Photograph depicting a group of Terezín prisoners from Transport Aa in the Izbica ghetto in 1942. Members of the local Jewish Police Service / Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst can be seen in the foreground.Käthe Langer (born Leschnitzer) Archive
Transit ghettoes were the first destination for most of the Terezín transports to German-occupied Poland. Among the most important were Izbica, Piaski, Rejowiec and Zamość.
Their selection was not by chance, as they were situated on railway routes leading to the extermination camps. Most of the original residents were destitute and lived in simple wooden houses, often without electricity or sewage sanitation. Few of the streets were paved and the hygiene conditions were very poor in comparison to the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The cultural distinctness between the local populations and the new arrivals from the Protectorate and from the Reich only served to heighten the harsh living conditions. Only the young and the healthy were able to survive temporarily, if they were selected for work in a labour camp. The sick, the elderly and mothers with small children were the first to be sent to the gas chambers of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. More than a thousand men from Terezín also perished in the Majdanek (Lublin) concentration and extermination camp.
Between March and October 1942, a total of 25 transports were dispatched from the Terezín ghetto to the territory of the General Government in German-occupied Poland. From 26 October 1942 until the autumn of 1944, the final destination for all trains from Terezín to the East was the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.
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