Rubin Udler* b. Braila, Romania, 1925
In July 1940, in order to avoid the dangers of fascism and Nazism, my father, mother, sister, and I left Romania for Bessarabia, my parents' native country. One year later, in July 1941, we fled to Odessa. To go further east became impossible. The city was almost completely encircled by enemy armies.
There were frequent aerial bombardments and artillery barrages. Then suddenly, on the 12th or 13th of October, Odessa became oppressively silent. The noise of airplanes, of falling bombs and shells, ceased. Auto, artillery, and dray traffic stopped. The radio announced that because of military considerations the Soviet Army was leaving Odessa.
Three days of anarchy followed. Then the Romanians and Germans entered the city. They came in stepping stealthily and with obvious caution, walking close to the walls of the houses with rifles at the ready.
My memory often returns to one episode that happened shortly after this. On the 22nd of October, there was an explosion in the headquarters of the Romanian occupation forces. The blast killed many Romanians and Germans, among them the commandant of Odessa, General Glogozheanu, and officers of his staff. The terror of reprisal began immediately. People were arrested on the streets and in their apartments. Many were killed on the spot; others were dragged to jail.
On the morning of the 23rd, a few boys from our apartment house came together in the doorway behind the tightly closed outer gate. We heard shots, yells, and moans.
Curiosity overcame fear. We opened the wicket-gate and looked into the street. Two houses down the street, on the corner, stood a gallows that looked to me like a carousel. It consisted of a vertical pole with four horizontal beams extending from the top of it; the end of each beam had a noose suspended from it. Near the gallows stood a Romanian guard. On Karl Marx Street, from the direction of the railway station, away from another gallows on which hung four dead bodies guarded by Romanian soldiers, a line of twenty to twenty-five men moved slowly. It was apparent that they had been severely mistreated. Their clothes were torn; some walked without shoes and some barefoot; all were bareheaded. 70____________________