The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Trains arrive full, depart empty...

"... Regular meetings were held in Berlin to coordinated the despatch of full trains and the return of empty trains. One of the railway documents which survives is dated Berlin, 13 January 1943. Signed by Dr. Jacobi of the General Management, Railway Directorate East, in Berlin, it took the form of a 'telegraphic letter' addressed to the General Directorate of East Railways in Cracow; the Prague Group of Railways, the General Traffic Directorate, Warsaw; the Traffic Directorate, Minsk; and the Railway Directorates in fourteen cities, including Breslau, Dresden, Königsberg, Linz, Mainz and Vienna. Copies were to be sent in addition to the General Management, Directorate South, in Munich, and to the General Management, Directorate West, in Essen; a total distribution of twenty copies. The subject was: 'Special trains for resettlers during the period from 20 January to 28 February 1943.'

"The table shows some of the details given for the first seven days of February 1943;

1 February Rumanians, train No 3 dep Gleiwit arr Czernowitz
Jews, train No 109 dep Theresienstadt arr Auschwitz
2 February Jews, train No 15 dep Berlin arr Auschwitz 10.48
empty, train No 110 dep Auschwitz arr Myslowitz
3 February Poles, train No 65 dep Zamosc 11.00 arr Auschwitz
4 February empty, train No 4 dep Czernowitz arr Ratibor
empty, train No 16 dep Auschwitz arr Theresienstadt
empty, train No 66 dep Auschwitz arr Myslowitz
5 February Polish Jews, train No 107 dep Bialystok 9.00 arr Auschwitz 7.57
6 February Polish Jews, train No 109 dep Bialystok 9.00 arr Auschwitz 7.57
7 February Polish Jews, train No 111 dep Bialystok 9.00 arr Auschwitz 7.57
empty, train No 106 dep Auschwitz arr Bialystok

"Also under Dr. Jacobi's schedule, a deportation of Polish Jews, in train No 127, was despatched from Bialystok at 9 am, 9 February 1943, reaching the death camp at Treblinka at 12.10, and returning empty that same evening from Treblinka, as train No 128, leaving Treblinka at 9.18 pm and reaching Bialystok ninety minutes after midnight. The instructions of 13 January 1943 had referred specifically to the return of the empty trains. The last paragraph of the instructions read:

"Train formation is noted for each recirculation and attention is to be paid to these instructions. After each full trip, cars are to be well cleaned, if need be fumigated, and upon completion of the programme prepared for further use. Number and kinds of cars are to be determined upon dispatch of the last train and are to be reported to me by telephone with confirmation on service cards." (Gilbert, 67-68)

It is interesting, with respect to those deniers who claim that the camps were "transit camps," that trains departed empty after offloading thousands of passengers. They arrived full of passengers, and left empty. Perhaps some "revisionist scholar" will provide us with records of trains leaving Treblinka, for instance, carrying passengers to "the East?"

Work Cited

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

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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