Moldova

1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

The National Day of Commemoration of the Victimes of the Holocaust is held on 27 January in the Republic of Moldova, since November 2015.

The Republic of Moldova has not officially recognised the Genocide of the Roma.

1.2 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

The number of Moldovan Roma victims of the Genocide is unknown. It is however known that 2 300 elderly and needy Roma Holocaust survivors in Moldova have benefited from Humanitarian and Social Programmes of assistance from the International Organisation for Migration since 2003 (IOM’s HSP).

History:
The majority (up to two-thirds) of Jews from Bessarabia (now Moldova) fled before the retreat of the Soviet troops. However, 110,033 people from Bessarabia and Bukovina (the later included at the time the counties of Cernăuţi, Storojineţ, Rădăuţi, Suceava, Câmpulung, and Dorohoi - approximately 100,000 Jews) - all except a small minority of the Jews that did not flee in 1941 - were deported to the Transnitria Governate a region which was under Romanian military control during 1941–44. In the ghettos organized in several towns, as well as in camps (there was also a comparable number of Jews from Transnistria in those camps) many people died from starvation or bad sanitation, or were shot by special Nazi units right before the arrival of Soviet troops in 1944. The Romanian military administration of Transnistria kept very poor records of the people in the ghettos and camps. The only exact number found in Romanian sources is 59,392 died in the ghettos and camps from the moment those were open until mid-1943[5] This number includes all internees regardless of their origin, but does not include those that perished on the way to the camps, those that perished between mid-1943 and spring 1944, as well as those that perished in the immediate aftermath of the Romanian army's occupation of Transnistria.

Moldova was under Soviet sphere of influence during World War II. As part of the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania seized the territories of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina and Transnistria. Romanian forces, working with the Germans, deported or exterminated about 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabia and Bukovina. Of the latter, approximately 90,000 died. Like the Jews, “Gypsies were targeted by special laws, deported and exterminated, partly in Transnistria. According to historical records, 2237 Roma from Bessarabia were deported in Transnistria in September and October 1942. Many of them died of cold and hunger. It is very difficult to know the number of Roma who survived. But we know that 2,300 elderly and needy Roma Holocaust survivors in Moldova have benefited from IOM’s Humanitarian and Social Programmes assistance since 2003.

In 2012, new evidence that local attacks were ordered by the Romanian military under then-Prime Minister Ion Antonescu -- and were not spontaneous, as was long claimed -- were found among the more than 40 million pages of archives held at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Article by Richard Solash, 6 April 2012, Radio Free Europe

Several monuments were built in Chisinau, Bender, Orhei (at the Jewish cemetery), Balti, Soroca, Tiraspol, Dubasari, and in other areas that commemorate the victims of the Holocaust in Basarabia and Transnistria between 1941-1944. It is unknown if Roma are mentioned at the sites.

1.3 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

In January 2014, the National Museum of History of Moldova hosted the exhibition “the Holocaust in photos” which displayed 32 historical pictures to the memory of the Jews exterminated during the World War II. It was organized by the US Embassy in the Republic of Moldova. This exhibition had four sections: "Ascensiunea Germaniei naziste” (Rise of Nazi Germany), "Holocaustul ia amploare in Europa” (Holocaust grows in Europe), "Masacrul din Basarabia” (The Bessarabian massacre) and "Reactia lumii: Niciodată!” (The world’s reaction: Never!).

The Northern Transylvania Holocaust Memorial Museum is located in Șimleu Silvaniei, Romania and was opened September 11, 2005.

1.4 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

The official Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on 27th January.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

According to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), the Holocaust “is studied mainly within the framework of history courses. Additional references to the topic may be made in classes on humanitarian law and civic education, as well as in a class called “The Law and Us”. Pupils learn about the Holocaust from grades 9 through 12, and between one and three hours are allocated to this end. The massacre of Jews in Transnistria is also covered in the context of Holocaust education.” It is unknown if Roma are covered in these curricula. (See Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, page 87).

According to the Moldovan Government, there is a course on the Holocaust that is currently included in Moldovan schools curricula (see: http://moldovaembassy.org.il/jewish-community-en/). It is unknown if the persecution of Roma are included in this course. In 2005, a textbook entitled Holocaust: Pages of History - the author, Moldovan historian Sergeii Nazaria - focuses “on Antonescu’s role in the killing of Jews during the Holocaust.” It was the first initiative of the Government to make available a textbook on this subject and nearly “every school of the Republic received this fundamental monograph.”

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

There is a textbook by Sergeii Nazaria, Holocaust: Pages of History.
There is also a teaching guide on the Holocaust in Romanian language, which is available online: “Curs opţional pentru liceu”.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

According to the OSCE (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, pp. 43-44), and regarding the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (about teacher training): “Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova are an example of just how successful international support can be. In 2003-2004, within the project ‘Tolerance Lessons of the Holocaust’, the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress trained teachers from the above-mentioned countries on how to teach about the Holocaust. Experts from Moscow, Kyiv, and Bishkek delivered lectures and headed workshops focusing on methods for teaching about tolerance and the Holocaust. The teachers also received didactic materials.” There was no information regarding Roma in the trainings.
According to the Second Report submitted by the Republic of Moldova pursuant to article 25, paragraph 1 of the Framework Convention of National Minorities, received by the European Council on the 14th of May 2004, the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities in the Republic of Moldova organized special Holocaust seminar trainings in 2003, as it follows: in May, 138 schools from the Southern part of the country, and locations such as Edinetz, Briceni, Ocnitza and Dondusheni were involved in lessons, entitled “The Genocide against the Jews and Roma in the Second World War”; an aestival seminar on the same issue was organized for 100 history teachers in Holercani village; in November 2003 a seminar was hold in Chisinau, with 40 educational inspectors.
In 2003 a brochure entitled “Holocaust: informative materials for the history teachers” was edited in both Romanian and Russian language, with the financial support of The Jewish Congress of Moldova.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

2.5 Remembrance day

Since November 2015, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova officialy adopted the 27th of January as the Day of Remembrance of the victim of the Holocaust.

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

The Department of Interethnic Relations of the Republic of Moldova: http://www.bri.gov.md.

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians


About the deportations of Roma to Transnistria:

- Viorel Achim, The Nicolae Iorga Institute, Bucharest, Romania
- Radu Ioanid, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
- Michelle Kelso, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Vladimir Solonari
- Susan Williams, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Shannon Woodcock, LaTrope University, Melbourne, Australia

4 Initiatives of the civil society

4.1 Relevant projects having a real impact on the people and/or the wide public

According to OSCE ("Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism", page 87), in 2001 and 2002, the Youth Helsinki Citizens' Assembly and the Antifascist Democratic Alliance of Moldova organized a special nationwide essay contests, on the topic, “What do I know about Holocaust?”. The best essays were published in a youth magazine, Collage, in three languages: English, Moldavian and Russian. This was the first activity organized in the post-Soviet Moldova, on the Holocaust issue. It is not known if Roma were included in this initiative. A group of Jewish Holocaust survivors and social activists of the Antifascist Democratic Alliance of Moldova are publishing articles and studies about Holocaust in the magazine We will never forget!. This magazine has become an important source of documentation and information for media and for students. According to the information provided to OSCE by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Moldova and by the Youth Helsinki Citizens' Assembly of Moldova, “Holocaust victims are commemorated mainly by NGOs. On one such day, a memorial was open in Balti, and extra-curricular activities were organized in Edinet. There is no Holocaust museum in Moldova, but periodic exhibitions are organized by the History Museum in Moldova.” (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, p. 87).

The IOM’s Humanitarian and Social Programme (HSP) was established in 2002 to provide assistance to Roma, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexual and disabled victims of Nazipersecution. In 2006, more than 2,300 elderly and needy Roma Holocaust survivors in Moldova have benefited from HSP assistance since 2003. IOM provided basic assistance, including food, firewood, coal, hygienic supplies, but also medical aid to victims in Moldova and in another 16 European countries. Nearly 74,000 people were assisted through the programme. But that is only half of those who needed it. At least another 75,000 Holocaust victims haven’t been reached. The humanitarian assistance IOM and its partners have been able to provide to those it reached was not just a lifeline, but also the first formal recognition of their suffering in more than 60 years.

Organisations that are involved in Holocaust or Roma issues:
Youth Helsinki Citizens' Assembly of Moldova
Antifascist Democratic Alliance of Moldova
“The Voice of The Romas” Coalition, which includes 17 NGOs consecrated to the Roma community
National Centre of the Roma
Association of Roma Women “Juvlia Romani”
The Youth Association “Terminatango-Rroma”
The Ethno-Socio-Cultural and Educative Association “Bahtalo Rom”
The Social Movement of the Roma in Moldova
Scientific and Cultural Association “Elita Romani”
Roma Youth Union “Tarna-Rom”
Socio-Cultural Society “Roma Traditions”
Roma Association of Republic of Moldova “Rubin”
Association of the Roma Students
Roma Association “Rebirth”
Roma Community Association of Ciadir-Lunga
Roma Community Association of Comrat
“Ama Roma” Association
Roma Association “Nord”
Roma Traditions
“Ciocanari Roma” Association
5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies
Survivors’ testimonies can be found in:
  • Cioaba, L. (2006). Deportarea în Transnistria. Mărturii. Sibiu: Ed. Neo Drom
  • Ioanid, R., Kelso, M. and Cioaba, L. (2009). Tragedia Romilor Deportati in Transnistria 1942-1945. Iasi: Polirom.

The story of Stefan Lupaco, Roma Holocaust survivor can be read on the International Organisation for Migrations website. He receives assistance from the Humanitarian and Social Programme for the victims of Nazi persecution. The assistance is composed of food package, some winter clothing, medicine and a load of coal.