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Story of Max Block Part 2 - Auschwitz!


The story of Max Block (Part 2)



Although Max Block did not survive the Holocaust, his story has. H.E.A.R.T has determined that this memoriam and its unedited text is well placed in our Survivors section.

Guest publication by Thomas Nowotny

(no grammatical corrections were made to the original text)



Continued from part 1



On October 12th, 1944 Max Block is deported on the seventh autumn transport "Eq“ to Auschwitz, where he is murdered – probably on October 14th, shortly after selection. He had reached the age of 54 years.


List of Transportation Eq. Max Block carries number 1191, he is declared a worker. The little hook after his first transport number (250-XXIV/1) indicates that Max went on the transportation.

Few people were able to report about this transportation; one of them is Frank Bright (Brichta) from Berlin, who is forced to go to Auschwitz at the age of 16 years together with his mother:


We were on the list of transport “Eq”. [...] On 12 October 1944 we boarded a third class railway carriage, similar to that which had brought us from Prague to Theresienstadt 15 months ago. [...]


We sat on long wooden, slatted varnished, curved seats[...].


Decidedly more comfortable than the pitch dark cattle truck which normally entered and left the ghetto with frightened human freight. Why we were so privileged I don’t know. [...]


The simple answer, without recourse to any conspiracy theory, is that the Reichsbahn just happen to have this particular train available for one of their very many journeys to this particular destination. [...]


Although there was a large window there was nothing to see. We were into October and it gets dark early in those parts. There was the rhythmic clanging of steel wheels against the joints between the steel rails. We were on our way. [...]


Day dawned. We were passing through a dull, flat landscape. And then the train slowed down and all of a sudden we were in a large area defined by concrete posts, wire and wooded towers in the distance. [...]

The train came to a halt, the seal on the door was removed, we were ordered out. Others remember the shouting, screaming, threats, whips being brandished, snarling dogs. Nothing like that occurred at the arrival of our transport, there was no need to. [...]

In the melee of leaving the train and being put into one of the two columns I became separated from my mother. Anyway, my mother was in the column to the left of mine. [...] Her column went forward first, one at a time until one came across an SS-officer with several assistants either side of him. I couldn’t see exactly what was happening but some of us went to the left and some to the right. I had seen my mother go to the left.

The Gate at Auschwitz/Birkenau

It didn’t seem to take all that long for the left column of women to be processed and then it was our turn. I was, as I said, near the front and when it was my turn I walked forward until I got to the SS-officer in charge.

According to the accounts of others he would look at one, just for a second, the process was quite quick, and indicate with his finger where the person in front of him was to turn. I can’t remember any of that, I didn’t take that in.

I had seen my mother go to the left and so I simply turned left too. I was called back. Obviously the officer’s assistant had watched his finger and saw it point to the right even if I had not.

So I was called back and told to go to the right. [...] On the right I waited for further directions with the others who had also been told to turn right. There weren’t many of us. From records I now know that out of our transport of 1,500 who left the ghetto of Theresienstadt on 12 October 1944 only 78 survived. Of course, a few more may have survived this first selection and died, or were put to death, later but there were very few anyway. Say that there were 90 picked to work [...]“.33

Max Block is not among them; he is not registered as a prisoner but is sent to the left side, directly to the gas chamber. Max‘ age alone is a sufficient reason for this; selection was very rigorous in October 1944. 34 Just two weeks later, killings are stopped in Auschwitz gas chambers for ever.


The (Calendarium of events in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945):

Contains ten entries for October 14, 1944, including the following: „With a RSHA** transport, 1,500 Jewish men, women and children from Theresienstadt ghetto arrive. Young and healthy men and women are sent to the transit camp and the remaining people are killed in the gas chambers [...] 3,000 Jewish men, women and children are killed in the gas chambers of Crematorium

III. Among those killed people are Jews from Theresienstadt, selected at the ramp.“ 35

A view of the selection ramp at night (photo Thomas Nowotny (2008)

From a report by Jewish pathologist Miklós Nyiszli who had to work for the infamous SS doctor Mengele* from July to November 1944 in Crematorium I:

„It’s early in the morning. From the ramp, the long whistle of a railway engine is heard. I go to the window where I have a good sight of the ramp. A long train is standing there. [...] Lining up and selection takes hardly half an hour. The left group moves slowly. [...] After five to six minutes, the transport reaches the gate which opens widely. In the usual rows of five they take the turn to the yard. No one of the marchers will ever be able to report on what follows next. [...]

They move on, about 100 meters on a path lined up by green lawn, leading to a grey metal grid. Ten concrete steps lead to a subterranean hall. At the entrance a sign announces in German, French, Greek, Hungarian language that this was a bath and disinfection room. The unsuspecting calm themselves, even the doubtful.



Read the full article here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/survivor/maxblock2.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2012

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

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