by Goldiak Wolf
Translated by Susanne Kaplowitz
Edited by Yocheved Klausner
The extermination of the Jewish community of Beltz, Bessarabia in 1941 began on June 22nd with the bombardment of the Jewish part of the town with terrible fires there at the time. The whole Jewish population left the town and ran to the four corners of the world, in the villages around town. Many families, who had the opportunity left with the evacuation of the Soviet army.
I, with my wife and child, reached Makulesht (Maculesti). Here we found Mechl Glazer and many others from Beltz. From Makulesht we arrived to Dombrova, here Nota Barenboim was murdered. The region was flooded with refugees, you couldn't reach the Dniester, so in July, 1941 we were forced to return through Makulesht to Beltz.
The situation was very difficult: there was hunger, thirst and physical and psychological exhaustion. On the way, the Moldovans robbed and even murdered the Jews. This necessitated in some cases to hide even in the fields. In Makulesht there were many dead bodies in the streets. Here in Makulesht Eisik Rubel's wife died. We settled in a room where there were other Jews: Israel Lichtman's clerk, the pharmacist Kratshiak, the bookkeeper Green with his wife (from the Jewish little bank) and others.
On the second day in the morning the Romanian soldiers came and chased out everybody, among them my father. I and my wife and child remained in a corner, where they didn't notice us. During this time gunfire was heard in the town. The bookkeeper Green with his wife returned to the room to hide. Again they were chased out. I and my wife and child were hiding in the cellar. They found us there and I was even beaten. Luckily, a corporal recognized me and gave an order not to bother me.
A large group of Jewish refugees were chased to the railroad. They were searched
and robbed and then chased to GuraKainor (GuraCainarului), where many of them were murdered. Those who remained alive in GuraKainor were chased to Beltz. On the way, in Alexendreni, the poor refugees were given some bread and some had an onion or a potato to revive their exhausted soul.
In Beltz they were halted by the militia near the State Bank. From there they were again chased to the camp at Revtzel (Rautel) which was under the open sky surrounded with wire and guarded by the soldiers. Here the regime was established: to be locked in, die from hunger, thirst and illness. Here we found Leibl Bernstein, Walter B, Tovia Muchnik and others. From Revtzel, the men were chased to work in Beltz, the workers were held in the courtyard of the Bank of Moldova.
I was appointed to work for the Germans in the Prefecture. In the night they took out and murdered near the cloister, Leibush Golovate, Toivia Muchnik, the lawyer Mateiescu and others. A few days later they again chased the refugees back to the camp at Revtzel, among them the limping rabbi, Walter and others. Here died the family of Joseph Riveles.
Goldiak Wolf and another two vocational workers worked two days in typography by Leibl Frumerman in his house. These days died Yerachmiel Galanter, the tinsmith; Goldiak and a few others gave him a Jewish burial.
The refugees from Camp Revtzel were chased to Camp Makulesht. Here we found Leib Staroroste with his family and also my wife and child. On the day of Yom Kippur they murdered the Rabbi and others. That night they chased out about 1,500 refugees from their houses, led them out into the fields and shot them. Only one, Margulies, escaped and remained alive. Among the perished were the Family Katcher with three girls, Itzik Rubinstein, Reuven Rubinstein with their families and others.
Two days later they again chased out the refugees from their homes in the direction of Rovnice to work. Some of the refugees died on the way. In 23 days they again gathered the three parts of the refugees from Makulesht. They distributed bread among them and chased them to Transnistria. During the wandering, the wife of Ezra Segal died. She was buried in Ashishkan.
We reached the Sovkhoz, near Abudovka, Bershodsky region. In that region we found Khalvis Genie with his wife and many people from Kishinovsky Street, the wife of the lawyer Lipschitz, Mordechai Pud, Yoshe Tzirulnik, Shimon Galanter and others.
They welcomed us and led us into the stable, in the place of the animals where we suffered very much from the cold of the winter. To this hell also came unfortunate sufferers from Georgiu, Romania, among them Buri Feldman with his family, Lyuba with her sister. Many of the inhabitants of this stable died there. From the Sovkhoz we were chased to Trastanak. There we were not accepted so we were forced to return on foot. Accidentally, there was a Moshe Yalle, who befriended the captain who for money allowed us to settle in the town of Abudovka. We also received support from Romania, everyone in his name. The life in Transnistria was counted as a life of hell from pain and trouble. Many refugees suffered from various illnesses.
From this suffering life Mrs. Bolbotchian died.
On the first of April, 1944, the Russian soldiers arrived. The Germans and Romanians ran away, they retreated because the Russian Army defeated the Germans.
The 10th of April, 1944, Chol Hamoed Pesach (Intermediate Days of Passover) we started out on the way on foot in order to return to Beltz. Through Soroka we reached Beltz. We found the Jewish town completely in ruins without the people of Beltz. From the Jewish part of town only burned and ruined houses remained.
The Moldovans, following the example of the Nazis, took revenge on the Jews of Beltz and murdered them wherever they found them. They took revenge on the burnt houses of Jewish Beltz, taking the building materials and leaving in place only ash and dust.
With these recollections we immortalize the memory of the honored town of Beltz and the memory of the martyrs of Beltz who perished in the time of the destruction 19411944. Let their memory be a blessing.
by Chana Lukatscher Warshavskaya, Beer Sheva
Translated by Susanne Kaplowitz
Edited by Yocheved Klausner
The name Duvino reminds me of many happenings. Duvino is a village in the Transnietzky region, Vinitzky area, Ukraine. The name Duvino derives from the tree Dub that grows in the woods surrounding the little village. Duvino is 1.5 kilometers distant from Avadovka.
In the time of the war (WWII) in 1941 the Nazis gave an order to concentrate all the Jews of Romania in Trasnistria when the Red Army retreated from the region of the governmental border. On the 67th of July, the Nazis reached Beltz (Balti). Then there was a terrible conflagration, the Jewish part of town burned after the Nazi bombardment of the town.
Not all Jews of Beltz were successful in the evacuation or they didn't want to go. Among them also Lukatscher, Gershon, Polikowitz with his wife. After that, on the order of Antonescu, Prime Minister of Greater Romania, all the Jews were gathered and chased in the direction of the Dniester. Many Jews: children, the sick and the old who couldn't walk perished on the way from weakness, thirst and hunger. Some were shot by the soldiers. The wounded and dead bodies were spread out all along the way. Some lucky ones received a wagon that enabled them to reach Duvino alive.
In Duvino the chased out Jews were housed in a half destroyed building where before only animals were stabled. Into this building, with broken doors, without a window 400 people were chased. In time only 40 people remained. Daily, people died like flies from sickness, hunger and cold. The Romanian soldiers didn't allow anyone to leave to search for food and didn't let the surrounding people in. The Nazis ruled in Avadovka. If someone was lucky enough to sneak out and reach Avadovka and find some work there, he was shot on the spot.
Some peasants had some compassion and took in some Jews to work in the fields. For this they paid with a piece of bread, 23 potatoes and a little bit of soup. Whoever didn't work, hungered. Sneaking out of the prison was only successful when the soldiers slept. If they caught an escapee he was shot on the spot. Here in this building died Gershon Lukatscher and Victor Grossman probably from typhus which was rampant. Almost everyone was sick and there were no medicines. If a pill was found by someone they were buried near the building.
I and my mother worked by the peasants and we succeeded to pass as peasants so we could eat something.
Sema Guttman sneaked out to Avadovka where he was caught and sent to hard labor, there he caught a cold and died. That is how the Weitzmans also perished.
Once a leader of the Romanians came. In his speech he warned that no Jew will go away from here, they will all perish.
One night the camp was assaulted by the partisans, dressed as fascists. The Romanian soldiers ran away. Some from the camp left with the Partisans. I, myself, was lying sick with high temperature without any means of healing. I was lucky that the peasant woman took pity on me and brought me some food and something warm to revive me. I stayed alive only through a miracle from Heaven. The Nazis used to take people to work and they never returned.
In 1943 the Nazis retreated and left the Camp. Among the 40 people who remained alive in the Camp, was Kalichman who lives now in Beer Sheva.
This article is dedicated to Leventhal, whom the Nazis made a leader of the tortured and perished in Transnistria.
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