Violent anti-Semitic movements in pre-World War II (WWII) Romania had their impact in its province of Bessarabia – the general region of contemporary Moldova. The situation degenerated into government-directed pogroms and mass deportations leading to the concentration and extermination of Jewish citizens, according to the 2004 Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania chaired by Elie Wiesel. By December 1941, Romanian forces with limited German participation had either killed the vast majority of Bessarabian Jews or deported them to concentration camps and ghettos located in Romanian‑occupied territory in southwestern Ukraine stretching all the way from the Dniester River to the Bug River, which Romania’s wartime regime labeled “Transnistria.” The Wiesel Commission Final Report notes that in 1941, between 45,000 and 60,000 Jews were killed in Bessarabia and the former Bukovina, another former Romanian-administered province now divided between Ukraine and Romania. An additional 105,000 to 120,000 Romanian Jews, mostly from Bessarabia, perished or were murdered following their expulsions into Romanian‑administered territory between the Dniester and Bug rivers. While fewer than 1,000 Jews survived the Holocaust in Bessarabia, some 14,000 Bessarabian Jews survived incarceration in camps and ghettos in wartime Transnistria. The Wiesel Commission Final Report cites some expert estimates that a total of approximately 200,000 Jews who lived in the territory that now falls within the Republic of Moldova were killed during the Holocaust.
According to the World Jewish Congress, between 7,500 and 20,000 Jews currently reside in Moldova. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany confirmed that it distributes financial assistance to approximately 466 Holocaust survivors in Moldova.
Despite recent progress in addressing longstanding issues important to the Jewish community in Moldova, the government has not enacted comprehensive restitution legislation for communal or private property confiscated during the Holocaust nor arranged for proper financial compensation to the Jewish community. Moldova endorsed the Terezin Declaration in 2009 and the related Guidelines and Best Practices in 2010.
Moldova became an observer country to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2014. In January 2019, the government adopted a decision on “Condemning Anti‑Semitism and Promoting Tolerance” and approved for official use the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism. To date, the government has not announced any plans to upgrade from observer status to liaison member.