14 August 2014

The Stone Quarry on the Bug River at 8 Miles from N 48°40' E 29°15' and 54 Miles from... (Uman - 2923 km)

(Uman, 09.08.2014 - 10.08.2014) "Eight miles from N 48° 40' E 29° 15', Tul'chin Dist.; Stone quarry on Southern Bug R.", is that really the only available location for the forced labor camp Cariera de Piatră (Stone Quarry) the horror scene, which became fateful for so many Bukovinian Jews, such as Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, Arnold Daghani, the parents of Paul Celan, to name but a few? I stopped in Ladyzhyn "a town of oblast significance in Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine". Would I really have to research an area of more than 200 square miles resulting from the radius of 8 miles? Supported by a biker from Ladyzhyn and riding off road, I'm as good as certain, that I finally succeeded to locate the former camp at N 48.61757 E 29.30689 very close to Hubnyk; a working stone quarry is still there.

Don't let the romantic and most picturesque Southern Bug mislead you. For Jews it was in 1941/1942 the demarcation line between perishing by dying of starvation caused by the Romanians or being executed by the German SS, while the camp existed between 30.08.1941 - 18.03.1944.

Andrej Angrick: "[...] Thus the mass deportations from Bukovina, Bessarabia, and Dorohoi began, filling the forced labor camps on the border to Reichskommissariat Ukraine (Radu Ioanid has described this in detail). The SS had designs on part of this group of Romanian Jews. By August 14, 1942, Bauabschnittleiter Franz Christoffel of Gaisin and his men had crossed the Bug River and appeared in the camps under Romanian administration in Ladezin, Cariera de Piatra, and Chetvertinovka. According to Matatias Carp, the SS resolved the question of recruitment with the Romanian prefect of the Tulcin district, Colonel Loghin. Christoffel and his unit led approximately 3,000 prisoners back across the river on August 19. Approximately 400–450 prisoners remained in the quarry in Cariera de Piatra, 1,000 remained in Chetvertinovka, and seventy-eight persons remained in Oleanita. The Romanian Jews apparently went with the SS without coercion because working conditions in the Romanian camps were hard and cruel and the guards were despotic and corrupt. Unlikely as it may seem, the Jewish prisoners expected that conditions would be better for them under the SS. 'We were happy to be able finally [to] work under the Germans. We thought we’d have it better working for a civilized people rather than for the more or less filthy Romanians. We went on foot to Ladezin. Already on the way there, Ukrainian militiamen told us what awaited us with the Germans. We didn’t believe it [...].'" Read more at: "Forced Labor along the 'Straße der SS'" (p. 83-93) by Andrej Angrick.

Gerhard (Bobby) Schreiber: As you know I was an inmate of the "Cariera de Piatra". It existed starting in June 1942 with the first of the 3 last deportations from Czernowitz and Dorohoi. The camp was very lightly guarded, there was one Romanian corporal (Costica Poenaru), a pharmacist lieutenant (Vasilescu), and a few Ukrainian (obviously quite unfriendly) militiamen, that was enough to keep us there, since we were in the middle of nowhere so to speak, we knew the Germans were on the opposite Bug shore, and we were surrounded by Ukrainian villages, not known to be very friendly. I have to disagree with Andrej Angrick. There was no labor of any kind. The camp came into existence in June 1942, with the arrival of the first of the three deportations from Czernowitz (June 14, 21 and 28), later some deportees from Dorohoi joined us. On Aug. 14 we were all assembled in the main camp square, when a group of SS accompanied by Romanian officers arrived. One of the SS addressed us in German: Juden wollt Ihr arbeiten? He received a resounding "JA". Three days later, everybody had to be ready with their luggage on the central square, German trucks were waiting. A commission of SS officers seated at a table, asked everybody to show their documents, tore them up and loaded the unfortunate onto trucks for their voyage of no return. Those who escaped, either bribed ($40 per head, in our family's case) the Romanian officers, or were spared by them for various reasons. Some hid in the surrounding corn fields. As a finishing job the Germans killed all the inmates of the  Czernowitz Jewish  Mental Hospital, who lived in a shack at the camp margin. Yossi (Jerry Eshet) was there too, maybe he remembers thing I forgot. Read more at: "A Tale of Survival" by Gerhard (Bobby) Schreiber

1 comment:

Berti said...

For a personal description of of the place see Bobby Schreiber's memoirs.