1943-03-01: 31. Osttransport

Departure Date: 01.03.43, Deported: 1736, Destination: Auschwitz

Buna-Werken (Buna Works) IG Fabren (Auschwitz)
Buna-Werken (Buna Works) IG Fabren (Auschwitz)

On 27.2.43, all Jews who were still working in armaments companies were removed from their previous workplaces. The measure of the RSHA, which was later referred to as the “fabrik-aktion”, and which had until then been “spared” from deportation, on account of the war-workload, were now to be deported to Auschwitz for the employment at the Buna Works. The Mischehe Jews were not to be deported, according to the guidelines from the RSHA.

In a telegram from the SS-WVHA (SS-WVHA) to the camp commander of Auschwitz, the telegram dated 2.3.43 reads as follows:

“As is known Jewish transports from Berlin beginning on 1 April arrived with about 15,000 fully fit, healthy Jews who have worked until now in the armaments industry in Berlin. Their ability to continue to work must be closely assessed.”
[F. Piper, The Number of the Victims of Auschwitz, Oswiecim 1993, p. 136]

The third Berlin Armaments Inspection stated in its war diary, entry from 27.2.,there were about 11,000 failures in the armaments sector. [W. Gruner, The Closed Employment of German Jews, Berlin 1997, p. 317]. It can be assumed that the RSHA deportation planning was based on outdated data on the employment rate in Berlin. A part of the hitherto employed were also Jewish mix partners (Mischehe) who were not deported. About 4,000 Berlin Jews were targeted in the “factory-action”. Of the Jews deported from Berlin, about 3000 were finally selected as forced labor for Auschwitz.

The first transport from 1.3.43 in the “factory-action” from Berlin was the 31st Osttransport. The corresponding transport list contains 1838 names, of which, however, 102 have been deleted, with the total number of deportees being 1736. 1647 came from Berlin and another 89 from different places or Jewish labor camps in the Brandenburg region of Berlin. On the 2.3. only 677 Jewish prisoners were registered as working in the Auschwitz concentration camp, of which 292 were men and 385 were women. The remaining 1059 men, women and children of the 31st Eastern transport were therefore immediately murdered.

The statement in the “Calendar of events in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945”, on 2/23/43, indicating the arrival of two Jew transports with a total of 1,500 deportees from the German Reich in Auschwitz would not correspond to the facts. On the 2.3. in Auschwitz prisoners population variances can only be attributed to Berlin Jews of the 31st Osttransport.