Jewish Men in Batallion 120 - Balta

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The names in this list were put together when trying to substantiate Romanian forced laborers' claims. This list of laborers is a little different from the rest of the Romanian forced laborer lists because this battalion of men was not deported to Balta. The battalion worked throughout Transnistria under the same rules and regulations as other battalions working in Romania. Unlike the forced laborers from Transnistria, one of the benefits these men received was 15 days vacation after working for 6 months.



As part of an arrangement with the German government, Marshal Ion Antonescu's government was officially entrusted with governing and exploiting the region between the Nistru [Dniestr] and Bug Rivers, otherwise known as Transnistria. On August 19, 1941, Antonescu established the government of Transnistria, which was officially installed after the capture of Odessa on October 16, 1941. The Supreme Headquarters of the Army [Comandamentul de Capetenie al Armatei] underwrote the authority of the government of Transnistria.[1] On November 11, 1941, Gheorghe Alexianu, governor of Transnistria, with the authority vested in him by Marshal Antonescu, signed Ordinance 23 establishing Transnistria as a penal colony, divided into 13 districts. A prefect ruled over each district and enforced the Ordinance. A pretor administered each sub-district.[2] State policemen [gendarmes] enforced orders that required Jews to report for forced labor. [3]

The following example describes how the forced labor laws were applied in one particular ghetto in Transnistria, Shargorod:

"… In the spring of 1942 … the first labor contingents were requested for work in the vicinity [of Shargorod Ghetto]… the gendarmes went house to house to round up workers; they also picked up people in the streets, taking advantage of the occasion to beat and rob them….we were threatened with deportation to the Germans across the Bug, should we fail to organize the labor service. This was in fact carried wherever the service was not organized; most of these people were then shot by the Germans… " In Shargorod, three doctors were asked to organize this service and divide workers into three categories: "a) persons capable of all types of labor including the heaviest work out of town, b) persons capable of lighter work only, within the town and the sub-district, and c) persons incapable of work…"[4]

The Transnistria authorities ordered men and women between the ages of 18 and 60 to work. Sometimes, even 12 year-olds were drafted into forced labor under police supervision. Jews had to carry "at all times a certificate listing name, nationality, religion, age, profession, and place of origin." The forced labor "opportunities"-as the Romanian administration referred to them- included exterior slave labor, local factory labor, both local and exterior agricultural labor, the cutting and clearing of trees, and the removal of large, heavy stones. Women worked mostly in the ghettos. When a Jewish forced laborer left to work in another district on a particular project, the family would be sent along.

The rules governing the use of Jewish forced labor varied from district to district, especially as concerns the minimum and maximum age of eligibility. For instance, in Moghilev, a forced laborer had to be between 18 and 55 years of age. In Golta, the laborer could be as young as 16 and as old as 60.[5]

According to ordinance No. 23, all the Jews in one community formed a colony, which was administered by a colony chief (a Jew appointed by the district mayor). All district chiefs appointed leaders to groups of 20 Jews who were responsible for their attendance and well-being. Jewish chiefs and group leaders oversaw the enforcement of all orders and decrees in each ghetto and camp of Transnistria. The colony chief presented lists of all professionals, craftsmen and all other members of the colony capable of performing manual labor. The mayor used those lists to rationalize the labor force in the colony and the community. Craftsmen were required to perform any labor that suited their skills. Professionals were subordinated to the leadership of the community and were employed based on need. Unskilled laborers were under the tutelage of the city hall administration and performed any labor required for the colony as well as forced labor. They toiled in agriculture, undertook road or bridge repairs, served as lumberjacks, carried heavy stones and other materials.

The ordinance also allowed "tradesmen and professionals" to earn 2 RKKS Marks or 60 cents a day, unskilled workers 1 RKKS Marks a day for "repairing roads, removing rubble, and clearing forests. "[6]

Ordinance 2927 of December 7, 1942, supplemented Ordinance 23. It called for the efficient exploitation of Jewish forced labor in Transnistria, a move opposed by the Romanian Third Army. [7]  Although the Romanian military exploited Jewish forced laborers sometimes in direct competition with the Romanian government, it also viewed as a security risk the use of Jewish forced laborers outside the ghettos.  For that reason, the commander of the Third Army Corps opposed the employment of ghetto Jews in Transnistria.

This contradictory approach to the new ordinances governing forced labor allowed the leaders of the Romanian Third Army to use these orders as legal means by which to prevent Jews from "leaving the ghettos and detention camps" throughout Transnistria. To that end, the commander of Third Army Corps drafted and circulated a memorandum on August 27, 1943, entitled Memorandum No. 22817, which ordered strict monitoring of Jews working outside their ghettos for the Romanian government. [8]


  1. Jean Ancel, Transnistria, 1941-1942, The Romanian Mass Murder Campaigns, Vol. 1, History and Document Summaries, The Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University, 2003, pp. 20-21.

  2. Ibid., p. 21.

  3. "Gendarmes and soldiers caught people in the streets or pulled them out of houses, and ordered them into labour units. Later, Jewish offices were set up everywhere for the purpose of organizing work…" August 1, 1942 entry, Matatias Carp, The Black Book [Cartea Negra], p. 317.

  4. Meir Teich, The Jewish self-administration in Ghetto Shargorod (Transnistria)] in Yad Vashem Studies on the European Jewish Catastrophe and Resistance, vol. II, 1958, edited by Shaul Esh, pp, 237-8., Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1958.

  5. RG 31.006M Microfiche 2178/1/367. July 23, 1943, Ordinance [Ordonanta] 58 from the Government of Transnistria.

  6. Jagendorf, page 15; Ordonanta Nr. 23, signed by Governor [Guvernator] Prof. G. Alexianu, RG 31.006M Reel 18, USHMM

  7. Ancel,. op. cit., p. 35.

  8. Ibid.


This database includes 507 Jewish men from Romania who worked in Battalion 120 - Balta. This was probably the only Romanian battalion that worked in Transnistria. They worked throughout Transnistia, including Balta. The men on this list were not from Transnistrian ghettoes and camps.

The names come from 8 separate lists. All of them fall under two categories:

  1. List of Jewish workers in the Battalion 120 - Balta.
  2. List of Jewish deserters from Battalion 120 - Balta.

The fields of the database are as follows:


The information contained in this database was indexed from the files of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The sources for this information are as follows:
USHMM # Description
(R301, 312, 350 & 351)
Selected Records from Romanian Ministry of Defense
Selected Records from Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party
Selected Records from National Archives of Moldova

This information is accessible to you today thanks to the efforts of Oleg Sirbu, from the USHMM, who created the database, and Nolan Altman, a JewishGen volunteer.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible. Special thanks to Susan King, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy. Particular thanks to the Research Division headed by Joyce Field and to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.

Nolan Altman and Oleg Sirbu
May 2004

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Last Update: 15 Sep 2005 by WSB.