Left to right: Entrance to Putsuntei; memorial to World War II dead; Regis Chapman (right) with
Putsuntei's then-mayor Feodor Ghincu and his three children at their home.
In 1997, Regis Chapman, an employee of the State of Virginia with an avid interest in Jewish history, went on a two-week trip to Moldova. Prior to leaving, he posted a message on the JewishGen email list, volunteering to visit the ancestral towns in Moldova of those who contacted him. He was given information about the Sheinfeld family and asked to go to Putsuntei, where he spent several hours and took photographs of the town. He also knocked on the door of the town’s then-mayor, Feodor Ghincu, who invited him to lunch and told him about the fate of Putsuntei's Jewish community. [Note: Chapman also was briefed about the Waxman-Cohen-Einbinder family and visited Kalarash in 1997. The photographs he took are posted on the Kalarash Home Page and Kalarash Today (1997).]
New homes built on the site of what once had been known as "the street of
the Jews." On the far right is the foundation of what is believed to have been the synagogue.
Chapman reported that Putsuntei was situated on a hilltop and that it still was a small agricultural village, with a population of no more than 1000 people. There was a street in town known as "the street of the Jews," where the Jews had lived before World War II (and where the Sheinfelds probably had lived as well). All of the buildings on that street had been set afire by the Nazis in 1942 and the street had lain desolate for decades. In one of the photographs Regis took, a large foundation is noticeable, which may have been the location of the synagogue. When Regis visited the town in 1997, new housing was being built on what once had been known as "the street of the Jews," which in 1997 was regarded as "the choicest location in town."
Mayor Ghincu told Chapman that about 700 Jews from Putsuntei and nearby towns had been rounded up during an einsatzgruppen aktion in 1942. They had been taken to Vaprova, a village on a hilltop about a mile from Putsuntei. They had been lined up along the top of the hill and shot, their bodies left to fall into the ravine below. Mayor Ghincu said that human bones occasionally were found in that area --- a macabre memorial to the Bessarabian Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
Views of the hilltop where the Jews of Putsuntei were murdered by the Nazis in 1942.
Two Jewish women were hidden by non-Jewish neighbors during the aktion and survived. Neither ever married or had children and they remained in Putsuntei until they died. There no longer are any Jews living in the town.
Credits: Page design copyrighted © 2008 by Helene Kenvin. Text by Jerrold Landau, edited by Helene Kenvin. Photographs copyrighted © 1997 by Regis Chapman. Page created by Helene Kenvin. All rights reserved.