Olăneşti (Olneshty, Oleneshty, Oleneshti) | Ștefan Vodă

/ On the streets of the village © Victoria Bahr / Yahad-In Unum The Yahad team during the interview at the witness’s house © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The field where a shooting of Jews took place. © Victoria Bahr /Yahad-In Unum Pavel C., born in 1926, points to the riverside where he helped the Jews to cross the river. © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Pavel C., born in 1926, pulled the Jews’ boats over the Dniester alongside 7 – 12 other boys. © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum The remains of the former synagogue. © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum A former Jewish house. © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Mihai  C., born in 1927 recalls: “The bodies were left unburied and were mauled by wolves, boars and foxes.” © Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Ion N., born in 1923, was in the vineyards when he saw the shooting with his own eyes. © Victoria Bahr / Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Olăneşti

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
16 families

Witness interview

Pavel K., born in 1926, helped the Jews to evacuate across the Dniester: “Some Jews tried to flee because the Germans had started to exterminate them. The Jews throughout all Moldova tried to flee to Russia. In the village, close to the river banks, there were two barges pulled with ropes. There were so many Jews that they had to line up to cross the river. The line spread from the riverbank to the village center. In order to cross the river, the Jews, sometimes even with their carts, were loaded on to the barges and them someone pulled with a metal cable. The barge was rather big. Up to 3-4 carts could fit on one barge.
Y.U : Was the barge attached to the posts on both sides?
W : They were attached on one side. (Witness n° 140M, interviewed in Olăneşti, on August 20, 2013)

Soviet archives

“[…] In August 1941, by order of the head of the gendarmerie post Luka K. or his non-commissioned officer, 15 Jewish families were arrested. Two of the last 5 families were crucified after having suffered inhuman torture. The names of these last people couldn’t be identified. The others were shot on the Oleneshty-Akkerman path […].” [Act of Soviet Extraordinary Commission, drawn up on January 11, 1945; 22.002M.7021-96/84-85]

Historical note

Olăneşti is a town, located on the banks of the Dniester River, about 115 km southeast of Chisinau. According to the census of 1930, there were 110 Jews living in the town.  According to Yahad-In Unum’s research, Jews lived all throughout the town before the war. Some of them were shop owners. They sold different commodities, like rice, sugar, as well as fabric.   There was a synagogue.  At the beginning of the war, some Jewish men were enrolled in the Soviet army. There were also those who evacuated with boats across the Dniester with the help of the non-Jewish population. The town was occupied by Germans and Romanians in the middle of summer 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Little is known from the archives about the fate of the Olanesti Jews.  The execution of the Jews started in August 1941 and was carried out by Romanian gendarmes. According to eyewitness n°141, interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were taken from their houses directly to the killing site. They were shot, in their clothing, on the bare ground. Their corpses were buried afterwards. Prior to the execution, some Jews were subjected to inhuman torture. From the archives, it is known that 2 Jewish families were tortured and crucified. Unfortunately, during their research, Yahad could not find any witness who were able to confirm or deny this statement.


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