Prelude to Mass Murder: The Pogrom in Iaşi, Romania, June 29, 1941 and Thereafter
June 29, 1941. The beginning of the murder of about 15,000 Jews in Iaşi, one third of the city’s Jews, in riots instigated by the fascist Romanian regime of Ion Antonescu. This was but a prelude to the genocide of the Jews of Romania. The thousands of Jews who remained alive in the city were crowded into two “death trains” and deported, with most dying of hunger and thirst. This pogrom was hushed up for about 50 years, until Jean Ancel tracked down the documents, despite being shadowed by Romanian secret police, and the whitewashing and concealment by all of Romania’s post-war regimes. As a one-year-old, Ancel survived the riots, while most of the men in his extended family were murdered. A brilliant scholar, his life mission was to reconstruct the history of the crimes perpetrated against the Jews of Romania during World War II, collect materials on the slaughter at Iaşi, and bring the story of this shocking event of human suffering to light.