JewishGen Home Page

Book of Memory: Moldovan Victims of Soviet Oppression 1941-1951
Cartea Memoriei (The Book of Memory)
Catalog of Victims of Communist Totalitarianism

Introduction
Reasons for Oppression
Definition of Phrases
Places of Detention and Deportation
Municipalities and Districts
Database Columns
Acknowledgements
Original Acknowledgements
Search the Database

INTRODUCTION

The information in this database is derived from the book “Cartea Memoriei (The Book of Memory) which details the Soviet oppression of the citizens of Moldova from 1937-1991.  Most of the oppression occurred during the years 1941-1951 and ended with their exoneration or rehabilitation in 1988-1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

According to the Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Moldova in 1991, the communist regime had sentenced to death about 5500 people, sent 34000 to jail and deported 25000 families to Siberia (and other places) primarily during the 1940’s.  The “Black Book of Communism” in 1997 recounts that the number of deported Moldovans totaled 94792 people.

At the beginning of 1953, for the whole Soviet Union, there were about 500 labor colonies, 60 large penitentiary complexes and labor camps and 15 special camps for particularly dangerous elements consisting of a total of 2,750,000 people.  The amnesty that began in 1953 after the end of the Stalinist regime consisted of half of those people or 1,200,000 people.  Amnesty did not benefit the main victims of the communist regime, those convicted of “counterrevolutionary crimes”.  Those that were released at this time were mainly the “merchants” and the “kulaks” (wealthy farmers).

The National History Museum of Moldova launched in 1991 the idea of elaborating a “Memory” leading to the establishment of this book.  The documentation used was that information existing primarily in the following archives:

  1. National Archives of the Republic of Moldova
  2. Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova
  3. Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Moldova
  4. General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Moldova
  5. Supreme Court of the Republic of Moldova

It was impossible to establish the exact number of those oppressed due to the disappearance of primary sources and limited access to archival materials.  However, this book does a credible job under the circumstances.

Two statements taken directly from the Introduction in the book best describe the author’s intent. “The Book of Memory is an expression of our belief that any sacrifice deserves to be honest and any sacrifice must occupy the place it deserves in the Holy Annals of the Nation”. “By honesting their sacrifice, we will find our peace, and we will find it, too, because many of them, not having tombs, they can only rest in the memory of mankind”.

REASONS FOR OPPRESSION

The Soviets used just about any reason you can imagine in order to deport or send a person to a labor camp.  The following are the main reasons used against the Jews.

  1. Merchant – just being a merchant or store owner, meaning you had some money, was reason enough. This was the largest class of reasons for the Jews. The word “merchant” occurred in 40% of the “reason” column in this database.
  2. Belonging to a Zionist organization
  3. Kulak – being a farmer who owned a significant amount of land or money. This applied more to non-Jews, but some Jews did fall into this category.
  4. Repressed, reason for repression or subject to repression – these were categories that were further explained in the “reason” column or if not further specified it consisted of people whose crime was generally unknown.
  5. Dangerous social element or hostile social element – this could have meant anything that the Soviets wished
  6. Belonging to counterrevolutionary organizations – this applied more to non-Jews but some Jews did fall into this category.
  7. Collaboration – any type of collaboration with the enemy. This applied more to non-Jews but some Jews did fall into this category.  In the case of the Jews it was more likely collaboration with the Romanians while for the non-Jews it was collaboration with enemies of the Soviet Union that were also the same people who killed or helped killers of the Jews.

DEFINITION OF PHRASES

There are a number of phrases that are used in the Reason for Expulsion and Results column that may lead to some confusion or misunderstanding.

  1. Forced labor – this term also translates as “hard labor” and to be honest the labor was forced and hard.
  2. Rehabilitated – there are two main definitions for this word in the dictionary and they are quite different. In this case the word takes on the second definition which is “restore (someone) to former privileges or reputation after a period of critical or official disfavor”.  Although many or most of these oppressed people died before the collapse of the Soviet Union, they were “rehabilitated” in 1988-1991, presumably to make the Soviets feel better about themselves for what had happened.
  3. Classified or Included in the List – the Soviets categorized people according to reasons for oppression. There were primarily two types of lists:  “merchants”, who were primarily but not exclusively Jews; and “kulaks” (farmers), who were primarily but not exclusively non-Jews.

PLACES OF DETENTION AND DEPORTATION

People who were deported or sent to detention camps were sent to a variety of regions.  The actual name of the camp or the town that it was located in was rarely specified.  There are over 30 different locations that Jews were sent to according to the records in this book.  About 60% of the Jews in the book had information about where they were sent.  Over 90% of the Jews (for those that listed where they were sent) were sent to the 8 regions listed below, with over 70% of them sent to the first 5 listed.  This does not mean that all Jews sent to a region ended up in the same camp or town since there were probably several in each region.  These regions are listed in order from highest to lowest (with the approximate number of Jews sent to each one).

  1. Tiumen – >460 – located  in western Siberia
  2. Irkutsk – >400 – located in southeast Siberia
  3. Kurgan – >380 – located in southern Russia and borders Kazakhstan
  4. Tomsk – >265 – located in southwest Siberia
  5. Kazakhstan – >200  – not a region, was one of the republics of the USSR
  6. Kemerovo – >125 – located in southwest Siberia
  7. Sverdlovsk (Ivdellag) – >110 – located in southern Russia and borders Tiumen and Kurgan regions.  Almost all Jews sent here were sent to Ivdellag that had the status of a district in the 1930-40’s.  Ivdel is actually the name of the town and Ivdellag actually translates to the Ivdel gulag (Ivdel forced labor camp).

MUNICIPALITIES AND DISTRICTS

This book contains information on all of the Districts (and Municipalities) in Moldova in the 1940’s.  In the table below the first column is the district (38), municipality (4), autonomous territorial unit (1) or a miscellaneous category (1).  The second column has the total number of oppressed people found in this book for each districts/municipalities.  The last column has the number of oppressed Jews found in this book for each of the districts/municipalities.

There are a total of 71636 names of oppressed people in this book of which 3847 are assumed to be Jewish.  The fact that there are so few oppressed Jews can be attributed to several possible factors.  First, the two main oppressions occurred in 1941 and 1949.  By 1949 there were very few Jews left in Moldova.  Second, the war interrupted the Soviets Stalinist dictates before they could finish deporting and sending to labor camps all of the merchants, wealthy farmers, etc.

MUNICIPALITY (m.)/DISTRICT (r.) #OPPRESSED #JEWS OPPRESSED
m. Chisinau 3193 537
m. Balti 1374 378
m. Bender/Tighina 663 258
m. Tiraspol 789 135
r. Anenii Noi 1104 19
r. Basarabeasca 419 11
r. Briceni 3465 109
r. Cahul 1609 84
r. Camenca 1368 65
r. Cantemir 932 18
r. Cainari 688 10
r. Calarasi 1630 120
r. Causeni 1163 27
r. Cimislia 1070 20
r. Criuleni 1571 23
r. Donduseni 2312 71
r. Drochia 1648 91
r. Dubasari 1611 93
r. Edinet 3087 48
r. Falesti 1805 116
r. Floresti 1498 114
r. Glodeni 1272 64
r. Grigoriopol 1202 31
r. Hancesti 2049 72
r. Ialoveni 1103 18
r. Leova 1222 142
r. Nisporeni 1570 52
r. Ocnita 1423 56
r. Orhei 2686 257
r. Rabnita 913 38
r. Rascani 2310 46
r. Rezina 1409 51
r. Sangerei 1405 32
r. Slobozia 1563 0
r. Soroca 2007 157
r. Straseni 1795 36
r. Soldanesti 1434 76
r. Stefan-Voda 1131 23
r. Taraclia 1731 18
r. Telenesti 1741 69
r. Ungheni 3109 186
r. Vulcanesti 954 1
uta. Gaguazia 2988 14
Misc. Annex 1620 61
TOTALS 71636 3847

DATABASE COLUMNS

  • Sequence# - For use by DB creator to find the original record
  • District/Municipality – District (r.) or Municipality (m.) in which the person lived
  • Town/Village – Town (or.) or Village (s.) in which the person lived
  • Community – Community in which the person lived
  • Volume - For use by the database creator to find the original record
  • Page# - For use by the database creator to find the original record
  • Id# - For use by the database creator to find the original record
  • Surname – Surname of the oppressed person
  • Given name – Given name of the oppressed person
  • Father – Initial of the first name of the father of the oppressed person
  • Relationship – Relationship of the person to the head of the household
  • Birth Year – Birth year of the oppressed person
  • Reason for Expulsion and Result – An explanation as to why the person was oppressed and what happened to them

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Project Lead & Data Population – Terry Lasky
  • Translators – Claudia Greif, Terry Lasky
  • Introduction translation – Peter Kramczynski
  • Final Review – Claudia Greif, Paula Lasky, Terry Lasky
  • Special thanks to Claudia Greif for all of her support and work.  She did everything and anything asked of her and I could not have completed this project without her help.

ORIGINAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Edited with the support of the Soros-Moldova Foundation.
  • Volume elaborated within the National History Museum of Moldova by: Elena Postica, Maria Praporscic, Vera Stavila
  • Coordination and scientific reading: Elena Postica, Doctor of History
  • They also collaborated on the documentary stage:
  • Ala Robu, Vera Belous, Daniel Bogdea, Ana Gritco, Leonid Ivachin, Ludmila Pasicovschi, Irina Rajov
  • Literary Editor:Inga Druta

National Museum of History of Moldova, 1999
Cover: Vitalie Pogolsa, 1999
ISBN 9975-67-109-8


Search the Database

The "Book of Memory: Moldovan Victims of Soviet Oppression 1941-1951" can be searched via either the JewishGen Romania Database or the JewishGen Holocaust.


Search the JewishGen Romania Database
JewishGen Databases JewishGen Home Page
Last Update: May 13, 2019 Avraham Groll
Edmond J. Safra Plaza | 36 Battery Place | New York, NY 10280
646.494.5972 | info@jewishgen.org | © 2019, JewishGen. All rights reserved.