Children’s Transport

One day in Buchenwald the order went out to assemble a children’s transport. Fearing the children would be sent to their deaths, the inmate functionaries tried to keep the number as small as possible. They had no means of preventing the transport altogether.

On 5 January, 21 boys from Poland and Hungary were on the transport list. The youngest was the 2-year-old Yidele Henechowicz. He had been born in the Piotrków Ghetto and, with his father, deported to Buchenwald from a forced labour camp for Jews the previous December. The SS had murdered his mother in the Treblinka extermination camp. His father had to remain behind in Buchenwald.

The boys were sent to Bergen-Belsen by train. There Yidele and the other younger boys were assigned to a so-called orphans’ barrack. That saved their lives. Female inmates cared for them until their liberation. The Red Cross took many of the child survivors to Sweden. Yidele Henechowicz was adopted by a Finnish family. He never saw his father again.

(Michael Löffelsender)

Literatur: Kenneth Waltzer, “History and Memory: Children and Youths in Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen”, in Janine Doerry et al. (eds.), Das soziale Gedächtnis und die Gemeinschaft der Überlebenden: Bergen-Belsen in vergleichender Perspektive, Göttingen 2014, pp. 214–231.