From the Fall of 1943 onwards, the deportation of the remaining Jews from Berlin to Theresienstadt was carried out amid heavy aerial bombings (“The Battle of Berlin”). Allied air strikes caused severe damage to the German capital’s infrastructure and to the Nazi Security Services facilities. Under these circumstances it was difficult to organize transports, but they did not cease. In December of 1943, a memo signed by Heinrich Müller (Head of the Gestapo) was sent to all local Security Polic
e offices. It stated that it was now possible to deport Jewish spouses of mixed marriages that were terminated by divorce or death to Theresienstadt. Documentation and information regarding the deportations from Berlin - not only those that took place during the last of phase of expatriation - are quite scarce since the majority of these records were destroyed in the air raids or were deliberately burned in the yard of the Jewish hospital during the last days of April 1945. This transport, the last transport from Grosse Hamburger Strasse assembly camp, departed from Anhalter Bahnhof in Berlin on 23 February 1944 and arrived in Theresienstadt in the early evening of the same day. The transport consisted of 73 Jews, of whom 42 were women and 31 were men. The average age of the deportees was 45.5. The youngest of them was an infant, less than a year old and the oldest was aged 76. Nine of the deportees were under 12, two of them were between the ages of 13 and 18, sixteen of them were between 19 and 45, thirty were between 46 and 60, and sixteen of the deportees were between the ages of 61 and 85. Although the city of Berlin had been declared "Free of Jews", the Gestapo continued to search for and arrest individual Jews that met the criteria for deportation. The deportees were brought to the assembly site, where they were detained until a larger group of Jews was assembled and the Reichsbahn had supplied one or two railway cars for their transport. On the day of the transport, the deportees had to leave the assembly camp in Grosse Hamburger Strasse. They were taken to Anhalter Bahnhof located on Schöneberger Strasse or to another spot along the adjoining tracks. There they were ordered to board one or two old third-class rail cars, which were connected to a regular train that left the station for Dresden. In Dresden the cars with the Jews were connected to another regular train headed for Prague. The train's route took the deportees from Berlin to Dresden and along the river Elbe to Decin (Tetschen), Usti nad Labem (Aussig), Bohusovice (Bauschowitz) and finally to Theresienstadt. From 1 June 1943 on the trains went directly into the ghetto, as the prisoners had built a connecting railway line from Bauschowitz station to Theresienstadt. The transport was given the reference I/108 in the Theresienstadt ghetto listings, where the Roman numeral I refers to Berlin. In Theresienstadt many of the elderly Jewish deportees who had arrived on these transports died of hunger and disease during the following months. Others were later transferred to extermination camps in the East, where they were murdered. According to historian Rita Meyhöfer, 32 deportees from this transport are known to have survived. This was the 108th of 123 transports from Berlin to Theresienstadt during the war that were made up mainly of elderly Jewish deportees (Alterstransporte).