In 1945 the Gestapo launched three "small" transports from Munich, consisting of 97 Jews altogether.
Since the closure of Milbertshofen assembly camp in August 1942, the number of Jews in Munich remained very low. In March 1943 the Berg am Laim camp was also closed. On September 1 1944 only 450 persons were counted as Jews according to the Nuremberg laws. Among them seven were “full Jews”. 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 had 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. The Reich Main Security Office (RSHA – Reichssicherheitshauptamt) decided in February 1945 that from now on, all persons of mixed ancestry (Mischlinge, Geltungsjuden) and Jewish partners in mixed marriages had to be deported. Contrary to the earlier transports, the average age of the deportees was now significantly lower because people who worked for the community and others who were partners in mixed marriages were also included. The end of the war was foreseeable and many Jews scheduled for deportation went into hiding. Others were not registered because the card index with the names and addresses of the remaining Jews in Munich had been destroyed or damaged. For this reason only a small percentage of the remaining Jews was sent to Theresienstadt in 1945.
This transport arrived in Theresienstadt on February 23 1945 at around noon. There were 31 Jews from Munich, of whom 18 were women and 13 were men. Historian Maximilian Strnad notes an interesting detail: Minna Maier and Rosa Krämer whose non-Jewish husbands had already died in the summer of 1944 were on board this transport. But for unknown reasons they were not immediately deported.
Thanks to numerous testimonies a lot is known about the organisation of the deportations which still took place despite the heavy war damage to Munich itself and to the railway system. It took two days to take the Jews on this transport to Theresienstadt.
As there was no assembly camp in Munich anymore, the deportees were taken from their apartments and brought to Munich’s secret State Police headquarters where most of them were jailed for a few days prior to 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 February 21, the day of deportation, they had to march to Munich’s central train station. 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. 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 Theresienstadt, where it finally arrived two days later.
From June 1 1943 onward, the trains went directly into the ghetto following the connecting railway line from Bauschowitz station to Theresienstadt that the prisoners had been forced to build. The transport was given the reference II/35 in the Theresienstadt ghetto listings where the Roman numeral II refers to Munich.
Everyone from these last three transports survived Theresienstadt.
With that transport, the period of deportations from Munich ends. Only 398 Jews living in Munich had not been deported due to either their mixed ancestry or their marriages with non-Jews. Theresienstadt was liberated on May 8 1945 and out of over 1,550 deportees from Munich, only about 160 returned to the city. In the literature, the number of returnees is often cited at 297, but this number includes people from Augsburg, Regensburg, Stuttgart, and other cities.
Ernst Grube, b. 13 December 1932, was on this transport with his mother Ruth and his brother Werner.
“Despite everything, we were not able to prevent our mother and we three children from being deported on one of the last transports to Theresienstadt in February 1945. I clearly remember it. In the morning the Gestapo picked us up from our two-room apartment in Mathildenstraße and took us to the Wittelsbacher Palais, what was then the Gestapo headquarters. There we had to wait the whole day. In the evening we marched via Odeonsplatz and Stachus to the main train station. We numbered about 80 women, men and children all wearing the Jewish star, the sign that we had worn on our chests for the past two years. At the main station there were two cars reserved for our transport and guarded by a few SS men. With a lot of luck and because the war was nearing its end, we survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp.”
Judith Hirsch, born 1927 in Karlsruhe was on that transport. Her father was Jewish and worked as janitor at the Jewish hospital in Munich. As she was not allowed to attend a school, she spent the persecution period in the Jewish children’s home in Berg am Laim and, after its closure, in Lindwurmstrasse which was organised by her non-Jewish mother. Her mother had to report to the Arisierungsstelle, the department for aryanization. There she was told that after a divorce, Judith would be able to go to school again, but she refused. In the last transport from Munich, Judith was deported with her father to Theresienstadt. They survived and returned to Munich. Judith Hirsch emigrated to Canada in 1951.