Würzburg During the Holocaust
27 November 1941 – The First Deportation from Würzburg to the East
At the end of November 1941, Jews were for the first time deported from Würzburg toward the East. On the 27th of November they were taken by passenger train to Langwasser concentration camp on the outskirts of Nuremberg, from where they were transferred, two days later, to Riga, Latvia. This was the first deportation of Jews from Germany to Riga. The transports arrived at the Jungfernhof concentration camp.
Jews were required to report for transport with their belongings a day before the deportation, on the 26th of November, between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. Those who were late in reporting were rounded up by the Criminal Police (Kripo). One of the sole survivors of this transport, Siegried Ramsfelder, relates that he did not report on time, and was forcibly apprehended by three men, two of whom were SS, beaten, and led to the transport site.
The Jews were searched before deportation, both their person and the few belongings they were allowed to take with them. Items which it was forbidden to transport included valuables, weapons, poison, foreign currency, jewelry and so on. All confiscated items were meticulously noted. The property taken from the Jews was entered into inventories which had been prepared for the Franconian Ministry of Finance. The list of confiscated items enumerates, among other items, the following: a bag of cocoa powder, a box of cocoa, sweets (chocolates and bonbons), coffee, honey, a pouch with scissors, a nail file, 15 boxes of tobacco, three bags of tobacco, a box of tobacco, four pipes, five cigarette boxes (with cigarettes), eight cigarette boxes containing 45 cigarettes, 74 packages of cigarettes, and more. (Yad Vashem, Documents’ Archive, Eichmann Trial Division, TR.3/1286.)
1,008 Jews were deported on this transport: 516 were from Nuremberg, 202 from Würzburg, 118 from Bamberg, 89 from Fürth, 46 from Bayreuth, 25 from Coburg, eight from Forchheim and four from Erlangen. This was the first deportation of Jews from Lower Franconia to the east. The average age of the deportees was 46. Only 52 people survived from this transport, of them fifteen from Würzburg.
The deportation was carried out under the cover of darkness, in the early morning hours. At 3:00 PM the train reached Nuremberg, and two days later the deportees were transferred to Riga.
Some 20,000 Jews from the Reich ultimately arrived in Riga, in 20 transports. Of them only 600 survived. The liquidation of the "German" ghetto in Riga began in August 1943. In December of the same year the last 2,000 Jews in the ghetto were deported to Auschwitz.
This deportation of 212 Jews from Würzburg was documented by German policemen, and the photos were arranged in an album for Michael Völkl, the Gestapo officer in charge of the operation in Würzburg.