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Oral history interview with Pavel Zgonea

Oral History | Accession Number: 2004.728.7 | RG Number: RG-50.574.0007

Pavel Zgonea, born in Zimnicea, Romania, describes how he suffered a lot when Antonescu deported Romanies in September 1942; being taken with his family to Tighina, Galați County, then Poarta Albă, Tiraspol, Rezenaia, Odessa, and Ochakiv; how they were kept for two months in Kabulga, where there was a military base for hydroplanes; being taken to the shores of the Bug River after two months; working with Jews on the construction of a bridge; how one day as they were working, four of the Jews from his team disappeared never to be seen again; how at another place he worked there were more Jews, dozens of whom were taken one day by the soldiers, after which he heard gun shots but did not see anything; working in fields in four different places doing agricultural work, while Romanian guards watched over them and beat them sometimes; how they mainly ate boiled wheat or boiled rice and sometimes even grass; his appreciation of communism because he had the certainty of a job, a home to live in with his family, and food to put on the table, while before World War II, he worked and lived with his family in the woods and did not have a stable home; how the main reason they were taken and deported was because they did not have homes; how only 20 out of the initial 72 people deported made it back home by the end of the war; how most of them died because of the dire conditions, hunger, and lice; being only 17 years old when he was taken; returning to Romania at the age of 19; how the only good thing was that he learned the Russian language; the ages of the Jews he worked with as being around 16 to 17; incidents in which a guard would come and take 20 people with him and never bring them back; the rumors that followed each time workers were taken; returning to his country in 1944 and being told that they were no longer welcome; the journey back from Transnistria (Dniester Moldovan Republic) and the kind Romanian soldiers, who traveled with them, shared their food, and did not make any distinctions; and how those who died did not die because of the war, nor because they were shot, but because of the hunger, the cold, and the wretched conditions.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Pavel Zgonea
interview:  2004 September 26
1 videocassette (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:37:08
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