|My grandfather Mordko Wainrober (Martin Roberts) with my late uncle and mother|
The family lived in a shtetl called Yednitz. To be a jew in this area was a very dangerous proposition.
He smuggled wheat and horses, worked as a furrier and knew that for my family to survive the upcoming conflagration he would have to quickly flee the coming storm.
He made his escape with my grandmother in the 1920's but first had to sign a note to the Romanian government that he would never return. His fellow townspeople were not so lucky. I would not be here today without his resolve.
I mention this because San Diego Jewish World published an interesting story about the town yesterday, In Moldova, a synagogue with a terrible history is for sale on Holocaust Street.
Decimated by Holocaust and pogrom, 17 out of what was once was a community of 7 thousand jews now remain in the town. And they are selling the synagogue where a large number of jews were executed in the horrible pogrom.
The owner who is selling the former synagogue and the adjacent structure said he is skeptical that anyone from the Jewish community might be interested in buying the property if a story about it appears in an Israeli newspaper.It is admittedly a tough read. But even tougher to read is the memorial or Yizkor book that chronicles this murder and more. I link to a page.
“I don’t think the Jews would buy it. Especially not the Jews, they are cheap,” he said.
“An order was issued that everyone must assemble in the Seminaria. Some came by themselves. Others were grabbed and brought to the assembly place. The large Seminaria yard was overcrowded with people – men and women, old and young, children, sick and healthy people. My father and I were also seized and taken to a yard across from the Seminaria. There were approximately 400 people there. Some, including my father, were freed. The others, the younger ones, were lined up in two rows and led to the yard of Chayim Reuven. We were told that at night we would all be killed. It was true. In the evening we were lined up in three groups. Four solders guarded each group with loaded guns. We were told to start marching in the direction of the cemetery. It got dark. I took advantage of this and escaped from the convoy and somehow reached home. It's hard to describe the joy of the family. That night the son of the barber, Yitzhak Vinokor, came to us. He was also with us amongst the “young ones.” He told us that everyone had been brought to the cemetery where they were told to dig two pits. Then they were put down on their knees beside the open pits. The soldiers fired at them with machine guns right into their faces. Some of those shot immediately fell into the open pits. Others remained laying badly wounded on the ground. Groans and the sounds of people expiring were heard. After a few hours the voices ceased. The soldiers thought they had finished their “job” and left the spot. Vinokor, though he was wounded, still felt capable to get up on his feet. He made his way out of the cemetery and arrived at our house, wounded and distraught.”My friend Byron once told me not to bother myself with the anguish of my ancestors and not to concern myself with their travails. "Don't fight your grandfather's wars," he admonished. They are certainly a terrible thing to remember. And an even worse thing to forget.
...at the head of these hooligan rapists, the sons of the local gypsies, “Katzapes” was the gypsy fiddler Ivanitza, who played the “Hatikvah” at the “bazetzn” of the bride at all Jewish weddings. He pointed out where to find Jewish women and girls so that the “shkotzim” could despoil together with them.