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The Portrait of a Holocaust Survivor: Adolfina Regenbogen

Updated: May 1, 2021

Special event for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day / Film screening

Photo 1: The six months old Adolfina Regenbogen, in 1941

We are marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed every year on January 27, with the international premiere of ”Beyond the Fence. The Story of a Holocaust Survivor”, an eye-opening documentary produced by Romanian broadcaster TVR which recalls the tragedy of 600 Jews in the ghetto of Mostovoi, Transnistria, on Romania's Eastern border with the Soviet Union. A film by Teodora Drăgoi and Adrian Cioflâncă. Executive producer: Borislav Velimirovici. Director of photography: Mihai Covrig. Film editor: Dan Doroftei.

Adolfina Regenbogen was born at a time when the Romanian state's policy towards Jews was taking a violent turn. Between 1940-1944, Romania was ruled by a succession of fascist political regimes that no longer considered sufficient discriminatory measures and harassing policies such as those applied until then. Inspired by Hitler's Germany, they sought radical ways to deal with what they called the "Jewish problem," leading to mass murder. State law enforcement agencies, the army, the police, the gendarmerie, the secret services, were mobilized against the Jews, who were harassed, beaten, deported and, many, killed during these four years.

Photo 2: Adolfina Regenbogen in 1942, before her family was taken away to be deported in Transnistria

Photo 3,4 and 5: Mass deportations in Odessa, photos Agerpres

Most of the victims were Jews from Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Ukraine who were deported to Transnistria, taken to the execution squads, or left to die of starvation, cold and disease. According to the Report of the International Commission for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, at least 270,000 Jews perished at the hands of the Romanian state. This film is about an episode in September 1942, when 600 Jews from the Old Kingdom were deported to Mostovoi, Transnistria, robbed by Romanian gendarmes and then shot by an execution squad recruited by the SS from German settlers in Rastadt. The bodies of the victims were burned. The mass murder was carried out on September 19, 1942 just two days before Yom Kippur, the most important Jewish holiday.

Photo 6 & 7: Adolfina Regenbogen's parents, Henrieta and Rudolf with Adolfina as a baby

Adolfina Regenbogen's parents, maternal grandparents and uncle perished in the September 19, 1942 massacre in Mostovoi. She only escaped because, prior to being sent to Transnistria, her mother threw her over the fence of the encampment to the first woman passing on the street.

Guest contributors: historian Adrian Cioflâncă and journalist Teodora Drăgoi


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