In February 1943, the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt, Reich Security Main Office) forwarded new deportation guidelines to local Gestapo headquarters. Henceforth, even Jews employed in slave labor could be doomed to this fate but those who had non-Jewish spouses or were defined as “Jews under the racial laws” (Geltungsjuden) would remain protected. In May 1943, the guidelines were toughened as Heinrich Himmler ordered the deportation of all inhabitants of Germany whom the Nuremberg laws defined as Jews.
On December 18, 1943, a circular signed by Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller was distributed to all local headquarters of the Security Police, authorizing the transport to Theresienstadt even of Jews who had had non-Jewish spouses but whose marriages had ended due to divorce or death. According to the historian Alfred Gottwaldt, the train set out from Aachen or Düsseldorf. According to the records, it carried fourteen Jews from Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Krefeld, and Kohlscheid and reached Theresienstadt on January 13, 1944. Although ten of the deportees survived, we know very little about this transport. For example, the personal files of two women survivors show first- or second-degree kinship with Wehrmacht soldiers or Schupo police. One may also hypothesize that the train departed from Düsseldorf on January 11 or January 12, 1944. At 10:45 a.m. on January 5, 1944, Illig of Gestapo headquarters in Düsseldorf conferred by telephone with an official named Schmitz, a staffer with the Jewish Affairs Department of the Gestapo office in Krefeld, about an additional deportation of Jews to Theresienstadt. The conversation revolved around Himmler’s directive, which again was defined as extraordinary: “Jews in mixed marriages, a. whose sons fell in war, or b. consideration should be given to living offspring, on account of whom some disquiet may occur and shall be taken into account.” The next day, January 6, 1944, the Jewish Affairs Department in Krefeld notified Gestapo staff in Düsseldorf by telephone that two Jews in Krefeld were being “taken into account”: Fritz Heydt and Isidor Lesem. The notice was signed by a Gestapo policeman who held the rank of Obersekretär, evidently Schulenburg, on January 12, 1944. He wrote that both Heydt and Lesem had already been taken to the Gestapo building in Düsseldorf on January 10, 1944. From his personal file at Gestapo headquarters in Düsseldorf and his testimony at the trial of Gestapo headquarters in Düsseldorf staff members in 1965, one may reconstruct the biography of Fritz Heydt (b. 1904). He had worked for the Max Höck needle factory in Krefeld, an important player in the war industry. In early January 1944, the company was advised of the impending deportation. On January 9, 1944, Heydt was to go to the Gestapo building in Krefeld and report to Schulenburg, the superintendent for Jewish affairs. In his testimony, Heydt claimed: On my word of honor, [Schulenburg] released me to give me an opportunity to load up on all sorts of things. He told me, almost word for word, “If you’re not here on Monday, we’ll get you for sure. And then you’ll have only another three days to live.” Schulenburg escorted Heydt and the other Jew from this city, Isidor Lesem, by tram to Düsseldorf, whence he turned them over to Gestapo headquarters at the building on the Prinz-Georg-Straße. Schulenburg appropriated the 400 Reichsmarks in Heydt’s possession, remarking, You’ll no longer need money as long as you live. Heydt described his arrest: We were taken to the Gestapo building in Düsseldorf, to a small cellar where there was much crowding. Waldbillig warned us to maintain silence, threatening, “I’ve already killed ten.” In the afternoon, the deportees were taken by truck to a railroad station in Düsseldorf. There were about twenty-five people from Düsseldorf and neighboring towns, also from Dortmund. They were placed aboard an ordinary passenger car that had been coupled to a regular passenger train. Waldbillig was the policeman in charge of the transport; he had at least two additional escorts. Waldbillig sat with the Jews in the course of the trip, even though the escorts had a specific place of their own. He even spoke with us [...]. He told us he was not allowed to enter Theresienstadt [...]. In Theresienstadt, he handed the transport consist to an SS man. Concluding his testimony, Heydt stated that an elderly woman had died on the night of their arrival, January 14, 1944. Waldbillig also appeared in testimony given by Hildegard Friedenberg when Friedenberg went on trial in Düsseldorf in 1949. Waldbillig and Illig had arrested Hildegard’s mother, Selma Groß (b. 1879) in her home and left her only a little time to pack her belongings. Previously, Groß had been in a hospital in Düsseldorf-Heerdt but had been sent home by one Dr. Englick because, as he put it, she was “unfit for transport.”