The trains of the Holocaust
Standard convoy of the German S-Bahn, was ensemble of 50 railcars (box cars) and a steam engine
locomotive (Latin, loco: from a place + motivus:
causing motion). The steam locomotive (for freight and transport
operations, with a tractive effort of 5-10,000 tons) could pull more rails
cars and the trains could be
longer, but for war reasons, they kept this number to about 50-55 units. The
rail transportation offered some advantages to the Germans: mass transports, energy
efficient, reliability, maximum utilization of space, flexibility, low cost,
availability, easy access from the point of embarkation to the point of
destination and safety. Some time, the train can have 2 steam-locomotives
or, by 1944 and 1945 even an diesel-powered locomotive and in some places
people in a
boxcar X 50 boxcars + 2,500 people in each convoy. This was the minimum standard load
written in the SS manuals. But normally the trains were loaded to 150 to 200%
supply all the logistics of the German Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union, the
army needed some 100 to 110 daily
standard trains, running from Germany to the east. some of the trains
coming back from the front were carrying destroyed equipment that needed
major repairs, wounded soldiers, looted staff and Jewish civilians.
To supply the Auschwitz-Birkenau
Complex (4 major camps) and the other myriad and network of concentration camps in Eastern Europe,
the SS needed only 1.5% of all daily German
war logistics. 1.5% it's not much of all, thinking on the big picture and on
the final achievement.
All the "thinking" was doctored in Berlin.
The operation was also a cleaver deceiving one, because the Jews, was made
to believe that the transport was for relocation purposes and sometimes in
better conditions than the previous ones.
The SS worked in conjunction and conspiracy with local loyal police, local
garrisons, civilian state-run institutions as the rails system and special military police forces.
Under orders from the SS (SchutzStaffel: protective echelon) these forces
were rounding up the Jew
populations everywhere in Eastern Europe: Russia, Rumania, Hungary, Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, the Baltic States, on one side and occupied Western Europe:
France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, etc. on the other side, with the advantage of the fairly developed railway system in Europe.
All the the operation of shipping Jews, was surprisingly smooth. The
Wehrmacht (German Armed and Defense Forces, 1935-1945) cooperated in
rounding the Jews, and executions on the eastern Front and Poland, but was
not declared a criminal organization as the SS was.
logistic that may seem "colossal" from outside and history
perspective, directed from Berlin and
muscled by SS & Collaborators, over a period of 36 month, was working
perfectly. In conclusion, all the transport operation was very simple, basic,
low cost and efficient. The average shipping time from embarkation to
destination, engine/locomotive change, mechanic crews changes, fuel and
transport documents, was 3-4,5 days.
When in Wannasse Conference, in January of 1942, under Hitler's verbal
direct order to Goering, who then commended the task to Heydrich, the
mission was to organize and to look for consent inside the "establishment"
to "emigrate" and to "evacuate" by force of all
the Jews under the temporary domain of the Nazi Germany in Europe (at that
time, about 11.000.000 people). You
can tabulate that they needed only 1.600 trains (a round figure of the
actual number of chartered train convoys). 1.600 convoys that should
feed, in a continuous and orderly way, the complex network the concentration
camps, where the Germans have just invented a new efficient, quick, silent
and economic method of mass slaughter: the gas chambers.
(December of 1941 in Auschwitz***) ( see the movie "Conspiracy" made by HBO)
Of the 6 million Jews that have been exterminated during the Second World
War (WWII): the first 2 millions were murdered immediately by the
second-rank military and political police,
mobile death squadrons of the Eisentzgruppen *. The actions
were mainly were mass executions
conducted in the newly-conquered Russian territories. The Germans were
assisted by the local polices and paramilitary groups. The tally slaughter
was from hundreds to tenths of thousand of Jewish civilians, in only day on
continuing shutting. Other thousands died of hunger, illnesses, extreme
conditions in the forced-slave work camps, drowned and even
poisoned with motor escape gases of the specially-built military trucks.
until 1941, the Germans attempted,
performed and improved all the
well-known methods in the humanity history.
In the light of the time remembered in the written memory, they were
the most cruel conqueror people of the history, only seconded by the Mongols
under Gingis-Khan, the inventors of civil terror and extreme brutality.
Some hundred of thousand
were just ensemble and made to march on foot to the concentration
camps in Rumania, Poland and Bucovina. More than 40% of them died of
extenuation and exposure, during the forced marches. The "lucky one" on the
next type of accommodation and evacuation, some 3.5-4 millions Jews in
total, were rail transported to camps in Poland.
In the German official conversations about the Jewish matters, the one code word employed was
"evacuation". One time, during a phone conversation in late 1942,
Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary and leader of the Nazi Party,
admonished Himmler in very strong terms, who was informing him that 50,000 Jews
were already exterminated in a concentration camp in Poland:
"They were not exterminated, only evacuated, evacuated, evacuated!!! ",
Bormann screamed and closed the phone.
Libya to Scandinavia, from Ireland to Russia, for the Germans, the task of
finding the Jews, to concentrate them and to "move" them in
trains was unaccountably easy. It was super easy in the Balkans, Central
Europe, Russia and in South-East of the Continent where they have a total
control. They benefited of the
benevolent cooperation of the French authorities and collaborators and their
developed rails system for ferrying some 76,000+ people to the final
destination: gas chambers and concentration camps in central Europe.
the Germans deals with Mussolini were difficult and slow in this
matter. He (Mussolini) refused giving in his Italian-Jews to the Germans
meat-grinding machine. Only after his death in 1943 (killed by Italian
Marxist/Communist partisans), the Germans could muster some 7,500+ Italian
Jews and ship them to concentration camps.
collided with the total negative attitude of the Nordic and Scandinavian
countries in collaborating with the evacuations plans. This was the reason
that most of the concentration fields were mounted and installed in Poland,
whose civil population was openly manifesting a deep anti-Semitic attitude
during the WWII and simple logistic and geography.
over 1,600 trains that were
organized and logged. They transported their humble human load to the
concentration camps all over Europe and the consequent death of 2,5-3,5000,000 Jews.
I will repeat myself: this
alone represented only (and maybe less than) 1.5% of the total daily logistics of
German Wehrmacht war machine; this is an almost insignificant percentage and minimum warlike
Between 1941 and 1944 (until December of 1944, the official date
of closing organized-death-operations of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Complex), the
transport / arrival timetable was of 1.5 trains
per day: this was the Germans Office or Reich
Security's basic logistic need for this "project".
This simple calculation and the organized logistics of the German Rail Road
System and logistics won, at the end of the day, the practices side of the
boxcars X 50 prisoners X 1.5 trains/day X 1,066 days = 4,000,000 of "evacuated"