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Opening Hours:

Sunday to Thursday: ‬09:00-17:00

Fridays and Holiday eves: ‬09:00-14:00

Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish Holidays.

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Transnistria

March 2024 marks 80 years since the liberation of the Transnistria region by the Red Army. The Artifacts Collection houses many items that tell the story of the Jewish deportees incarcerated in the ghettos and camps of Transnistria.

The area known as Transnistria was presented to Romania by Hitler as a reward for its support in the war against the Soviet Union. The territory in question extends between the Dniester and Bug rivers in the southern corner of the Ukraine, and existed as a political unit for two-and-a-half years from August 1941 until March 1944.

Shortly after the transfer of the territory, the deportation of the Jews of Bessarabia, Bukovina and northern Moldova to Transnistria began, an operation carried out by Romanian Prime Minister and Nazi collaborator Ion Antonescu. Some 90,000 of the approximately 185,000 deportees perished in Transnistria.

In the autumn of 1942 the Vapniarca detention camp was set up in Transnistria, and over 1,000 Romanian Jews accused of Communist sympathies were sent there. While detained there, the prisoners set up a committee to help those who were assigned to forced labor, tortured, and suffered from disease and hunger. The committee enforced strict codes of hygiene in the camp, but despite this many prisoners fell ill as a result of the food distributed, consisting of poisonous beans intended for horse fodder. Approximately six weeks after their arrival in the camp the first symptoms of the disease appeared, eventually causing paralysis in the lower extremities, degeneration of the spinal cord, and kidney damage.

In October 1943, as the Red Army approached, the decision was made to shut down the camp. The prisoners were divided into three groups that were sent to different places. One group consisted of 54 communists who had not yet served their terms. They were sent to Rybnica prison, where they were murdered by the SS. Those prisoners who had arrived from other ghettos in Transnistria were returned there. The third group was sent to the Targu-Jiu camp.

With the Red Army’s liberation of Transnistria imminent in March 1944, the Romanian authorities finally allowed the return of the survivors to Romania.

Dress in which Rosa Rosenstrauss was deported from her home, later recreated as a patchwork skirt during the years of exile in Transnistria

Dress in which Rosa Rosenstrauss was deported from her home and later recreated as a patchwork skirt during the years of exile in Transnistria

In June 1942, the Rosenstrauss family was deported from Czernowitz (then Cernauti, Romania). Jacob and Yachet were deported with their grown children: Jeanette, Dora, Rosa, Moshe and the youngest, Sophie (b. 1936), to Transnistria. Only their daughter Frieda managed to remain in the city.
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Two pendants that Ben Zion Averbuch crafted in the Vapniarca camp for his girlfriend Rosa David.

Gifts created by Ben Zion Averbuch in Rybnica prison, for his girlfriend Rosa David, who was imprisoned in the Vapniarka camp

In 1942, twenty-one-year-old Ben Zion Averbuch was deported to the Vapniarka camp in Transnistria, together with his girlfriend Rosa David. From Vapniarka, Ben Zion was deported to Rybnica prison, together with fifty other prisoners accused of communist activity.
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Box containing the pendant that Misu Wolf crafted in Rybnica prison as a gift for his girlfriend, Sali Buium, who was imprisoned in the Vapniarca camp

Box containing pendants created by Misu Wolf, imprisoned in Rybnica prison, as a gift for his girlfriend Sali Buium, an inmate at the Vapniarka camp

As anti-Jewish activity increased in Romania in the years prior to World War II, Sali Buium (b. 1918) joined an anti-fascist movement, fully aware of the risk she was taking.
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Dress that belonged to Sidika, a girl who was murdered  in Transnistria

Dress that belonged to Sidika, a girl who was murdered  in Transnistria

Bella Mechloviz was born in 1936 in Cernauti, Romania. When she outgrew this dress, it was passed on to her younger cousin Sidika. Sidika was deported with her parents to the Bershad ghetto, where she was murdered. At the end of the war Sidika's parents returned the dress to Bella's parents.  They kept it and it was worn by the new generation of girls born to the family.Bella  donated the dress to to Yad Vashem in November 2016.Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Donated by Bella (Mechloviz) Marcus, Tirat Carmel, Israel 
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Tefillin (phylacteries) that Zvi Nojman had with him throughout the war and continued to use during his life in Israel

Tefillin (phylacteries) that belonged to Zvi Nojman, deported with his family from Dihtinet, Romania to Transnistria

The Nojman family lived in Dihtinet in the Bukovina region, a town with about 50 Jewish families. Abba Nojman had migrated there from Galicia, purchased forested land and established a lumber business. Abba and his wife Esther had three children: Sally (b. 1923), Zvi (b. 1926) and Judith (b. 1933). The family lived in comfort and led a traditional religious life.
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Testimony regarding the plight of prisoners in the Vapniarca camp, as depicted on a metal belt made in the camp

Belt with metal links depicting camp life made by Iuliu Frenkel in the Vapnyarca camp

The 12 sections of this belt were handmade in the Vapniarca camp by Iuliu (Gyula) Frenkel (1898-1967), using copper and aluminum. His plight, and that of his fellow prisoners is memorialized in this belt, which he made under the brutal and oppressive conditions of camp life.Gyula Frenkel was imprisoned in Caracal in 1940, and after his release, he was deported to the Vapniarca concentration camp in 1942. In 1943 he was transferred to the Grosulovo camp, and in March of the same year, he was sent to Targu-Liu prison where he remained until his release on 23 August, 1944.The sections of the belt...
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Shirt that Petachia Blickstein received  in Iasi after liberation

Shirt which Petachia Blickstein received on his liberation from Transnistria

On the evening of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) 1941, the Blickstein family from Czernowitz, Romania, was forced to enter the ghetto and two weeks later, Petachia, his mother and two siblings were deported to Mogilev in the Transnistria region. 18- year-old Petachia, the youngest son, was sent to various labor camps in Transnistria. With time, Petachia's clothes wore out and he had to wear cement sacks instead. In his testimony, he describes the situation at the Trichati camp on the banks of the River Bug, where he was a forced laborer in the Krupp factory:"It is impossible to describe...
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 A birthday present for Mother: a hand-carved wooden car

Hand-carved car that Armand Dankner made for his mother's birthday in Transnistria

Armand (Nini) Dankner, born in 1926, in Czernowitz, Bukovina, was deported to the Transnistria region with his family during the war. He was assigned to forced labor, paving roads. While in Transnistria, he made a birthday present for his mother, Rozika - a Volkswagen car carved from wood. On the underside of the little car he engraved the dedication, "For Mother on your birthday 24 VII 1943".He relates that while suffering the harsh conditions of his forced labor, he dreamed of three things: a hearty meal, boots and a car. Armand survived and immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine)...
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Chess set that teenager Aaron Rennert took with him when his family was deported to Transnistria

Chess set – the only remaining item from the Rennert family home

In 1941 the Rennert family was deported from the town of Vijnita (Vishnitz), Bukovina beyond the Dniester River. The arduous journey through Transnistria began with a journey to the city of Mogilev on a train jam-packed with deportees.
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The transport of political prisoners from the Targu-Jiu camp to the Vapniarca camp in Transnistria in November 1942.

Album of drawings and portraits made by Gabriel Cohen while imprisoned in the Vapniarka camp

Gabriel Cohen (b. 1902) joined the Socialist youth movement in Constantsa, Romania while in his teens. The subversive ideas suited his adventurous nature, and in 1921 he joined the Romanian Communist Party.
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Chess set carved by Julius Druckman in Obdovka Ghetto, Transnistria, 1943

A Chess Set from Transnistria – From Parting Gift to Reunion

"Hunger was a powerful teacher" testifies Julius Druckman, who was deported at age 11 with his mother from Czernowitz to the region of Transnistria. Mother and son wandered from place to place until they reached the town of Obdovka, where many deportees had gathered. In terrible conditions of overcrowding, cold and hunger, the deportees tried to make a living by shoemaking or needlework. The children formed gangs and stole food from the market, collected firewood in the forests for heating and cooking, and fished for food in the local lake.
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