Matvey Gredinger

Matvey Gredinger

Born: June 2, 1921

Vertujeni, Romania

Matvey was the youngest of three children born to a Jewish family. The Gredingers lived in the town of Vertujeni, which was located in Bessarabia, a region of Romania. His father was a kosher butcher, preparing meat, especially chicken, for sale in his kosher shop. Matvey attended a Jewish school where he studied Jewish history and Hebrew.

1933-39: The Gredingers heard stories from other towns about antisemitic groups, especially the League of National Christian Defense, harassing and sometimes attacking Romanian Jews. But only small groups tormented them in their town. After Matvey completed the seventh grade, he went to the Romanian capital of Bucharest in 1934 and secured a job working in a textile factory. While he was away, his family moved to the town of Vysoka.

1940-44: While Matvey was visiting his family in 1940, the Soviets occupied Bessarabia. Within a year the Germans occupied the area. At once, Romanian soldiers began shooting Jews. His family barricaded their house but the soldiers broke in. Matvey was dragged out and a soldier fired at him; the bullet passed through his neck. He collapsed, unconscious but alive, lying in a pool of blood. Later, the soldiers used a match to check his breathing. He feigned death. They heaped rocks on him and left. After dark, Matvey rose and ran through the woods.

Matvey fled to a nearby town, but the Germans came the next day. He was then deported to a forced-labor camp in Ukraine. In 1944 he was liberated by the Red Army.

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