Historical Context

The 19th Century

1930The 1930 Romanian census recorded 728,115 persons who identified themselves as Jewish, comprising approximately 4 percent of the population.
1940 With the fall of France in June 1940, Nazi Germany supported the revisionist demands for Romanian territory of the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
1940 During the summer and autumn of 1940, Romania lost about 30 percent of its territory and population.
Even before Romania fell into the orbit of Nazi Germany, Romanian authorities pursued a policy of harsh, persecutory antisemitism—particularly against Jews living in eastern borderlands, who were falsely associated with Soviet communism, and those living in Transylvania, who were identified with past Hungarian rule.
On November 20, 1940, Romania formally joined the Axis alliance.

Romania and the Nazi-Soviet War, 1941–44


Led by Antonescu, Romania participated fully in the German Invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Within days of the invasion, Romanian authorities staged a pogrom against the Jewish population in the city of Iasi, the regional capital of Moldavia. Romanian police officials shot hundreds of Jews in the courtyard of police headquarters. Hundreds more were killed on the streets or in their homes.
Between 1941 and 1944, German and Romanian authorities murdered or caused the deaths of between 150,000 and 250,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews in Transnistria.


Cultural Context


Salvaged Pages 

  • A collection of diaries written by young people, ages 12 to 22, during the Holocaust. Some of the writers were refugees, others were hiding or passing as non-Jews, some were imprisoned in ghettos, and nearly all perished before liberation.

  • Resources include art created by the diarists, diary entries, documents, political cartoons, and personal objects from the diarists and their families.



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Casey Nixon ’19

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