This transport was the 38th to leave Berlin for the ghettos and killing sites in Eastern Europe and was thus designated “Osttransport 38”. It departed the city’s Putlitzstrasse Station in the Moabit district on May 17, 1943 and arrived in Auschwitz two days later. The department for Jewish Affairs at the Berlin Gestapo, headed by Walter Stock and his deputy Max Stark, was in charge of organising this transport together with the Department of Jewish Affairs at the RSHA. There were 406
Jews on this transport. They were kept in assembly camps spread throughout Berlin for some days prior to deportation. At these assembly sites the Jews were forced to sign a declaration authorizing the transfer of their property to the State. On the day of their deportation the deportees were ordered into a train consisting of closed cattle cars. A guard unit, usually composed of two SS men, was usually posted in the control compartment. The train usually went to Auschwitz via Breslau (Wroclaw) and Kattowitz (Katowice), but the constant strain put on the German railway system might have caused individual transports to take other routes. Hilde Kahan was supposed to be on this transport. She was arrested with her mother on May 7, 1943 in the Jewish hospital in Berlin where she worked. They were both brought to police headquarters. Here all the Jews were loaded onto big trucks that brought them to the assembly camp on Grosse Hamburger Strasse. At the camp all deportees were registered and given a number. The number given indicated that both Hilde and her mother were destined to leave Berlin on the 38th Osttransport to Auschwitz. There were no beds at the assembly camp, only mattresses for the elderly, women and children to sit on. There were between 20 and 30 people in a room of this former old age home. A day later, Hilde Kahan and her mother were released from the camp and given temporary amnesty. Historian Danuta Czech notes in the Auschwitz Chronicles that a transport organized by the RSHA arrived in Auschwitz on May 19. It consisted of 1,000 Jewish men, women and children. It is assumed that part of this transport included the Jews from Berlin. Upon arrival outside the Auschwitz camp complex, the deportees were subject to a selection process carried out by the SS. 80 men, given Nos. 122476-122555, and 115 women, given Nos. 45168-45282, were sent to forced labour under harsh conditions which they rarely survived. More than 800 deportees remained, all of whom were sent directly to the gas chambers at Birkenau (Auschwitz II) and murdered. According to historian Rita Meyhoefer 5 of the deportees are known to have survived this transport.