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 Ja
nuary 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 Vienna (Wien) on March 19, 1945 and arrived in Theresienstadt on March 20. It consisted of 11 Jews. Allied aerial bombings on March 12 damaged Vienna’s Nordbahnhof (Northern Railway Station), however it seems this did not prevent the deportation. The Jews were put on a train that left daily at 6 PM from Nordbahnhof and travelled via Breclav (Lundenburg), to Brno (Brünn). In Brno they were transferred to a train run by the "Protektoratsbahnen" (the company that operated trains in the so called "Protektorat"). They continued their journey to Prague (Praha) and from there to Theresienstadt. On its arrival, the transport was listed in ghetto records as transport IV/17. The Roman numeral IV represented Vienna as city of origin.