PRESS RELEASE: New Mass Grave of Holocaust Victims Discovered in Romania
PRESS RELEASE: THE ELIE WISEL NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF THE HOLOCAUST IN ROMANIA
New Mass Grave of Holocaust Victims Discovered in Romania
A team of historians and archeologists coordinated by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania recently discovered in the district of Iasi, in northeast Romania a mass grave of Jews who were killed during the Holocaust. The site is located in a forest in the village of Popricani, in the district of Iasi, where German and Romanian troops advanced at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union. The entry of Romania in the war on Nazi Germany’s side was used by the Ion Antonescu regime to begin the ethnic cleansing of the population and to “resolve” through violent means “the Jewish Problem.” The mass murder of the Jews in the Vulturi forest, Popricani, was part of a series of massacres committed by Romanian troops during the summer of 1941 which began with the Pogrom of Iasi at the end of June 1941 and which continued with massacres in Bessarabia and Bucovina.
According to witnesses, the massacre of Popricani was committed by Romanian troops, and at the newly discovered site, over 100 Jews—men, women, children, and the elderly—were allegedly buried. One of the witnesses saw the shooting of the Jews because the soldiers thought that he himself was Jewish and intended to also shoot him. He was spared only when the soldiers were convinced that he was Christian Orthodox.
This is the second location in today’s Romania where a mass grave was discovered. During the fall of 1945, 311 bodies from three mass graves were exhumed in Stanca Roznovanu also in the Iasi District. The victims originated from Sculeni (in today’s Republic of Moldova) and were executed by Regiment 6, Mountain Rangers, which was implicated in the massacre from the Vulturi forest and in other massacres which resulted in mass graves in today’s Republic of Moldova, according to the historian Adrian Cioflanca, the coordinator of the archaeological investigation in Popricani.