During the interwar period, the Romanian society was marked by a permanent instigation of violence against Jews and their exclusion. Political organizations such as the National Christian Party or the Iron Guard have made hatred against Jews the essence of their ideology. Even within the democratic parties, there were personalities with anti-Semitic views.
The Goga-Cuza government (December 1937-February 1938) made anti-Semitism a state policy.
- The revision of Jewish citizenship (January 22, 1938) meant that 225,222 Jews lost their Romanian citizenship;
- Newspapers considered by the government to be Jewish-dominated were closed;
- The use of Yiddish in the administration of Bukovina and northern Moldova was banned;
- Jews were no longer allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.
In August 1940, the Decree-Law 2650 amended the legal status of Jews. They were excluded from the administration, banned to practice certain professions, removed from the enterprises' management committees, and dispossessed of their rural properties.
The cession of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina in the summer of 1940 launched a violent campaign accusing Jews of Judeo-Bolshevism, and their collaboration with the Soviets led to the loss of territories. Jews were thrown from trains, pogroms took place in Dorohoi and Galaţi in which the army and the civilian population attacked and killed hundreds of Jews.
The number of Romanian Jews and Jews in the territories under the Romanian administration killed during the Holocaust could not be established with absolute precision. The International Commission for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania concluded that during the Holocaust, in Romania and in the territories under its control, between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were killed or died.
MAIN STAGES OF THE HOLOCAUST IN ROMANIA
During the National Legionary State (September 1940 - January 1941), most legislative measures were taken to remove Jews from society. At the same time, the abuses of the legionaries terrorized the Jewish community.
- Jews were eliminated from the educational system, liberal professions, and services;
- The professional associations excluded their Jewish members: the Artists' Union, the Society of Romanian Writers, the Society of Composers. The Jews were removed from the theaters. The College of Physicians eliminated Jewish physicians, so these ones lost their right to treat Christian patients. It was forbidden for Jews to practice the profession of pharmacist;
- Jews were evacuated from rural localities;
- In December 1940, the Jews were expelled from the Army. In exchange for military service, they were forced to keep compulsory labor and pay considerable taxes;
- Romanization commissioners took over (most often abusively) properties and businesses owned by Jews.
- The Pogrom in Bucharest (January 21-23, 1941) was the climax of legionary violence against Jews. More than 125 Jews lost their lives, several thousand were brutalized and robbed. 25 temples and synagogues were devastated.
Between February and June 1941, legislative measures against Jews continued.
The Romanianization policy has been perfected. The National Center for Romanianization was established to take over and manage Jewish properties.
- The conversion of Jews to Christianity was forbidden;
- Civil servants could no longer marry Jews;
- Punishments for public order crimes were higher for Jews;
- Restrictions on food ration were introduced for Jews;
- Free movement between localities was restricted to Jews.
On June 21, Ion Antonescu ordered Jews to be concentrated in county residences. They were housed in synagogues or buildings of the Jewish community or with members of the local community.
Jewish men between the ages of 18 and 60 who were living between Siret and Prut rivers were to be imprisoned in Oltenia region camps. Those who were imprisioned were transported by freight wagons, the regime in the camp being severe.
- The Iași Pogrom (June 28 - July 6, 1941)
On June 22, the first day of the war, posters began to appear in Iasi, instigating the pogrom and accusing the Jews of collaborating with the Soviets. The Jews were charged with guiding Soviet pilots to bomb targets in the city.
On the morning of June 29, Jews from the neighborhoods are gathered at the Police Headquarters and massacred. Those who survive are taken to the station and boarded by trains. On the train that arrived in Călăraşi, there were about 5000 Jews on departure, of which approx. 1000 survived. The Iaşi-Podul Iloaiei train had about 1900 people, about 700 surviving.
More than 13,000 Jews lost their lives in Iași in the summer of 1941.
- Bessarabia And Bukovina, July-September 1941
Romanian and German troops who entered the localities of the two provinces executed thousands of Jews. In Bucovina, at Noua Suliţă, Ciudei, Storojineţ, Banila, Herţa, Vijniţa, Cernăuţi, as well as in Bessarabia at Hotin, Secureni, Edineţ, Zăbriceni, Climăuţi, Mărculeşti, Gura Căinari, Rîşcani, Teleneşti massacres took place immediately after the army `s entry in localities. The civilian population was encouraged by the military and gendarmerie to act against Jewish neighbors. The survivors of these pogroms were deported across the Dniester.
- Deportations To Transnistria, 1941-1942
By the end of July 1941, the Romanian Army gathered a convoy of about 25.000 Jews near Coslav village on the Dnister banks. The Germans opposed their advanced close to the troops. Thousands of Jews were shot on the Dnister banks at the end of July 1941.
Jews continued to be trapped in ghettos or transit camps. At the end of August, there were almost 80,000 people in such places: Secureni (10,365), Edinet (11,762), Vertiujeni (22,969), Marculesti (11,000), Chisinau (11,525), Rascani, Rautel, Limbenii Noi, etc. Starting with September 14, 1941, all of them were crossed over the Dniester through 5 points: Atachi-Moghilev, Cosăuţi-Iampol, Rezina-Râbniţa, Tighina-Tiraspol, and Olăneşti-Iasca. The Jews from South Bucovina (Suceava, Câmpulung, Vatra Dornei, Rădăuţi, Gura Humorului, Dorohoi) began to be deported on October 9, 1941. In December 1941, the operation was stopped and resumed the next summer. In October 1942, the Antonescu government decided to suspend mass deportations.
Although Antonescu promised to treat the Jews of Romania differently, in the autumn of 1941 and the summer of 1942, approximately 22,000 Jews were deported from Southern Bukovina (Dorohoi, Câmpulung, Suceava, and Rădăuţi counties).
In Transnistria, approximately 25,000 Roma (nomads and sedentary) had also been deported during 1942-1943. About 11,000 of them died from severe conditions.
The deportation to Transnistria was the Romanian version of the Final Solution. Jews and Roma died of starvation, cold, diseases, exhaustion or killed by Romanian and German authorities.