2 Execution site(s)
Vasili recalls: "I saw a column of Jews passing through the center of the village of Scaieni heading in the direction of Soroca. They numbered about 300 or 400. There were women, men and children among them. Some were walking on foot, but there were also about a dozen carts which were driven by villagers. They stopped in the field on the outskirts of the village. They wanted to cook something to eat but the Romanians didn’t let them. About thirty people at the front of the column were killed as they could not move forward at the entrance of the village, near the bridge." (Eyewitness N°80, interviewed in Scăieni, on May 12, 2013)
Scăieni is a village in Donduşeni district in northern Moldova. In 1930, there were about twenty Jews living in Scăieni among 2,414 mainly Moldovans and Slav inhabitants. Some of Scăieni’s Jews were merchants and owned shops. YIU’s witness Vasile B., born in 1921, remembers his Jewish neighbors, Pinkaus and Ianko. Jews from the village would go to synagogue in Briceva, about 16km away. In 1930, the Jews in Briceva numbered 2,431, almost 89% of the total population, making Briceva one of the most important Jewish communities in Donduşeni district. There were several synagogues In Briceva, a Jewish cemetery, several cheders and a bathhouse.
When WWII broke out, at least three mass shootings of Jews took place in Scăieni. The first mass shooting was of local Jews taking place after the arrival in the village of Romanian troops, most probably in July 1941. The Romanians assembled all the local Jews and shot them at a field in a valley on the outskirts of the village. Vasile B., born in 1921 remembers that the Jewish men were the first ones to be shot, among them Pinkaus and Ianko. Then, the Romanian perpetrators shot the remaining women and children. Vasile remembers that some Jewish children would jump into the pit to reach their dead or wounded parents.
The second and third shootings took place a few days apart, at the same execution site in fall, 1941.
At that time, three columns of several hundred Jews were passing through Scăieni. The first column was brought by Romanian gendarmes from the direction of Tirnova, and the second one came from the direction of Lipcani. According to Vasili C., born in 1929, some of those Jews might have been from Briceva. The Jews from both columns who were considered too weak to continue to walk, were shot by the gendarmes and several local men in the valley near the execution site of the Jews from Scăieni, on the outskirts of the village. Vasile B., born in 1921 witnessed both those executions. He remembers that the Jews who had been selected for the shooting had to undress near the well. From there, they were taken to the pit that had been dug by the requisitioned premilitaries and shot. The local shooters then robbed their victims’ belongings.
After the shootings, the columns continued on their way to Transnistria.
The bodies of the victims were buried by the requisitioned premilitaires in two mass graves near the road that leads to Tirnova.
Today, there is no memorial for the Jewish victims murdered in several mass shootings near Scăieni in July and autumn 1941.
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