JewishGen KehilaLinks: Leova


This virtual yizkor book is dedicated to the study of the Jewish History of the town of Leova, Moldova

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LOCATION: 46°29' N, 28°15' E - 100 km SW of Chisinau (Kishinev) on the Prut River
OTHER NAMES: Leova [Rom, Mold, Yid], леово (Leovo) [Rus], Leowa [Ger], Leowo [Pol], Leva, Levo

Leova kindergarten school bus
Children bundled up in winter clothing pose on a horse-drawn
cart with a man near a wooden fence (Leova, 1920)
(Written in Yiddish) "This is how Shaye used to bring the children to kindergarten."

Photo provided by YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


      The river and the rail are the only two modes of safe travel and conveyance in this part of Romania.  In fact the road... does not exist!  There is but a simple dirt track through the vast steppe of corn and wheat, which is difficult to discern when no other travelers are upon it.  The trace of a previous vehicle is recognizable as deep ruts left in the mud as there is no paving.  Trajan, alas! and not Julius Caesar, conquered Dacia.  These dirt tracks crossing marshes and meadows are washed away with the slightest rain.  The roads must constantly be repaired.  Wide and shallow ditches are dug on either side of the dirt tracks to provide more dirt to repair the roads.  However, the rain can turn these ditches into lakes, worsening the ability to travel by road.  When it’s dry one travels amidst a cloud of dust, when it rains the car gets stuck in the mud up to the bumper.  Like a caravan trail in the middle of the Sahara, the Bessarabian road is dotted with dead horses and sheep, which decay in the hot July sun.  To travel by car is folly ten months out of the year...

      ...The streets are like the roads, mere paths, badly defined, either flooded or full of dust. The ground, fortunately, has a slope and is quite permeable. Water is quickly absorbed and the fetid puddles that form when it rains do not remain for long. A task of modernization has been undertaken in recent years. Sidewalks were constructed on the main street and acacia trees were planted. Unfortunately, this concern did not extend to the street surface itself, which has not improved. The street is a common grazing area for geese and pigs that wallow at ease and for large bands of crows from the steppe that fill the air with their mournful cries. No sewers, no gutters. On a rainy day, a large stream zigzags down the middle of the street and one must protect one’s feet with rubber galoshes, that is if one dares to leave the house at all....

     ...Horse-drawn carriages are the vehicle of choice in Leova, which boasts only four cars! Even the bicycle is rarely seen. The typical peasant conveyance is a rectangular box of sorts, mounted on four wheels and drawn by two or three horses.
  • Leova Port Map (1932): Description | 1932 Port Map (1.3 MB) - Special thanks to Mrs. Yocheved Klausner for her assistance in translating this document.
  • Leova City Map (1935) (304 KB)
  • Leova City Map (June 6, 1941) (3.2 MB) - This map was drafted by Otto Wolff, a German Jew from Leova.  In 1940 Otto and his family joined an estimated 93,000 German colonists who were evacuated from Bessarabia to repatriation camps in German held territory.  Shortly after the Wolff family arrived at the repatriation camp in Reid im Innkreis, Austria, Otto was taken away from his family and forced to draw this map. Hear the whole story from Otto's son
  • Leova City Map (November 20, 1941) (4.6 MB) - Professionally drawn map of Leova from the Moldovan State Archives.
  • Leova City Map (1965) (1.2 MB) - This map shows some of the Soviet street names that were used between the end of WWII and 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and Moldova declared independence.
  • Leova City Map (2004) (163 KB) -This map shows the street names that have been used from 1991 to present.  Though the names are again Romanian, only a few streets  were reassigned their pre WWII names.
  • Aerial Photo comparison - Leova 1944 and 2009 (1.4 MB)
  • List property in Leova owned by Jews (with street addresses): Original Romanian (1.0 MB) | English Translation (29 KB) - About one year after the Germans and Romanians invaded Russia, the Romanian administration that governed the town of Leova, put together the following report of how they were exploiting the real estate properties owned by citizens collectively defined as "evacuated". The term "evacuated" refers not only to Jews who either fled or were victims of the Holocaust, but also to Leova residents of German heritage who were voluntarily evacuated between September and November of 1940, and to those who were deported to Siberia and Central Asia by the Soviet authorities in 1940-1941. This report, dated July 31, 1942, lists the name of the former owners of the each real estate property, the street address, the name of the new tenant and the annual rent the new tenant was paying.

  • Rakhel Aizenghendler (1922)
  • Rakhel Aizicovici
  • Rakhel Aksman (1922)
  • Aksman (1921)
  • Ida Balaclav (1939)
  • Adel Beigeldrut (1922)
  • Beniamin Beigeldrut (1938)
  • Etel Beigeldrut (1920)
  • Rakhel Beigeldrut (1925)
  • Sara Beigeldrut (1923)
  • Shmuel Leib Beigeldrut (1921)
  • Yosef Beigeldrut (1922)
  • Risia Blanc (1922)
  • Misha Blinderman
  • Polya Blinderman
  • Shloima Blinderman
  • Blinderman (1921)
  • Yosef Boiangiu
  • Haya Boiangiu née Kogan
  • David Cazac-Auerbuch (1921)
  • Eliezer Cazac
  • David Chiobanu
  • Fani Chiobanu née Scherman
  • Shmuel Cioclea (1938)
  • Shloim Dubin
  • Wife of Shloim Dubin
  • Daughter of Shloim Dubin
  • Ryful Elinger
  • Fayn (1921)
  • Fayn (1921)
  • Yekhiel Fisher (1922)
  • Nissan Fishman (1921)
  • Rivka Fishman née Roshko
  • Shmuel Fishman (1920)
  • Yehudit Fishman (1922)
  • Fokshenianu (1921)
  • Yaakov Frenkle (1922)
  • Frenkle (1921)
  • Rakhel Frukhtman (1922)
  • Mordekhai Genzir (1922)
  • Yosef Genzir (1922)
  • Genzir (1921)
  • Boris Giterman
  • Ichil Glicman (1939)
  • Azriel Gold (1922)
  • Iosif Gold
  • Batia Helberg (1922)
  • Helberg (1921)
  • Hornshtein (1921)
  • Yeshaya Hornshtein (1922)
  • Abraham Hukshtet (1922)
  • D. katz (1922)
  • Dina Katz née Roshko (1938)
  • Rodika Katz née Ghertler (1933)
  • Shloima Kaufman
  • Khaia Kaufman née Iankelzon
  • Kaufman (1921)
  • Rivka Kreizel née Shvartzman
  • Isak Kroiter
  • Lona Kuperman
  • Simkha Kvich
  • Marcel Levenzon (1933)
  • Ilie Lieberman (1921)
  • Mendel Lieberman (1922)
  • Moshe Lieberman (1922)
  • Avraam Mandel (1933)
  • Golda Matis
  • Hersh Matis
  • Berl Matis
  • Eli Matis
  • Favil Matis
  • Fishl Matis
  • Mishel (1921)
  • Mordekhai Perlman (1922)
  • St. Petranka (1922)
  • Leizer Reidel
  • Busia Rozenblat (1933)
  • Yasha Rozenblat (1933)
  • Dina Rubinger (1922)
  • Jaguda Rubinger
  • Moisis Rubinger (1921)
  • Yidl Rubinger (1921)
  • Yaakov Sactsier (1922)
  • Sactsier (1921)
  • L. Schaffer (1922)
  • Zilja Schaffer (1922)
  • Schaffer (1922)
  • Meir Shecter (1922)
  • Yisrael Shlafer (1922)
  • Shvartz (1921)
  • M. Spinadel (1921)
  • Steinberg (1921)
  • Bat Sheiva Surkis (1936)
  • Shlomo Surkis
  • B. Titinzey (1922)
  • Fanya Tolmatzkaya née Kvich
  • Aisic Vaserman
  • Shloima Vaserman
  • Surka Vaserman
  • Yossel Vaserman (1920)
  • Moshe Velzer
  • Otto Wolff (1945)
  • Barukh Yuger
  • Zelikovitsh (1921)
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The 1930 census, the last one completed prior to the war, counted 2,326 Jews living in Leova, about 1/3rd of the entire town population. In June 1940 the Romanians handed over Bessarabia and Bucovina to the USSR as part of the terms of the Molotov Ribbentrop pact. As Romanian troops left Bessarabia, soldiers committed many atrocities in their wake, however the Jews of Leova were unharmed. However, just a month later the Soviets started deporting citizens of their newly annexed territories to Siberia, including Zionist leaders and wealthy Jews. In June 1941 some Jews in Leova sensed war was coming and fled east, into Russia and Central Asia. Other able bodied men joined the fight against the Germans by enlisting in the Soviet Army. When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, those Jews who stayed in Leova and hoped for the best almost all perished. Most adult men were killed on the spot while women and children were interned in a "transit camp" where they were subjected to death marches and starvation.

The following documents add some more detailed information on the fates of the Jews of Leova:
  • The List of People from Leova Persecuted by the Soviet Regime 1940-41:  Original Romanian (3.4 MB) | English Translation (27 KB) - During the brief Soviet occupation of Bessarabia between June 1940 and the beginning of the war in June 1941 many Bessarabians were persecuted under the Stalin regime.   This document  lists the names  and sentences of Leova citizens, both Jews and Gentiles persecuted by the Soviets between 1940 and 1941. This information is from the book Cartea Memoriei: Catalog Al Victimelor Totalitarismului Comunist - Vol. 3. Special thanks to the author, Elena Postica, for granting permission to republish this list.

  • The List of Jews from Leova Interned in Cahul Camp: Original Romanian (7.5 MB) | English Translation (289 KB) - Those Jews who managed to survive the initial German attack but were unable to avoid being captured were handed over to the Romanian  Gendarmes who marched them in "transit camps" .  Many more died or were killed on these "death marches".  This document, obtained from the archive of US Holocaust Memorial Museum,  lists the names of 389 Jews, most from Leova and surrounding villages, who were interned in the Cahul Transit Camp. The testimony of Yevdokiya Savelievna Lipovich below provides a compelling account of Cahul Camp.

  • Jews from Leova registered as evacuees in Russia and Central Asia (1941-42): Many people from all part of the Soviet Union fled east ahead of the advancing Nazi Army. This document lists the names of almost 400 Jews from Leova who registered as evacuees in Russia and Central Asia.  Most endured very difficult living and working conditions but were out of reach of the Germans. Many entries in this list include a hyperlink to the original registration card (Russian) for that individual.

  • Soviet World War II Military Database: Instructions for non-Russian speakers on how to search the website for Soviet World War II Military Records on Leova residents.

  • The Ethnic German Community in Leova: As one of the conditions of the 1939 Molotov Ribbentrop nonaggression pact between Germany and Russia, in late 1940 the ethnic Germans residing in Bessarabia were offered resettlement in Germany. Fearing Soviet oppression, almost all (93,000) agreed. A member of one of the approximate 20 ethnic German families residing in Leova, Pavel Wolff, was interviewed for this website, and acknowledged that his family was Jewish. In his testimony below he describes harsh conditions they endured during the evacuation and after they arrived at repatriation camps in Germany and Austria.

  • Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (SESC) Report Concerning the Massacres of the Jewish population of Leova Region by the Fascists: It is not possible to get an accurate list of all who fell victim to  the Germans and Romanians but in 1942 the Soviet Union launched the "Extraordinary State Commission to investigate German–Fascist crimes on Soviet territory".  The document presented here was created by the Extraordinary Commission from testimonies of neighbors, witnesses, and survivors.  - Special thanks to Gary Goldberg and Janet Furba for translating these documents.

  • Citizens of Leova that died during WWII while fighting Fascism: Many men from Leova joined or were conscripted into the Red Army and fought against the Nazi's.  Some survived, many did not.  This monument, erected in 1970 in the Leova town center, lists the names Leova citizens who died during World War II while serving in the Soviet military.

  • Lists of conscription-aged Jewish men from Leova: The Romanian occupiers put together these two lists. The designation "Disappeared" in the Notes column means only that the Romanian provisional city government did not know their whereabouts. Cross referencing the names on these lists with other resources available on this website reveals that several of the men listed were serving in the Russian Army during the war, and several others were registered in refugee camps in Eastern Russian and Central Asia.
    • Class of 1941: The men on this list appear to have been born around 1919.
    • Class of 1944: The men on this list appear to have been born around 1922.

  • Aerial Surveillance Photos of Leova - May 25, 1944 (2.5 MB) | Between April and August 1944 (2.2 MB) - These two photos come from the U.S. National Archive collection of German WWII documents.  They apparently were taken before and after a bombing run, as the May 25th photo shows a bridge over the Prut River.  In the second photo the bridge is no longer present.

    Each of these testimonies begins with a discussion about prewar life in Leova.

Yevdokiya Savelievna Lipovich (AKA Shifra Barash)  - Handwritten in Russian with English translation
    Presented with permission of Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
Original Russian (3.0 MB)
English Translation (1.4 MB)

Zelig Leshem (AKA Zelig Ungar)  - Hebrew language audio recording with English subtitles - Length 01:08:32
    Presented with permission of Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
Zelig Leshem (01:08:32)

Zilja Feldhammer née Schaffer - German language video with English subtitles - Length 03:37:26
    Presented with permission of University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute.
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 1 of 8 (00:28:07)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 3 of 8 (00:27:19)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 5 of 8 (00:29:09)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 7 of 8 (00:29:00)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 2 of 8 (00:31:45)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 4 of 8 (00:27:46)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 6 of 8 (00:29:01)
Zilja Feldhammer - Part 8 of 8 (00:15:19)

Pavel - English language video - Length 02:31:20
    Interviewed by Joel D. Waters, August 29, 2012
Pavel - Part 1 of 3 (00:52:56)
Pavel - Part 3 of 3 (01:14:09)
Pavel - Part 2 of 3 (00:24:15)

Aron Aronovich - Russian language video with English subtitles - Length 00:52:28
    Presented with permission of University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute.
Aron Aronovich - Part 1 of 2 (00:27:56)
Aron Aronovich - Part 2 of 2 (00:24:32)

    Presented with permission of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Special thanks to the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation.

Gheorghe Ghenea - Witnessed atrocities commited against the Jews of Leova in the nearby village of Cazangic.
    Romanian language video with English subtitles - Length 00:31:45
Gheorghe Ghenea (00:31:45)

Alexandra Sestovskaia - Witnessed atrocities commited against the Jews of Leova in the nearby village of Sarateni.
    Romanian language video with English subtitles - Length 00:20:54
Alexandra Sestovskaia (00:20:54)




In considering grounds for filing property restitution claims, an important distinction needs to be made between persecution by the Nazis and Romanians in the Holocaust and persecution by the Soviets before and after World War II under Stalin.

Unfortunately there is currently no Moldovan law to compensate victims of Nazi/Romanian persecution during World War II.  It is unclear whether Romanian laws to compensate Holocaust victims apply to victims from Bessarabia.

Moldovan citizens who were persecuted by the Soviet Regime and their heirs can pursue property restitution under Moldovan Law Nr. 1225 dated December 8, 1992 Russian (183 KB) | Romanian (93 KB) | English Translation (Unofficial) (183 KB) 

  • See The List of People from Leova Persecuted by the Soviet Regime 1940-41 Original Romanian  (3.4 MB) | English Translation (27 KB) to determine if your family members are officially recognized by the Moldovan authorities as victims of Soviet persecution. 
  • See also the 1942 List of Real Estate Property Confiscated by the Romanian Authorities Original Romanian (1.0 MB) | English Translation (29 KB) to determine your family's real estate holdings in Leova.

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Last updated August 3, 2023
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