The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/theresienstadt/terezin.002

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Terezin: Children's Transports
Summary: The transport of children from the Bialystok ghetto to the
         "resort town" of Terezin described, and their fate discussed
         by two survivors of the Auschwitz death camp
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project http://www,
Keywords: Auschwitz,Bialystok,Terezin
Lines: 132

Archive/File: camps/theresienstadt/terezin.002
Last-Modified: 1994/01/25

   "Some children arrived in Terezin without parents, packed into
   trains manned by Reichsbahn (national railroad) civil servants, who
   processed children as readily as freight. The SS with whom they
   contracted this work was charged only half-fare for children, and
   those under two went free of charge, as usual.<6>

   Here is how an eyewitness described the arrival of a large
   children's transport:

      Transports of children from many countries came to
      Theresienstadt.  So on August 24, 1943, 1260 children. They
      were frightened and speechless, many barefoot, all in a
      sorry state and half starved. Insofar as any had
      possessions, they clutched their small suitcases or
      prayerbooks. They were not received into the main camp but
      were immediately separated from the other prisoners. They
      were taken to the West barracks surrounded by barbed wire.
      Police patrolled this children's quarters so as not to
      permit anyone near. From the main camp a group of
      caretakers and a doctor were appointed who from then on
      were not to have anything more to do with the main camp.
      These children had come from Bialystok* and had seen
      everything that Jews could suffer. They were taken
      immeidately in groups to a disinfection batch where they
      made terrible scenes. These children knew of gas chambers
      and would not set foot in the bath area. They screamed
      desperately 'no, no, not gas!' They would not obey the SS
      men. Consequently they were pushed in by force. They cried
      and clung to each other. We who saw this were beside
      outselves but we had been forbidden to speak to them under
      threat of death.... Before their departure from Bialystok
      they were lined up in a place and divided into three
      groups: men, women and children up to age 14. Fathers,
      mothers and older brothers and sisters were then shot
      before their eyes.<7>

   The fate of this same transport of children is reported by Kraus
   and Kulka, survivors of Auschwitz.

      After several weeks in Terezin the 1260 children who had
      arrived from Bialystok in August, 1943, could be heard
      singing in the West Barracks of the Terezin camp. Then a
      rumor began to spread that they were being got ready for an
      exchange with children from abroad. Sure enough after six
      weeks, orders came that they were to leave. By now they
      were thoroughly fit. Fifty-three men and women were
      selected to accompany them, all of them required to give a
      written statement that they would not spread any propaganda
      hostile to the Nazis when they were abroad.

      The inmates of Terezin saw them off with every good wish
      for the future. They were convinced the children would soon
      be at liberty.

      The convoy left Terezin October 5, 1943. It went to
      Auschwitz, where all the children and all the adults ended
      up in the gas chamber.<8>

   Fifty-eight thousand people died in Terezin. Fifteen thousand
   children had passed through the Terezin death funnel.
   hundred.... survived." (Moskovitz, 12-13)
*  Deportation statistics for the Bialystok district are available from
   the Holocaust archives at  To obtain a list of
   relevant deportation files, send the command INDEX REINHARD to

   Yitzak Arad provides background information:

   "The Bialystok General District ...  constituted an independent
   administrative district within the German regime in occupied

   During the first months of the German occupation ...  the Jewish
   population ...  suffered a wave of mass murders....  31,000 Jews,
   mostly men, were shot by the Einsatzgruppen near their homes.  On
   the eve of mass deportations to Treblinka and Auschwitz, in the
   autumn of 1942, there were about 210,000 Jews in the district,
   concentrated in ghettos.  ...

   In the first half of October 1942, the Reich Security Main Office
   issued an order to local SS authorities in the Bialystok General
   District to liquidate all the ghettos in the district and deport
   the Jews.  But after the intervention of the German army and German
   civilian authorities that employed Jewish labor in war-economy
   enterprises, it was decided that the liquidation of the Bialystok
   ghetto would be postponed.  

   The deportation fo the Jews from the Bialystok district to
   Treblinka and, in part, to Auschwitz commenced after the
   deportation of most of the General Government Jews had been
   completed.  It began in mid-October 1942, and continued until
   mid-February 1943.  ...  At the end of this period, only 30,000
   Jews from the entire General District remained in the Bialystok
   ghetto." (Arad)

Moskovitz' End Notes:
<6> Raul Hilberg, "Confronting Moral Implications of the Holocaust,"
    keynote address at the Holocaust Conference, Jewish Federation
    Council, Los Angeles, Sunday, April 9, 1978. 
<7> H.G. Adler, 'Theresienstadt, 1941-1945. Das Antlitz einer
    Zwangsgemeinschaft' (Tublingen: Verlag J. Mohr [Paul Siebeck],
<8> O. Kraus and E. Kulka, "The Death Factory: Documents on Auschwitz
    1966" (New York: Pergamon Press, 1966), pp. 116-17.

                              Work Cited

Arad, Yitzhak. BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA - the Operation Reinhard 
Death Camps. Indiana University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-253-3429-7

Moskovitz, Sarah. Love Despite Hate: Child Survivors of the Holocaust and
Their Adult Lives. New York: Schocken Books, 1983

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