Fear of Soviet Invasion Adds to Jews’ Misery in Bessarabia and Bukovina

The possible invasion of Soviet troops in this province of Bessarabia, which formerly was a part of Russia, hangs over Rumania like a nightmare.

This correspondent arrived here to find that Rumanian officials, taking no chances, were speedily evacuating their families into the interior. Following their example, the banks and larger commercial establishments were transferring their reserves and merchandise to Bucharest, while the richer inhabitants, fearing a sudden Soviet entry, were hurriedly liquidating their property and moving to safer provinces.

Bessarabian towns, remaining with only the poorest of the population, are thickly populated with Jews living in unimaginable misery. Thousands who overnight have lost their livelihood because of the hurried liquidation of the establishments where they were employed are without even bread. Similarly placed are the artisans from whom no one is ordering anything because of the uncertainty of the situation, and small traders who have suddenly been cut off from credits because no one believes that loans will be repaid if the Soviets should occupy this territory.

Always a province where hunger prevailed among the Jewish and Russian populations, owing to the “Romanization” measures which inflicted special restrictions on the non-Rumanians, this is now a territory completely paralyzed economically. The city population, which consists mostly of Jews, is in need of charity, particularly free kitchens, since no means of livelihood exists.

A similar situation prevails in Bukovina, where tens of thousands of Jews reside, since it is feared that once the Soviets begin marching across Rumanian soil they will not be satisfied with Bessarabia, but may also enter Bukovina, if not proceed further.

The nervousness prevailing in Government circles over the possible Soviet invasion is coupled with the fear that should the Soviet forces make a move to enter Rumania the Hungarian Government would be encouraged by Berlin to send troops into Transylvania to occupy this part of Rumania, which Budapest has been claiming ever since the last war.

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