New York (Dec. 30)
A report on the situation of the Jews in Transnistria, the section of the occupied Ukraine administered by Rumania, was made public here today by the World Jewish Congress on the basis of official findings of a Jewish commission which tanned Transnistria.
Emphasizing that of the 185,000 Jews who were deported by the Rumanian authorities from Bessarabia and Bukovina to Transnistria, only 65,000 have survived, the World Jewish Congress says that “there is some hope of a definite improvement” of the Jewish situation in Transnistria. The Jewish commission was permitted by the Governor of Transnistria, Prof. Alexianu, to visit some of the 101 localities where the deportees were “permitted” to settle.
In the city of Odessa, the commission visited the ghetto and found 54 Jews there. They were all artisans working for the Odessa population. They included 31 men, 19 women and 4 children.
In Smerinka, the commission found in the ghetto, 3,274 Jews, of whom about 1,200 were local residents. The remainder were deportees from various sections of Rumania. All those able to work were employed either by the Rumanian or the German military and civil authorities at forced labor and paid two “occupation” marks a day for skilled work and one mark for unskilled work.
The commission also found thousands of deported Rumanian Jews in the ghettos of Crasna, Moghilev-Podolsk, Jaruga, Copaigorod, Shargorod, Balta, Bershad and other localities. All these cities have hundreds of Jewish orphans. The report of the commission estimates that there are in Transnistria about 8,000 Jewish orphans, at least 5,000 of whom have lost both parents.
The report establishes that in many places 50 Jews live in one room. “There are numerous cases where children are forced to spend their days in bed (5 to 6 in one bed) for want of clothing,” the report states. It concludes with the information that “for the last four months nobody has received mil from Rumania. Neither is there any communication by mail between deportees in Transnistria proper, although in many instances members of the same family are located in different places.”
In making public the above report, the World Jewish Congress stated that “the latest news about the Jews in Transnistria is contradictory. On the one hand, there are tales of their imminent extermination; on the other, there are reports of struggles being waged to rescue the 65,000 still surviving of this unfortunate community. However, there is some hope of a definite improvement in the situation.”