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Grimancauti is a Moldovan village in Briceni region, Northern Moldova. It is located at a distance of 4 kilometers to the North of Briceni. According to historical documents, the village was established in the middle of the 17th century. According to the census of 1970, the population made 3856 persons. Before the war in the village there were about 10 Jewish families. 2000 persons live in the village today. After World War II no Jews remained in the village. There is a secondary school, club, library, medical aid station, kindergarten, store, canteen, service house, post office in the village.
The story about the tragedy in the village of Grimancauti is very similar to other stories in other places. A woman from the village of Nina Dumitrash said: «...before the war the Jews were mainly petty traders and craftsmen. Usually women were sewers, men were handworkers, smiths, turners; they did the heaviest job. They were very good craftsmen. Our peasants, who learned from the Jews, knew the craft perfectly well... ». The Jews in the village had good relations with the local population. Such relations were favorable both for the Jews and the Moldovans. The Jews, unlike the local population, did not work in agriculture. Vasily Bandalak said that when he was a child, his family had friendly relations with a Jewish family. He supplied the Jewish neighbors with fresh food products, and the Jewish women gave him clothes in exchange.
The only Jewish house in Grimancauti, which remained undestroyed, differs from the others. Sava Bonari (a villager, explained that Jewish houses were usually divided in two parts. The door of the house was in the middle. One half of the house was for living, and the other was a workshop. Besides, in the Jewish houses there were cellars to store vegetables and fruit, while the Moldovans stored food in simple holes dug in the courtyard. The roof of the house also differed; it was decorated with nice carving related to the Jewish tradition. Of course, now other people live in that building, and the house lost the Jewish specifics. But even now one can see under the roof a pattern, which reminds a Torah scroll.
The change in the village life, especially for the Jewish population, was quick and abrupt. The Romanians came to the village at the beginning of the war, in June - July, 1941. The Romanians brought all the Jews to the center of the village, near the house of Nikolay Shmatok. There they forced the Jews to dig a trench, undress and line up along the trench. All the Jewish population was shot. The Romanians did not allow the local population to approach this place. After that, when the military people left and the local people could approach the place of execution, they saw a terrible picture. The witness of those terrible events Feodor Chernei said: «... the soil boiled on that place where the Jews were killed ... all the day the ground was moving ...». Vasily Bandalak said that the Romanians not only brutally shot the Jews, but also subjected them to the cruelest things. Among the Jews there was a mother with a 12-year-old daughter, and the Romanians raped the daughter before the eyes of her mother and then they shot all the people. Thus, «the Jewish problem» in the village of Grimancauti was resolved in half a day.
In the Soviet time, after the war, the bones of the victims were transferred to the Jewish cemetery in Briceni. But there is no memorable sign reminding of this tragedy either in Grimancauti, or in Briceni.
Now on that place corn is planted, and only a few persons can precisely show that place. The checkpoint is the birch, which grows on the edge of the field.
The old-timers of the village speak with kind words about the Jews. They say that in childhood they were friends and never thought that such things could happen.