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Yassi Pogrom

My mother recently wrote to her cousin, David,  in Israel to ask what city in Romania her Grandmother was born.  My Great-Grandmother emigrated to the US in the late 1800's.  with her three sisters. Her brother, David's father, and his family remained in Romania.   David left Romania, with his wife,  in 1938 and settled in what was then Palistine.
He faught for the British during World War II.  My Great-Grandmother and her family came from Yassi.

The following is reprinted from http://www1.yadvashem.org/education/lessonplan/english/iasi/iasi.htm.

On Saturday evening, June 28, 1941, Romanian and German soldiers, members of the Romanian Special Intelligence Service, police, and masses of residents murdered and plundered the Jews of Iasi. Thousands were killed in their homes and in the streets; additional thousands were arrested by patrols of Romanian and German soldiers and taken to police headquarters. Lazar Rozin, who was only fourteen years old in June 1941, describes, “They entered our house, screaming and pillaging all of our belongings. They ordered us all out of the house, also my mother and my sisters. We walked to the police station and on the way we saw how people were beaten and bodies of dead Jews were strewn in the streets.” ** The next day, “Black Sunday,” Romanian soldiers shot thousands of Jews who had interned in the police headquarters yard.

Approximately 4,000 Jews, rounded up from all parts of town, were packed into freight cars and vans. The “death trains” were sealed and moved back and forth between railway stations. 2,650 of them died of suffocation or thirst, and others lost their sanity. Lazar Rozin states, “They piled us into the train…we did not know what was going to happen…we thought that they would not want to set the cars ablaze only because they did not want to destroy the locomotive itself… For five days we suffocated in that crowded train. Most of the people died in the car… we slept on dead bodies.” **

On August 30, 1941, the 980 Jews who survived the torture were brought back to Iasi. The war-crimes tribunal court in which Romanian war criminals were prosecuted in 1948 ascertained that more than 10,000 Jewish people had been murdered – including two of Lazar Rozin’s brothers.

My mother asked her cousin about the massacre, and for the first time that she could remember he wrote the following:

In the Yassi pogrom of 1914 (sic) all men were called to report at the police station. My father was late to arrive and was sent home when the station's court yard was filled with men upon his arrival. Later, the court yard's gates were closed and machine guns that were placed on top of the surrounding walls shut and killed the entire assembly. Jewish bodies were stacked upon load-carrying wagons - - originally designed to be carried by cattle for agricultural needs -- and I am certain you read the rest of the story in the book. Due to strong reactions to these events, Jews were left alone for the most part and father was never again bothered beyond the usual abstractions charged by anti-Jews regulations. My brothers were drafted to work camps and sent to different ones (focusing on building fortifications and road paving). My younger brother knew how to get along with his superiors and was assigned a managerial position, allowin (sic) him and the rest of my siblings to get through the war. The situation had escalated when the Russians bombarded our city but my family was lucky enough to hide in the basement while our house was destroyed. My brothers found a new place to live in and that was where I reunited with them in December 1945.
I hope I narrated all you asked to know, wishing you health,

Those who know me, know that I'm far from religious.  However, I am very proud, and I feel that it is very important that these stories are memorialized.  This is similar to a story many Jewish familys can tell.  Let's keep telling them.  The world should never forget what happened.  The world should never forget that generation.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
Have you read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem? She discusses the pogroms that took place across Europe (the Romanians were the most savage) and the Germans' disapproval of how they were conducted so unsystematically and emotionally.

Arendt's book, along with the documentary The Sorrow and the Pity completely changed how I think about evil.
Aug. 2nd, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
No I haven't, but I will get it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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