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Extermination of Jews in Rumania Described in Appeal to America for Aid

September 23, 1942
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A desperate appeal to Jews in the United States asking that relief and clothing be sent to Jews in Rumania through the Red Cross “before it is too late” reached here today from Rumania.

Complaining that the Jews of Nazi-dominated Rumania are today “Europe’s forgotten Jewry,” the appeal gives harrowing details of the mass-slaughter of Jews in various Rumanian towns and of the gruesome fate of hundreds of thousands of Jews who have been deported to Transnistria, the Rumanian-occupied part of the Ukraine.

“Mass-executions of Jews and deportations of entire Jewish communities occur daily since Rumania entered the war on the side of Germany,” the appeal says. “The winter promises to be fatal to any of the Jews in Rumania who are still alive. The number of Jews who may survive to see the Spring will be very small if immediate aid does not reach Rumanian Jewry from their brethren abroad.”


“The greater part of the 300,000 Jews of Bessarabia are dead,” the appeal reports. “Ever since the Rumanian army re-captured Bessarabia from the Russians, Jews from practically all of the towns and villages there have been taken into the open fields and shot. The Jewish community in Bucharest estimates the number of massacred Jews in Bessarabia at 92,000. Among the victims are Chief Rabbi Zirelson of Kishinev who was tortured and shot together with a group of Bessarabian Jewish leaders. Nobody knows what has happened to the body of the chief rabbi and whether it was ever buried.

“In addition to the mass-murder of Jews in Bessarabia, about 80,000 Jews have been deported from Czernowitz, capital of Bukovina, to the devastated part of the occupied Ukraine known as Transnistria. Some 10,000 Jews were deported to the same section from the city of Radautz; 15,000 Jews were deported from Sucava; 8,000 from Campulung; 8,000 from Dorna-Vatra; 8,000 from Gara Hamora; 5,000 from Wishnice; 5,000 from Sereth and many thousands of Jews from other towns. Each of the deported Jews was permitted to take along with him only 2,000 lei, the equivalent of four dollars. Everything else, including business enterprises, household furnishings, jewelry, clothing, and linen had to be left behind. The victims were forced to march 120 miles en route to Transnistria, during which journey at least twenty-five percent of them died.

“The road from Bukovina to Transnistria is still covered with Jewish corpses which remain unburied. Something must be done to arouse the conscience of the world to the extermination of Rumanian Jewry. We are convinced that the Rumanian Jews in the United States will do everything in their power to relieve the terrible fate of their relatives by arranging relief and clothing for them through the Red Cross before it is too late,” the appeal concludes.

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