Yahad-In Unum’s first research trip to Moldova took place in 2012. The former Bessarabia experienced a wave of violent and rapid massacres against the Jews in the summer of 1941. From the first days of Operation Barbarossa, Romanian troops, allied with the Reich exterminated the Jews of Moldovan villages by shooting, beating, and drowning them. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered in Bessarabia during the month of July 1941.
Jews who remained alive were gathered and packed into transit camps. Then, they were deported to Transnistria (now Southern Ukraine) without water or food. During the interminable marches, Jews died of exhaustion on the road or were shot by Romanian gendarmes on Moldovan territory or beyond the Dneister River in Transnistria.
The survivors of these long marches were herded into labor camps or ghettos in Transnistria where many of them died.
Yahad-In Unum has interviewed 237 witnesses in the country and identified 81 mass graves.