Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Theresienstadt & the transports Summary: Reply-To: email@example.com Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: The Nizkor Project http://www.nizkor.org Keywords: theresienstadt Archive/File: camps/theresienstadt/theresien.05 Last-Modified: 1994/09/20 "But the new year  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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