Thousands of Jews in Transnistria Have Not Seen Bread for Months, Hundreds Starving
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Thousands of Jews in Transnistria Have Not Seen Bread for Months, Hundreds Starving

Thousands of Jewish deportees confined in the various ghettos which the Rumanian occupation authorities have established in Transnistria, the Rumanian-administered section of the Russian Ukraine, have not seen any bread for months and the vast majority of them are threatened with starvation unless some assistance is forthcoming soon, according to private advices received here today.

In the township of Copaigorod about 2,220 Jews are confined at present, the report discloses. Under the leadership of one of the deportees, Fabius Ornstein, the Jewish community has organized a free kitchen which has so far managed to distribute about 500 meals twice daily. These “meals,” however, almost always consist of potatoes and nothing else. A hospital which can accommodate only ten persons has been set up and the community is making some attempts to care for the 98 orphans whose parents died either en route to Transnistria from Rumania or after having arrived there. The Jewish men in Copaigorod are forced to work in the forests, or on local farms, or at building roads and demolishing ruined houses, the report says, and are paid almost nothing for their labors.

NATIVE JEWS AND DEPORTEES USED FOR FORCED LABOR

A similar situation exists in the town of Jaruga, where both the native Jews and the deportees have been placed at hard labor, according to the information received here. In Jaruga, however, the Jewish laborers receive no pay at all. There are about 785 Jews in the town at present, 365 of whom were living there before the war. Most of the deportees in Jaruga come from Bukovina. There are over 50 orphans in the town who wander the streets, obtaining food and shelter-where any is available-from local Jewish families, or from the communal kitchen which feeds 300 persons daily. It has been impossible to organize an orphanage.

The community, which is headed by a native Jew named Rubin Ritter, has succeeded in setting up a hospital with sixteen beds and one physician, but it can not begin to care for the scores of ill and dying Jews. Conditions in Jaruga became so acute recently that Ritter sent a request to the central Rumanian administration in Mohilev, demanding food, medicine and clothing. Today’s report does not indicate whether or not the occupation authorities sent any supplies.

An even worse situation exists in two small towns nearby-Popivki, with a Jewish population of 1,400 and Cuasmite where 400 Jews are living-which have neither public kitchens nor hospitals. On occasion the Jewish community of Mohilev, itself suffering from lack of food, medicine and clothing, manages to dispatch some supplies to Popvki and Cuasmite, but these are not sufficient to meet the needs of the deportees. The advices received here today indicate that unless they are able to secure some supplies soon the majority of the population will die of hunger.