Vartejeni Colonie ?
47' 59" 28' 33"
Transit camp for Jews in Bessarabia.
The Fate of the Native Jewish Population.
Vertujeni was established in August 1941 in the village of that name - a predominantly Jewish place on the Romanian bank of the Dniester, 6 miles (10 km) from Soroca. In 1930 its Jewish population was 1,843, or 91 percent of the total; most of the Jews were farmers. When the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, many Jews fled in horse - drawn carriages across the river to Soviet territory. Those Jews who remained disappeared without leaving any trace; most probably they were killed. Their houses were looted by their Romanian neighbors from the nearby villages.
The Establishment of the Camp.
In early August 1941, the military authorities decided on Vertujeni as the site of a transit camp, because of its location and because it was a Jewish village. The first Jews brought to the camp were those who had tried to escape from the German and Romanian armies and had been driven back from the Ukraine by German forces. Some thirteen thousand Jews were packed into the camp on August 17, 1941. The following day another four thousand Jews were brought from Lipicani, and on August 21 several thousand more were imprisoned in the camp, survivors of the first wave of killings by the Romanian army in a number of small camps and villages in the Soroca district. The camp now had twenty - six thousand Jews.
Conditions in the Camp.
Only a few housing structures were available in the camp, and the drinking water was not adequate. The average daily death toll was one hundred and seventy, the victims succumbing to hunger, thirst, disease, and exhaustion. Alexandru Constantinescu, the camp commandant, would not accept the existing policy of deliberately causing the Jews to die and resigned from his post. His successor, Col. Vasile Agapie; Agapie's deputy, Capt. Sever Buradescu; and Ioan Mihaiescu, an official of the National Bank of Romania who was posted to the camp to supervise the confiscation of valuables, had no such compunctions. They harassed and tortured the Jews, withheld water and food from them, personally killed Jews, raped women, seized Jewish property and valuables for their own benefit, and devised means of torture to force the Jews to surrender any remaining valuables in their possession.
Transfer to Transnistria.
On September 10, 1941, an order was received by the camp administration to deport the Jews on foot to Transnistria, at the rate of 1,600 per day. An additional, confidential, order, addressed to the camp commandant in person, ordered him to shoot the Jews while they were en route there. In accordance with these orders, two columns of Jews left Vertujeni every day for Rezina and Cosauti, each column numbering 800 persons. The last group left Vertujeni on October 6. The roads leading to the Dniester were filled with the corpses of Jews who had been shot; thousands of them were eventually buried in acommon grave in the Cosauti Forest. The camp officials, Agapie, Buradescu, and Mihaiescu, were among the first Romanian war criminals to be put on trial, in early 1945. They were sentenced to life imprisonment.
I have found relatives
from Vertujeni by the name of Sveid who I am told started the agricultural
community there. Do you have any additional information about this shtetl other
than the article from the Simon Weisenthal Center about the camp that was
there. My relatives would have been there probably mid 1800's.-Marilyn
Population 1, 834
114 km NNW of Kishinev
Sources: EJ; PHR2; SF