The Chess Player
The story is based on the actual experience of a chess player and his family living in Bucharest during World War II and how his love for chess saved him his life More
In August of 1941 the German High Command pressured Ion Antonescu, then Dictator of Romania, into using his Fourth Army to take back the area known today as Transnistria, an area of the Ukraine between the Southern Bug and Dniester Rivers. The Romanians drove the Soviets as far as Odessa and then placed them under siege. The siege lasted two months, with the Soviets inflicting more than 92,000 casualties on the Romanian Army.
The Romanians took control of the NKVD (Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del) building and used it to headquarter two of the Fourth Army’s Divisions. The Soviets had mined the building and blew it up, killing more than 100 people, over half of them Romanian officers.
Ion Antonescu ordered that the civilians who had helped the Soviets arrested and killed. When the soldiers were unable to identify the civilians who helped the Soviets, Antonescu ordered that Jews be singled out as those responsible. In the ensuing massacre, more than 19,000 Jews were systematically killed.
In October and November of 1941, another 30,000 Jews were murdered. Afterwards, many more were arrested and sent to two concentration camps and several “colonies” north of Odessa. Over 100,000 Jews from Bessarabia and Bukovina were herded into these areas as well.
In December of 1941, Romanian troops and Ukraine conscripts fell on Bogdanovka, Domanevka and Akhmetchetkha, and the killing went on for nearly a week.
The army, local police and local Romanian population, in cooperation with the Wehrmacht and Einsatzgruppe D carried out the methodical extermination of the Jews, and the Jewish people that were left alive were actively persecuted and were brutally deported to Transnistria. By the end of the war, between 250,000 and 500,000 Jews had been murdered or had died of malnutrition, hypothermia, or one of the rampant epidemics caused by their deportation to the primitive camps and ghettos in Transnistria. Because of the involvement of three sovereign nations and their varying degrees of denial regarding the events concerning the birth of the area we now know as Transnistria, we may never know the exact number of people who died there.
The following story is based on the actual experience of a chess player and his family living in Bucharest during this time period and how his love for chess saved him his life