- Holocaust trains
The Holocaust trains were
railway transports run by German Nazis and their collaborators to forcibly deport interned Jewsand other victims of the Holocaustto the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps.
Modern historians suggested that without the
mass transportationof the railways, the scale of the Final Solutionwould not have been possible. [http://www.aish.com/holocaust/overview/he05n21.htm Holocaust: The Trains ] ]
Following the unsuccessful
Évian Conference, in late 1938 at the invitation of a friend in the British Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia, 30 year old clerk to the London Stock Exchange Nicholas Wintonvisited one of the rapidly expanding refugee camps for those fleeing the Nazis. At the Embassy's request, he set up an office at a dining room table in his hotel in Wenceslas Square, where he arranged train transport for children to Britain. On return to London, the British Governmentagreed to the shipment of the children on the conditions were that Winton had to pay the cost of the transport (arranged via Czech travel agency Cedok), pay a £50 bond, and arrange a foster family - at the time when few of the affected families could afford the cost.
In 18 months, Winton managed to arrange for 669 children to get out on eight trains,
Pragueto London (a small group of 15 were flown out via Sweden). The ninth and biggest train was to leave Prague on 3 September, 1939- the day Britain entered World War II. The train never left the station, and none of the 250 children on board was seen again. During the war, 15,000 Czech children were killed. [ [http://www.auschwitz.dk/Winton.htm Sir Nicholas Winton, Schindler Of Britain ] ]
The role of the railway in the Final Solution
phases of the Holocaust, the trains were used differently:
*After economic discrimination and separation, trains were used to concentrate the populations, either in
ghettos, or - more often - to transport them to forced labouror concentration camps
*After concentration within ghettos, to transport the inmates to death camps
The scale of the extermination of the Jews was therefore only dependent on two factors:
*The volume of the death camps to murder Jews and process bodies
*The capacity of the railways to transport Jews from the ghettos to the death camps
The most modern accurate numbers on the scale of the Final Solution still rely today partly on shipping records of the German railways. [ [http://www.faqs.org/faqs/holocaust/reinhard/part02/ HOLOCAUST FAQ: Operation Reinhard: A Layman's Guide (2/2) ] ]
The advantage of using trains
To implement the Final Solution, the Nazis needed an efficient system for mass extermination. Although trains took valuable track space away, they sped up the scale and duration over which the extermination needed to take place. The enclosed nature of the railway wagons used also reduced the number and skill of troops required to transport the Jews, and allowed the Nazis to build and operate more efficient death camps to a larger scale, rather than wasting valuable production resources on bullets. Many of the Jews killed were from Eastern Europe where there were many trains that had already transported military goods to the Russian front, and would have been empty on their return back to Germany were it not for the human cargo bound for the Holocaust.
There is "no word about those who committed the crimes," Hans-Rüdiger Minow, a spokesman for the Train of Commemoration, told The Jerusalem Post. He said 200,000 train employees were involved in the deportations and "10,000 to 20,000 were responsible for mass murders," but were never prosecuted.
cale of the need for mass transportation
20 January, 1942, after the Wannsee conference, the Nazis began to murder the Jews in large numbers. The mobile extermination squads were already conducting mass shootings of Jews in the areas of the occupied Sovietterritories since 1941, and now Jews were either deported to then-empty ghettos like Riga, or to the death camps of Operation Reinhard: Treblinka, Belzecand Sobibór.
At Wannsee, the SS estimated that the "Final Solution" would ultimately annihilate 11 million European Jews; Nazi planners envisioned the inclusion of Jews living in neutral or non-occupied countries such as
Ireland, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Deportations on this scale required the co-ordination of numerous German government ministries and state organisations, including the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), the Transport Ministry, and the Foreign Office. The RSHA coordinated and directed the deportations; the Transport Ministry organised train schedules; and the Foreign Office negotiated with German-allied states about handing over their Jews. [ [http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005445 German Railways and the Holocaust ] ]
Jews from Germany and German-occupied Europe were deported by rail to the extermination camps in occupied Poland, where they were systematically murdered. The Nazis disguised the Final Solution by referring to these deportations as "resettlement to the east." The victims were told they were being taken to labour camps, but in reality, from 1942, deportation for most Jews meant transit to extermination camps. During a telephone conversation in late 1942, Hitler’s private secretary
Martin Bormannadmonished Heinrich Himmler, who was informing him that 50,000 Jews were already exterminated in a concentration camp in Poland. Bormann screamed: "They were not exterminated, only evacuated, evacuated, evacuated!", and slammed down the phone.
The first trains operated on
16 October, 1941, transporting Jews from central Germany to ghettos in the east. [http://sg.geocities.com/raiha_evelyn/holocaust.html ::::The Importance of World Peace: The Holocaust:::: ] ]
The trains consisted of formations of either third class passenger carriages, [ [http://jewishmag.com/62mag/nadel/nadel.htm Recalling the Holocaust ] ] but mainly
freight cars of cattle cars - the later were packed, according to SS regulations, with 50, but sometimes up to 150 occupants.http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/25615/edition_id/498/format/html/displaystory.html] No food or water was provided, while the freight cars were only provided with a bucket latrine. A small barred window provided irregular ventilation, which sometimes resulted in deaths from either suffocation or the exposure to the elements.
Sometimes the Germans did not have enough cars to make it worth their while to do a major shipment of Jews to the camps, so the victims were stuck in a switching yard – "standing room only" – sometimes for days. At other times, the trains had to wait for more important military trains to pass. An average transport took about four and a half days. The longest transport of the war, from
Corfu, took 18 days. When the train got to the camps and the doors were opened, everyone was already dead.The armed guards shot anyone trying to escape. Due to cramped conditions, many deportees died in transit. To avoid contamination between loads, at times the floor of the freight cars had a layer of quick limewhich burned the feet of the human cargo.
Once alighted, the remaining passengers were split into two groups. The old, the young, the sick, and the infirm were sent immediately to be killed, initially in gassing vans and later in the gas chambers. The rest were to put to work, frequently in the harshest conditions which included the burial of victims in mass graves.
Powered mainly by efficient freight steam locomotives, the trains were kept to a maximum of 55
The standard accommodation was a 10 metre long cattle freight wagon, although third class passenger carriages were also used where the SS wanted to keep up the "resettlement to work in the East" myth, particularly in Holland and Belgium.
The standard SS manual covered such trains, suggesting a resultant loading ration per train of:
: 50 people in a freight car X 50 cars = 2,500 people in each train.
Since normally the trains were loaded to 150 to 200% capacity, this results in the following:
: 100 people in a freight car X 50 cars = 5,000 people in each train
Of the estimated 6 million Jews exterminated during the Second World War, 2 million were murdered immediately by the second-rank military and political police, and mobile death squadrons of the
In total, over 1,600 trains were organised by the German Transport Ministry, and logged mainly by the Polish state railway company due to the majority of death camps being located in Poland. [http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/black.html Edwin Black on IBM and the Holocaust ] ] Between 1941 until December of 1944, the official date of closing of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, the transport/arrival timetable was of 1.5 trains per day:
: 50 freight cars X 50 prisoners per freight car X 1.5 trains/day X 1,066 days = 4,000,000 prisoners
20 January, 1943, Himmlersent a letter to Reich Minister of Transport: "need your help and support. If I am to wind things up quickly, I MUST HAVE MORE TRAINS." [http://www.neveragain.org/1943.htm NAAF Holocaust Project Timeline 1943 ] ]
Most of the Jews were forced to pay for their own transportation, particularly where passenger carriages were used. This payment came in the form of direct money paid to the SS, in light of the "resettlement to work in the East" myth. Charged in the ghettos for accommodation, the Jews paid for a full one-way ticket, while children under 10-12 years of age paid half price. Those who were running out of money in the ghetto were shipped to the East first, while those with some supplies of gold and cash were shipped last.
The SS also paid the German Transport Authority to pay the German Railways to transport Jews. The Reichsbahn was paid the equivalent of a third class train ticket for every prisoner transported to the their final destination::0.5 pfennig X 8,000,000 prisoners X 600 km (pro media of voyage length) = 240 million Reichmarks
The Reichsbahn pocketed both this money and their share, after the SS fees, of the money paid by the transported.
Variations per country
The characteristics of organized concentration and transportation of victims of the Holocaust varied by country.
When Germany annexed Austria in the
Anschlussin March 1938, and following the unsuccessful Évian Conferenceof June 1938, Belgiumhad in excess of 30,000 refugees within its borders. The government ordered the Belgian Embassy in Viennato stop issuing entry visas and draw up lists of "suspect Belgians and foreigners." [http://www.raphaelvishanu-world.at/Dec2003.html]
When German troops invaded Belgium on
10 May, 1940, the Belgian authorities rounded up the “unpatriotic” subjects, including Flemish-Nationalists, Communists, and non-Belgian citizens, most of them Jewish refugeesfrom Germany and Poland. Theses people were transported to France on so-called "phantom trains" the records for which were destroyed, but it is known that at least 3,000 were arrested under the plot in Antwerpalone. A phantom train on which Joris van Severen, leader of the pro-Belgian Fascist party was among 79 people deported is well recorded, as 21 people were killed by French soldiers at Abbeville. [http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1287 Belgian Authorities Destroy Holocaust Records | The Brussels Journal ] ]
Of the people deported on "phantom trains," most including the Belgian Jews were released by the
Wehrmacht, the only Jews released by the Nazi German Army. 3,537 Jews holding German and Austrian passports were kept imprisoned at location, and were transported to Auschwitz for processing. In July 1940 General Eggert Reeder the head of the Wehrmacht in Brussels, had Robert de Foythe head of the Belgian secret police, arrested for the deportations. The SS ordered that De Foy released, in that he had fully co-operated with Heinrich Himmlerbefore the War.
After implementation of the Final Solution in Belgium, between August 1942 and July 1944, 28 trains transported more than 25,000 Jewish deportees to Auschwitz via the concentration camp at
Mechelen, chosen because it was the hub of the Belgian railway system. [http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005372 Deportations to Killing Centers ] ]
After the War, De Foy resumed his position as head of the Belgian secret police. While the records about the persecution of the Antwerp Jews are intact, the documents about French-speaking cities with large Jewish communities including
Charleroiand Liège, were claimed to have been purposely destroyed, even into the early 2000s. [ [http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/brussels090106.htm Belgian Authorities Destroy Holocaust Records ] ] At least 171 Jews of Charleroi and 312 Jews from Liege are known to have died in the Shoah.
22 February, 1943the Bulgarian government agreed to allow the Germans to deport 11,000 Jews. Overcrowding conditions existed in the 20 trains that transported them over four days, requiring each train to stop daily to dump the bodies of those who died during the past day.
Jews were interned and shipped from
Theresienstadt, mainly to Birkenau.
The last train left Theresienstadt for Birkenau on
28 October, 1944with 2,038 Jews, of which 1,589 were immediately gassed. [http://www.neveragain.org/1944.htm NAAF Holocaust Project Timeline 1944 ] ] Birkenau closed its gas chambers on 7 November, 1944.
SNCFunder the Vichy Governmentplayed its part in the Final Solution, however reluctantly. In total, the Vichy government helped in the deportation of 76,000 Jews, although this number varies depending on the account, to German extermination camps; only 2,500 survived the war. J.-L. Einaudi and Maurice Rajsfus, "Les silences de la police — 16 July 1942and 17 October 1961", " L'Esprit frappeur", 2001, ISBN 2-84405-173-1 (Rajsfus is an historian of the French police, the second date refers to the 1961 Paris massacreunder the orders of Maurice Papon, who would later be judged for his role during Vichy in Bordeaux) ]
16 July 1942" rafle du Vel'd'Hiv" ("Vel'd'Hiv round-up"), French policeofficers and SNCF officials rounded up 12,884 Jews (including 4,051 children which the Gestapo hadn't asked for), and imprisoned them in the Winter Velodromein unhygienic conditions, from which they were led to Drancy internment camp, run by Alois Brunner, [As of 2007, Alois Brunneris still wanted for his crimes against humanity] and French constabulary police, and then to Birkenau.
During the January 1943
Battle of Marseille, the French police controlled the identity of 40,000 people, and sent 2,000 inhabitants of Marseille to Birkenau. [ Maurice Rajsfus, "La Police de Vichy. Les Forces de l'ordre françaises au service de la Gestapo, 1940/1944", Le Cherche Midi éditeur, 1995. Chapter XIV, "La Bataille de Marseille", pp.209-217 fr icon] Drancyserved as the transport hub for the Paris area, where by February 3, 1944 the 67th train had left for Birkenau.; Vittelserved the northeast. By 23 June, 194350,000 Jews had been be deported from France, an apparently slow pace not to the satisfaction of the Germans. [http://www.neveragain.org/1943A.htm NAAF Holocaust Project Timeline 1943 Continued ] ] The last train from France left Drancy on 31 July, 1944with over 300 children.
After the German occupation, an internment camp was set up in
Athensto transport Jews to another internment camp at Salonika, which served as the collection point for Jews from the Greek Islands.
Hungary resisted the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Germany, but did deport 100,000 Jews in former Romanian territory of
Transylvania, [http://isurvived.org/2Postings/holocaust-Podul_Iloaiei-RO.html Holocaust in Podul Iloaiei, Romania ] ] and Jews from occupied Yugoslavia.
After Hitler launched
Operation Margarethein March 1944, the discussions between him and Admiral Horthy came to a quick conclusion. On 29 April, 1944the first deportation to Birkenau took place, and the second on 30 Aprilof 2,000 Jews. To allay fears of the remaining population estimated at 762,000, the SS has the deported write postcards to their family back home.
25 May, German representative General Edmund Veesenmayer reported that 138,870 Jews had been deported in the past 10 days; on 31 Mayhe reported that 60,000 more had been deported in the last six days, while the total for the past 16 days stood at 204,312.
8 July, 1944due to international pressure by the Pope, King of Swedenand the Red Cross(all of whom had recently learned the extent of the Hungarian tragedy), the deportation of the Hungarian Jews stopped. In 70 days, 437,000 Hungarian Jews were deported - around 6,250 per day.
In October 1944, following the
coup detatthat again put a fascist Government in control, 50,000 of the remaining Jews were forced on a death marchto Germany, digging anti-tank ditches on the roads westwards. A further 25,000 were saved in an "international ghetto" under Swedish protection engineered by Charles Lutzand Raoul Wallenberg. When the Soviet Army liberated Budapest on 17 January, 1945, only 120,000 of Hungarian Jews survived. [ [http://www.holocaust-trc.org/trains.htm The Man Who Stopped the Trains to Auschwitz, George Mantello, El Salvador, and Switzerland's Finest Hour ] ]
Benito Mussoliniresisted the deportation of Italian Jews to Germany.After the Allied landings on mainland Italy, and the 8 September, 1943 Armistice with Italy, the Germans occupied northern Italy and shipped 8,000 Jews to Birkenau via mainly Austria, and also possibly via neutral Switzerland.
Between September 1943 and April 1944, at least 23,000 Italian soldiers were deported to work as slaves in German industry, while over 10,000 partisans were captured and deported during the same period to Birkenau. By 1944 there were over half a million Italians working for the Nazi war machine. [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/nazis/train/ FRONTLINE: Switzerland: The Train ] ]
In the Netherlands, Jews were concentrated in
Amsterdamghettos, before being moved for “re-settlement in the East” to Westerbork, a transit camp in the north-east of near the German border. Deportees from Amsterdam Muiderpoortstation were unaware of their final destination or fate, as postcards were often thrown from moving trains. [ [http://research.leidenuniv.nl/index.php3?c=315 2007-05-01 Holocaust ] ]
Between July 1942 and September 1944, almost every Tuesday a train left for the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau,
Sobibór, Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt. In the period from 1942 to 1945, a total of 107,000 people passed through the camp on a total of 93 outgoing trains: about 60,000 to Auschwitz and over 34,000 to Sobibor.
Only 5,200 of the deportees survived, most of them in Theresienstadt or
Bergen-Belsen, or liberated in Westerbork. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2005/01/14/last_train_from_belsen1_feature.shtml BBC - Birmingham - Faith - The Last Train from Belsen ] ] On 29 September, 2005, Nederlandse Spoorwegenapologised for its role in the deportation of Jews. [http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=23852 Dutch news - Expatica ] ]
Most of the Jews were transported by road to concentration camps, until the opening of the full five gas chambers at Auschwitz. The numerous train movements, both originating inside and outside Poland and terminating at the various
death camps, were tracked by the Polish railway company PKP Hollerith department, at 22 Pawia Street in Kraków. Using IBMsupplied card reading machines and railway software, they made up 95% of IBM's Polish business.
Warsaw Ghettowas created by the Nazis on 16 November, 1940; eventually over 450,000 people cramped in an area meant for about 60,000. Shipments to the camps under Operation Reinhardwere from the station at Umschlagplatzstarted on 22 July, 1942through to 12 September. [ [http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/04/26/062553.php Holocaust Remembrance Day in Warsaw ] ]
The Nazi record of Operation Reinhard lists the total number of killed, most of whom were transported by train, as follows:
Höfle Telegramlists the number of arrivals to the camps through 1942 as 1,274,166, while the total killed is estimated at 2 million.
7 August, 1944the Nazis liquidated 68,000 Jews of the Łódź Ghetto, by then the largest remaining gathering of Jews in all of Europe. They were told by the SS that they were to be resettled; instead, over the next 23 days they were sent to Birkenau by train at the rate of 2,500 per day, with some of the crippled selected by Dr. Josef Mengele for his medical experiments.
Romania had the third largest Jewish population in Europe after Russia and Poland, and antisemitic feelings ran high in pre-War Romania, based partly on Christian beliefs as well as modern politics stemming from King Carol II. When he was forced to resign, the Government headed by
Ion Antonescuintroduced draconian anti-Jewish legislation, which was openly inspired by the Nazi Nuremberg Laws. During 1941 and 1942, thirty-two antisemitic laws, thirty-one decree-laws, and seventeen government resolutions were passed and decreed. This resulted in many Jews leaving for Palestine by ship in Autumn 1940. [ [http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2005/5/6/survivorSharesUniqueStoryOnHolocaustRemembranceDay Survivor shares unique story on Holocaust Remembrance Day - The Stanford Daily Online ] ]
As a result of Romania having to give up territories to the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria in summer 1940, Jews in the new border regions were rounded up in concentration camps for transportation to the interior regions. Jewish population was mainly concentated to the east of the
River Prut. 800,000 of them died in Transnistria; 206,958 in Bessarabia; and 69,144 in Bukovina. [http://hist.claremontmckenna.edu/jpetropoulos/ironguard/holocaust.htm New Page 1 ] ] These Jewish populations were shipped to both Auschwitz as well as Belzec, where in September, 1942 two trains from Kolomeain Galicia arrived: the first with 4,769 Jews in 50 freight wagons; the second with 8,205 Jews packed at a ratio of 167 people per car, with 2,000 on board all already dead. [ [http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2006/06/carlo-mattogno-on-belzec.html Holocaust Controversies: Carlo Mattogno on Belzec Archaeological Research - Part 5 and Conclusion ] ]
As a result of the
Iaşi pogromon 25 June 1941in which 900 Jews were killed, train shipments were increased to Călăraşiin the south where estimated 420,000 Jews died, as well as to Auschwitz. [ [http://www.ocolly.com/read_story.php?a_id=32394 The Daily O’Collegian » Summer staff ] ] In addition, 26,000 Roma peoplewere deported to Nazi death camps.
In October 1942, 770 Norwegian Jews were deported by boat to
Hamburgand onwards by train to Auschwitz. The Danish resistance, on hearing a similar measure was to be attempted by the SS in Denmark, assisted in a mass rescue of the Danish Jewsto neutral Sweden.
9 September, 1941, the parliament of "independent" Slovakia - a Nazi puppet state - ratified the Jewish Codex, a series of laws and regulations that stripped Slovakia's 80,000 Jews of their civil rights and all means of economic survival. The fascist Slovak leadership was so impatient to get rid of Jews that it paid the Nazis DM 500 in exchange for each expelled Jew and a promise that the deportees would never return to Slovakia. The decision by Slovakia to initiate and pay for the expulsion was unprecedented among the satellite states of Nazi Germany. They paid 40 millions RM to the SS.
Although the Germans shipped most supplies to Italy through the Austrian
Brenner Pass, based on the German-Italian-Swiss treaty of 1909 (to be denounced within ten years, by Article 374 of the 1919 Versailles Treaty), [ [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/partxii.htm The Avalon Project : The Versailles Treaty June 28, 1919 ] ] Switzerlandwas forced to allow Nazi Germany to ship certain non-strategic goods (specifically the treaty excluded soldiers and armaments) through the St. Gotthard Tunnel.
There exists substantial evidence that these shipments included Italian forced labour workers and possibly shipments of Jews in 1944, during the Nazi occupation of northern Italy, when a German train passed through Switzerland every 10 minutes. The need for the tunnel was complicated by the British
Royal Air Forcehaving bombed and disrupted services through the Brenner Pass, as well as a heavy snowfall in the winter of 1944/45.
Of 43 trains that could be tracked down by the 1996
Bergier Commission, 39 went via Austria (Brenner, Tarvisio), one via France ( Ventimiglia- Nice). The commission could not find any evidence that the other three passed through Switzerland. It is possible that the train could have been carrying dissidentsback from concentration camps. Started in 1944, some repatriation trains went through Switzerland officially, organised by the Red Cross. [ [http://history-switzerland.geschichte-schweiz.ch/switzerland-second-world-war-ii.html Switzerland's Role in World War II ] ] ["Independent Commission of Experts, Switzerland - World War II." Bergier Commission for the Swiss Government]
After the Soviet Army began making severe inroads into the Nazi land war gains in the East, and the Allies landed in
Normandyin June, the number of trains and transported persons began to vary greatly.
By November 1944, with the closure of Birkenau and the advance of the Soviet Army, the death trains had ceased. Death Marches also had the advantage of being able to use the forced labor to build defences.
In April 1944, for reasons that are still disputed, Nazi officials under the direction of SS officer
Adolf Eichmannoffered to sell the Zionist Aid and Rescue Committee("Vaada"), of which Hungarian journalist and lawyer Rudolph Kastnerwas the "de facto" leader, exit visas for 600 Jews who held Palestinian immigration certificates, Braham, p48; Bauer, p197.] in exchange for 6.5 million pengő (RM 4,000,000 or $1,600,000). Hilberg, Raul. " The Destruction of the European Jews", Yale University Press, 2003, p. 903]
The negotiations between the SS and the "Vaada" were expanded to include more Jews, and the "Vaada" compiled a list of ten categories of Jews they wanted to rescue, a list that included Orthodox Jews, Zionists, prominent Jews, orphans, refugees, Revisionists, and "paying persons." The list also controversially included 388 people from Kastner's home town of Cluj.
Kastner traintransported 1,684 Jews from Nazi-controlled Hungaryto Switzerland, in exchange for 6.5 million pengő (RM 4,000,000 or $1,600,000). [Braham, Randolph (2004): Rescue Operations in Hungary: Myths and Realities, "East European Quarterly" 38(2): 173-203.] [Bauer, Yehuda (1994): Jews for Sale?, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-05913-2.] [Bilsky, Leora (2004): Transformative Justice : Israeli Identity on Trial (Law, Meaning, and Violence), University of Michigan Press, ISBN 0-472-03037-X] Although Kastner was later criticised for putting his own family on the train, Hansi Brand, a member of the "Vaada", testified at Eichmann's trial in Jerusalemin 1961 that Kastner had included his family to reassure the other passengers that the train was safe, and was not destined, as they feared, for Auschwitz. [ [http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/00/08/Independent240800.html Real History and the Holocaust Industry ] ]
As the Soviet and Allied Armies made their final pushes, the Nazis transported some of the concentration camp survivors, either to other camps located further inside the collapsing Third Reich, or to border areas where they believed they could negotiate the release of captured Nazi
Prisoners of Warin return for "Exchange Jews" or those that were born outside the Nazi occupied territories.
Many of the inmates were transported via the infamous Death Marches, but among other transports three trains left Bergen-Belsen in April 1945 bound for
Theresienstadt- all were liberated.
The last recorded train is the one used to transport the women of the Flossenbürg March, where for three days in March 1945 the remaining survivors were crammed into cattle cars to await further transport. Only 200 of the original 1000 women survived the entire trip to Bergen-Belsen. [ [http://www.neveragain.org/1945.htm NAAF Holocaust Project Timeline: 1945 ] ]
The Gold train
With the Soviet Army about 100 miles away from Hungary, on
March 7, 1944Hitler launched Operation Margarethe—the invasion of Hungary. The fascist government of Hungary issued a decree against the Jewish population, ordering them to "deposit" their gems, their golden jewels ornamented with gems, and all valuables made of gold, with the authorities. The jewels and other valuables of 800,000 Hungarian Jews were seized by the fascist government.
With the approach of Soviet and Allied forces, the government of
Ferenc Szálasihad these valuables laden on a train consisting of 44 cars. This train was seized in May 1945 by U.S. occupation troops in Austria. The Hungarian escort pushed the train into the tunnel near Boeckstein, while the Americans took possession at the railway station of Werfen, where they found that the train also contained other valuables, e.g. oriental carpets, silver, furs, etc. While unloading the train to store the valuables, two lorries were seized in the French sector.
The goods were stored in two locations in
Salzburg, with the valuables in one location and paintings in another. After goods were given to furnish American families locating to Europe, the remainder were repatriated for sale in America, where, in June 1948 they were sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York. To date, of the scheduled 1,176 paintings on the gold train originally stored by the US Army, only one has been repatriated. [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/goldtrain.html#HistoryoftheGoldTrain The Mystery of the Hungarian “Gold Train” ] ] On 30 September, 2005the US Government reached agreement with the representatives of the Hungarian Jewish community to pay $25.5 million in compensation, with an additional $500k for the preservation of documents associated with the Gold Train, and to declassify any remaining documents related to the Gold Train. [ [http://www.claimscon.org/?url=news/hgt "Gold Train" Settlement Will Fund Services for Hungarian Holocaust Survivors; Objections, Exclusions Due August 1, 2005 ] ]
There are still signs of the mass transportation system employed by the Nazis in the "Final Solution," as well well as controversies surrounding the history.
In Poland, the arrival point at Auschwitz is well preserved, although ceremonially cut-off from the main railway system. ["Auschwitz: A History" by Sybille Steinbacher (Author), Shaun Whiteside (Translator) Pub: Penguin Books Ltd ISBN 0-1410-2142-X] In 1988 at the Umschlagplatz national monument, a stone sculpture resembling an open freight car was created by architect
Hanna Szmalenbergand sculptor Wladyslaw Klamerus.
In the Netherlands,
Nederlandse Spoorwegenused its 29 September, 2005, apology for its role in the "Final Solution" to launch an equal opportunities and anti-Discrimination policy, in part to be monitored by the Dutch council of Jews.
In Germany, Federal Transport Minister
Wolfgang Tiefenseeproposed an exhibition by artist Jan Philipp Reemtsmaon the railways' role in the deportation of 11,000 Jewish children to their deaths in Nazi concentration and extermination camps during World War II. The exhibit would travel around the country to various train stations. It was initially opposed by Hartmut Mehdorn, the head of Deutsche Bahn, because he considered the topic too serious for the proposed venue. However, it opened on January 23, 2008, a date that coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. [ [http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3086465,00.html-> Nazi Death Train Exhibit Opens in Berlin] ]
Railway companies involved
SNCF[ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1176152829141&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull UK Treasury, Pears Foundation pledge £1.5m. for Holocaust education | Jerusalem Post ] ]
*CFR, Căile Ferate Române
*Dawidowitz, Lucy - "The War Against the Jews." Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, United States of America, 1975
*Hilberg, Raul - "The Destruction of the European Jews" Pub: New York: Holmes and Meier, 1985
*Kranzler, David - "The Man Who Stopped the Trains to Auschwitz - George Mantello, El Salvador, and Switzerland's Finest Hour", Syracuse University Press. Winner of the 1998 Egit Prize (Histadrut) for the Best Manuscript on the Holocaust
*Luba Krugman Gurdus, Luba - "Death Train: A Personal Account of a Holocaust Survivor " Pub: Unites States Holocaust ISBN 0896040925
*The trains of the Holocaust, A simple German logisistic problem, article by
Hedi Enghelberg, 1997, www.enghelberg.com, www.engpublishing.com
* [http://www.slideshare.net/dmcdowell/stages-of-the-holocaust Photo slide show of the Holocaust, showing deportation trains]
* [http://www.hungariangoldtrain.org The Hungarian Gold Train]
* [http://www.holocaustresearchproject.net Deportations]
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Holocaust denial — Antisemitism Part of Jewish history … Wikipedia
holocaust — holocaustal, adj. holocaustic, adj. /hol euh kawst , hoh leuh /, n. 1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire. 2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering. 3. (usually cap.) the systematic mass slaughter of… … Universalium
Holocaust in Norway — In the middle of the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, there were 2,173 Jews in Norway. At least 775 of these were arrested, detained, and/or deported. 742 were murdered in the camps, 23 died as a result of extrajudicial execution, murder,… … Wikipedia
The Holocaust — Holocaust and Shoah redirect here. For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). Selection on … Wikipedia
Special Trains — The term used by the Germans to describe the trains that carried the Jews to the death camps. See also Euphemisms; Reichsbahn … Historical dictionary of the Holocaust
Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust — The Holocaust … Wikipedia
Different Trains — is a three movement piece for string quartet and tape written by Steve Reich in 1988. It won a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The work s three movements have the following titles: America Before the War… … Wikipedia
Death marches (Holocaust) — Dachau concentration camp inmates on a death march through a German village in April 1945. The death marches refer to the forcible movement between Autumn 1944 and late April 1945 by Nazi Germ … Wikipedia
Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust — Memorial to gay and lesbian victims of National Socialism in Cologne. Its inscription reads: Totgeschlagen – Totgeschwiegen (Struck Dead – Hushed Up). In the 1920s, homosexual people in Germany, particularly in Berlin, enjoyed a higher level of… … Wikipedia
List of major perpetrators of the Holocaust — This is a list of major perpetrators of The Holocaust. See also: Responsibility for the Holocaust Name Photograph Date of birth Date of death Age at death Role Fate Hitler, AdolfAdolf Hitler … Wikipedia