Scrisoare către Yad Vashem
Righteous Among the Nations Department
Dear Madam, Dear Sir:
I am a librarian at the University of Iasi, Romania. My name is Gheorghe Samoila, a Romanian citizen, an engineer by training.
I have been researching on my own, for a few years, in archives and public libraries. My goal: to discover actions by non- Jewish people that helped or saved Jews who have been deported from Iasi in June 1941. What I have discovered, as well as the names and biographical data of the people who saved Jews were made public by me on the web: https://frgheorghe.wordpress.com , as well as in journals and/or brochures.
Unfortunately, the events of June 1941 have been little studied by historians during the communist regime in Romania. Only in the last 10 years the Romanian archives have been open to the public and the events from 70 years ago in Iasi have started to be thoroughly researched, with no bias.
As far as I have studied, I can tell that there were citizens who have actively opposed the atrocities against the Jewish population. While not very many, these non-Jewish people fought hard, and sometimes lost their lives, together with their Jewish friends. The names and actions of the non-Jewish citizens who have saved Jews can be found in archival documents. These documents include: personal journals and diaries, depositions of witnesses in trials, legal papers, documents of the civil authorities in those times. Many of these documents have already been published in books and/or reputable history journals.
A few names and actions of non-Jewish citizens who saved Jews during pogroms in Romania have been recognized by the Yad Vashem Institute, and have received the title “Righteous Among the Nations”. This is owed to the saved Jews or those who have survived the pogroms. Their efforts took place over 20 years ago and was their way of showing their gratitude toward those who saved or helped them in those terrible times.
Today only very few survivors are still alive to testify at Yad Vashem. Luckily, we have found in recently open archives, many testimonies as well as other documents we believe can be used in favor of “Righteous Among the Nations”.
Here are, summarily presented, a few names and actions of Romanian non-Jewish citizens whose memory we believe should be honored forever by the titles of “Righteous Among the Nations”:
- Grigore Resmerita was a Christian orthodox priest who, during the Pogrom of Iasi, specifically during the night of June 28/29, 1941 has opposed the torture of Jews who had taken shelter in Lumanararilor synagogue, in Sararie Street. This priest was tortured and killed together with the Jews he was trying to save. He was never found afterwards and it is supposed that his body was buried in the common grave in the Iasi Jewish Cemetery, together with the bodies of the Jews that have been killed that awful night.
These facts are attested by several documents, including the Braunstein journal, as well as police and other official papers of the time.
- Petru Naum was a chemical engineer and assistant professor in the Medical School, University of Iasi. On Sunday morning, June 29, 1941, he protected a Jewish citizen who was being beaten by a policeman. Both Patru Naum and the Jewish citizen were shot dead in Pacurari Street. Patru’s neglected and covered with weeds tomb is located in the Eternitatea Cemetery in Iasi.
The same Braunstein journal, police documents and other official documents that can be found in the Romanian State Archive attest to the behavior described above.
- Nicolae Savin was a Christian orthodox priest, as well as a historian. On that terrible Sunday, June 29, 1941 he has provided shelter for a small Jewish boy by hiding him in the altar of Saint George Church situated on Lozonschi Street in Iasi. The priest was asked by the little boy’s aunt, Janeta Eisenberg, to take care of her young nephew. After this, Nicolae Savin, dressed as a priest and holding the Bible, went to the house of a Jewish family, Eisig Wachtel. The priest has noticed policemen and german soldiers on the front yard of this family’s home and realized that the family was in grave danger of being tortured and killed.
There are archival documents containing written testimony from Janeta Eisenberg, as well as testimony from lawyer Viorica Zosin-Gorgos. It is very possible that Ms. Eisenberg’s little nephew is alive in Israel or elsewhere; if not him, maybe his descendants or those of the Wachtel family could be found.
- Paul Teodorescu was a Christian orthodox priest living in a small village near Targu Frumos, not far from Iasi. On June 30, 1941, when the second “death train” with deported Jews was passing through the village, a few bodies from the train were buried in a communal grave in the Jewish cemetery on the outskirts. Paul has noticed a living person among these bodies, went over and saved a man.
Archival documents containing testimonies from witnesses to this terrible event do exist.
These are but a few names of non-Jewish Romanian citizens who have actively opposed anti-Semitism in those terrible June days in 1941. I would be very honored if my research would contribute to recognize these individuals. They were part of the (relatively small indeed, but still active) part of the Romanian population who have opposed the fascist violence and hatred of those days on the streets of Iasi. I can provide supportive documents upon request.
These people deserve indeed to be called „Righteous Among the Nations”.
I am grateful for your consideration and understanding and I thank you all for your time.
Str. Ciurchi nr. 107, bl. F4, sc. F, et. 3/2
November 27, 2013
Dear Gheorghe Samoila,
Your message was forwarded to me.
The title of Righteous is awarded by a special commission, chaired by a retired
Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. The Commission has a series of well-defined
rules and criteria, and every case has to be substantiated by detailed survivor
testimonies, describing the circumstances of rescue and the deeds of the rescuer.
Based on that documentation, the Commission then goes on to examine the case and to
determine if it falls within the programן¿½s strict rules and regulations.
Despite the passing of time since the events, Yad Vashem is strongly committed to
the honoring of rescuers, and we invest many efforts in gathering documents and
testimonies about rescue. I am therefore very grateful to you for your support, and
kindly ask you to send us all the documents that you have found so that we can
With best regards,
Director, Righteous Among the Nations Department
91034 Jerusalem, Israel
December 8, 2013