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 Marcu's wine was excellent, however, it still fetched a good price. He spent much of his time cultivating his vineyards and then transforming the grapes into wine. In November 1939 his 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 Marcu's door saying that the Soviets were coming to liberate Jews. This was a ploy to catch traitors, and Marcu refused to fall for it. That day he was arrested by Romanian fascists [Iron Guard], who accused him of being a communist just because he was Jewish. He was badly beaten, tried by a military court and acquitted. But then he was held hostage to prevent acts of sabotage. When he was finally released, his 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.