Marcu Butnaru

Marcu Butnaru

Born: May 12, 1886

Husi, Romania

Marcu was born to Jewish parents in a small, ethnically diverse city in east central Moldavia [in Romania], a region known for its wine. He married at the age of 23, and had a son and a daughter with his wife, Anna. After World War I, Marcu followed in his father's footsteps by going into the wine making business.

1933-39: The price of wine was low due to the worldwide economic depression. Because the quality of my wine was excellent, however, it still fetched a good price. I spent much of my time cultivating my vineyards and then transforming the grapes into wine. In November 1939 my 20-year-old son Ion was drafted into the Romanian army.

1940-44: In 1941 Romania went to war with the USSR as Germany's ally [Axis]. A Yiddish-speaking stranger came to my door saying that the Soviets were coming to liberate Jews. This was a ploy to catch traitors, and I refused to fall for it. That day I was arrested by Romanian fascists [Iron Guard], who accused me of being a communist just because I was Jewish. I was badly beaten, tried by a military court and acquitted. But then I was held hostage to prevent acts of sabotage. When I was finally released, my vineyards and home had been confiscated.

Marcu was liberated by the Soviet army in August 1944. He continued to live in Romania after the war.