Holocaust trains

Holocaust trainHolocaust transportsfreight trainsHolocaust transportin cattle trucksdeath trainstraintrainsdeportation trainstrainloads of Jews
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the [[Deutsche Reichsbahn#1939-1945: The Reichsbahn in the Second World War and the Holocaust|Deutsche Reichsbahn]] national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.wikipedia
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The Holocaust

HolocaustShoahNazi Holocaust
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the [[Deutsche Reichsbahn#1939-1945: The Reichsbahn in the Second World War and the Holocaust|Deutsche Reichsbahn]] national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.
By mid-1942, victims were being deported from ghettos across Europe in sealed freight trains to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, they were worked to death or gassed.

Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland

GhettoJewish ghettoghettoised Jews
At first, they were used to concentrate the Jewish populations in the ghettos, and often to transport them to forced labour and German concentration camps for the purpose of economic exploitation.
Jews were transported to their deaths in Holocaust trains from liquidated ghettos of all occupied cities, including Łódź, the last ghetto in Poland to be emptied in August 1944.

Final Solution

Final Solution to the Jewish QuestionThe Final SolutionEndlösung
Modern historians suggest that without the mass transportation of the railways, the scale of the "Final Solution" would not have been possible.
In 1941, wrote Raul Hilberg, in the first phase of the mass murder of Jews, the mobile killing units began to pursue their victims across occupied eastern territories; in the second phase, stretching across all of German-occupied Europe, the Jewish victims were sent on death trains to centralized extermination camps built for the purpose of systematic implementation of the Final Solution.

German camps in occupied Poland during World War II

Camps in Poland during World War IIOrganisation Schmelttransit to extermination camps
At first, they were used to concentrate the Jewish populations in the ghettos, and often to transport them to forced labour and German concentration camps for the purpose of economic exploitation.

Lwów Ghetto

Lemberg GhettoLwówLvov
That train came with the Jews of the Lwów Ghetto, less than 100 km away.
The ghetto, set up in the second half of 1941 after the Germans arrived, was liquidated in June 1943 with all its inhabitants who survived prior killings, sent to their deaths in cattle trucks at Bełżec extermination camp and the Janowska concentration camp.

Grossaktion Warsaw

Großaktion WarschauGrossaktion Warschauliquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto
Notably, during the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka in 1942, trains carried up to 7,000 victims each.
From there, they were sent aboard overcrowded Holocaust trains to the extermination camp in Treblinka.

Attack on the twentieth convoy

Twentieth convoytwentieth rail convoya railway convoy
The only time during World War II that a Holocaust train carrying Jewish deportees from Western Europe was stopped by the Underground happened on 19 April 1943, when the Transport No. 20 left Mechelen with 1,631 Jews, heading for Auschwitz.
The Twentieth Convoy (Vingtième convoi; Twintigste treinkonvooi), also known as the Twentieth Train, was a Holocaust train and prisoner transport in Belgium organized by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The Holocaust in Belgium

Belgiumdeportation of Belgian JewsAntwerp Pogrom
The implementation of the "Final Solution" in Belgium centred on the Mechelen transit camp (Malines) chosen because it was the hub of the Belgian National Railway system.
Jews chosen from the registration lists were required to turn up at the newly established Mechelen transit camp; they were then deported by train to concentration camps, mostly to Auschwitz.

Extermination camp

death campsdeath campextermination camps
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the [[Deutsche Reichsbahn#1939-1945: The Reichsbahn in the Second World War and the Holocaust|Deutsche Reichsbahn]] national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.
The idea of mass extermination with the use of stationary facilities to which the victims were taken by train, was the result of earlier Nazi experimentation with chemically manufactured poison gas during the secretive Aktion T4 euthanasia programme against hospital patients with mental and physical disabilities.

Łódź Ghetto

Lodz GhettoGhetto LitzmannstadtLitzmannstadt Ghetto
Neither of these two camps had international rail connections; therefore, the trains stopped at the nearby ghettos in Łódź and in Minsk, respectively.
Overcrowding in the ghetto was exacerbated by the influx of some 40,000 Polish Jews forced out from the surrounding Warthegau areas, as well as by the Holocaust transports of foreign Jews resettled to Łódź from Vienna, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and other cities in Nazi Germany, as well as from Luxembourg, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia including the citywide Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Drancy internment camp

DrancyDrancy deportation campcamp at Drancy
Drancy internment camp served as the main transport hub for the Paris area and regions west and south thereof until August 1944, under the command of Alois Brunner from Austria.
Between 22 June 1942, and 31 July 1944, during its use as an internment camp, 67,400 French, Polish, and German Jews were deported from the camp in 64 rail transports, which included 6,000 children.

Maly Trostinets extermination camp

Maly Trostenets extermination campMaly TrostenetsMaly Trostinets
In the German-occupied USSR, at the Maly Trostinets extermination camp, shootings were used to kill victims in the woods.
Holocaust transports organized by the SS were sent from Berlin, Hanover, Dortmund, Münster, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Kassel, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Munich, Breslau, Königsberg, Vienna, Prague, Brünn, and Theresienstadt.

Warsaw Ghetto

WarsawGhettothe Ghetto
Notably, during the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka in 1942, trains carried up to 7,000 victims each.
From there, they were sent aboard Holocaust trains to the Treblinka death camp, built in a forest 50 mi northeast of Warsaw.

Operation Reinhard

Aktion ReinhardAktion ReinhardtOperation Reinhardt
Following the Wannsee Conference of 1942, the Nazis began to murder the Jews in large numbers at newly built death camps of Operation Reinhard. Before the onset of Operation Reinhard which marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust in Poland many Jews were transported by road to killing sites such as the Chełmno extermination camp, equipped with gas vans.
The SS used a variety of ruses to move thousands of new arrivals travelling in Holocaust trains to the disguised killing sites without unleashing panic.

Chełmno extermination camp

ChełmnoChelmno extermination campChelmno
In reality, from 1942 on, for most Jews, deportations meant only death at either Bełżec, Chełmno, Sobibór, Majdanek, Treblinka, or Auschwitz-Birkenau. Before the onset of Operation Reinhard which marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust in Poland many Jews were transported by road to killing sites such as the Chełmno extermination camp, equipped with gas vans.
As round-ups in Łódź normally took place in the morning, it was usually late afternoon by the time Jews disembarked from the Holocaust trains in Powiercie.

SNCF

Société nationale des chemins de fer françaisSNCF RéseauFrench
The French national SNCF railway company under the Vichy Government played its part in the "Final Solution".
These deportations have been the subject of historical controversy and lawsuits (such as the Lipietz case) in France as well as in the United States (where subsidiary Keolis is a transportation contractor) to the present day.

Nazi concentration camps

Nazi concentration campconcentration campconcentration camps
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the [[Deutsche Reichsbahn#1939-1945: The Reichsbahn in the Second World War and the Holocaust|Deutsche Reichsbahn]] national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.
Prisoners were transported in inhumane conditions by rail freight cars, in which many died before reaching their final destination.

Nazi ghettos

ghettoghettosNazi ghetto
The extermination of people targeted in the "Final Solution" was dependent on two factors: the capacity of the death camps to gas the victims and quickly dispose of their bodies, as well as the capacity of the railways to transport the victims from the ghettos to extermination camps.

Stock car (rail)

stock carcattle carstock cars
The trains consisted of sets of either third class passenger carriages, but mainly freight cars or cattle cars or both; the latter packed with up to 150 deportees, although 50 was the number proposed by the SS regulations.
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the [[Deutsche Reichsbahn#1939-1945: The Reichsbahn in the Second World War and the Holocaust|Deutsche Reichsbahn]] national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.

The Holocaust in Poland

the Holocaust in occupied Polandthe HolocaustHolocaust in Poland
Before the onset of Operation Reinhard which marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust in Poland many Jews were transported by road to killing sites such as the Chełmno extermination camp, equipped with gas vans.
Every branch of the sophisticated German bureaucracy was involved in the killing process, from the interior and finance ministries to German firms and state-run railroads.

Deutsche Reichsbahn

ReichsbahnDeutsche Reichsbahn-GesellschaftDRG
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the [[Deutsche Reichsbahn#1939-1945: The Reichsbahn in the Second World War and the Holocaust|Deutsche Reichsbahn]] national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.
Jews were transported like cattle to the concentration and extermination camps by the Deutsche Reichsbahn in trains of covered goods wagons, so-called Holocaust trains.

Białystok Ghetto

BiałystokBialystok GhettoGhetto
The last train to be sent to Treblinka extermination camp left Białystok Ghetto on 18 August 1943; all prisoners were murdered in gas chambers after which the camp closed down per Globocnik's directive.
Its inhabitants were transported in Holocaust trains to the Majdanek concentration camp and Treblinka extermination camps.

Ostbahn (General Government)

OstbahnGeneraldirektion der OstbahnOstbahn railway company
In November 1939, as soon as the semi-colonial General Government was set up in occupied central Poland, a separate branch of DRB called Generaldirektion der Ostbahn (Kolej Wschodnia in Polish) was established with headquarters called GEDOB in Kraków; all of the DRB branches existed outside Germany proper.
The trains were used to cleanse and resettle interwar Poland with the German-speaking colonists in the name of "Lebensraum", and played an essential role in the mass deportations of Jews to extermination camps during the Holocaust.

General Government

occupied PolandGeneralgouvernementPoland
In November 1939, as soon as the semi-colonial General Government was set up in occupied central Poland, a separate branch of DRB called Generaldirektion der Ostbahn (Kolej Wschodnia in Polish) was established with headquarters called GEDOB in Kraków; all of the DRB branches existed outside Germany proper. The main destination for the convoys was Auschwitz concentration camp in occupied Poland.
An additional point in favor of setting up the extermination facilities in his governorate was that there were no transportation problems there, with all assets of the disbanded Polish National Railways (PKP) managed by Ostbahn, Deutsche Reichsbahn branch of GEDOB in Kraków, making a network of death trains readily available to the SS-Totenkopfverbände.

Ethnic cleansing of Zamojszczyzna by Nazi Germany

Children of ZamojszczyznaAction ZamośćAktion Zamosc
Mass deportations of Polish nationals using freight trains (but also lorries) took place during the ethnic cleansing of Zamojszczyzna between November 1942 and July 1943, in which all branches of German police including Orpo and Sonderdienst, as well as Wehrmacht and the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police participated.
In order to prepare the land for the new German settlers, both German military and all branches of police including Sonderdienst, aided by the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police battalions, conducted mass deportations of native Polish inhabitants using Holocaust trains as well as lorries and even horse-drawn wagons.