Holocaust survivor recounts pogrom testimony to soldiers

Romanian-born Zvi Goldner tells IAF soldiers how through quick-thinking and luck he escaped death at the hands of the Nazis.

Tzvi Goldner 390 (photo credit: Courtesy Goldner family)
Tzvi Goldner 390
(photo credit: Courtesy Goldner family)
Romanian-born Holocaust survivor Zvi Goldner spoke to several hundred IAF soldiers last week about his experiences in the Iasi pogrom in June 1941, which has become known as one of the most violent in Jewish history. The testimony was delivered at the Massua Institute for Holocaust Studies in Tel Yitzhak, established with the goal of evoking discourse about the Holocaust in contemporary society and culture.
Goldner recounted memories of his 16-year-old self, and how he was presented with an opportunity to save himself from death when the Germans pulled his family out of their apartment as they rounded up the Jews.
Goldner told the audience that false information had triggered the pogrom, and how airplanes flew low over the city and dropped bombs. There were no injuries or damage, but anti-Semitic groups began spreading false rumors that one of the planes, which was shot down, was operated by a local Jew.
“This was a lie,” Goldner said, but one that swiftly led to a violent mob-like outburst, encouraged by the police and German officers and led by those same anti-Semitic organizations. Jews were rounded up and beaten, humiliated and cursed.
Goldner found himself in the middle of a line of Jewish men being led down the stairs of his building, near a few steps that ascended to the attic. Out of sight of the soldiers at the front and end of the line, Goldner managed to escape. “That’s how I was saved.” Later that day, however, he and his brother were taken by police and held for a night with a multitude of other Jews. The Goldner brothers were released the next morning but many others were not as lucky; thousands were crammed into sealed freight trains which traveled for eight days back and forth across the country. Many died of suffocation, thirst and starvation. The precise total of deaths in the pogrom is not known but the Jewish community puts it at 20,000.