Ion Antonescu’s obsession with what he saw as the Bolshevik menace drove his policy towards the Jews. The vast majority of those living in the provinces bordering on, and occupied by, the Soviet Union between 1940 and 1941—Bessarabia and Bukovina—were deported to Transnistria, where more than seventy percent of them were murdered or died of disease and starvation. Ukrainian militias and ethnic German Selbstschutz played a major role in the massacres, the former under the direction of Romanian gendarmes in Bogdanovka camp in the winter of 1941/1942, and the latter, independently, in southeastern Transnistria. This paper, based on the author’s research in the archives and library of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and upon primary sources in Romania, seeks to bring into sharper focus Antonescu’s anti-Semitic actions, thereby highlighting the distinctive nature of the Holocaust in Romania and Antonescu’s part in it.
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By 4 November1942777Jews had been deported from the counties of Iaşi and Timişoară including 182 who wanted to go to the Soviet Union 132 for infringements of the compulsory labor law 452 for Communist activity and 11 for converting to Christianity (Bancoş 2000: 164).
On 12 October1943he addressed a memorandum to the Romanian Government proposing that the deported Jews be brought back to their places of domicile in Romania (Carp 1996: 446–7).