Dorohoi pogrom

On 1 July 1940, in the town of Dorohoi in Romania, Romanian military units carried out a pogrom against the local Jews, during which, according to an official Romanian report, 53 Jews were murdered, and dozens injured. According to the town's Jews, the number of fatalities was between 165 and 200. These acts were committed before Romania entered World War II, before it became Germany's ally, and before the German military entered the country.[1][2]

Although the Romanian government had taken steps against Jews, including antisemitic laws, and seizure of Jewish property, these military actions against the Jews were not endorsed by the government; when the conspiracy against the Jews was discovered by the military command, troops were sent to put an end to the abuse. The perpetrators, however, were not punished.[1][2]


The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (August 1939) gave the Soviet Union a green light to take back Bessarabia in June 1940 (see June 1940 Soviet Ultimatum, and Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina).

During the Romanian Army's withdrawal from Bessarabia, some of the local residents demonstrated their joy. Attacks on the soldiers by locals are also documented. Various reports speak of attacks on the retreating soldiers by Jews, though their veracity is disputed, and some have been proven to be fabrications.[1] Additionally, although the reports defined all of them as "Jews", among the celebrators and attackers were Ukrainians, Russians, pro-Communists, newly released criminals, and ethnic Romanians. These reports, regardless of veracity, did much to incite many Romanians against Jews, strengthening existing Anti-Semitic sentiment.[1][2]

The Romanian people were traumatized and frustrated by giving up these areas without a war, and the regime's position weakened significantly. The government scapegoated the Jews, with the press' support:

Confronted with an extremely serious crisis and doubting their regime could survive, Romanian government officials turned the Jews into a political "lightning rod," channeling popular discontent toward the minority. Notable in this report is the reaction of the Romanian press, whose rage was directed more toward Jews than the Soviets, the real aggressors. Given that the Romanian press was censored in 1940, the government must have played a role in this bias. A typical form of anticipatory scapegoating was to let Jewish leaders know that the Romanian authorities might launch acts of repression against the Jews.[1]

The incited Romanians, and especially the Romanian soldiers, looked for ways to take revenge on the Jews. In 1930, the population of Dorohoi was 15,866, of which 5,788 were Jews. Although local Jews had long suffered from Antisemitism, it was greatly increased by the passing of Romanian refugees, who were spreading tales of Jews' scheming against the Romanians.[1][2]

Preparations for the pogrom

On 30 June 1940, soldiers from the two brigades stationed in the area went from door to door warning the Romanian residents of the "revenge" about to take place against the Jews. The Christians placed religious icons in their windows, drew crosses on their homes, or raised Romanian national flags, to let the rioters know not to harm them. In the town, the rumor spread that harming the Jews would be allowed for 24 hours.[1][2]

The pogrom

In an incident between Romanian and Soviet military men in Herţa, neighboring Dorohoi, the Soviets killed a Romanian officer, and a Jewish-Romanian soldier, Iancu Solomon, who was trying to defend the officer. The two were laid to rest in separate funerals. A firing squad was sent to Solomon's funeral, made up of 10 Jewish soldiers from the battalions stationed nearby. Some local Jews also participated in the funeral. Right after the coffin was lowered into the grave, many shots were heard, and the local Jews ran and hid in the local cleansing room. The Jewish soldiers, turning to the cemetery gates, were surrounded by soldiers from the 3rd Border Patrol battalion, commanded by a Colonel. The Jews, peering from the cleansing room, saw the Jewish soldiers disarmed and stripped of their uniforms. They were put up against the cemetery's back wall and shot by the Romanian soldiers. Seven were killed instantly, and three injured. The Romanians placed a submachine gun in the hands of the already dead Emil Bercovici, the senior Jewish soldier, to stage the notion that he had started firing on the Romanians. An especially strong downpour begun, stopping the killing for a while, and allowing some of the Jewish crowd to slip away. Many Romanian soldiers, commanded by a Lieutenant, removed the Jews from the cleansing room using violence and threats. They were led to a ditch outside the cemetery. Two old men and one child managed to escape before the shooting began. The soldiers continued hunting the Jews hiding in the cemetery with the help of the place's Romanian keeper.[1][2]

Concurrently, soldiers led by officers and sergeant majors burst into the town shouting "the Bolsheviks are coming". The soldiers raped, robbed, tortured and murdered Jews for 24 hours. The lives of many were saved due to the great attention the soldiers gave to the robberies. Many acts of cruelty were committed, among them:[1][2]

  • Avraham Calmanovici was shot after his testicles were cut off.
  • An old couple named Elli and Feiga Reizel were murdered after their ears were cut off.
  • Rivka Croitoru had her breasts amputated.
  • Hershko Croitoru had petrol poured on his beard, which was then lit up.

The life of the local Jewish community, Axler, was saved after he managed to prove to the soldiers stopping his carriage that he had been discharged from the Romanian military with the rank of Colonel, and was awarded two medals of valor.[1][2]

Jews walking in the streets were stopped by officers, had their papers checked, and when their Jewish identity was confirmed, murdered.[1][2]

At this point, the local 29th infantry brigade, who were not privy to the murder plot, stepped in. The brigade sent a company to patrol the town and restore order. After local Romanians shouted at the soldiers and told them that Jews were firing at soldiers, Lieutenant Vasile Isăceanu took "precautionary measures" - he ordered ten Jewish soldiers, disarmed of their weapons, to march in front of the unit. Soon the unit's soldiers joined the persecution of the Jews, arresting them under false charges of firing at soldiers. The battalion's vice commander, Stino, prevented the soldiers from executing the detained Jews, and saved from certain death 20 Jewish soldiers, who were already stripped bare, waiting to be executed.[1][2]

A downpour stopped the killings, but not the looting. Some local Roma (Gypsies) joined this activity, stole as much as they could from Jewish homes and thanked the soldiers with song and dance.[1][2]

The pogrom was stopped by order of General Constantin Sănătescu, who discovered the events by accident, seeing injured Jews. He ordered Colonel Ilasievici to investigate the matter.[1][2]

The "cover up"

On 2 July, the day after the pogrom, the Romanian military's Chief of Staff reported that the 3rd brigade "took revenge" on the Jews because of the difficulties they had had with the Jews of Bessarabia. According to his report, the soldiers killed four Jews, injured 15, and plundered several shops.[1][2]

The military prosecutor of the 8th Corps headed a committee to investigate the events, with the participation of doctors and the town's representatives. On 3 July, the military prosecutor found 50 unidentified corpses, among them 11 women, five children and six non-local Jewish soldiers. The prosecutor did not determine the identity of the murderers, and only determined that the deaths were the results of gunshot wounds. The bodies were buried quickly by a company of troops, due to the advanced stage of decomposition they were in. Officially, it was determined that 53 Jews were murdered, but the Jews claimed, according to the community's records, that the number of victims was between 165 and 200. The bodies in the ditch outside the cemetery were not exhumed from their mass grave, and were not counted.[1][2]

The local head of police, Gheorghe Pamfil, composed a report about a "skirmish event", resulting in the death of a few Jews.[1][2]

The officers of the 3rd brigade were transferred to other positions, and the brigade left the town with its carriages filled with loot. Among the pillaged goods were cans of paint, which were not properly sealed, and the convoy's trail was marked with paint stolen from the Jews.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania (in English and Romanian)". Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Jean Ancel (2002). History of the Holocaust - Romania (in Hebrew). Israel: Yad Vashem. ISBN 965-308-157-8. For details of the Pogrom itself, see volume I, p.363-400.

Further reading

  • Radu Ioanid, The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies Under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944, Ivan R. Dee, 2000, ISBN 1-56663-256-0.
1033 Fez massacre

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Tamim's forces killed over six thousand Jews, appropriated their belongings, and captured the Jewish women of the city. The killings took place in the month of Jumaada al-Akhir 424 AH (May–June 1033 AD). The killings have been called a "pogrom" by some recent writers. Sometime in the period 1038-1040 the Maghrawa tribe retook Fez, forcing Tamīm to flee to Salé.

1517 Hebron attacks

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1934 Constantine Pogrom

The 1934 Constantine pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that erupted in the Algerian city of Constantine.

1934 Thrace pogroms

The 1934 Thrace pogroms (Turkish: Trakya Olayları) refers to a series of violent attacks against Jewish citizens of Turkey in June and July 1934 in the Thrace region of Turkey. According to Corry Guttstadt, a "crucial factor" behind the events was the 1934 Turkish Resettlement Law passed by the Turkish Assembly on 14 June 1934.

1940 in Romania

Events from the year 1940 in Romania.


Dorohoi (Romanian pronunciation: [doroˈhoj]) is a city in Botoșani County, Romania, on the right bank of the Jijia River, which broadens into a lake on the north.

History of the Jews in Romania

The history of the Jews in Romania concerns the Jews both of Romania and of Romanian origins, from their first mention on what is present-day Romanian territory. Minimal until the 18th century, the size of the Jewish population increased after around 1850, and more especially after the establishment of Greater Romania in the aftermath of World War I. A diverse community, albeit an overwhelmingly urban one, Jews were a target of religious persecution and racism in Romanian society – from the late-19th century debate over the "Jewish Question" and the Jewish residents' right to citizenship, to the genocide carried out in the lands of Romania as part of the Holocaust. The latter, coupled with successive waves of aliyah, has accounted for a dramatic decrease in the overall size of Romania's present-day Jewish community.

Jewish communities existed in Romanian territory in the 2nd century AD. During the reign of Peter the Lame (1574–1579) the Jews of Moldavia, mainly traders from Poland who were competing with locals, were taxed and ultimately expelled. The authorities decided in 1650 and 1741 required Jews to wear clothing evidencing their status and ethnicity. The first blood accusation in Moldavia (and, as such, in Romania) was made in 1710, when the Jews of Târgu Neamț were charged with having killed a Christian child for ritual purposes. An anti-Jewish riot occurred in Bucharest in the 1760s.

During the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 the Jews in the Danubian Principalities had to endure great hardships. Massacres and pillages were perpetrated in almost every town and village in the country. During the Greek War of Independence, which signalled the Wallachian uprising of 1821, Jews were victims of pogroms and persecutions. In the 1860s, there was another riot motivated by blood libel accusations.Antisemitism was officially enforced under the premierships of Ion Brătianu. During his first years in office (1875) Brătianu reinforced and applied old discrimination laws, insisting that Jews were not allowed to settle in the countryside (and relocating those that had done so), while declaring many Jewish urban inhabitants to be vagrants and expelling them from the country. The emigration of Romanian Jews on a larger scale commenced soon after 1878. By 1900 there were 250,000 Romanian Jews: 3.3% of the population, 14.6% of the city dwellers, 32% of the Moldavian urban population and 42% of Iași.Between the establishment of the National Legionary State (September 1940) and 1942, 80 anti-Jewish regulations were passed. Starting at the end of October, 1940, the Iron Guard began a massive antisemitic campaign, torturing and beating Jews and looting their shops (see Dorohoi Pogrom), culminating in the failed coup and a pogrom in Bucharest, in which 125 Jews were killed. Antonescu eventually stopped the violence and chaos created by the Iron Guard by brutally suppressing the rebellion, but continued the policy of oppression and massacre of Jews, and, to a lesser extent, of Roma. After Romania entered the war at the start of Operation Barbarossa atrocities against the Jews became common, starting with the Iași pogrom. According to the Wiesel Commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were murdered or died during the Holocaust in Romania, but also in the occupied Soviet territories under Romanian control (Transnistria Governorate). An additional 135,000 Jews living under Hungarian control in Northern Transylvania also perished in the Holocaust, as did some 5,000 Romanian Jews in other countries.On the current territory of Romania, between 290,000 and 360,000 Romanian Jews survived World War II (355,972 persons, according to statistics from the end of the war). During the communist regime in Romania, there was a mass emigration to Israel, and in 1987, only 23,000 Jews lived in Romania.

Today, the majority of Romanian Jews live in Israel, while modern-day Romania continues to host a modest Jewish population. In the 2011 census, 3,271 declared to be Jewish.

Kaunas massacre of October 29, 1941

The Kaunas massacre of October 29, 1941 also known as the Great Action was the largest mass murder of Lithuanian Jews.By the order of SS-Standartenführer Karl Jäger and SS-Rottenführer Helmut Rauca, the Sonderkommando under the leadership of SS-Obersturmführer Joachim Hamann, and 8 to 10 men from Einsatzkommando 3, murdered 2,007 Jewish men, 2,920 women, and 4,273 children in a single day at the Ninth Fort, Kaunas, Lithuania.The Nazis destroyed the small ghetto on October 4, 1941, and killed almost all of its inhabitants at the Ninth Fort. Later that same month, on October 28, SS-Rottenführer Helmut Rauca of the Kaunas Gestapo (secret state police) conducted the selection in the Kaunas Ghetto. All ghetto inhabitants were forced to assemble in the central square of the ghetto. Rauca selected 9,200 Jewish men, women, and children, about one-third of the ghetto's population. The next day, October 29, all of these people were shot at the Ninth Fort in huge pits dug in advance.

Kaunas pogrom

The Kaunas pogrom was a massacre of Jewish people living in Kaunas, Lithuania that took place on June 25–29, 1941 – the first days of the Operation Barbarossa and of Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in the Lietūkis garage, where several dozen Jewish men were publicly tortured and executed on June 27, most of them killed by a single club-wielding assailant nicknamed the "Death Dealer." After June, systematic executions took place at various forts of the Kaunas Fortress, especially the Seventh and Ninth Fort.

Kielce cemetery massacre

The Kielce cemetery massacre refers to the shooting action by the Nazi German police that took place on May 23, 1943 in occupied Poland during World War II, in which 45 Jewish children who had survived the Kielce Ghetto liquidation, and remained with their working parents at the Kielce forced-labour camps, were rounded up and brought to the Pakosz cemetery in Kielce, Poland, where they were murdered by the German paramilitary police. The children ranged in age from 15 months to 15 years old.During the ghetto liquidation action which began on 20 August 1942 approximately 20,000-21,000 Jews were led to awaiting Holocaust trains and sent to Treblinka extermination camp. By the end of 24 August 1942, there were only 2,000 skilled workers left alive in the labour camp at Stolarska-and-Jasna Streets (pl) within the small ghetto, including members of the Judenrat and the Jewish policemen. In May 1943, most Jewish prisoners from Kielce were transported to forced-labour camps in Starachowice, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Pionki, and Bliżyn. The 45 Jewish children murdered at the cemetery were the ones who stayed behind at the liquidated camp.

Kunmadaras pogrom

The Kunmadaras pogrom was a post-World War II anti-Semitic pogrom in Kunmadaras, Hungary.

The pogrom resulted in the killing of two and wounding of fifteen Jews on 22 May 1946. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, four Jews died.The riot started in the marketplace as a spontaneous protest against a suspected profiteer. Since traditional occupation of the Jews in the area was trading, the image of a profiteer was conflated with that of a Jew. Therefore the riot grew into an anti-Jewish pogrom. The frenzy was further instigated by the rumors that the Jews were stealing Christian children. The historian Péter Apor made a peculiar observation about the subsequent trial of the pogromists: "The People's Tribunal managed to produce a narrative of an anti-Semitic pogrom without involving the Jewish victims." The pogrom was portrayed as a resurgence of fascism pitched against the nascent people's democracy.

Mass murders in Tykocin

The Mass murders in Tykocin occurred in August 25, 1941, during World War II, where the local Jewish population of Tykocin (Poland) was killed by German Einsatzkommando.

Nikolaev massacre

The Nikolaev Massacre was a massacre which resulted in the deaths of 35,782 Soviet citizens, most of whom were Jews, during World War II, on September 16–30, 1941. It took place in and around the city of Mykolaiv (also known as Nikolaev) and the neighboring city of Kherson in (current) southern Ukraine (then USSR). The massacre was carried out by German troops of Einsatzgruppe D under the command of Otto Ohlendorf, who was later convicted at the Einsatzgruppen trial of the Nuremberg Trials and was sentenced to death by hanging. The killings were committed by many of the same troops who carried out the massacre at Babi Yar, and the victims were counted and described in an Einsatzgruppen document dated October 2, 1941 as "Jews and Communists". This document was entered into evidence at the Nuremberg Trials as NO-3137.

Proskurov pogrom

The Proskurov pogrom took place on 15 February 1919 in the town of Proskurov during the Ukraine Civil War, (now, Khmelnytskyi) which was taken over from under the Bolshevik control by the Haidamacks. In mere three and a half hours at least 1,500 Jews were murdered, up to 1,700 by other estimates, and more than 1,000 wounded including women, children and the old. The massacre was carried out by Ukrainian People's Republic soldiers of Ivan Samosenko. They were ordered to save the ammunition in the process and use only lances and bayonets.

Rintfleisch massacres

The Rintfleisch or Rindfleisch movement was a series of massacres against Jews in the year 1298. The event, in later terminology a pogrom, was the first large-scale persecution in Germany since the First Crusade.

Szczuczyn pogrom

Szczuczyn pogrom was the massacre of some 300 Jews in the community of Szczuczyn carried out by its Polish inhabitants in June 1941 after the town was bypassed by the invading German soldiers in the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. The June massacre was stopped by German soldiers.

A subsequent massacre by Poles in July killed some 100 Jews, and following the German Gestapo takeover in August 1941 some 600 Jews were killed by the Germans, the remaining Jews placed in a ghetto, and subsequently sent to Treblinka extermination camp.

Warsaw pogrom (1881)

The Warsaw pogrom was a pogrom that took place in Russian-controlled Warsaw on 25-27 December 1881, then part of Vistula Land in the Russian Empire, resulting in two people dead and 24 injured.

Wąsosz pogrom

The Wąsosz pogrom was the World War II mass murder of Jewish residents of Wąsosz in German-occupied Poland, on 5 July 1941.

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