WARNING: This blog post has some graphic information in it concerning Holocaust atrocities. Some of this information was found on The Jerusalem Post website and Wikipedia.
January 21-23, 1941, were days of horrible brutality, torture and murder in Bucharest, Romania. It was during these days that local Jewish people were attacked, tortured, raped and killed.
The Bucharest pogrom was not a side effect of the rebellion, but a parallel event, purposefully organized to give legitimacy to the rebellion and to equate the Legionnaires’ opponents with Jewish sympathizers. Many parties took part in the riots against the Jews: police officers loyal to the Legionnaires, various Legionnaire organizations, the workers’ union, student union, high-school students, Roma and Sinti, and criminals. I think it is very important to recognize that these events were not carried out by one group. It shows the level of anti-semitism of the time. One of the most disturbing and horrific events occurred on January 23rd.
On 23 January, a few hours before the rebellion was put down, a group of Legionnaires selected 15 Jews at random. They took them in trucks to the local slaughterhouse, where they were shot. Five of the Jews, including a five-year-old girl, were hung on the slaughterhouse’s hooks, still alive. They were tortured, their bellies cut and their entrails hung around their necks in a parody of the kosher slaughter of cattle. The bodies were labeled with a disgraceful use of the term “kosher”. There were a total of 60 bodies found in the slaughterhouse and a total of approximately 125 Jewish people killed.
This stop, arranged by our Team Leader George Popa and team member Daniel, made a great impact on each of us. As we prayed and shed tears, we couldn’t help but think about the last days which are to come.