The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/theresienstadt/theresien.05

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Theresienstadt & the transports
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project          
Keywords: theresienstadt

Archive/File: camps/theresienstadt/theresien.05
Last-Modified: 1994/09/20

   "But the new year [1942] brought an unexpected blow - transports
   were to continue, including out of Theresienstadt. All Edelstein's
   efforts, all his ruses, had been aimed at a single objective: to
   preserve the Jews of the Protectorate being deported to Poland. The
   Germans had again broken their promise. Theresienstadt was but a
   way station, not a city of refuge after all.

   German headquarters in Terezin did not draw up the list of
   transportees, as had been the case in Prague, but merely furnished
   general guidelines for age groups. Doctors decided who was too ill
   to be sent; members of the two advance units, A-K 1 and A-K 2,
   administrative staff, doctors and nurses, were exempt. Otherwise,
   the leadership accepted the task of selection, perhaps for lack of
   choice, perhaps in the hope of saving the workers, the young
   people, the teenagers in the name of a better tomorrow. All night
   long the transport committee labored over the list, subject to
   dreadful pressure from people who asked that their friends or their
   relatives not be included. The responsibility was awesome.

   As soon as news of the first transport spread, Gonda and Fredy did
   everyting in their power to ensure that the children would not be
   sent East; they must be kept at Theresienstadt to pursue their
   studies, continuing the education they had received in study groups
   and Youth-Aliyah: 'Except that there we led the children to
   freedom,' Gonda wrote, 'and here we are trying to save them from
   death.' Since it was decided not to send little children, their
   families also remained in the ghetto. One mother, however, whose
   ailing sister was included in the transport, insisted on leaving
   with her small son. Gonda tried to dissuade her: the winter was
   hard, the journey long. What did people imagine when they spoke of
   'the East?' A different type of Theresienstadt, foreign soil, more
   arduous living conditions in some Russian or Polish wasteland,
   snow, frost, starvation rations, backbreaking work, no contact with
   home. No one imagined any system of organized destruction. People
   sometimes volunteered for transports in the hope of meeting family
   members who had preceded them, as if 'the East' was a single
   location. ...

   Conceived as a Jewish city, Theresienstadt was no better than the
   waiting room in a train station. Every transport, both incoming and
   outgoing, was labeled with a letter of the alphabet until the
   letters ran out, after which a combination of letters was used. The
   first two transports, marked O and P, which left the ghetto on
   January 9 and 15 respectively, were told that their destination was
   Riga. Afterward, however, they set out with destination unknown.
   The first transportees left Terezin before sunrise, in frost 23
   degrees below zero, so that the townspeople would not see them, and
   walked toward Bohusovice along the same road they had traveled so
   recently; only then they had believed they were coming to a haven.
   The departure of the first transport cast a dark cloud over the
   ghetto, and Edelstein was doubly disillusioned: it was not just the
   Germans who had lied to him; the Czechs, too, had broken their
   promise. He told Dittl Ornstein and other staff members that
   President Hacha and the Czech government had explicitly assured him
   that they would not agree to the deportation of the Protectorate's
   Jews (correspondence after fall 1941 between the offices of the
   president and Reichsprotektor attests only to the desire to isolate
   Jews from the general public).

   Lest the incubus of transports prove insufficient, another event
   took place in early January that shattered all remaining illusions
   as to the true nature of the Jewish city: a gallows was erected."
   (Bondy, 259-60)
                           Work Cited

   Bondy, Ruth.  Elder of the Jews.  New York: Grove Press, 1989.
   (Translated from "Edelshtain neged had-zeman".  Zmora, Bitan,
   Modan, publishers, 1981

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