1942-06-24: Berlin - Ostpreußen to Minsk

 

Departure Date (Königsberg): 24.06.42, Deported: 628 (from Ostpreußen) of Total Deported (Number, unknown)

The preparation of the first evacuation of Jews from East Prussia is known from Reichsbahn documents [see also R. Hilberg, special trains to Auschwitz, Mainz 1981]. This is visible from a telegram from the Reichsbahndirektion Königsberg dated 5.6.42 which notes a transport with the designation “Da 40” from Königsberg to Minsk originally scheduled to depart on 30.6. failed to link with train Da 209 from Vienna according to plan. However, from trip schedule no. 46 “for a special train transporting repatriates” dated 15.6.42 indicates that the departure of train “Da 40” was a replacement for “Da 208” on the 24.6. at 22:34 hours from Königsberg North Freight Station. The deportation of Viennese Jews to Minsk provided via “Da special trains” with the Numbers 207-218 had been canceled because of construction, such that the train from Königsberg was cleared (see also telex of 16.6.42). According to schedule no. 48 of 22.6.42 “Da 40” arrived at the Minsk Freight Depot on 26.6. at 11.50. The copies (below) of the Reichsbahn documents mentioned are from material of the trial of Georg Heuser [Yad Vashem Archives, O.53 / Ludwigsburg, USSR Collection] and were made available online by Yad Vashem as part of the project “Train Rides to Oblivion” (Zugfahrten in den Untergang“) and ( here).

Minsk Bahnhof- May 1943 source Bundesarchiv
Minsk Bahnhof- May 1943 source Bundesarchiv

At the end of the schedule from 22.6. it says: “Bf Minsk Gbf immediately after arrival by telephone … Number of transported persons, including children under 10 years and accompanying persons.” These details are known from another document of the Reichbahn in which handwritten registered details of eight deportation trains between 23.5. and 10.8.42 arrived in Minsk and other places (see the above documents [Yad Vashem Archives, O.53 / Ludwigsburg, USSR Collection]. According to this document, 770 deportees arrived on 26.6.42 in Minsk. In June 1942, however, the monthly statistics of the Reichsvereinigung recorded 628 deportees from East Prussia (including corrections in the following month), 479 of them from the administrative districts of Königsberg and Allenstein and 149 from the administrative district of Tilsit (including Memelland). A listing of names is unknown.

There is much to suggest that the transport with 628 people from East Prussia was connected with the 16th East Berlin transport with 202 deportees (see here). However, the differences between the then assumed total number of 830 deportees and the number of 770 people recorded on arrival documents from the Reichsbahn document can not yet be reconciled.