Isidore Gold was born in 1914 in the village of Schipot-Kameral in Bucovina, then part of Austria-Hungary (now Shepit, Ukraine). His father Pinkhus was killed as a soldier of the Austrian Army in World War I, and his mother had to bring up six children by herself. As a son of observant Jews, Isidore received a primary religious education.
After World War I, Bucovina was annexed by Romania. However, in 1940 the Soviets occupied and then annexed northern Bucovina, including its capital Czernowitz (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine). When Operation Barbarossa started, Northern Bucovina was retaken by Romania, and its Jews were expelled in punishment for their alleged part in the sovietization of this province. The Gold family was deported from Czernowitz (where they had settled in 1938) to Transnistria, the recently annexed province of Romania that consisted mainly of Ukrainian territories between the Dniester River and the Southern Bug. All of the Golds, except Isidore and his wife Erica, perished in Transnistria.
Isidore Gold was first deported to the ghetto of Bershad. However, since he had had a technical education and experience in construction, he was transferred to a labor camp operated by Germans and most probably located east of Transnistria, in the German occupation zone in Ukraine.1
In December 1943, the camp was liberated by the Red Army. After two-months of recuperation, Gold appeared at the recruitment office in Uman and volunteered to serve in the Red Army. He was immediately enlisted. Gold's first position was that of intendant, quartermaster. Despite this non-combat position, occasionally Isidore took part in battle and this gave him a strong sense of satisfaction. "I was confident that I would never allow the Nazis to humiliate and torture me again" he wrote in his memoir. "'Now you're reaping your reward,' I muttered to myself, 'for all the Jewish blood you've shed…'."2
Gold was wounded in March 1944. In the fall of that year, when he was a sergeant-major (starshina), Gold was transferred to serve as a translator [German was his first language] in POW camps in central Russia. It was during this service that he met Victory Day.
At the end of 1945 Gold was released from the Red Army and, in April 1946, he and his wife Erica repatriated to Romania. In 1964, he emigrated from Communist Romania and settled in the USA, where he died in 2001.
- 1. n his book of memoirs No More Silence: Testimony and Perspectives of a Holocaust Survivor, New York: Shengold, 1999, Gold called the camp the "Bershad labor camp." However, his description of the conditions in the camp, and his point that it was run by Germans rather than by Romanians, suggests that it was not the Bershad or Pechora camp, but a German forced labor camp in central Ukraine.
- 2. op. cit., pp. 37, 39.