Druker’s List - My Lost Tribe

by Zvi Oster <abaoster@aol.com>
Diagrammatic Evidence of Annihilation of Romanian Jews in Moghilev, Transnistria

An article by Y. Maschiach, ( April 25, 1997, Haaretz weekend supplement , in Hebrew) , describes an unusual document about the fate of Romanian Jews deported to Moghilev, Transnistria. The article, includes part of aphotocopy of the cemetery diagram used for the burial of Romanian Jews of the Transnistria deportation period. The schematic, consists of small quadrangles with names and towns of origin of the buried and the graphic layout appears to follow the topography of the cemetery field . No mention of age or gender of the buried is given. From the description in the article, and from a recent photo of the graveyard also included in the article, it appears that only few of the buried had tombstones. It is also stated that many of the dead found on streets were buried in unmarked common graves, and therefore the list is only partial.

According to Maschiach, the document was made by one Yacob Druker, during the holocaust . Mr. Druker, a 25 year old accountant, was one of 27 gravediggers employed by the Jewish Community in Moghilev. They were collecting corpses of the dead from houses, shelters and streets and buried them in graves dug by them. The identification of bodies was based on information from relatives and on documents found on the bodies.

While it is very likely that cemeteries today maintain detailed schematic plans of graves, such graphic documentation was probably not common in Eastern Europe Jewish cemeteries prior to the Second World War.

Diaries and memoirs from the Holocaust period describing personal and communal ordeals are well known and many were published and some were much publicized. However, it appears that Mr. Druker’s graphic documentation of the Moghilev Cemetery, is quite unique in being a list of people and their burial sites. Circumstances in Moghilev, allowed Jews to set up a Community Council with some support institutions, like soup kitchens, orphanages and a Jewish Community cemetery. The killing methods in Transnistria were not of the swift , efficient , German type. No mass executions were carried out in Moghilev, nor gas chambers were set up, but death was slow and agonizing by freezing cold, starvation and typhus. This slower paced extermination enabled individual burials and even erection of tombstones for some few who could afford it. It is unclear, whether the documentation carried out by Druker, was imposed on him by the Community as part of his job, or whether it was Druker’s own initiative. Clearly, the handwriting is of one person only, and the diagrams were in Mr. Druker’s possession.The photocopy of the diagram, as published in Haaretz, does not appear to be a Jewish Burial Society (Chevre Kadishe) document, since it is not written with Hebrew letters but with Roman characters in Romanian, German, and Yiddish forms of pronunciation and transliteration. Nor are the names recorded as customary in Jewish rituals as, Mr X , son Mr Y followed by the family name, as it is and was common on grave inscriptions. Instead, and in spite the space limitations of the graphics, the town of origin of the deported was included next to or below the name.

Druker, the lay accountant who became a gravedigger in order to survive, developed a nurturing and possesive relation to his diagrams. In addition to the schematics, he also prepared an alphabetical ledger of the deceased listed in the diagrams.

According to the widow, the diagrams and lists became Druker’s obsession for the rest of his life. For years and until his death, after long hours working in the kiosk of the old Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, Druker kept studying his diagrams and lists, documenting the burial of many of his fellows.

In the seventies, Mr. Druker offered the diagrams to Yad Vashem In Jerusalem. After waiting for two years and not hearing anything, Druker became disappointed by the lack of interest shown for his work, and asked to get back his diagrams.

Fifty years after the events in Transnistria, survivors in search of parents graves in Moghilev, proved the accuracy of Mr. Druker’s diagrams. Eli and Zisel Likwornick, Transnistria survivors, went recently to Moghilev, and following Mr. Druker’s diagrams, located and identified their relatives graves. The initial greatest difficulty was the location of the graveyard. The graves of the Transnistria Jews were not in the cemetery used by Moghilev Jews before the war, and Known as The Jewish Cemetery. After much search they found that a remote ravine known as the "Mad Dogs Cemetery", was allocated by the Romanian Occupation authorities for the Jews of Transnistria. This field got its name since it was used by peasants for buriyng carcasses of mad dogs after extracting the fat for soap making . The graveyard, in a field still marked with Jewish tombstones of the holocaust period, conforms with the Druker diagrams.

In the nearby town of Luchinetz, the local "horse cemetery", was the burial place for Jews in the Transnistria period. There, in the horse cemetery of Luchinetz, are my brother, father, grandfather and grandmother, buried in unmarked and uncharted graves, not even having had the luck of a chronicler like Mr. Druker.

Druker’s List is but a partial yet concrete document of the decimation in Transnistria, of us, the Jewish people of Bukovina and Northern Romania.

This posting is intended to bring the document to the attention of list members and ask for help in finding out whether similar documents of the period are known. Such information may throw light on the Druker documents.

Information regarding the current location of the original diagrams and of Druker’s alphabetical lists will be appreciated. Members opinions in understanding Druker’s motivation for creating the document, will also be appreciated.

What could have motivated a young accountant ,employed for his living as a gravedigger, to put in such remarkable effort and perseverance in creating the diagrams. Was it a most unusual historical sense of the significance of events he witnessed, or was it posssibly greed, expectation of some material reward after the war. Notwithstanding Druker’s motivation, the man will be remembered as a chronicler of a lost tribe.

While it would have been preferable to post a scanned copy of the original document, emailing format was used for technical reasons.The following list was reproduced from an 11x5 inch photograph of a portion of Mr. Druker’s diagram (from the April 24 Haaretz supplement by Yigal Maschiach). Note that the spelling of names and towns varies with the persons origin. Jews from Bukovina used German spelling forms and those from Northern Romania used the more phonetic, Romanian form. Towns of origin are also spelled and pronounced according to Yiddish/Bukovinian or Romanian forms, and Druker’s origin being from Bucharest also influenced the spelling, see for example Budapesta for Budapest. Town names abbreviations are easily recognizable : C-ti is Cernauti , Cernowtzy today, R-uti is Radauti, V. Dorna is Vatra Dornei, C. Lung is Campul Lung, and G. Humora is Gura Humorului. It appears that abbreviations were used to fit the names and towns into the little spaces in the diagram. Illegible parts of names are shown as ..........

One little quadrangle bears two names : Aron si (and, in Romanian) Sloime Corbunar, Dorohoi; were these two little brothers ? Another inscription reads :"Nu incape groapa", in Rumanian, a grave does not fit in the lot. Following is part of the list as shown in Haaretz.

Druker’s List :

Simche Schakler (No town name)

Kurzberg Josef, Cernauti

David Birenbaum, Stavilesti

Herman Heller, Selatin

Idl Beer Grinberg, Suceava

Moise Veisman, Dorohoi

Dora Isser, Cernauti

Harri Rausser, Burdujeni

Hers Trister, Burdujeni

N......Seb?actar, C. Lung

Betty Rapaport, Burdujeni

David Cusmaru, Dorohoi

Osias Goldenberg, Cernauti

Baren Leib, Cernauti

Simon Eisenstein, Cernauti

Landau Iuda, Strojinetz

Tonni Laufman, G. Humora

Sa.... Nagler, Cernauti

Isidor Klipper, V. Dorna

Anghel Veinberg, Dorohoi

Samuel Gottlieb, Cernauti

Fabian Brender, Cernauti

Gusta Steiner, Cernauti

Netti Schechter, Cernauti

Klara Kastner, Radauti

Hers Elenbogen, Radauti

Ana Eisenthal, Radauti

Rosa Pre..rainger, G. Humor

R. Goldenberg, C. Lung

Irma Ginsberg, Herta

..........Alterovici, Dorohoi

Moritz Singer, Radauti

Dr Karl Gabe(o?)r, Suceava

Rifka Haim

Chaie Fisher, V. Dorna

Rosa Klekner, G. Humora

Heda Gabor, Cernauti

Frieda Gabor, Cernauti

Villi Rosner, Radauti

"Nu incape groapa", The Lot is not big enough?

Joseph ....aner

Isak Pessal, Cernauti

Jurgrau Ida, G. Humora

Ef... Elenbogen. .......

Aizic Zecler, Radauti

Ester Minder, Sc.....ckberg

Moses Fliecker, Radauti

Berthe Bernstein, Noua Sulita

Iacob Volf Ventun, Radauti

Haim Greffer, Seletin

Moritz Gluckman, Cernauti

Iacob Leibovici, Dorohoi

Albert Veintraub, Cernauti

Miha.. Isak. Cernauti

Solomon Kunstflier, Cernauti

Neer (Meier?) Segal, Dorohoi

Alter Gruber, Radauti

Elias Kern, Radauti

Avrum David, St..lpicani

Josef Cohn, Dorohoi


Rebeca Ag.........nu, Cernauti


Rosa Schwartz, Cernauti

Stein Ida, Cernauti

Klara Haas, Cernauti

Adolf Krumbein, Cernauti

Sure Meirovici, Dorohoi

Taube, I......, C-ti

Regina Schulman, C-ti

Ethel Scherzer, G. Humora

Cerna Ivanier, Lucace..

Rosenberg Edel, N. Sulita

Tony Ratner, (No town name)

Roza Altman, R-ti

Blima Veiner, Su........

Sali Gotlieb, R-ti

Paula Bacher, (No town name)

Frohlich Sara, C-ti

Loti Spiter, Cernauti

Sara Zeller, Cernauti

Elsa Gevurtz, Budapesta

Sali Laufer, R(ociurul?) Mare

Riva (Regina) Schucher, C-ti

Eckhaus, Cernauti

Marie Rosenberg

Chava Ruhze Edelman, C-ti

F.J. Kolomenko, ...........

Kurz Malka, Vijnitza

Pepi Falik, G. Humora

Liba Linker, R-ti

Gitel Sclafer, G. Humora

Ella Laufer, Storojinet

Sigmung Friedman, Cernauti

Rosa Gluckstern, Cernauti

Pola Schwartzenthal, Seletin

Motel Somer, V. Dorna

Fani Stahlnbrecher, Plosca

Leib David, Radauti

Zucker Leo, Davidesti

Leon Low, Radauti

Samuel Schein, Mihova

Abraham Uscher, Radauti

Simon Schwartz, Dorohoi

Isidor Mintz, Radauti

Leo Ungar, Cernauti

Lilman Kati, Cernauti

Schmiel Lederhandler, Dorohoi

Max Faus (..?), Radauti

Hans Schulmann, C-ti

Moritz Venger, Radauti

Mendel Hersman, Siret

David Beer Veisman, Radauti

Jacob Katz, Storojinet

Moses David Lehr, Cernauti

Moise Katz, Berhamet

J. Jablonover, Seletin

Mechel Schulman, Cernauti

Adolf Gabor, Cernauti

Mordeha Schulim Tenebaum,.......

Salo Hochstadt, Cernauti

Isak Pess... , Cernauti

Meer Schnapp, Cernauti

Dr. Max Gabor, Radauti

Weisbrodt Jacob (No town name)

Aizic Zecler, Radauti

Iosel Lebzeller, Berhomet

S. Stier

Hirsch Reicha......, Storojinet

Samuel Veinstein, Cernauti

Kliurstein B. , N. Sulita

Motic Katz, Vijnita

Leib Schleifer, C. Lung

Sloime Ivanier, G. Humora

M.......Ithakc Schachter, G. Humora

Nagel Avram, Visnita

Moritz Davidson, Dorohoi

Traine Menczel, C-ti

Avra... Gruparu, Dorohoi

Toni ..........., Radauti

Dr Bertha Stern, ......uti

Dora Vogel, Sadagura

Marien Elenbogen, G. Humora

Regina Schulman, C-ti

Gusta Gantz, C-ti

Rosenberg Edel, N. Sulita

Shara Leder, Putila

Tani Stier, R-ti

Blima Verner, Suceava

Rissel Volf, R-ti

Schuffler, Rifca, Dorohoi

Paula Bacher

Riva (Regina) Schucher, C-ti

Hana Eidinger, Suceava

Sure Moscovici, Dorohoi

Ethel Scherzer, G. Humora

Nora Badler, C-ti

Sali Gotlieb, Radauti

Sara Rosenberg, C-ti

Frohlich Sara, C-ti

Rifka Karliner, R-ti

Rosi Landkroner, C. Lung

Lea Horer, R-ti

Iuda Haim Vender, C-ti

Dora Buchbinder, G. Humora

Adolf Katz, Cernauti

Dr. Moritz Kurtzveil, R-ti

Michael Renert, R-ti

Isidor Bl..., Cernauti

Benjamin Kostiner, R-ti

Karl Glaibach, Radauti

Dr. Schaie Lecker, Radauti

Dr. Karl Schonbaum, Cernauti

Sami Kreisel, Lucaveti

Dr. David Coppelman, C. Lung

Klieg Bernhard, Cernauti

Lucian Kreimer, Radauti

Piatra (Headstone ?)

Preiss Herman, G. Humora

I. Balner, V. Dorna