The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/deportations/deport.002

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: "All Jews from the East to be arrested"
Summary: Accounts of the deportation of Polish Jews from Germany
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project
Keywords: Jews,Poland,Germany,Evian

Archive/File: places/germany/deportations/deport.002
Last-Modified: 1994/10/10

   "Not only in Germany was anti-semitism increasing. On 6 October the
   Polish Government had gone so far as to revoke all Polish passports
   if their bearers had lived abroad for more than five years. The
   order was to come into force on 31 October. It meant that at least
   15,000 Polish Jews resident in Germany would cease to be Polish
   citizens on the last day of October.

   "The Germans were in a dilemma. They did not want 15,000 stateless
   Jews in their midst: people whom, it was clear from the Evian
   Conference, almost no country would be prepared to admit. They
   therefore told the Poles that these Jews would be expelled unless
   Poland formally agreed to allow them to return whenever they chose.
   On 27 October the Poles refused to accept these conditions. In only
   four days, the Jews they did not want would cease to be Polish

   "The Poles were prepared to wait until 31 October. The Germans were
   not. That same evening the order went out from Berlin: all Jews
   with Polish passports were to be expelled within forty-eight hours.
   The method chosen: deportation by train.

   "The trains were to depart at eleven on the following night. They
   were to have locked doors and armed guards. Accross the Reich - in
   Berlin, Essen, Stuttgart, Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg, Du"sseldorf,
   Cologne, Hanover, Hamburg and Vienna - the trains were made ready.
   As for the Jews, they were first to be arrested, then taken to
   local police stations, and then moved in trucks and lorries to the
   railway stations. A witness of their plight was Ottilie Schoenwald,
   a leading member of the Jewish community of Bochum, herself a
   German citizen. As she recalled:

      "It was a freezing October day. As if adhering to Jewish
      tradition, the trouble began on the eve, not in the evening, but
      in the afternoon. The doorbell rang constantly. Our library was
      soon teeming with a complete cross-section of the Congregation.
      Amid the confusion of voices and stories I could not tell what
      had happened.

      "'All Jews from the east are to be arrested.'

   "In Hanover, among those caught up in the deportaton order, was a
   Polish-born tailor, Sendal Grynszpan. He had lived in Hanover since
   1911, with his wife and children. He later recalled 'It was a
   Thursday, 27 October 1938. A policeman knocked on our door and told
   us to report to the police station with our passports. He said,
   `Don't bother to take anything else, you'll be right back.' When we
   reached the police station, my wife, my daughter, my son Marcus and
   myself, we saw a number of people sitting or standing. Some were
   weeping. The police inspector was shouting at the top of his voice,
   `Sign here, you are being deported.' I had to sign like everyone

   "`We were taken to the concert hall beside the Leine, where about
   600 people were assembled from various parts of Hanover. We were
   kept there for about twenty-four hours until Friday night, when
   police vans took us, about twenty at a time, to the station. The
   streets of Hanover teemed with people shouting 'Send the Jews to

   "That night thousands of Jewish men were arrested, and their wives
   and children ordered to join them at the station on the following
   day. Ottilie Schoenwald's account continued:

      "Early next morning we carried our provisions to the prison. We
      simply marched past the speechless guards straight into the
      courtyard where the poor Jews had been lined up just as we
      arrived. The guard on duty, whom I knew, advised me to
      distribute the food at the station. He offered to carry the
      steaming boiler in his own car.

      "A crowd of shouting and weeping women and children was already
      assembled at the station. In the square outside trucks unloaded
      their unhappy passengers. Bochum was the assembly point for the
      surrounding villages. ...

      "The stationmaster informed me that the special train would not
      leave before eleven that evening.

   "All over Germany, the stationmasters made ready to organize the
   deportation trains, helped in their task by the Gestapo, and as the
   trains pulled out the stationmasters reported their success to the
   authorities. The stationmaster in Hanover reported that all had
   proceeded without a hitch. As he told the Gestapo:

      "Special train SPECIAL HANOVER 4199 made up at 19.30 - about two
      hours before departure. Consisting of 14 well-lit carriages each
      with 55 seats, of which 35 to 40 were occupied.

      "The departure of the Jews, carrying large quantities of hand
      luggage, proceeded on platform 5, which had been closed to the
      public before the train was assembled. The Jews were allowed to
      purchase food and tobacco.

      "The special train departed on schedule at 21.40 from track 11,
      platform 5." (Gilbert, 18-20)
                           Work Cited

   Gilbert, Martin. Final Journey: The Fate of the Jews in Nazi
   Germany. New York: Mayflower Books, 1979

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