Today, the 30th of July, we are with our aunt Tinca. I hope to find you well!
I want you to tell us who you are.
I am the daughter of Luba from Valcea whose father was called Tomiţă son of Burkoş and whose wife was called Luta. My father’s name was Urdiţa also called Tomiţa.
Whose son was Urda?
Son of Roka. Roka son fo Drilla from Drăgăneşti de Olt.
God rest his soul!
God rest his soul!
Aunt Tinka I would like you to tell us your memories of the Bug.
I’m telling you.
Tell us about it. May God give you good luck and health.
And may God give you too! May God help you!
There were many people, there were our elders whom Antonescu took, he took us and sent us far away, telling us that he would give us homes, cows, that he would give us great wealth but he lied to us, whereas he took us and kept us for three years in those huts with no windows and no door and we were eating shells and went to work in those kolkhozes , we harvested beets and potatoes and they did not give us anything to eat and when our parents came home they would catch shells and would come home to the huts, boil them and give them to us to eat, unsalted and with nothing else, and we, the children would eat them as they were and stood like that home and they were working in the kolkhozes, hungry, barefoot and naked. Those who could walk were working, those who could not, would fall from their feet and die there in the field, in a ditch. And then …
Then came the army, then came the Romanian army and told to our old people: Those of you who can walk with us, so we go back to Romania, may come, those who can not as you are barefoot and naked, we cannot take you, you should remain here.”
When they heard this, even the naked ones and the barefooted jumped up and followed the Romanian army, they were running after them.
While we were walking that road, my father found a donkey and took him and put us in some saddlebags on him, me on one side, my sister on the other and my brother, Melu, he put on the donkey’s back. And this is how we started our travel back.
There was a huge row of straw, like from here to the city, on the market and when they saw it, because they were freezing, they lit it up so they could warm up their feet as they were troubled, naked hungry and thirsty. Some people were carrying their children around their necks, other children, the elder ones, had blisters on their feet, they could not walk any longer and then the parents would say: “Stay here in this ditch and wait for me, I’ll bring you bread and water. I’ll be back, wait here so I can get you some food, child, stay here.”
He could not carry them any longer, he could barely walk by himself and would not return, he would walk forward.
On the road they would find cows and the one who had a pocketknife, or a knife would cut the meat with the skin and put in in his pocket as they had no bags anymore. We had no place to drink water from. There were cow hooves, and they would take water in them and put in into bottles and give us to drink a sip of water each. They kept the bottle in the pocket. My father was walking in front of the donkey, and my mother came in the back with a whip.
My mother wanted to go there were all the people went: “Come, husband, let us go there too so we warm up the children”
But my father said: “No, we are warm, we keep going on the road. We are warm.”
Where those people went (*to worm themselves) , more the five thousand, five thousand people were shot from the planes and were buried into the ground with the straw strings and the heat and everything. They were gone.
And my father said: “Do you see, woman, where you would have taken us, we would have died together with our children?”
We kept walking. And as we were going forward, we found some kiosks where they were selling clothes.
Many people hid in potholes to roast the meat chunks they had taken on the way from the dead cows.
When people wanted to get out of the wagon; they children and old people they put in some larger wagons they still had so they put them there. They were no longer alive; they were all dead. And they would take them down, and there were furrows out of the ground, and they would come down on one side and take the dead, and they would wrap them in a skirt or a blanket, and they would pull that furrow of the earth over them without burying them, so they would leave them and continue their way on the road. After all, what else were those people supposed to do? Hey were crying and shouting that their little children were left behind, big or small as well as old people remained on the roads like this.
On the road there were also many dead Romanian soldiers. What were our naked people supposed to do? They would undress them and take the clothes as they were freezing. So they continued walking and dieing too. Those who remained alive went ahead and again some of them died on the roads. There were so many people one could not count, hunderds of thousends, who knows?Only God can tell. How many of them retuned over here? Few, very few. Now they multiply again, they were others born, do you understand?
They divided into sectors Gorj, Strehaia, Vâlcea, Sebeş, people got devided.
We continued walking, we crossed the large Dniester, Dniester. We crossed over that large bridge. As we were crossing the large bridge, there were thise, teh ones that stay in front, people who would stop and check one. These ones took the wagons, took also the donkey where we were on in the saddlebags. They took everything and sent it back to Russia.
And those who had nothing, they searched in their pockets, all things they had so that they would not have something left, they took everything, so they had nothing left. And that’s how we crossed on this other side.
What were our older people were? They wept that they had left behind many people alive or dead on the roads, relatives, daughters, sons, and daughter in law. Who wasn’t dead there on those roads.
For two years only troubles and misery and there was no water and there were no clothes, we had nothing, only trouble. The was only suffering there, where we had been taken.
And in the end when we passed, the Romanians received us with great pleasure, and they took us into their house and gave us cake and gave us milk and wept and we wept with them, and we were very sad. You hear?
I’d like you to tell us what eyes cannot forget? What do you see, what images are left unforgotten from the Bug?
From the Bug?
From that great pain? Were you telling us about that woman Orjea what they did to her?
Orja? They took her and undressed her and threw snow on her and she stood there and asked for salt:„Kindly give me a little salt so I put on the shells. I’ll dance for you.” She had nothing else to say. And nobody would give her salt, becouse we sold golden coins to buy salt. People went to the village and sold their beautifull clothes and skirts and they were begging for food there. Moloko, that was milk and they would say hlibă, hlibă. Bread was hliba. And people would trade a big golden coin, or two, three on food and brought it but they could not share with the others who had none, becouse they brought it with sacrifice. The Russians were quite devlish. When they would see a Roma woman and a Roma men they would force them on the road to lay down and have intercourse with each other:„Love this one and we let you go.” To have been his mother, to have been his sister, to have been the father, they were forced to mess with each other, that was a big mess there.
That kolkhose was the most dangerous. That kolkhose drained our elders’s lives and bewildered them; they would have had much more days to live, also ou parents, but they died becouse of the suffering, that Antonescu took their lives away. Antonescu killed them, and look , becouse of the freezing I got ill al my feet so I can not walk any more. I remained sick because of that Bug. It’s because I came on foot; my father carried me around his neck, on the donkey, on foot but since than I have chronic rheumatism and there is no cure for it. I am sixty-eight years old.
Be blessed and may you live many years from now!
May you live long, because I do not wish that for myself, I suffered enaugh. Tell me what else do you want to ask s I can tell you?
What else do you remember, what was your mother telling you about the Bug?
These words were those she would often tell me, because she was old and from what I remember, as I was five years old, I was going on six, you know?
And my little brother, the one my mother wrapped in her skirt, the one that was born there, Valli is his name. She put him in my arms. I held him as long as I could but my arms hurt and eventually I threw him away. He fainted, Vali, got dark …
She had no milk to breastfeed him and kept him like this in her arms and swayed him and he recovered. Then she took him like this under her armpit holding him with one hand and with the other she kept the whip and came behind the donkey and my father was walking in front. We really had har times there.
My mother died sad, suffering, old. She died here of sorrow becouse of that Bug and my father died too and now I have no relatives left alive. My brother, the one who was riding the donkey, my brother Melu, died too. The one who was with me on the donkey. He was on the back of the donekey, me and my sister we were in the saddlebags on each side of the donkey. Three children had my father and with the one who was born there at the Bug , four. And we suffered a lot and I do not know what else to tell you?
What would you like to say to people from all over the world?
What should I tell them? May they be lucky, be healthy all the ones who are here, as we, the ones who were there, have suffered a lot. What else to tell?
What do you say to your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who are about to come?
I tel them to be lucky and healthy! They should be good, and cherish me as now I am old, and they should care for me too. They should take care of me! Help me out! And if I fall they should help me up, because my life was not easy.
May God bless you and pour out His Peace upon you and over your home and your children and over your grandchildren and always guard you.
May you have luck and be healthy!
You too, have a long life! May your mother and your brother and your sisters have long lives too!