- Die "Judendeportationen" aus dem Deutschen Reich 1941–1945: Ein kommentierte Chronologie
Beginning with H. G. Adler's classic 1955 work on Theresienstadt and Jonny Moser's 1966 study on the Austrian Jews, broadening in the 1970s into a flow of regional studies on German cities and communities, and becoming a torrent within 1980s German Alltagsgeschichte and memorial culture, hundreds of volumes have treated the German-speaking Jews of the so-called Greater Reich (Germany, Austria, and today's Czech Republic) between 1938 and 1945. This comprehensive annotated chronology is a first-rate reference, identifying transport log numbers, tabulating numbers deported, listing departure locations and destinations, and recording the fate of the victims—if known—for individual transports. The authors draw data from published literature, memoirs, and a variety of primary documentation, including records of the German National Railway (Reichsbahn), the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt, RSHA), regional and local police authorities, and the administrations of camps, ghettos, and killing centers. An appendix provides a comprehensive chart listing in chronological order 647 transports out of the Greater German Reich directly or via Theresienstadt to "the East."
The book is organized around "waves" of deportations. Each chapter contains an introductory analysis—along with facsimiles of relevant documents—of the changes and "improvements" developed by Adolf Eichmann's section IV B 4 of the RSHA. This office coordinated the deportations, which were implemented in practice by railroad officials and Order Police personnel. RSHA officials crafted early deportation practice out of experience gained during pre-Final Solution operations such as Kristallnacht round-ups in November 1938 and expulsions from southwestern Germany into Vichy France in autumn 1940.
The authors explain how the ebb and flow of deportations related to discussions about the disposition of property and the issue of mixed marriages within Nazi [End Page 323] Germany, military needs that affected the availability of transport, and the capacity of killing centers and killing sites to "receive" victims. General readers and scholars can follow the dynamics of the deportations: to Łódź and Reichskommissariat Ostland in the autumn of 1941; to District Lublin in spring and summer 1942; to the Theresienstadt camp ghetto from June 1942 until April 1945; or from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz in 1943 and 1944. Excluded from this comprehensive catalogue are only the concentration of Bohemian and Moravian Jews in Theresienstadt, the expulsion of Jews from District Wartheland to the Government General in the winter of 1939/40, and deportations from Lódź to Chelmno and Auschwitz.
Each chapter offers information on issues unusual or unique to a given transport, such as the number of known survivors, the numbers of small-town Jews brought into cities for deportation, and the presence of prominent personalities or later memoirists. Weaving together the chronological sequence from various fragmentary sources, the authors sometimes correct erroneous assumptions or reconcile conflicting evidence about individual transports. For instance, they argue convincingly that the destination "Trawniki," which appears frequently in spring-summer 1942 and is noted in instructions developed by the RSHA in January 1942 (p. 157 and facsimile of document on pp. 140ff.), was not actually Trawniki, but meant transit via Trawniki or Lublin to various ghettos and worksites in District Lublin (Izbica, Piaski, Rejowiec, and Zamość), or transport directly to Operation Reinhard killing centers Bełżec and Sobibór (after May 1942). The pattern of deportations reveals that Auschwitz became the main destination for German Jews only in October 1942. Before this, tens of thousands of German and Austrian Jews were murdered in the gas chambers of Operation Reinhard or the gas vans of Chelmno. Nearly 50,000 Reich Jews arrived in the Reich Commissariat Ostland in 1941 and 1942. The survival rate of many of these transports was appallingly close to zero: of 1,044 Jews transported from Berlin to Riga on January 25, 1942, thirteen survived (p. 134); of 9,000 Jews shipped from Vienna to Maly Trostinets near Minsk in nine transports between May and September 1942, only seventeen are known to have survived (p. 237). SS and police...