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DOMBROVENI , Jewish agricultural colony in Bessarabia, founded in 1836 on 1,287 hectares (approx. 3,217 acres) of land bought by settlers from Podolia. It developed the most advanced level of farm economy in the Jewish colonies in the region. Of the 371 families (1,874 persons) living there in 1899, 139 owned land with an average holding of 9.2 hectares (approx. 32½ acres) per family; an additional 2,325 hectares (approx. 5,812 acres) were held on lease. The colony owned then 31 plows and 3,517 sheep and goats. A school was opened in 1900, to which the writer K.R. Abramowich-Ginzburg was appointed principal. Under the Romanian agrarian reform of 1922, 182 Jews in Dombroveni received 413 hectares (approx. 1,032 acres). The 303 members registered in the loan fund operating locally in 1925 included 225 farmers, 21 artisans, and 24 merchants. In 1930 there were in the colony 1,198 Jews (87.3% of the total population).

[Eliyahu Feldman]

Holocaust Period

After occupation by the Soviet army in June 1940, the rabbi and community leaders of Dombroveni were exiled to Siberia; Jewish property was confiscated in stages and all Zionist activity outlawed. In 1941, in the interval between the withdrawal of the Soviet forces and the entry of German-Romanian troops, Dombroveni was plundered by the inhabitants of the nearby villages, and the Jews fled to the outlying fields. When they were caught by the Romanian troops they were all concentrated in the school courtyard, robbed of their money and jewelry, and ordered to leave the place. Those who turned west were murdered by the Germans they met en route; others turned east and reached the Dniester, where some succeeded in crossing the river with the help of the remaining Soviet authorities and took refuge in the Soviet Union. Still others were caught by Romanians and dispatched to *Transnistria, where they were either killed or died of starvation and disease. The settlement itself was leased out and all the property seized and distributed among local peasants.

[Jean Ancel]