Bearing Witness: Stories Behind the Artifacts in the Yad Vashem Museum Collection

Chess set that belonged to Lupu (Ze'ev) Credinciosu who died on the "Death Train" that left Iasi in June 1941

Chess set that belonged to Lupu Credinciosu, who was murdered on the Chess set that belonged to Lupu Credinciosu, who was murdered on the "Death Train" from Iasi in 1941 Lupu Credinciosu (left), Iasi, 1930sLupu Credinciosu (left), Iasi, 1930s

"They would play chess, Father would hold me on his lap and they would talk politics… the government was fascist… it was forbidden to band together, certainly on the left… Jews were in any case suspected of being sympathetic to the Soviet Union…" (from the testimony of Lupu's daughter, Mona Credinciosu)

The chess games served as a cover for the meetings of the underground group in Iasi that Lupu (Ze'ev) Credinciosu was a member of. While playing, they discussed political questions related to their anti-fascist beliefs.

When parts of Bukovina and Bessarabia were annexed by the Soviet Union, the Credinciosus tried to leave fascist Romania for Soviet territory, where they hoped to improve their life as Jews, but the Soviet authorities refused their entry and they had to turn back.

In 1941, soon after the large pogroms were carried out against Jews in Iasi, the members of the underground group were arrested and imprisoned. Lupu was released thanks to the intervention of a family member, only to be home when the Romanian police came to arrest Jewish men and take them to the train station. Lupu was sent on the "Death Train" that left Iasi with the intended destination of the Targu Jiu camp. Due to the fact that the camp was already full, the train changed course and continued, and many of those who were crammed into the freight cars died from asphyxiation while those who managed to get off the train were murdered, thus giving the transport its designation as the "Death Train".  Lupu Credinciosu did not survive the journey.

The chess set that had been part of Lupu's social and political life before the war, was preserved by his family in his memory.

Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Donated by Mona (Credinciosu) Sharf, Israel