Transport 3 – destination of Lublin
Special train sent from Vienna to the east.
Much has been written and said about the infamous German passports specially issued for Jews, marked with a large J at the top-left corner of the first page that came out following a Swiss request from October 5th. The issuing of such passports lasted until the second half of 1941, October, when the German authorities stopped issuing Jews with passports as a means of encouraging and enforcing immigration. Towards the end of that year the decision to annihilate Europe’s Jews was taken.
Besides adding the large J at the top of each title page to a passport that was issued to a Jew, the addition of the name Israel was added to a male and Sara to a female. This began to appear around January of 1939. All these means were done in order to enable other countries to recognize when a Jews was trying to enter the country or apply for a visa at a consulate.
Some were lucky enough to obtain the necessary transit and final destination visas, which enabled them to escape the closing clutches – and others, did not manage to avoid their horrific fate: extermination when reaching their final destination in the east.
During the years of collecting WW2 & Holocaust related passports and travel documents, I have seen examples of the infamous J stamped German passports, issued in various cities inside and outside of Nazi Germany (the latter would be consular issues) – but specimens that were issued and NEVER used at the end, well, those are much rarer and harder to locate, simply because in most cases, they ended up with their holders at their final destination and most likely got destroyed at the end.
The passport in this article falls under the category of “documents that should have not been found or saved” – because they are the proof of the last minute efforts of trying to escape, and the evidence that there were faces, people with lives, behind each name that was typed into a deportation list: families consisting of little children and their toys being clutched into their small fingers, grandparents comforting the young and brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles…generations of history, with the endless hope for surviving and continuing to live, all these people where coldly and without any emotion typed by some clerk onto white sheets of paper, ready for the next coming transport…a one way journey to the east.
German passport number 195752 was issued to merchant Heinrich Sigall, aged 50 from Cholojow, on October 25th 1939 at Wien. One of the officials who appears to have signed and issued the passport was Ernst Brückler who was not a regular police officer from the city of Vienna but actually an SS member belonging to the Central Agency for Jewish Emigration in Vienna (Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung in Wien), headed by Adolf Eichmann when it opened on August 20th of 1938: it consisted of its head, deputy and about 20 staff members, all of whom were SS members:
- Anton Brunner
- Ernst Brückler
- Anton Burger
- Ferdinand Daurach
- Herbert Gerbing
- Ernst Girzick
- Richard Hartenberger
- Franz Novak
- Karl Rahm
- Alfred Slawik
- Franz Stuschka
- Josef Weiszl
- Anton Zita
The office was in charge of hastening the forced immigration of the Austrian Jewish population and their deportation, also by forced measures after October of 1939, following the outbreak of war. One of the main objectives was also to rob the poor victim’s belongings and ensuring that heavy taxes were also implemented as well. All had to pay for their own forced immigration expenses and “immigration payment” too, meaning all travel costs involved.
The passport has no visas inside and apparently he was either unable to obtain the life-saving visas to leave occupied Austria or he chose, for some reason, to remain in the city up to the end: According to information available today, we can now learn that he was sent to the assembly spot at School Compound, 35 Castellezgasse, where he and others were rounded up (all supervised and arranged by the RSHA (Referat IV D 4)) and from there to the train station that deported him out of Vienna on special transport-train number 3 on February 26th 1942 to the Silesian city of Opole->Lubelskie->Pulawy, Lublin (in occupied Poland). Arriving to that city would most likely have meant that Heinrich was most likely murdered at the Majdanek Death Camp.
As mentioned earlier, such travel documents being issued but not used in the end are very scarce and a silent reminder of the life behind each name, the individual who was, against all odds, strong enough to march into the offices run by the SS and apply for the passport, despite the insults hurled at him most likely and the danger that was facing him: to muster up all the courage and remaining self dignity to walk in the hostile streets of Vienna, and enter into the lion’s den, something that we today are clearly not able to understand or comprehend.
Smaller image source: Wikipedia.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.