By early 1945, Nazi Germany was on the brink of defeat. The Allies had liberated France, Belgium, and most of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. In Eastern Europe, the Red Army had wrested the Baltic states and the eastern provinces of Poland from the Wehrmacht. On January 10, 1945, the Soviet forces launched a massive offensive in eastern Prussia and Poland (Operation Wisla-Oder); on January 17, Soviet forces entered Warsaw. Due to the German retreat, Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordere
d the general evacuation of the camps in the east. On January 18, Auschwitz and its satellites were evacuated. Concurrently, many towns in Germany were being bombarded into rubble. Transport systems were bein reduced to total chaos. Still, the Gestapo continue to issue new deportation summonses. On January 19, 1945, the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt, Reich Security Main Office) advised that all persons classified as Mischlinge (“half-breeds”) under the Nazi racial laws must prepare for deportation to Theresienstadt. This time the transports would include Jews who had non-Jewish spouses. The transport set out on an unknown date and reached Theresienstadt on January 26, 1945. On arrival, the train was given the reference VII/5 Ez 2, the Roman numeral VII denoting Düsseldorf as the origin. Martha Schacher (b. February 23, 1888), and Jacques Finkel (b. April 16, 1926) were evidently the only members of this transport. Both survived. In all, at least 5,895 Jews were deported from Düsseldorf, most between autumn 1944 and summer 1942. Among them, 2,007 were sent to Theresienstadt; most perished.