107,000 people on 97 transports

Train

I am not a great fan of statistics because without the full story behind them, they can be manipulated and often they are.

However sometimes they can be useful to indicate a scale, In this the scale of death and destruction during the Holocaust.

Between July 15,1942 and 13 September 1944 107,000 Jews were deported  from Westerbork in the Netherlands to other camps in Europe, mainly eastern Europe and for the majority to the death camps.

107,000 people over 97 transports, which is an average of about 1,103 people per transport. Just think of that for a minute.

If you have come to terms with that number  , then leave this sink in 107,000 is only about 1.6% of the total numbers of Jews murdered.

train 1

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NIOD

 

A single rail track.

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I took the picture above this morning at about 11:00 am . It is a rail track just around the corner of my home. When I looked at that rail track this morning several thoughts came to mind.

Firstly I thought how the railways made such a big change in the lives of ordinary citizens. It connected cities and also countries. People were no longer bound by the location they were born in. To this day it still fuels the imagination of children. Shows like Thomas the Tank engine are immensely popular as are the books. Even my own children when they were growing up loved to read those books and watch the show. My oldest son first learned to read from a book entitled “My first book of trains”

My second thought when I looked at the tracks  and at the picture after I took it,was that it looked like a picture of a rail track to any of the concentration camps, be it Auschwitz,Treblinka, Bergen Belsen. It occurred to me that the Holocaust really could have happened any period in history. The picture could have easily been taken in 1942.

I also realized that for the survivors and their children and grandchildren the Holocaust is still a daily reality. For those who survived they still relive that train journey every day.

The one thing that was built to connect people was used to facilitate the mass murder of millions. 1.5 million of which were  children. Children who would have been in awe of the technology,

Train journeys were supposed to be pleasant but there was nothing pleasant about their journeys.Often a hundred or more people would be cramped in a cattle car with no windows , no sanitary facilities, nowhere to sit and many would not even survive the journey.

Below is a picture of some children who survived. Who they are I don’t know. All I know is that they were liberated from the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in April 1945.

survivors

They were some of the lucky ones, but I say lucky reluctantly because even though they survived their nightmare still went on in their minds for years to come,sometimes coupled with the insult by those who claimed the Holocaust never happened. The Holocaust would forever be a part of their lives.

1.5 Million were killed,although I do believe that number is higher.

Here are just some of their names

Harry Knöpfelmacher  Murdered age 9

Hedwig Zander Murdered age 12

Frederika Borstrock Murdered age 4

Ester Kwint Murdered age 12 or 13

Peter Czeisler Murdered age 2

The scary thing is that it appears we haven’t learned from our mistakes and the one thing I fear most is that a Holocaust is very likely to happen again  and it could happen to any group of people.

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93 Trains

transport

93 trains left concentration camp Westerbork in the Netherlands between July 1942 and September 1944. All the trains were heading eastbound. Not one single  journey would be  a pleasant one , The final destination would more then likely result in death.

I deliberately call Westerbork a concentration camp, because that’s what it was, It is often referred to as a Transit camp, although technically correct, I am not comfortable with theat description, because I believe it lessens the horrific nature the camp really had. The irony,for lack of a better word,  is that in the summer of 1939 the camp was designated for Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany.

93 Trains

Auschwitz  58,380    854 survived.
Sobibor  34,313           18 survived.
Theresiënstadt 4,894   approximately  1,980 survived.
Bergen-Belsen 3,751     approximately 2,050 survived.
Buchenwald and Ravensbrück 150      10 survived.

Each number is a human being with a story of life lived, and a life that could have been.

On September 3,1944 the last train to Auschwitz departed from Westerbork. On that transport was an author who go one to sell millions of books. She and her family all arrived in Auschwitz 3 days later.

list

The author was Anne Frank.She never got to enjoy the success of her book. The fact is that if she would have survived, her diary would probably not have been published, and if I am honest, I would have preferred it that way. I would have preferred that she would have survived the war, together with all the other millions who were brutally murdered because they were either Jewish, Gypsy, Disabled,Communist,Jehovah Witness or just someone who spoke out to the regime.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Traces of War

Joods Mounument

NIOD

jodenvervolginginfotos.nl

 

Like lambs to the slaughter they were led.

TRAIN 3

Like lambs to the slaughter they were led.But with one significant difference, lambs were treated more humanely. They were not tortured before death.

I recently saw the movie “The Resistance Banker” it has one subtle but yet powerful scene, no words were spoken. A regular passenger train is stopped to facilitate a transport train to pass by. The passenger in the regular train see people crammed in cattle cars on the transport train and they hear babies crying. The scene only lasts for a minute, but that image will last for a lifetime.

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I knew the circumstances in the cattle cars were dire but that bit of movie made it so clear to me, the crying babies it made my heart stop for a second.

The horrors even dawned more clearly on me then. I have traveled with young children on a luxurious  21st century train and it was extremely difficult to keep my kids entertained and quiet, this was in a train where they were able to move around and get refreshments if they wanted to.

It is impossible for me to fathom the anxiety,fear,stress and psychological terror parents on those transport trains must have felt, leave alone the physical discomfort and pain, caused by so many crammed into a small wagon.

tRAIN 2

Even before they reached their final destination they were stripped from their dignity. Yet they had to try to stay positive for the youngsters to ensure hope would not fade away.

So many showed in these inhumane circumstances a humanity which none of us nowadays are able to display. They had everything to lose and indeed lost everything often even their lives. They knew what their end would bring, like the lambs brought to the slaughter.

We have everything to gain by never forgetting the horrors they endured.

Train

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

NIOD

Netflix