In 1940, the town of Iasi in north west Rumania, on the border with the USSR, consisted of around one hundred thousand inhabitants, many thousands of whom were Jews. Sparked by rumours that Russian parachutists had landed on the outskirts of the town, the national army, Antonescu's Iron Guard, conducted a search of all Jewish homes in the area in the belief that all Jews were Bolshevik agents and therefore allies of the Soviet Union.
Hundreds were arrested and marched to the courtyard of the police station where they were shot to death. Similar arrests and shootings took place in the town's movie theatre. Estimates put the number killed at 900.
The bodies were buried in mass graves previously dug by the victims prior to their deaths. Other Jews in the surrounding areas, between 2,600 and 3,500, were rounded up and put on two trains carrying them to Calarasi and other camps in the interior of the country.
Conditions on board one of the trains that left on the 30th of June were horrific, about one thousand died in transit mostly from suffocation and heat exhaustion during the seventeen hour journey. More died during their two months interment in the camps before being allowed to return to their homes. Only 1,076 Jews of Iasi survived the pogrom.