Petreşti (Petresht, Petreshty) / Ungheni | Ungheni

/ Ion B., born in 1928 :   “One day, when I was watching over our vineyard, I saw the shooting of Jews in a ravine, not far from the village”. © Victoria Bahr - Yahad-In Unum Ion B., born in 1928 :  “I saw a group of Jews near the ravine. They were standing in a line and they were attached one to another. There were mainly adults, men and women, in the group.” © Victoria Bahr - Yahad-In Unum Ion B., born in 1928, brought the YIU’s team to the ravine at the outskirts of Petreşti where Romanian gendarmes executed 20-30 Jews in July 1941. © Victoria Bahr - Yahad-In Unum Ion B., born in 1928 :  “The mayor of the village was present on the execution site, as well as the chief of the local post office. They were standing there, with hands in their pockets, watching the shooting.” © Victoria Bahr - Yahad-In Unum A ravine near the village of Petreşti where the victims of 20-30 Jews from Ungheni, executed in 1941 by Romanian gendarmes, remain until this day. There is no marker or memorial commemorating the victims. © Victoria Bahr - Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews from Ungheni in Petreşti

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Ion B., born in 1928: “There were two Jewish families living in Petrești before the war, as well as one Jewish man who had converted to Christianity at the age of 30. He did it because he wanted to marry a Moldovan girl, which he did in the end. In 1941, he was deported to Siberia. He was taken from his house by some soldiers, he left everything behind: his farm, his cattle. Two other locals were deported with him that day. The two Jewish families I mentioned before were traders. Each of them owned a shop in Petrești. They managed to flee from the village before the arrival of the Romanians. They fled to Pîrlița, a nearby village. I don’t know what happened to them during the war.” (Eyewitness N°187Mo, interviewed in Petrești, on November 23, 2014)

Soviet archives

« In July 1941, I don’t remember the exact day, I was grazing sheep in a field. At around 2-3am, the sheep dogs started to bark and I heard footsteps on the road from Petrești to Medeleni. I looked and saw a group of 30 Jews lined up in front of a ravine near the road, about 1km from Petrești. They were being shot. I couldn’t see who was shooting them because it was dark. Some time after the shooting, when the gunshots had stopped, I went to the place where the gunshots were coming from. I saw a few corpses in their underwear at the bottom of the ravine. A few hours later, in the morning, two Romanian soldiers came to my house to ask me for a shovel, and they asked me to follow them, which I did. When I got to the ravine, I saw several people who had been shot, around 30 of them, some of whom were still alive. I also saw two inhabitants of our village digging a pit to bury the corpses. I know the victims were Jews because when I was there, two Jews who had managed to escape the day before were brought back and shot. One of these two Jews was from Ungheni. » [Deposition given by Filipp G., born in 1889, to the Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on December 14, 1944; RG 22.002M: GARF 7021-96-81]

Historical note

Petreşti is a village in the Ungheni region, in western Moldova. In 1930, 1,390 of Ungheni’s 3,253 residents were Jews. According to YIU witness Ion B., born in 1928, two Jewish families lived in Petreşti before the outbreak of the Second World War. Both families owned shops in the village. The names of the heads of those Jewish families were Icyk and Bencion. There was also a Jewish man who converted to Christianity to be able to marry a local Moldovan woman. He was a farmer. He owned a piece of land and some cattle and he was the mayor of the village.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

According to Ion B., born in 1928, the Jewish mayor who had converted to Christianity was deported to Siberia in 1941 with two other local men. When the Romanian occupation started in July 1941, two other Jewish families left Petreşti and fled to the nearby village of Pîrlița. Their fate remains unknown.

In July 1941, a shooting was carried out by the Romanian soldiers in the ravine about 1km from Petreşti on a group of Jews. A group of 20-30 of them was brought by Romanian gendarmes in the direction of Medeleni village to a ravine located at the outskirts of Petreşti. According to Ion, the victims were tied up with a barbed wire and attached to each other. The two shooters, Romanian gendarmes, would approach the victims, untie them, and bring them one by one to the edge of the ravine where they would shoot them with rifles. According to Soviet archives, the bodies of the victims were buried by requisitioned locals at the execution site after the shooting. The mass grave remains today, with no memorial at the site.



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