Following the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany in March 1939, and the declaration of a Slovak republic on March 14, Hitler announced on March 15 the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Between 1939 and 1941 the Nazi authorities in the Protectorate carried out various anti-Jewish measures, which included the harassment of Jews and of Jewish institutions and the confiscation of property. On October 10, 1941, the newly appointed Reichsprotektor, Reinhard Heydri
ch, summoned several SS officers, among them Adolf Eichmann, to a meeting in Prague (Praha). Heydrich, who was also chief of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt - RSHA), revealed a plan to deport 5,000 Jews from the Protectorate to Eastern Europe and in addition to expel the remaining Jews of the Protectorate to an assembly camp in Bohemia. Theresienstadt, a garrison town built in the 18th century, located about 60 kilometers north of Prague, was chosen to serve as the place for concentrating the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia. Mass deportations of Jews from Prague and soon afterwards from other large cities began in late November 1941. In the provincial areas the registration of Jews began in January 1942. On February 19, 1942, a month after the Wannsee conference, Adolf Eichmann summoned representatives of the Jewish religious congregation of Prague (along with those of Vienna and Berlin) to brief them on the forthcoming mass deportations from the “Greater Reich” to the East or to Theresienstadt. Before the deportations of the Jews from the provinces began on March 27 1942, all Jewish religious congregations in the provinces were dissolved. Transport Bh left Ostrava for the Theresienstadt Ghetto in the evening hours of September 17, 1942. It consisted of 860 Jews. It was the first of four big transports from Ostrava to Theresienstadt. Most of the deportees were either residents of Ostrava or of neighboring towns and villages. Among theses were Velke Karlovice, Vsetin, Stare Hamry (Althammer), Frydek-Mistek and Valasske Mezirici (Meseritsch). Prior to the train’s departure, several staff members of the Prague Jewish community Transports Department arrived in Ostrava to carry out administrative measures according to the orders they received from the Central Office for Jewish Immigration. They prepared a list of deportees, registered Jewish property, issued notices regarding the date of deportation, and assisted in packing and carrying luggage. The Jews were transferred from the school to the train station and put on a train. After it arrived in Bohusovice, the deportees had to disembark and were forced to march the remaining 3 km to Theresienstadt.