Q. Where did they transfer them from these centralized dwellings?
A. They transferred them to Milbertshofen. They took them
in closed trucks. Normally these were trucks for moving
furniture. They were inside with no air. These were very
large trucks – they closed them and the people were left
without air or light, and only at Milbertshofen were the
trucks opened and the people taken out. In the beginning
there were still people who were “arbeitsfaehig” – that is
to say, fit to work; later on they also took the cripples
and the patients of the Jewish hospital in Munich. When the
patients were transferred from the hospital, I was still in
Munich. I saw how they carried the sick people, still in
their beds, to the train. All this was under the glare of
Q. All of it by night?
A. All of it by night.
Q. Was it always at night?
A. Most of the transports, both from Wuerzburg and from
Munich, were at night.
Q. When you talk about projectors, are you talking of a
projector inside the assembly camp?
A. No. Inside the assembly camp there was a projector all
night, but also outside the trains.
Q. At the railway station?
A. It was not a station. It was a square. There everything
was lit up. That created a terrible feeling, for people
were generally afraid of the night. They were terribly
afraid then. There was nausea, vomiting and frightful
shouting. In the course of all the chaos, they later
brought the sick people who themselves did not know where
they were; they carried them to the trains on their beds.
And then shouts would be heard “Faster, faster!,” and blows
rained on those who were assisting the transports and who
threw the people into the trains.
Q. Was there an escort of guards? Who was in charge of
A. They had men of the Gestapo there, they also had members
of the police, and there were also SS men. Apart from this,
as a rule, representatives of the community council were
present. Each one had always to be checked against lists,
in stages. They forced them to go through another list,
alongside the railway waggon. At the start in the camp,
they marked them off on the list, where each one was
located. As a rule there were people at the camp in
reserve. They were constantly in a state of panic, for they
never knew if they would be sent or not.
Q. What did it depend on?
A. It depended upon a last-minute decision, when a number of
people had died, or when the quota was not full. The number
to be dispatched always had to be full, that is to say full
of living people.
Q. Those people who were kept in reserve – were they kept in
reserve in the camp or were they sent on the next train?
A. Yes, they remained as a reserve in the camp and were sent
on the next train.
Q. Did you help, on behalf of the community council, in the
loading of the transports? During what period did you do so
A. I do not remember.
Q. Half a year?
A. I think less – some months.
Q. From there you returned to Wuerzburg?
Q. You continued with this work in Wuerzburg also?
A. Yes, also in Wuerzburg for a certain period. At first I
worked in the Jewish hospital. This was, at that time, the
largest Jewish centre in Wuerzburg. And here they brought
sick Jews from the entire region, even from Frankfurt and
further afield, for this was a well-known hospital and a
large one. It had several blocks of buildings. These
contained those Jews who had not already succeeded in
escaping from Germany, mainly people such as those whose
children were already abroad and they – the parents – were
left behind on their own. The assistance we were able to
render them was moral support, help in serving the food, and
so on. In addition, I also worked in the Jewish community
council office in all kinds of tasks that they assigned to
Q. Did you see in Wuerzburg also how the transports left
from the town?
A. Yes. I was also present at one transport when they
brought the people from the assembly point in Wuerzburg to
the train. There were two concentration points at the
beginning. At the end of 1941 the Jews were sent off from
the Standhalle (Town Hall). This was a site adjoining the
central theatre of Wuerzburg. Later on, the place of
assembly was in the Platscher Garten. This had once been a
large theatre and cafe. They had halls there which suited
the Gestapo’s needs. They brought the people there, as a
rule, a day or two before departure. There were special
arrangements in these places, and they were strict in
maintaining those arrangements – so that people should not
be able to pass from one room to another. There was a tight
control. People were sometimes left without any medical aid
at all. I was also present in the Platscher Garten when one
transport was sent from there. It was not far from the
Jewish hospital, and we helped in moving the hospital
patients there and also helped to bring food. I, too, was
deported from the Platscher Garten.
Q. When a transport such as this came into the assembly camp
in Wuerzburg, did you see the people or help them before
they went through the control? Was there a control?
Q. Did you see them before the control?
A. Some had been expelled from the country towns and the
villages in the area, and had been transferred from there to
the Jewish hospital. This was the first concentration
point. They told us how the villagers had actually driven
them out of their beds. These were generally organized
operations by the party branches in the villages. They
expelled them, and people arrived at the assembly camps
without possessions, with only their shirts on their backs.
Generally, clothes were subsequently distributed to them
from the Kleiderkammer (clothing store). This was a special
place from which the community council distributed clothing
to the needy.
Q. Was this in Wuerzburg?
A. Yes, at the community council.
Q. They came with nothing?
A. Without anything at all.
Q. Were these your first contacts with people who had been
deported to Wuerzburg?
Q. When the transport to the East was organized, were you at
the railway station to help?
A. I was at the railway station only when I myself left from
Q. Were you at the assembly camp?
Q. Where was it?
A. It was at the Platscher Garten.
Q. Did you arrive there with the people [who were being
A. I saw these people at the Platscher Garten, for we were
able to spend some time with them – even an entire day. But
later on, when they entered the large hall in the Platscher
Garten, after they had already passed through the control,
further contact was forbidden.
Q. Did you see them again after they passed through the
control, when they boarded the trains?
A. We were usually sent back; we were not allowed to
accompany them to the railway station.
Q. As soon as they entered the large hall, you were no
longer able to have contact with them?
A. It was forbidden. But we tried in all sorts of ways to
be in touch with them, occasionally to pass on medicines or
special items they needed.
Q. What happened inside the hall?
A. I can only tell you what I saw when I left. Perhaps I
should give you a general description of when I was
Q. Please do so. But at this point I want to know what
happened in the hall.
A. In this hall, the people were kept apart. Each one sat
with the little bundle he was allowed to take – 50
kilograms. To go to the toilet, you will excuse me, they
could only go with permission of the Gestapo. There were
guards outside, or there were SS men in their black
uniforms, something which I had not seen in Munich.
Q. How were they dressed in Munich?
A. In Munich they were in green, all of them in green, in
green uniforms. The police were also in green. But here I
saw SS men in black uniforms. I knew one who had actually
been the one who had expelled us, years before, from our
apartment in Wuerzburg. His name was Stup or Stumpf. I
remember him well. As a rule, I did not look at the faces
of these people, for they all looked the same, similar to
each other. By chance I remembered him well, for he caused
us a lot of trouble in the years 1935, 1936, 1937. When it
came to our transport, an order was received that one
transport should be sent to Theresienstadt. This was one of
the last transports from Wueerzburg. Everyone wanted to go
to Theresienstadt. While they did not know exactly what it
was, for some reason they were convinced that it would be
better than places in the Osten, in the East. All of us
had, in fact, serious doubt as to what exactly there was in
the East, for people who were sent there were not, as a
rule, able to send mail. We waited for a sign, and no one
responded. Questions were asked in the community council,
and they were told that there were “kriegswichtige Betriebe”
there (enterprises essential for war needs), and this was
the only reason they were not allowed to write. Their
situation was good, and everything was fine. We also wanted
to be in a transport to Theresienstadt, especially as most
of the hospital’s essential medical equipment was being
assembled and it had been decided that it would all be sent
to Theresienstadt. For days food parcels were being
prepared. All the food, all the reserve supplies in the
hospital were packed into parcels, in sacks. Food parcels
were prepared for each one individually. A bag for each was
sewn from sheets and old clothes, into which the food could
be placed. Then we knew that perhaps it would be worthwhile
for us to be included in this transport.
Q. When you were getting ready for the deportation to
Theresienstadt, was your father still alive?
A. No, my father died in Wuerzburg in November, 1941.
Q. You remained alone, with your mother?
A. I came back from Munich at the end of 1941. Important
things occurred meanwhile. In Munich, we were then obliged
to wear the badge.
Presiding Judge: Mr. Bar-Or, perhaps you would guide the
witness? You surely are acquainted with his evidence –
perhaps he can be directed to the more essential matters.
State Attorney Bar-Or: Perhaps you would return to your
father. When you were in Munich, he was still alive?
Witness Ansbacher: I returned as the result of a telegram
sent from Munich informing me that my father was seriously
ill, and that I should return immediately, most urgently.
In the course of half a day I obtained authorization from
the Gestapo on account of the telegram. When I arrived,
they took me immediately to the hospital. My father was in
a very grave condition. He was extremely ill. It happened
suddenly. My brother, who was living in Neuendorf, also
obtained special authorization from the Gestapo to come. I
only heard my father’s words, the concluding words of Sh’ma
Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”). He was not altogether conscious,
and I merely heard the words: “And thou shalt teach them
diligently unto thy children,” and then he lost
consciousness. And then we began crying, we realized that
these were his last moments. We actually arrived at the
last moment. We were led out of the room, and on the same
day, a Sabbath, he passed away.
Q. When you were preparing for the deportation to
Theresienstadt, were you alone with your mother?
A. I was with my mother.
Q. And your brother?
A. My brother was in Neuendorf.
Q. And he did not join you?
A. He applied to join us. We also requested this of the
Gestapo in the normal way. We were not successful, and he
remained in Neuendorf.
Presiding Judge: Where is Neuendorf?
Witness Ansbacher: Near Berlin. Actually we were only added
to this transport because of the fact that my mother was
working as a nurse at the time. She was sent along in this
capacity, and I went together with her on account of my age.
My brother, who was older, was not included.
State Attorney Bar-Or: When did you reach Theresienstadt?
Witness Ansbacher: If I remember correctly, it was on 23
September 1942, or 24 September, in the morning.
Q. Were you able to keep together, your mother and you?
A. They took my mother together with the people she was
treating, the sick and the aged, and I went with another
Q. When you arrived at Theresienstadt, were many Jews from
Germany there already?
A. When I arrived at the ghetto?
A. When I arrived at the ghetto, Jews from Germany were
already there. They were not normally kept separately.
They were living together with Jews from various countries.
Q. Please describe to us the state of those Jews whom you
found when you reached Theresienstadt?
A. In Theresienstadt, there were Jews from Germany, mainly
old people, feeble people who had been left by themselves,
without children, without family assistance; as a rule, all
their relatives had left Germany, and they were left behind
without help. They adjusted to the conditions at
Theresienstadt with great difficulty. There were cases of
quarrelling between them and persons from other countries.
They generally lived in a house, or in one room, together
with people from various countries – one from Austria, one
from Czechoslovakia, one from Germany, one from this town
and another from some other town, one religious and another
not religious. They performed their bodily functions in the
room itself, for they no longer had the strength to stand on
their feet. Particularly the Jews from Germany – it can be
said – fell like flies. Many of them died already within
the first months of arriving there. Nevertheless, it was
very strange to see with what form of address, with what
respect, one spoke to the other, particularly amongst those
who came from Germany. It was strange, for example, that
people who were very hungry and were mostly dying from
starvation, from dysentery, when they fell upon the remnants
of food, upon potato peels, you heard occasionally: “Please
excuse me, Herr Sanitaetsrat (Medical Councillor); Herr
Staatsanwalt (Mr. State Attorney), please allow me to get to
the potato peels for a little while.” It was really
shocking. Generally speaking, with all these niceties of
behaviour, people cared for themselves, and owing to the
starvation, they did not observe the sanitary regulations
according to which it was forbidden to go near the remnants,
but one would push the other and help himself. What would
he find? Perhaps a few peels in the dirt, and he would
swallow them unwashed.
Q. During the time you were in Theresienstadt – until
October 1944 – did you notice whether these people knew
about the deportations to the East from Theresienstadt?
A. We knew about the transportations to the East, each
transport was called the “Eastern Transport.”
Q. Were there deportations like these all the time?
A. From 1943, as far as I remember, all the time. Usually
there were transports whenever SS men arrived from the
Dienststelle (office). One usually saw them going to the
military barracks, and then, after they left, there were
Q. Did these people from Germany believe that, possibly,
they would not be included in the transports to the East?