1941 Odessa massacre
The Odessa massacre is the name given to the mass murder of Jewish population of Odessa and surrounding towns in the Transnistria Governorate during the autumn of 1941 and winter of 1942 while under Romanian control.
Depending on the accepted terms of reference and scope, the Odessa massacre refers either to the events of October 22–24, 1941 in which some 25,000 to 34,000 Jews were shot or burned, or to the murder of well over 100,000 Ukrainian Jews in the town and the areas between the Dniester and Bug rivers, during the Romanian and German occupation.
Before the massacre
Before the war, Odessa had a large Jewish population of approximately 180,000, or 30% of the city's total population. By the time the Romanians had taken the city, between 80,000 and 90,000 Jews remained, the rest having fled or been evacuated by the Soviets. As the massacres occurred, Jews from surrounding villages were concentrated in Odessa and Romanian concentration camps set up in the surrounding areas.
On October 16, following a two-month siege, the Germans and Romanians captured Odessa. A time-delayed bomb placed by the Soviets detonated on the 22nd in the Romanian headquarters, killing 67 people including General Ion Glogojanu, the Romanian commander, 16 other Romanian officers and four German naval officers.
Mass killings of hostages and Jews on October 22–24
Destruction of the Romanian commandant's office
October 22, 1941, in the building of the NKVD on the Marazlievskaya street, in which the Romanian military commandant's office and the headquarters of the Romanian 10th Infantry Division settled down to occupy the city, there was an explosion of a radio-controlled mine planted there by the sappers of the Red Army even before the surrender of the city by Soviet troops. As a result of a powerful explosion, the building collapsed. Under the rubble, 67 people were killed, including 16 officers, among whom was the Romanian commandant of the city, General Ion Glogojanu. Responsibility for the explosion was placed on the Jews and Communists.
The execution of hostages
In response to the explosion of the commandant's office, the Romanian troops and the German "Einsatzgruppe" that arrived in Odessa on October 23 conducted an action to destroy from 5,000 to 10,000:151 hostages, many of whom were Jews.
Across the street Marazlievskaya occupiers broke into the apartments of Odessa citizens and all the residents found, without exception, were shot or hanged. They raided the streets and markets of the city, in the suburbs; people who did not know anything about the terrorist attack were shot directly at the site of raids on the walls of houses or fences. Nearly a hundred men were seized and shot at the Big Fountain, about two hundred people were hanged in the Slobodka neighborhood near the market, 251 residents were executed in Moldavanka, Near and Far Windmills and in Aleksandrovsky Prospekt about four hundred townspeople were hanged. The columns of the captured hostages were driven to Lustdorf Road, to the area of artillery warehouses already mentioned, where they were shot or burned alive.:145
The beginning of the Holocaust
On October 23 an order was issued in which all Jews were threatened with death on the spot and ordered to report to the village of Dalnik on October 24. In the afternoon of October 24, about 5,000 Jews were gathered near the outpost of Dalnik. The first 50 people were brought to the anti-tank ditch and personally shot by the commander of the 10th machine-gun battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolai Delian.
Military Command of the mountains. Odessa brings to the attention of the population of Odessa and its environs that after the terrorist act committed against the Military Command on October 22, on the day of October 23, 1941, were shot: for every officer and civilian official of the Germanic or Romanian 200 Bolsheviks, and for every German soldier or Romanian on 100 Bolsheviks. Taken hostage, which, if repeated such acts, will be shot together with their families.— Commander of troops:Hor. Odessa, General General, Head of the Military Police, Hor. Odessa lieutenant colonel M. Niculescu
To speed up the process of destruction, the Jews were driven into four barracks, in which holes were made for machine guns, and the floor was pre-filled with gasoline. People in two barracks were shot with machine guns on the same day. At 17:00 barracks were set on fire. The next day, the detainees were shot, placed in the remaining two barracks, and one of the barracks was thrown with grenades.
Meanwhile, Jews who did not get into the first group, who had already arrived in Dalnik, were announced that they were "forgiven". They were sent to various commandant's offices and police stations for "registration", where they were kept for a different time; when they were released, it turned out that their houses were occupied and the property was plundered.
The registration, made by the Romanian administration in late 1941, revealed in Odessa about 60 thousand Jews. To this number belonged also those persons, in which only one of the ancestors on the male or female line was a Jew. Jews had to wear a special distinctive badge: a yellow hexagon on a black background.
The finale of their existence in Odessa began on November 7, 1941, when an order was issued obliging all male Jews from 18 to 50 years to appear in a city prison.
Art. 1 All men of Jewish origin, aged 18 to 50 years, are obliged within 48 hours from the date of publication of this order to appear in the city prison (Bolshefontanskaya road), having with them the essentials for existence. Their families are obliged to deliver food to them in prison. Those who did not obey this order and found after the expiration of the indicated 48-hour period will be shot on the spot.
Art. 2 All residents of the city of Odessa and its suburbs are required to notify the relevant police units of every Jew of the above category who has not complied with this order.Coverers, as well as persons who know about this and do not report, are punishable by death.— Head of the Military Police: Hor. Odessa lieutenant colonel M. Niculescu
From that day on, the entire Jewish population of the city was sent by parties to various concentration camps, organized by Romanians in the countryside, primarily to the village of Bogdanovka (now in the Mykolayiv region). Later, the ghetto was arranged in Odessa itself.:172
The Romanian administration took measures to seize the property of future victims. In mid - November, a new order was issued clarifying the authorities' demands for Jews. In it, in particular, it was said::171
... All persons of Jewish origin are obliged at the registration of the Military Command or police officials to voluntarily declare all their precious objects, stones and metals. Those guilty of violating this order will be punished with the death penalty
By the middle of December, about 55 thousand Jews were gathered in Bogdanovka (some of them were not from Odessa). From December 20, 1941 to January 15, 1942, all of them were shot by a team of the Einsatzgruppe SS, Romanian soldiers, Ukrainian police and local German colonists.
A month later, a march of death of 10,000 Jews was organized in three concentration camps in Gault.
In january 1942, about 35-40 thousand Jews left in Odessa were evicted in the ghetto, organized on January 10, 1942 in the poor area of Slobodka. The evicted were there in conditions of incredible crowding, there was not enough housing for everyone, people were in the open air in the winter, which led to a mass mortality from hypothermia. In the ghetto, they were collected only in order to already from it to be deported further, to the rural concentration camps.
From January 12 to February 20, 1942, the remaining 19,582 Jews were deported to the Bereza district of the Odessa region. They were transported in unheated echelons, many died on the road. In Berezovka parties were made, which went on foot to Orphanage, Domanevka, Bogdanovka, Gault and other concentration camps. Many people, not getting there, were dying of hunger and cold along the way. The guards, which consisted of Romanian soldiers and German colonists, arranged, during the journey, mass executions of Jews. In 18 months almost all the prisoners of Golta died.
The survivors of the Holocaust
In a better situation there were Jews who were sent to work in the village: about half of them survived the occupation. The situation in the ghetto of Domanevka and other ghettos in Transnistria improved in 1943 after the Jews began to receive assistance from Jewish organizations in Romania. About 600 Odessa residents in these ghettos lived to be released. Several hundred Jews who were hiding in Odessa itself also survived. Jews participated in the struggle of the Odessa underground and constituted a significant part of the guerrilla units, based in the Odessa catacombs.
Trials and punishment of the main perpetrators
At the Bucharest People's Tribunal, set up in 1946 by the new Romanian government in conjunction with the Allied Control Council, one of the charges brought against Prime Minister Ion Antonescu, the Governor of Transnistria Gheorghe Alexianu and the commander of the Odessa garrison, General Nicolae Macici, was «the organization of repressions against the civilian population of Odessa autumn of 1941». For these crimes, they were sentenced to death. The first two were shot on July 1, 1946, and Nicolai Macici, King Michael replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment.
In response to the appeal of the verdict filed by the son of Gheorghe Alexianu, on November 5, 2006 the Appeals Chamber of Bucharest confirmed the verdict of war criminals to death, dated May 17, 1946. In response to the appeal filed by the Prosecutor General, on May 6, 2008 the case was re-examined and the judges of the Supreme Court of Cassation finally rejected the application for revision of the 1946 sentence.
Perpetuation of memory
Memorial in Prokhorovsky square
In the early 1990s, in Odessa, in the Prokhorovsky Square, in the very place where the "road of death" of Odessa Jews and Gypsies to the extermination camps began on the outskirts of the city in 1941, a memorial commemorating the victims of the Holocaust began. A memorial sign was installed. Later, he added the «Alley of the Righteous Among the World» - with trees, each of which was planted in honor of the Odessa resident, who harbored and saved the Jews. The monument to the victims of the Holocaust in Odessa by the sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, which is the completion of the design of the complex, was opened in 2004.
The Holocaust Museum in Odessa
The Museum of the Holocaust in Odessa was created in accordance with the decision of the Council of the Odessa Regional Association of Jews - former prisoners of the ghetto and Nazi concentration camps. The chairman of the association is Shvartsman Roman. The opening of the museum took place on June 22, 2009.
In January 2015, the authorities of the Italian town of Cheriano-Lagetto, in the province of Monza-e-Brianza, in the Lombardy region, decided to name one of the squares of the city (opposite the Main post office) «Martyrs Square of Odessa» in memory of the victims of the occupation regimes in Odessa - Jews killed October 22–24, 1941, as well as anti-Maidan, rescuers and accidental victims who died on May 2, 2014 in the Odessa Trade Union House during the political crisis in Ukraine.
On May 2, 2015, on the first anniversary of the events in the House of Trade Unions, a commemorative monument dedicated to the «Martyrs of Odessa» was opened on this square. The monument is a tongue of flame with a silhouette of a dove, a symbol of the world, inside them.
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