On the way to Transnistria, Gogu witnessed the mass shooting of about 300 or 500 Jews. The column with Roma passed the one with Jews, so the Roma had to wait while the Jews were killed in order to continue their journey. “The Romanian gendarmes who guarded our column ordered us to stop our roulettes and to get out and sit down to watch. I saw the Jews, women, children, men, the elderly among them, being shot by little groups at the edge of the big pit. There were about four or five Romanian shooters. After the shooting, the pit was covered by Moldaves wearing armbands. I knew that they were Jews because they were well dressed.”
As a result of this fourth investigation trip to Romania, our Yahad-In Unum team video recorded 26 witnesses, 20 of them Roma survivors, and identified 4 execution sites of Jews, all of which have memorials.
Regions of Galaţi, Iași, Vaslui, Vrancea and Brȃila
Investigated towns/villages: Gefu, Munteni, Toflea, Frumuşiţa, Murgeni, Brȃila, Lieşti, Iveşti, Marașesti, Odaia Manolache, Galaţi, Ciurea, Grajduri, Pădureni, Băcești, Iași, Șcheia, Hȃrlău,Tȃrgu Frumos, Podu Iloaiei
As a result of the policy of Antonescu’s regime, from the 1st June till the end of September 1942, about 25,000 Roma being considered as “unsocial” and “trouble-makers” were deported from Romania to so-called Transnistria, part of Soviet Ukraine, which was occupied by the Germans and Romanians armies in the summer of 1941 and remained under Romanian authority till 1944. As the number of deportees is approximate, some historians say that almost as many as half of them died in Transnistria or on the way back. Those who survived the deportation returned to Romania in the spring of 1944.
– What emerges from our research is that there were three types of camps: the Roma settled down in bunkers, holes dug in the ground, or in kolkhoz buildings, or in fields under the open sky. Once there, most of Roma’s belongings as well as the official register were taken away.
– The deportees received weekly or monthly food rations according to the lists drawn up at arrival.
– There were more victims within sedentary Roma then within nomadic because the latter were deported with all their belongings and valuable things, while the sedentary group could only take a few possessions with them.
– Ukrainian or Romanian guards requisitioned the Roma for different types of work including: farm work, cutting trees and others.
– Many Roma women were humiliated, raped, and even killed by Ukrainian and German guards.