Hirişeni | Telenești

/ Father Patrick Desbois and YIU’s team interviewing Gavril B., born in 1930 in Hirișeni. © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Vassil C., born in 1931 :   “One day, the Jewish men were caught, attached to each other and shot in the ravine by locals. Women with children were gathered in a house and shot the next day.”© Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Gheorghe I., born in 1930 :   “I saw the Jews from Hirișeni being shot in a ravine. They were brought there on foot. It was a beautiful, sunny day (…)” © Kate Kornberg - Yahad-In Unum Gavril B., born in 1930 :  “When I came to the execution site, I saw Marcus Groïsman, he was still alive. He asked me to untie him but I was chased away by a Moldovan while trying.”  © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Gavril B., born in 1930, brought Father Patrick Desbois and YIU’s team to the mass grave of several dozen Jews.   © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Gavril B., born in 1930:  “When I approached the ravine and looked inside, I saw bodies covered with blood. One of the victims was still moving. I wanted to give him some water.”© Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Father Desbois in the ravine on the outskirts of Hirișeni, at the mass grave of several dozen Jews from Hirișeni. © Kate Kornberg- Yahad-In Unum

Execution of the Jews of Hirişeni

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Valley
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944

Witness interview

Gavril B., born in 1930: “One summer day, some people of the village seized local Jews. I was with a friend. I saw Jews from the village, a large group of men and women, no children, being brought in by villagers, several armed men in their thirties. The Jews in the column were attached to each other (…) The column stopped near a well which was located about an hour’s walk from the village. The villagers drew water from the well which was given to the Jews. Once they finished drinking, the column left in the direction of a big ravine. A few minutes later, we heard gunshots.” (Witness N°52, interviewed in Hirişeni, on December 1, 2012)

Moldovan/Romanian Archives

« On the way back to Telenești, the accused passed through Raspopeni village where the women were left with the children after the men were executed. Here, the accused Minca, gave orders to take all the women and children who survived to Hirişeni. On the road, he gave orders to shoot all the Jews, […] After several days, a communal guard informed him that there was a group of Jews who were back in the Brăviceni village with a cart and a huge amount of luggage. Straveche Grigore gave orders to Dinu Panait to pick up some officers and meet them. Then, they shot them.» [Securitatea Republicii Moldova (SRI); RG-25.004M]

Historical note

Hirișeni is a village in Telenești District in Central Moldova. Before the outbreak of WWII, there were mainly Moldovan and Jewish families living in Hirișeni. Jews were mainly merchants and they owned several shops in the village. YIU’s witness Gheorghe I., born in 1931, remembers that if the villagers had no money, the Jews exchanged crops against products. He also claims that the relationships between the Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of the village were friendly. Another witness, Vassil C., born in 1931, remembered his Jewish neighbor, Mr. Moshe Groisman and his family, three sons: Marcus, Shlioma, Srulia and one daughter, Golda. Mr. Groisman’s family owned a shop selling food and clothes.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

With little available information about the killings in Hirișeni, and thanks to the testimonies of the witnesses collected during two investigation trips conducted by YIU’s team in the Telenești region, we managed to reconstruct the course of the massacre of Hirișeni’s Jews. When the Romanian soldiers arrived in the village, they established a gendarmerie post there, with a local Moldovan man as its chief and two other Moldovans as gendarmes. According to YIU’s witnesses, they were the ones to give the order to kill the local Jews. First, accompanied by some locals, they would go from house to house in order to arrest all the Jewish men. Those arrested were tied up and brought to the execution site. In the meantime, Jewish women and children were gathered and imprisoned in a local house. Jewish men were shot by the perpetrators the same day, in a ravine on the outskirts of the village. Vassil C., born in 1931, went to the execution site after the shooting and saw that Marcus Groisman, his neighbor’s son, was still alive. Some children tried to untie him, but “one of the Moldovans chased them away insulting them.” Women and children were shot the next day outside the village.

After the German-Romanian occupation, when the Russians arrived in the village, some of the local men who perpetrated the shooting of Jews from Hirișeni were put on trial and imprisoned.

 

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