20 December 2010


The city of Secureni (Târgu Secureni, Sokyriany, Sokiriany, Sekuryany, Sekurian, Sikuran, Sekureni, Sekuron, Sokorone, Sekurjany, Sokiryany, Sekiryani) in northern Bessarabia, lies today in the Ukrainian province of Chernivtsi.

In 1904, the town had 783 houses and 4166 inhabitants, of whom 2590 were Jews. On the eve of World War II, Jewish population amounted 4216 inhabitants. According to the census of 2007, the town's whole population comprise 9683 inhabitants.

The first document attesting the town's existence dates 1666. Until 1711, Secureni was part of the Principality of Moldova. From 1711 to 1812, it belonged to the Ottoman province of Hotin and, from 1812 to 1918, to the Russian province of Bessarabia. From 1918 to 1944 - with a brief break during World War II, when the area was invaded by Soviet troops later repeled by the Romanians with Nazi support - Secureni was the capital of a district with the same name, covering 23 villages in the Romanian province of Hotin (see the map), having been an important commercial center with post and phone office, private school, court, a public hospital and a Jewish hospital.

In late July 1941, it was inaugurated in Secureni a transit concentration camp, where there were initially interned Jews originating mainly from Hotin. During the first days, about 35% of the prisoners died because they were fed with raw grain, though later this figure has fallen to one tenth. Jews imprisoned in Secureni, however, were in a better position than the ones at the camp of Edinet, which, originating mainly from Bukovina, had been looted during the trip. Both camps together amounted nearly 21 000 prisoners.

Apparently unfair or mistaken interpretations of higher orders received by a certain Romanian officer would have cost the death of 500 Jews who were deported from the transit camp Secureni in October 1941 to the extermination camp of Cosauti, managed by the Romanians in Transnistria.

With the end of the war, Secureni joined the USSR until its disintegration and the subsequent proclamation of the republic of Ukraine in 1990.

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