In 1943 the Gestapo launched two "small" transports from Munich, consisting of 28 Jews altogether. After more than eight months without a transport to Theresienstadt, the Gestapo instigated them again.
Since the closure of the Milbertshofen assembly camp in August 1942, the number of Jews in Munich remained very low. On December 31 1942 only 645 persons were counted as Jews according to the Nuremberg laws. Among them 146 were “full Jews”. In March 1943 the Berg am Laim camp was also closed. The majority of people in the last eleven transports from Munich to Theresienstadt were Jews from ‘mixed marriages’ who were scheduled for deportation because their non-Jewish partner had either died or divorced. In February 1943 the RSHA sent out new deportation guidelines to the local State Police offices. From then on, working in forced labour did not protect anyone from deportation. However, Jewish partners in existing mixed marriages and “Geltungsjuden” (people of mixed ancestry) were still exempt. In May 1943 the guidelines for deportation intensified as Heinrich Himmler ordered that all Jews defined as such according to the Nuremberg laws and still living in Germany had to be deported.
On the transport which left Munich on April 20 1943 and arrived a day later in Theresienstadt, Munich’s Gestapo anticipated the stricter guidelines that were about to issued in May. Contrary to the laws at the time, a few persons whose Aryan partner had died or divorced and one person of mixed ancestry were deported.
The transport consisted of 18 Jews, nearly all female. 14 Jews came from Munich, among them nine from Lindwurmstrasse No. 125 (today listed as No. 127). That building – ceded by the local NSDAP branch to the Jews – had provided shelter for the Jewish community since 1938, when the synagogue and community buildings in Herzog-Max-Strasse had been destroyed. A prayer room and office space had been set up. From here the Jewish community sent out the deportation orders. Many Jews moved to that building and lived there in crowded conditions after they had been forced out of their apartments. Three of the deportees came from Augsburg and one person from Bad Tölz, 60 kilometers south of Munich. They were taken to Munich prior to deportation.
Seven of the 18 deportees were stateless having formerly held Hungarian, Slovakian or Turkish citizenship. Two still had their Slovakian passports and one retained Romanian citizenship. Non-German citizenship had saved most of these people from previous deportations. Several of them were either partners in mixed marriages or had been divorced or bereaved of their non-Jewish partners.
As there was no assembly camp in Munich anymore, the deportees were taken from their apartments and brought to Munich’s police headquarters in Ettstrasse where they were jailed for a few days prior to the deportation. They were searched and their last valuables were confiscated. The deportees had to endure bureaucratic procedures and undergo the final stages of expropriation. Their declarations of property were collected and they were informed that because they were “enemies of the Reich” their assets had been seized.
On the morning of April 20, the day of deportation, they were taken to the train stations where the transports departed for Theresienstadt. These were Munich’s central train station and the freight train station in the Munich-Laim district. It is still disputed whether the majority of transports left from Munich’s central station or from Munich Laim station. Historian Andreas Heusler argues that the majority left from the central station, but several testimonies indicate otherwise.
At the station, one second-class passenger car awaited them and the deportees were ordered to board the train. Every transport was accompanied by Gestapo members and members of the uniformed police. If it left from Munich central station the car was connected to a regular, scheduled passenger train that left Munich for Marktredwitz. The car was then attached to several other local passenger trains in succession and travelled via Moosach, Freising, Landshut, Regensburg, Schwandorf, Marktredwitz, Eger, Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) and Usti nad Labem (Aussig) to Bohusovice (Bauschowitz), where it finally arrived a day later. If it left from Munich Laim freight station, the car would have been shunted to Munich central station, from where the procedure would be as above.
The deportees were taken off the train at Bohusovice station and forced by the awaiting SS personnel and Czech gendarmerie to walk the approximate 3 km to Theresienstadt, carrying their backpacks. Only people who were unable to walk were taken in trucks.
The transport was given the reference II/27 in the Theresienstadt ghetto listings where the Roman numeral II refers to Munich. In Theresienstadt many of the deportees died of hunger and disease during the months following their arrival. Others were later transferred to extermination camps in the East where they were murdered.
Henriette Beck was on that transport. She was born in 1869 in Mannheim and was married to Hofrat (privy councillor) Dr. Otto Beck who was Aryan and a theatre director in Bonn and Munich. Henriette Beck had a successful career as an opera singer and had been honoured for her work treating the wounded during WWI. After her husband’s death she was deported and shared a room with Eugenie Gorter (see II/18). In Theresienstadt she was among the “prominent” prisoners. Being “prominent” she had relatively better living conditions and also received relatively better food. Henriette Beck died on 3 January 1945 in Theresienstadt, four months before the liberation.