by the end of 1941.  According to the records kept by the Romanian gendarmerie and army, 118,847 Jews were deported in that first phase.  The deportations were resumed in the summer of 1942, with 5,000 Jews, mostly from Chernovtsy, forced across the Dniester River.

Also deported to Transnistria, by the hundreds, were political prisoners - Jews and non-Jews - who were suspected Communist sympathizers, and Jews who had evaded the existing regulations on forced labor; some of these were expelled together with their families.  The total number of deportees was apparently 150,000.  On October 13, 1942, the Romanians called a halt to the deportations to Transnistria, as a result of a change in policy.

The Jews in Transnistria were deprived of their freedom of movement and were not permitted to choose their place of residence; they were confined to ghettos and camps and were all put on forced labor, "for the public good."  They were promised a daily wage, but in practice received no pay at all for their work.  The ghettos and camps were in the hands of the gendarmerie headquarters and the Romanian administrative authorities in Transnistria.

The Romanians had no plans for the resettlement of tens of thousands of deportees from Romania, concentrated for the most part in northern and central Transnistria, and their sole aim was to drive the Jews further east and north.  No provisions were made for the most basic necessities of life - lodging, food, medical care, and so forth.  Ukrainian Jews, in places where they had survived, received their Romanian brethren with warm hospitality and tried in every possible way to find housing for them.  In turn, Ukrainian Jews who had managed to escape from the areas where the German extermination drive was raging were given shelter by the Romanian Jews in the ghettos.

The winter of 1941-1942 was severe, with tens of thousands of deportees perishing from starvation, the cold, typhus, and dysentery.  The deported Romanian Jews organized on their own, and the communal leaders among them, who had been deported with the other members of their respective communities, tried to establish mutual aid in order to ensure their survival.  The situation improved as the winter of 1942-1943 drew near, when the first shipments of aid from the Jewish communities in the Regat (Romania in its pre-World War I borders) and in southern Transylvania reached the Jews in Transnistria.  On December 17, 1941, Wilhelm Filderman, president of the Uniunea Evreilor Romani (Union of Romanian Jews), obtained Antonescu's consent for aid to be sent to Transnistria; but the authorities placed all sorts of obstacles in the way, and only part of the aid reached the deportees.

The determined efforts made by the Jewish organizations, together with the second thoughts that the Romanian leaders were having about their policy, paved the way for representatives of the Autonomous Committee being permitted to visit the area.  The first such visit, by a delegation headed by Fred Saraga, took place in early January 1943.  Although the governor of Transnistria, Gheorghe Alexianu, barred the delegation from establishing direct contact with the Jewish leaders in the ghettos and camps, it was able to gain a clear picture of the situation of the deportees and their needs.  The delegation's report on its visit was translated into several languages and copies were forwarded to Jewish organizations in other countries, in order to enlist their support for the help needed by the Jews in Transnistria.

Toward the end of 1943, aid for the deported Jews in Transnistria was being sent there by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the rescue committee of the Jewish Agency in Turkey, the World Jewish Congress, and the Oeuvre de Secours Aux Enfants (OSE).

Finally, with the Soviet army closing in on Transnistria, permission was given for the Jews to come back, and in mid-December 1943 the first group of survivors -- 1,500 Jews from Dorohoi -- returned to their former homes in Romania.  In March 1944 a group of 1,841 orphans, out of 4,500 still alive at the time, came back.  On March 15, the Soviet army launched the liberation of Transnistria.  At this point a Jewish committee that had come to Transnistria from Bucharest succeeded in repatriating another group, consisting of 2,518 deportees.

Of the Jews who had been deported to -- a total of 145,000 to 150,000 -- some 90,000 perished there . Many of the remaining survivors were allowed to return to Romania in 1945 and 1946.

What is in the Database

This database includes lists of Jews from the Regat (Romania in its pre-World War I borders) who sent money to Jews in the ghettos of Transnistria, with details of the Jews receiving and those sending support.  There are 5 sublists in this file:

  1. "List of Jews from Balta District, Cicelnic District, Savrani District and Obojovca District" (Pages 2-6 of M39/84)
  2. "List of Jewish widows and orphans from Balta, Savrani and Obodovca" (Pages 7-8 of M39/84)
  3. "List of Jewish doctors from Balta, Bersad, Cicelnic, Savrani, Obodovca and Olgopol" (Pages 10-11 of M39/84)
  4. "List of changes according to 'model 1' of Jews in Mogilev" (Pages 13-44 of M39/84)
  5. "List of Jews who were formerly government clerks who live in the Mogilev area" (Pages 45-46 of M39/84)

Occupational terms in Romanian are translated at http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/RomanianOccs.htm.  Other Romanian terms have been translated in the database columns.  Not all the Romanian columns have been translated, as we were unable to get volunteers to do that work.  We hope to be able to translate that material in the future.

The following images were part of the photocopies prepared by Yad Vashem.

Trans1A-p1 - the first page for the whole group of files.
Trans1A-p2 - the 2nd page and seems to relate only to JG0001A - the first group of names.
Trans1B-p1 - the very top of the page for the start of the section known as JG0001B.
Trans1C-p1 - a letter found at the start of JG0001C.
Trans1D-p1 - a letter at the start of JG0001D.

Acknowledgements

The information contained in this database was indexed as part of the data sharing agreement between Yad Vashem and JewishGen, through its Research Division.  Thanks to the Hall of Names staff, the data were provided from the files of Yad Vashem (file M39/84), obtained from the National Archives in Odessa.  This information is accessible to you today thanks to the effort of the following JewishGen volunteers, who are responsible for the transcription of this file: Bruce Reisch (coordinator), Artur Hecht, and Paula Zeiselman.  Nolan Altman assisted with the final formatting of the data, with translating of some Romanian terms, and with adding items to the Romanian occupations InfoFile.

Zvi Bernhardt
January, 2004


Searching the Database

This database is searchable via both JewishGen's Holocaust Database and the JewishGen Romania Database.


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