Memories of the Holocaust: Kishinev (Chisinau)
The Operation of the Chisinau Ghetto and of the Camps
A. The guarding of the Ghetto and its organization.
The Ghetto depended on the Military Command of the city of Chisinau, which was led in succession by: Colonel D. Tudosie, from July 18 to September 1, 1941; General Panaitiu, from 1 to 7 September; and Colonel Eugen Dumitrescu from September 7 to November 15, 1941.
The guarding of the Ghetto was done by different units, which constantly changed because of movements governed by operational necessities The following units contributed to guarding:
Because of this fact, through some houses and courtyards which led to these borderline streets, it was possible to enter and leave at will and to transport illegally any objects .
The lack of resources, when compared with the appreciable length of 4 km. of the circumference to be guarded, was one of the main reasons for the situation described above. The resources for guarding varied between 80-250 persons, the larger number having been reached only on October 27, 1941.
In addition to the problems mentioned above, there were other limitations, resulting from the location of the Ghetto as follows:
B. The living conditions in the Ghetto.
These were not determined by a precise and judicial regulation. Everyone, rich and poor, lived on their own account. For this purpose, the entry into the Ghetto of peasant carts were allowed, bringing various food products. Colonel Tudose established their own bakery, hospital and pharmacy.
The social composition of the Ghetto was approximately as follows:
As far as material conditions were concerned, the majority were poor, among which approximately 3,000 were completely without means of support being helped, even before their introduction into the Ghetto, by the Jewish Community. Better off, with own means of support, were some 2,000 Jews with only 200 among them which that could be considered wealthy.
In view of this situation, except the 3,000 supported by the Community, the majority obtained money for living by selling different objects in their possession.
Until the beginning of the deportations, when there was a categorical order stopping the trade in the Ghetto, these transactions were neither encouraged nor expressly forbidden. The lack of any indications from the Military Commander, helped the trade and embezzlement operations of valuables to the detriment of the State.
C. Other institutions existing in the Ghetto.
By natural means, it was not too high. In Chisinau, 441 Jews died of which 20 committed suicide before the deportations. A bigger percentage was in the camp of Vertujeni, namely about 1,800 Jews of which a majority was from among the 13,000 Jews brought into Bessarabia by the Germans and who were in a special state of physical misery. Lt.Col. Pallade, from whose deposition these facts are taken, told us about an incident suggestive of the way that the Germans understood treating them. Namely, when transferring the Jews to us and seeing that the Romanian authorities were distributing bread and tea, they protested saying: "Why are you giving them bread and tea? We shoot them".
E. The behavior of the guarding authorities in the Ghetto.
In general, the treatment of the Jews in the Ghetto as a result of the behavior of the soldiers, officers and the organs of the military leadership, was humane and civilized. This was confirmed by many testimonies. (Guttman Landau, Dumitru Sili, Solomon Sur, Ilie Bodoi, Nina Zoltur, Cpt. rez. Balinski, and others)
F. Entries and exits from the Ghetto until the beginning of the deportations.
During the leadership of Colonel Tudose, other than the freedom given to some Jews, who returned to their former residences to recover some of the things left behind, the system of entries and exits from the Ghetto was operated in good order.
The authorizations were given without the Military Command.
At the beginning, when the appetite for robberies had been unleashed and rapes of Jewish women by soldiers became more frequent, particularly by the German army, Colonel Tudose took drastic measures of preventing them by stopping the entry into the Ghetto of soldiers independent of their army. The same applied to vehicles and to any person who did not have any connection with the Ghetto.
He established powerful patrols for the prevention of entrance into the Ghetto indicating that, in case of opposition, firearms should be used.
The issued authorizations were only for Christians living in the Ghetto, for peasants bringing in provisions and for the institutions based there.
The same regime was continued also under the leadership, of a few days, of General Panaitiu, after which, with the arrival of the command of Colonel Eugen Dumitrescu, tolerance and irregularities became the rule.
Tolerance, meaning that the selection of those who entered or left was not executed in the former strict manner but favoritism became prominent.
Irregularities, meaning that persons without any reason, except that they were in the graces of the Military Commander of the city, of the Ghetto, of the Major Chief of State, or of the Commanding office, entered and left whenever they wanted, exercising all manner of transactions and abuses, which we will describe in the chapter on the infractions which occurred.
We cite among them: Nadia Terzi, Maria Licocofski, Zina Flaiser, Gabriela Gherstein, and others.
In addition, a witness (Nina Zoltur) told us that she saw military vehicles which took some of the more beautiful girls from the Ghetto into the city.
G. Guarding and the life in the camps.
In the other camps of Bessarabia life took the same form and with the same means.
The guard was provided by gendarmes of the respective legions but under better conditions, particularly in Vertujeni and Marculesti, because the location of the camps was more appropriate for such a purpose.
Source: Memories of The Holocaust: Kishinev (Chisinau) 1941-1944