Slideshow Deportation

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  • Transport

    Trains were indispensable to the Nazi murder of the Jews. At first killers were sent to murder their victims one by one. But when this proved too onerous to the killers, the Jews were made mobile, deported in cattle cars to stationary killing centers.

    Boarding the trains at Westerbork Transit Camp, 1943-44 / USHMM

  • What did people take with them?

    "All took leave from life in the manner which most suited them. Some praying. Some deliberately drunk, others lustfully intoxicated. But the mothers stayed up to prepare the food for the journey with tender care and washed their children and packed their luggage; and at dawn the barbed wire was full of children’s washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and children always need." --Primo Levi, Italian Jewish author and Auschwitz survivor

    Bundles strewn on a street in Krakow after the liquidation of the ghetto, 1943 / USHMM

  • Where did they think they were going?

    "I kept asking my sister Edith, ‘Where are they taking us? Where are they taking us?’ Nobody answered, nobody knew. People did not talk so as not to frighten the children; they did not talk because it was so hot that their mouths were dry. They did not talk because there was nothing to say. Five days later we arrived. The first thing everybody asked when the train stopped is ‘Where are we? Where are we? What’s the name?’ I could make out some letters. It was a very strange name: Auschwitz." --Alice Lok Cahana

    Jews assembled for deportation, Warsaw Ghetto, 1942 / USHMM

  • Why did they leave?

    "My mother sent a note from the Umschlagplatz [the deportation point in the Warsaw Ghetto]: '...[my brother] is hungry and they are going [to the trains]...' At that time they were given before the entrance to the trains bread and marmalade to the people to make them believe that they are going to be resettled into other cities, when the truth was that they were being taken to Treblinka to the gas chambers." --Vladka Meed

    Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1940-43 / USHMM