Historical Background

Deportation of Jews to Transnistria across the Nistru (Dnister) River, Volcineti, RomaniaDeportation of Jews to Transnistria across the Nistru (Dnister) River, Volcineti, Romania

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, antisemitic propaganda, instigation, and street violence of the nationalist Iron Guard poisoned the political atmosphere in Romania and prepared the ground for the enactment of antisemitic laws and decrees. Ion Antonescu who established a dictatorial regime and allied himself with Nazi Germany, initiated the systematic deportation and killing of the Jews of Besserabia, Bukovina and Dorohoi County. Transnistria, the part of occupied Ukraine under Romanian administration, served Romania as a giant killing field for Jews. According to the findings of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania. Romania was responsible and actively perpetrated the killing of between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews in Romania and the territories under its control.

After the Axis defeat at Stalingrad when it became clear that Nazi Germany was loosing the war, Antoncescu decided to terminate the deportations. Consequently 290,000 Romanian Jews survived.