2 Execution site(s)
Filip C., born in 1930: “The day they shot the Jews, I was grazing my cows with my neighbor. Suddenly, my cousin came to the pasture and she told me to go back home. On my way home, I saw with my own eyes Romanian soldiers killing a Jewish man from the village, Yosele and a six-year-old girl. She was screaming "Mommy! Mommy!” But, in vain. She was also shot. I continued my way home when I saw many Jewish corpses of those already shot, lying at the site of an old dump. They had been assembled there by the Romanian soldiers before being shot. I saw about forty bodies of men, women, and children. I know that several local people showed the Romanians where the Jews lived. The soldiers shot them with a machine gun. The shooter used a railing as a support. After the shooting, the victims were buried at the execution site.” (Eyewitness N°74, interviewed in Cepeleuţi, on May 10, 2013)
According to the Soviet archives, 189 Jews from Cepeleuţi were killed by several villagers on July 6-7, 1941. Among the victims, were men, women, children, and elderly people. The bodies of the victims were buried in four mass graves:
1st pit: 33 bodies, near the mill and the dam.
2nd pit: 98 bodies, 1.5km west of the village.
3rd pit: 52 bodies, 1.2km west of the village.
4th pit: 6 corpses, in the cattle cemetery, east of the village, near the water mill.
On the 11th of July, 1941, Cepeleuţi was declared “Judenfrei”. [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) in 1944; RG.22-002M: GARF 7021-96-82]
Cepeleuţi is a village and a commune in Edineț District in northern Moldova. In 1930, there were about 200 Jews in Cepeleuţi, living among Moldovan, Russian and Ukrainian inhabitants of the village. The Jews were mainly craftsmen and merchants but some of them worked the land. Ion S., born in 1927 recalls that when the non-Jewish inhabitants needed money, the Jews would buy their crops. Ion remembers that they would send flour to America. Jewish children had their own school in the center of the village. It was a wooden building that was also used as a prayer house. There was a rabbi in Cepeleuţi. Ion remembers a few names of local Jews: Derko, Schmidt, Helmut or Izaak as well as Pavel, a local hairdresser.
When Cepeleuţi was occupied by Romanian army, almost the entire Jewish community was murdered outside the village on July 6-7, 1941. Different available sources reveal an important level of involvement of locals with the crime. According to YIU’s witness Ion S., born in 1927, the Romanians began to assemble the Jews the day after their arrival in the village. They requisitioned three villagers, giving them weapons and orders to pick up the Jews directly from their homes. According to Soviet archives, the local men who collaborated with the Romanians that day were more numerous, and they had a free hand to attack and kill Jews, which they probably did. Jews were gathered in a field, where the so-called local ‘football stadium’ is now. A little further on, the requisitioned men from the village dug a pit in a small valley nearby. According to Ion, the eyewitness of this action, all the Jews gathered in the field were shot there by Romanian soldiers and buried in the pit the next day by requisitioned local men. About fifty Jews were murdered: men, women, and children.
At the same time, another shooting of about forty Jews who lived in a different part of Cepeleuţi was carried out at the other end of the village. The Jews, who were killed there, were shot directly at the edge of a pit that they had dug themselves. Ion remembers that the three local men, who participated in the shooting of the Jews, were deported to Siberia after the war but they returned to the village afterwards.
Today, both mass graves of Jews from Cepeleuţi have no memorial. However, according to Filip C., born in 1930, the bodies of the Jews killed during the second execution described above, were exhumed in 1944 with the arrival of the Soviet army.
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