In January 1945, Nazi Germany faced military defeat. Allied forces liberated France, Belgium and most of the Netherlands. In Eastern Europe, the Red Army had advanced in to the Baltic States and Eastern Poland.
On January 10, the Soviet forces launched a large scale offensive in East Prussia and Poland (Operation Vistula – Oder). On January 17, Soviet forces entered Warsaw. Following the German withdrawal, Heinrich Himmler, Head of the SS, ordered the evacuation of all camps in Poland. On January 18 Auschwitz and its sub camps were evacuated. Many German cities were heavily bombed and destroyed during the Allied aerial attack. The German transportation system was thrown into chaos. However, the Gestapo continued to issue deportation announcements all across Germany. On January 19, the RSHA (Reich Security Main Office) informed all "Mischlinge" (who had been exempt from deportation) to prepare for deportation to Theresienstadt.
The transport left Leipzig for Theresienstadt on March 16, 1945. It consisted of seven Jews and was the last transport of Jews that left Leipzig. It is noteworthy that none of the seven Jews of this transport actually came from Leipzig. Rather, they were from Nordhausen, Erfurt and other smaller towns. Helene Bösecke, from Nordhausen, was on this transport. In less than 24 hours she sent postcards from the transport, one dated Weimar, 11am, March 16, 1945, one dated Weisschlitz, 6-7pm, March 16, 1945, and the last one dated Karlsbad, 9am, March 17, 1945. It is not certain whether the transport originated in Leipzig and went to Theresienstadt via Erfurt, Weisschlitz and Karlsbad, or whether the train originated in Erfurt and went via Leipzig. The transport was likely conducted by regular train under guard.
With the exception of the “Einzeltransporte” (transports of individuals), none of the transports that left Leipzig for Theresienstadt originated in Leipzig. Rather, these trains came from places like Weimar and even as far as Frankfurt (am Main) and stopped in Leipzig en route to Theresienstadt to pick up the Jews from Leipzig and the vicinity.
The head of the Leipzig Gestapo at that time, Karl Fistler, played a key role in organizing the transports together with the Department of Jewish Affairs in the RSHA.
The general guidelines prepared by the RSHA recommended that the local Gestapo notify in writing those Jews selected for deportation. The deportees were permitted to bring a sum of 50 Reichmarks, a suitcase, a full set of clothes, suitable shoes, bedding, tableware and food supplies for eight days. Additionally, those selected for deportation had to produce an inventory of all their properties. The deportees were normally kept in the assembly sites for two days prior to deportation.
The transport arrived at Theresienstadt on March 17, 1945. There it was given the reference XVI/7, where the Roman numeral XVI refers to Leipzig.