Iași Pogrom - JUNE 1941

At the end of June 1941, Iași became a city of horrors. Rumors of Jews cooperating with the Soviets fueled the hatred that erupted, removing any trace of humanity and making room for terror.

„Barbarossa operation” is launched

22 june 1941

In June 1941, the „Barbarossa operation”, the Romanian-German offensive against URSS, was launched. Iași turns into a key railway junction for transporting troops to the front. At that time, almost 45.000 Jews lived in Iași.

Soviet bombing of the city of Iași

22 june 1941

The Soviets` attacks on the city didn`t cause significant damage but encouraged the rumors regarding the help offered to the soviets by the Jews in Iași. On June 22, the first day of the war, posters started to appear in Iași, encouraging the Pogrom. The Jews were accused of guiding the soviet pilots to bomb specific targets from the city.

Evacuation of Jews

27 june 1941

On June 27, 1941, Ion Antonescu ordered the commander of the Iași garrison, colonel Lupu, to evacuate the Jews from the city. On the night of June 28/29, the army, the police, the gendarmerie and German soldiers and civilians started to arrest and kill Jews.

Courtyard of the Police Headquarters

29 june 1941

On June 29, 1941, several thousand Jews were gathered in the courtyard of the Police Headquarters in Iași, where the fire was open against them.

Death trains

30 june 1941

On June 30, 1941, at dawn, two trains with cattle wagons where Jews were crammed left Iași station.

Iași - Călărași train had 33 wagons in which more than 2400 people were loaded. The road lasted seven days, and the train stopped at many stations to unload the bodies of those who had died. The stops were at: Târgu Frumos, Mircești, Săbăoani, Roman, Mărășești, Inotești. Only 1011 persons were alive when the train arrived at Călărași.

Iași - Podu Iloaiei train covered the distance of 20km in 8 hours. About 1900 Jews were loaded in 18 wagons. Only 706 survived.

More than 13.000 Jews lost their lives during the Iași Pogrom, on the summer of 1941.


„Only the forgotten, are truly dead...”

Forgetting is a natural process, a mechanism used by the human brain to protect from trauma. We forget so to protect ourselves from a painful past. But sometimes we forget because we cannot assume, we cannot accept, or out of ignorance. It`s just that running away from the past doesn`t help build a better future because this kind of forgetting condemns us to repeat past mistakes.

The melting days of June 1941, the fear floating in the air, the blood on the streets and in the Police Headquarters courtyard, the unbreathable air in the trains` wagons, and the pain of being separated from family and friends remained in the memory of those who survived and lived the tragic events of the Pogrom. Nevertheless, these events should be remembered by all of us because forgetting doesn`t erase past mistakes. It just covers them.

„The Iași Pogrom. The MEMORY of places” proposes an inquiry into the city`s past at the end of June 1941. It urges us to discover history the way it is: with dark sides and sometimes, sparkles of hope and human trust. The years have passed, and the city has changed its architecture, but the places which witnessed the tragedy that generated the loss and radical change of the Jews` life in Iași, tell us about the events from those days.

The building of the former Police Headquarters from 6 Vasile Alecsandri tells us about the thousands of Jews killed in the courtyard, the lives lost in that place, lives that did not come to be lived. The train station square in Iași reminds us of the thousands of Jews lying on the ground for hours and hours before being boarded into the Death Trains. The building on 14 December 1989 street no. 4 reminds us of the family that was shot in that place.

Through the photographs, testimonies, and historical information, the project helps us discover: sites with special symbolism in the history of Iași Pogrom (the train station, the former Police Headquarters, the mass graves, etc.), or places that keep life stories about separations, hope, and death. A memorial tour that urges us to discover and remember!

„The Iași Pogrom. The MEMORY of places” is a project carried out by the „Elie Wiesel" National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania and Iași Municipality.


If you have information about key places in the history of Iași Pogrom, you want to share with us the life stories of the Pogrom`s victims, or you want to send us a proposal for developing the project, you can contact us by e-mail or phone:

E-mail: office@inshr-ew.ro

Phone:  +4 021.318.09.39.