The victims of the first wave of Stalinist deportations of June 12-13, 1941 were commemorated at an event in Chisinau on June 13. Tens of people, among whom were officials, laid flowers at the “Pain Train Monument” in the Railway Square and remembered the atrocities expensed by them and their deported families, IPN reports.
Valentina Sturza, the victim of two deportation operations and the head of the Association of Former Deportees and Political Prisoners, said that June 13, 1941 was a very hot day. On that day, armed officers and soldiers barbarously entered the houses of the most honest persons, scaring them. No one realized what’s going on. After they searched their homes and didn’t find anything, they ordered to take the people away by a cart. Valentina Sturza’s family was deported together with the sister of her mother and a brother. She was a child and was crying as she was hungry and thirsty. They traveled from village to village until they got to the Railway Terminal. As many as 22,648 persons were deported from Bessarabia that day.
Accordion to Valentina Sturza, that wave of deportations was the bloodiest one as the fathers of children were taken to Siberian gulags from wagons the next day, where they were shot dead or convicted to long jail terms only because they were mayors, teachers, doctors or MPs. The children and mothers were left in dirty wagons by which cows were transported several days earlier. On the way, they were given salty fish and water taken from the pumps used by trains. When they reached the destination, in the deserts of Kazakhstan or in Siberia, they were taken to barracks and held in inhuman conditions.
As they could not bear those conditions, three families, including the family of Valentina Sturza, evaded and, after facing many obstacles, got home. But at home they were arrested. They were set free in a period, but could not get their houses back. They were deprived of the right to study, being considered enemies of the nation.
A moment’s silence was observed in memory of those who were deported.
Attending the event, President Maia Sandu said that the Soviet power chose to deport upright and hardworking people whom they considered a risk to the established regime. The consequences of this political and social cleansing continue to be felt as those persons who were community leaders could have contributed considerably to the development of society.
“It is our duty to keep the memory of those who were dispossessed, humiliated and driven away and many of whom died in exile. It is our duty to educate the young people in the spirit of the democratic values, mutual respect and cooperation so as to vertically defend the rights before any totalitarian impulses,” stated Maia Sandu.
According to acting Prime Minister Aureliu Ciocoi, at least three generations were needed to restore the section of intellectuals who were deported, according to geneticists. Over 100,000 Moldovans were deported to Bolshevik gulags by several waves. He called on the historians to look in the archives and in every corner and find out the names and surnames of those who were deported and why and who denounced them so as to discover the truth and face it with dignity if it is unpleasant.
The head of the Association of Former Political Prisoners of Romania said most of the deported Bessarabian Romanians were taken to Kazakhstan and Siberia and their sufferings were immeasurable. The actions against those persons were not only political in character. They were also aimed at modifying the ethnic ratio and this was primarily achieved. One day, the survivors returned home, but not as survivors, but as servants of the Soviet occupants. Their sufferings made them nobler and they knew to forgive and their forgiveness made themes stronger. By their sacrifice, they saved the dignity of this nation.
Over 22,000 persons were deported on the night of June 13, 1941. There were three waves of mass deportations from Moldova: in June 1941, July 1949 and April 1951. The deportees totaled about 58,000 people.