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Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 15:39:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alexander Mayer 
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Dear Mr. McVay,

     Please post this, not the previous, technically-defective version
that I sent you, without omitting my name and e-mail address:

         Transnistria, The Unresearched Cemetery

     I have been asked many times how many Jews from Southern Bukovina
deported to Transnistria in October 1941 died in the Holocaust, and
about the causes of their death. As a survivor and amateur historian,
I understand some of the complexities and ambiguities of the situation
better than others, and less well than other individuals, but I feel
that I must present some of the results of my experience and research,
which do not contradict each other.
     The Romanian census of April 1941 indicated that there were
18,140 people of Jewish descent, out of which all but 179 (or 182)
were deported to the land between the Dniester and Bug Rivers. (See,
for example, Julius S. Fisher, TRANSNISTRIA: THE FORGOTTEN CEMETERY,
South Brunswick, Thomas Yoseloff, 1969, p. 65.) At any rate, these
numbers are by no means controversial.
     According to Nota Ministerului Afacerilor Interne, Directia
Gernerala a Politiei, Directia Politiei de Siguranta, Sectia
Nationalitati Nr. 780-S din 6 Mai 1946 catre M.A.S., published in Ion
Calafeteanu (ed.), Emigratia Populatiei Evreiesti din Romania in anii
1940-1944 ,(Bucuresti: Silex, 1993), a total of 470 of these Jews were
died during the period. They made up 2.6% of the deportees.
     It is true that most Bessarabian Jews deported to Transnistria by
the Romanian authorities in 1941 died in there. This is indisputable,
and undisputed. However, this does not apply to the Jews deported from
Bukovina (both Northern and Southern) and the Dorohoi District
attached to that province. No work published in Romania or the United
States has disputed this, even though some books published in Israel
support a different view. However, they include Hotin County of
northern Bessarabia in Bukovina, perhaps because during the period
1941-1944 it was administratively a part of Bukovina.
     There are numerous reasons which explain why the proportion of
southern Bukovinian Jews who died was rather small, and there is
little doubt that no group of people deported during the Holocaust had
such a high survival rate. The reasons were good organization, good
hygiene, good leadership, tightly-knit communities, more extensive
financial resources, the preferrential allocation of food, housing,
etc. by the Jewish leadership in Transnistria, which originated from
this area, to "their" people, intact families, transportation by
trains and trucks rather than by foot to the areas of resettlement,
and the fact that they were not suspected of Communism by the Romanian
authorities. For this reason, they were seldom sent to concentration
or labor camps.
     One should also not forget that the Romanian authorities were
callous rather than purposefully exterminationist. Their anti-Semitism
was strong in the sense that they were very nasty toward the Jews
toward which they desired to misbehave, but not comprehensive, in the
sense that they always had a less hostile attitude toward certain
groups of Jews, typically the southern Bukovinians. Various officials,
bureaucrats, gendarmes, etc. favored different individuals and groups,
and everyone was nasty toward the other people's Jews. There were some
comprehensively anti-Semitic officials, such as the Prefect Constantin
Loghin of Moghilev County, but they were the exception, not the rule.
In any case, very few deportees died a violent death; almost all the
fatalities (perhaps about half of the 110,033 or more people who
reached Transnistria) were caused by typhus, which is indicative of
the insufficiency and inadequacy of medication, hygiene, food,
clothing, adequate housing, etc., for which the responsibility must be
shared by the Romanian authorities at various levels and the Jewish
leadership and profiteers, as well as numerous average Jews, in
proportions which remain controversial. (See, for example, Fisher,
passim, as well as Dalia Ofer, "The Holocaust in Transnistria: A
Special Case of Genocide, in Lucjain Dobroszycki and Jeffrey S.
Gurock, THE HOLOCAUST IN THE SOVIET UNION, (Armonk, Ney York: M.E.
Sharpe, 1993), p. 133-154, Ioan Dan, "PROCESUL" MARESALULUI ION
ANTONESCU, Bucuresti: Editura Tempus, 1993, passim, and especially p.
233-250, which includes numerous legal affidavits and declarations
written by the deporteesm, which are indispensable for the study of
the social history of the Transnistrian exile, and Ministerul
Afacerilor Interne, Subsecret. Stat Politie, "Referat", in Centrul
Pentru Studiul Istoriei Evreilor din Romania, Martiriul evreilor din
Romania 1940-1944: Documente si marturii, (Bucuresti: Editura Hasefer,
1991), p. 231-232).
     The research into the fate of the deportees to Transnistria
should be objective and scientific, and should not ignore the issue of
how such occurences should be prevented. The greatest variety of
sources should be used, and anti-Semitic and anti-Romanianian
excesses, as well as politicization, should be avoided.





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