150,000 Jews deported to Transnistria; 90,000 perish

Transnistria is a region in the western Ukraine, across the Dniestr River from Romania, that Hitler handed to Romania as a reward for its participation in the war against the Soviet Union. After it was occupied, Transnistria became a concentration ground for the Jews of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and northern Moldavia, whom the Romanian authorities deported on the direct order of Ion Antonescu. The deportations began on September 15, 1941, and continued on-and-off until the autumn of 1942; September 15 is the official date of the deportation of the Jews of Bessarabia. Most of the deportations to Transnistria took place on foot, via four transit points: Atachi (the principal transit point), Cosauti, Rezina, and Tiraspol. In all, an estimated 150,000 persons were deported; German sources speak of 185,000. In addition to massacres carried out by Romanians, Jews were murdered in the camps of Bogdanovka, Akhmechetka and Domankevk. The Romanian army and gendarmerie also participated in the murder of some 200,000 Jews from Ukraine. In October, the Jews of southern Bukovina were also deported to Transnistria. Ion Antonescu stated that Bessarabia would be “Judenrein” and that in Bukovina, the Jewish population of 90,000 would be reduced to the 10,000 Jews who were considered indispensable to the region’s economy.