Ghetto in Balti, Moldova
In the 1930s, according to Romanian censuses, 31,900 Jews lived in the Balti district. 14.2 thousand of them lived in Balti. In the city, Jews made up 60% of the local population.
In July 1940, Balti was captured by Soviet troops. Some of the Jews fled from the Soviet occupation, leaving their homes. The Soviet authorities launched an attack on religious Jewish institutions. The Jewish school in Balti was transferred to teaching from Hebrew to Yiddish. Six months after the establishment of Soviet power, repressions began against those who participated in Zionist organizations and people whom the representatives of the Soviet authorities ranked among the bourgeoisie.
With the outbreak of the war, the Romanian and German aircraft destroyed most of the houses in Balti. Part of the Jews from Balti fled to the village of Vlad. On July 7, 1941, local peasants killed them, and the houses in which the Jews were hiding were burned down.
On July 8, 1941, Romanian soldiers between the villages of Taura Veche and Taura Noua stumbled upon a group of 50 Jewish refugees from Balti. They were stripped naked, pushed into a swamp and shot. 8 children were beaten to death. Two Jewish women were spared.
On July 9, 1941, Balti came under the control of German troops. On the first day of the occupation, the Nazis shot 10 Jews. Jewish refugees were forced to return to Balti.
In the period from 10 to 12 July 1941, 76 Jews were executed in the city. It is known that at the beginning of the occupation, the Nazis sent 250 men, 345 women and 218 children to a camp in southern Romania.
The invaders created a 12-person Judenrat in Balti, headed by Bernard Walter. In mid-July 1941, the Gestapo (Secret State Police) demanded that members of the Judenrat draw up a list of 20 Jewish communists to be executed. The Judenrat did not draw up the lists, and for the failure to comply with the order of the occupation authorities, 450 Jews, among whom were members of the Judenrat, were shot. The shootings were carried out by members of the Einsatzkommando 11 a.
On July 16, 1941, another 20 Jews were executed. The Nazis in the courtyard of the Bank of Moldova branch kept the remaining Jews of Balti. In the city, all Jewish gravestones in the cemetery were destroyed in order to erase the traces of Jews in Balti.
At the end of July 1941, the Nazis transferred Balti under the control of the Romanian authorities. The remaining Jews (2.8 thousand people) were transported by the Romanian military in September to a camp located 12 km from Balti. Many prisoners died of hunger and disease. The prisoners were forbidden to buy food from the peasants.
From September to November, the Romanian authorities deported Jews from Balti, who were held in a camp, to Transnistria.