Chișinău Ghetto

Measuring Human Suffering

Authors of the project: Cristina Savin, Andrei Arpenti and Daniil Grosu

The project sought to describe the human suffering and present the ordeal over 11,000 Jews from Chișinău went through by utilizing surviving evidence and memories. The authors’ purpose is to preserve the memory of those events to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

The project’s presentation takes the form of a video (23 minutes) and is structured in three parts focusing on the events that took place in the summer of 1941 and how they were perceived and described by the eyewitnesses. The first part shows the moment of the Ghetto’s creation through the memories of a particular survivor, Samuel Aroni, still alive today. In his book, as well as in one of his interviews, he talks about how the Jews from Chișinău and its suburbs were concentrated in the lower part of the city. He talks about the starvation, the lack of basic living conditions in the Ghetto and the forced labor to which the Jews were subjected. Another eyewitness, lawyer Schneider testifies about the executions and daily tortures to which the Jews were subjected by the Romanian troops.

The second part of the movie is about the mass executions of the Jews from August 1941: the Calea Orheiului (700 people), Visterniceni (411 people) and Ghidighici (325 people) massacres, retold through the personal memories of such eyewitnesses as Jacob A. Hiculov, Mihail Apotheker, and the young Aizic and Elena Rivceac.

The third part of the movie presents images and information about the Jewish cemetery in Chișinău, which is in a deplorable state today. The film also shows excerpts from documentaries about Chișinău in World War II and the Holocaust in Bessarabia, as well as from the interrogation of SS war criminal Otto Ohlendorf during the Nuremberg trials.