About 150 kilometres northeast of Odessa lies the small village of Bogdanovka on the river Bug. Between 1941 and 1944, Bogdanovka belonged to a district called Golta. Golta, in turn, was part of a larger area called Transnistria, which was controlled by Romania. The Jews who ended up under Romanian territory were deported in 1941 to Transnistria to make the rest of Romania Jewish-free. The Jews were interned in hundreds of different camps, one of which was in Bogdanovka. The camp was established in October 1941 by order of Golta district governor Modest Isopescu for Jews deported from Bukovina, Bessarabia and Odessa. No barracks were set up to house the Jews who were instead locked in pig sties and barns without any heating or sanitary facilities. The camp was also not surrounded by a fence. In mid-December 1941, a typhus epidemic broke out among the approximately 55,000 Jews who sat in the camp. The epidemic risked spreading to the guards, the village and nearby areas and therefore the camp command decided to murder all prisoners.

On 21 december began Romanian military and police, ukrainian police and civilians who had signed up as volunteers to murder the camp’s prisoners. About 5,000 typhus infected and disabled people were unable to march to the execution site and were instead murdered in two stables that were set on fire. The others were forced into groups of about 400 marching to fully excavated mass graves next to the river Bug. There the procedure was the same as in other murderous actions around Eastern Europe. People were forced to undress and run to the mass grave where they were shot. In some cases, the killers also used hand grenades. The killing continued until Christmas when a break was made in a few days, probably due to Christmas celebrations. The killing resumed on 28 December and lasted until early January 1942. About 50,000 Jews were murdered (plus the approximately 5,000 who were burned inside) for just under 14 days. This makes the Bogdanovka massacre the single largest massacre of Jews during the entire Second World War.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished with monument (2009).

Location: 47°48'59.4"N 31°09'02.5"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Although the Bogdanovka massacre was the single largest massacre, it is not as well known as Babi Yar. This is because, after the Second World War, Romania was part of communist Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union represented eastern Europe as a united communist community that together defeated fascist Germany. From a political point of view, it was therefore impossible to give the Romanians responsibility for the massacres in Transnistria. At other Nazi execution sites in the former. Soviet Union (and Eastern Europe), it usually stands german fascists or ”hitlerists” on the monuments. This was despite the fact that local collaborators also participated in the massacre. But these massacres outside Transnistria had been carried out on German orders, with German assent, under German supervision and on German-occupied land, and in whole or in part by German assassinations. But in Transnistria the massacres had been carried out on Romanian (occupied) ground by fascist Romanians without German interference. This political nationality problem solved the Communists by describing the massacres which, Killed out of Nazi ideology, thereby omitted the nationality of the perpetrators.

Follow up in books: Arad, Yitzhak: Holocaust in the Soviet union (2009).