I know the title may seem a bit disrespectful but it is not meant that way, it was the only way I felt I could describe it.
In the summer of 1942, the Nazis made preparations to deport the Jews of Belgium. They converted the Dossin de St. Georges military barracks in the city of Mechelen (Fr., Malines) into a transit camp. Mechelen, a city of 60,000, was considered an ideal location for this purpose. Located halfway between Antwerp and Brussels, two cities which contained most of the Jewish population of Belgium, the city had good rail connections to the east.
At the start of the war, the population of Belgium was overwhelmingly Catholic. Jews made up the largest non-Christian population in the country, numbering between 70–75,000 out of a population of 8 million. Most lived in the cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi and Liège. The vast majority were recent immigrants to Belgium who had fled persecution in Germany and Eastern Europe, and, as a result, only a small minority actually possessed Belgian citizenship.
Shortly after the invasion of Belgium, the Military Government passed a series of anti-Jewish laws in October 1940. The Belgian Committee of Secretary-Generals refused from the start to co-operate on passing any anti-Jewish measures and the Military Government seemed unwilling to pass further legislation. The German government began to seize Jewish-owned businesses and forced Jews out of positions in the civil service.
The first group of Jews arrived in the camp Mechelen from Antwerp on July 27, 1942. Between August and December 1942, two transports with about 1,000 Jews each left the camp every week for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Between August 4, 1942, and July 31, 1944, a total of 28 trains carrying 25,000+ Jews left Mechelen for Poland; most of them went to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Below is a breakdown of the transports, the logistical numbers.I usually don’t like the statistics but if you see the numbers from a relatively unknown and small deportation centre it is just staggering.
Transports from Mechelen to Auschwitz-Birkenau
Deported people per age (above and below 15 years old) and gender. All were Jewish people, with the exception of Transport Z in 1943.
|Transport 1||4 August 1942||544||28||403||23||998|
|Transport 2||11 August 1942||459||25||489||26||999|
|Transport 3||15 June 1942||380||48||522||50||1000|
|Transport 4||18 August 1942||339||133||415||112||999|
|Transport 5||25 August 1942||397||88||429||81||995|
|Transport 6||29 August 1942||355||60||531||54||1000|
|Transport 7||1 September 1942||282||163||401||154||1000|
|Transport 8||10 September 1942||388||111||403||98||1000|
|Transport 9||12 September 1942||408||91||401||100||1000|
|Transport 10||15 September 1942||405||132||414||97||1048|
|Transport 11||26 September 1942||562||231||713||236||1742|
|Transport 12||10 October 1942||310||135||423||131||999|
|Transport 13||10 October 1942||228||89||259||99||675|
|Transport 14||24 October 1942||324||112||438||121||995|
|Transport 15||24 October 1942||314||30||93||39||476|
|Transport 16||31 October 1942||686||16||94||27||823|
|Transport 17||31 October 1942||629||45||169||32||875|
|Transport 18||15 January 1943||353||105||424||65||947|
|Transport 19||15 January 1943||239||51||270||52||612|
|Transport 20||19 April 1943||463||115||699||127||1404|
|Transport 21||31 July 1943||672||103||707||71||1553|
|Transport 22a||20 September 1943||291||39||265||36||631|
|Transport 22b||20 September 1943||305||74||351||64||794|
|Transport 23||15 January 1944||307||33||293||22||655|
|Transport Z||15 January 1944||85||91||101||74||351|
|transport 24||4 April 1944||303||29||275||18||625|
|transport 25||19 May 1944||237||20||230||21||508|
|transport 26||31 July 1944||280||15||251||17||563|
|Total||August 1942 – July 1944||10,545||2,212||10,463||2,047||25,267|
Transport Z was designated for Roma
Of the 25.267 deported only 1240 survived
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United States Holocaust Museum