This transport departed from Kleve on Saturday, November 27, 1943, with three Jews aboard. For reasons not fully understood, all three were evidently detained in Düsseldorf until December 15, 1943.
The Theresienstadt ghetto records indicate that this transport, given VII/4 Ez as a reference, reached the ghetto on December 16, 1943, with only one deportee, Anna Neugeboren, aboard. The Roman overall VII denotes the city of origin, Düsseldorf; the numeral 4 signified the fourth transport from Düsseldorf to Theresienstadt; and the letters Ez were an abbreviation of Einzeltransport (“special transport”), i.e., a transport with few people aboard. This was the first of three Ez transports that departed from Düsseldorf, the last one setting out in late January 1945. Most “special transports” used regular passenger trains. Most of the information presented here comes from Jakob Neugeboren’s personal dossier, a compendium on Jews from approximately 1935 onward that the Gestapo in Düsseldorf used to prepare deportation lists. On November 15, 1943, Gustav Nosske, chief of Gestapo headquarters in Düsseldorf, cabled the commissioner of the border police in Kleve and instructed him to arrest the Neugeborens and deliver them “by means of a mop-up transport to the Theresienstadt elders’ ghetto.” The wording of the cable was not detailed, as had been the case in the first transports to Theresienstadt; it merely stated that the couple should take only “the ordinary luggage for evacuations and 50 Reichsmarks” and that their property should be secured in an unspecified place. The instruction from Kleve was received by a clerk named Coenen on November 19, 1943. It also noted that the Neugeborens had two daughters who had emigrated to Palestine and that the spouses were Slovakian nationals. On November 22, 1943, the commissioner of the border police in Kleve advised the superintendent of the municipal prison and the mayor about the deportation that was scheduled for November 27, 1943. It was also stated that the deportees were in the municipal lockup, apparently for one day. On November 24, 1943, the Neugeborens signed a property statement. Two days later, the doctor in charge at the Kleve subdistrict health office signed a medical clearance for them, stating that they were fit for deportation. Concurrently, Dorothea Ballizany received certification to the effect that she was eighty-six years old, very frail, blind, and “unfit for deportation.” Although she was supposed to the among those transported to Theresienstadt on June 25, 1943, she was not sent away for several reasons: she needed an ambulance to pick her up; she received support and nursing care from her niece, Anna Neugeboren, and her two sons were soldiers, one having died on the eastern front. By order of Gestapo chief Müller on December 18, 1942, parents of Jewish war dead were not to be deported. On November 27, 1943, the Jewish Affairs Department in Kleve wrote to Gestapo headquarters in Düsseldorf in regard to the property of the three deported Jews and, en passant, noted that the transport to Theresienstadt had been carried out on Saturday, November 27, 1943 and was to reach its destination on December 15, 1943, at 10:33 a.m. Again the deportees’ Slovakian nationality was mentioned. The matter of their foreign nationality reappeared in a letter from Burghoff, director of the culture desk at Gestapo headquarters in Düsseldorf, on January 6, 1944, to the commissioner of the border police in Kleve, in which he ordered the evacuation of the deported Jews’ homes. Burghoff noted that he had spoken with Bodowski, a official at the Finance Ministry office in Kleve whose task it was to prevent pilfering; the apartment had already been rented out to a new tenant and all the Jews’ belongings had been locked away in a separate room. On December 16, 1943, the Gestapo in Prague advised the Theresienstadt ghetto and police officials in Kleve of the death of Jakob Neugeboren: In the course of the transport, it became necessary to incarcerate […] Neugeboren on December 15, 1943, in the police jail in Prague, the Pankrác, where he died at 4:00 a.m. on December 16, 1943, from “cardiac weakness.” The notice reached Kleve on December 22, 1943. On the basis of this reportage, one many offer the following conjecture: the three Jews had been transported from Kleve to Düsseldorf on November 27, 1943, where they were placed in a local lockup or under some sort of watch. Dorothea Ballizany, eighty-six years old, was apparently unable to endure the conditions, of which we are not totally aware. The Neugeborens were transported out of Düsseldorf on December 15. They were supposed to reach Theresienstadt but before they could do so, evidently due to their Slovakian nationality, they were rerouted to Prague and incarcerated there, possibly for an inquiry into the matter of their nationality. Jakob Neugeboren, born in the Austro-Hungarian empire, was sixty-nine years old; nevertheless, the expression “cardiac weakness” that the Nazis stated as the cause of death may have been a euphemism for murder. The question of the Neugeborens’ nationality was discussed after the deportation as well. In a letter to the border police commissioner in Kleve concerning “the treatment of the evacuated Jews’ property,” dated February 25, 1944, Burghoff wrote, “[Property] of little value that belonged to evacuated Jews who hold foreign nationality and has not been put to use thus far” should be sold at auction with the consent of the foreign consulate. The proceeds of such auctions, after deduction of all related expenses, should be sent onto the consulate, he added. Pursuant to these instructions, Riekmann of the Jewish Affairs Department in Kleve attempted to write to the Slovakian consulate. The last notice that he had received, on April 18, 1944, stated that due to bombardments the Slovakian consulate had moved from Köln to Berlin and that, for this reason, the request had been forwarded to that city. Anna Neugeboren, who as stated reached Theresienstadt alone, was sent on October 9, 1944, in transport Ep to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was murdered.