Home
All themes
Theme
The End
Subject
Auschwitz
Sources
The Train Journey
Otto Frank on the Arrival at Auschwitz
The Death of Hermann van Pels
Peter in Auschwitz
The Death of Edith Frank
Otto Frank in Auschwitz
Auschwitz-Birkenau
Printable version
Auschwitz

This is the sign on the train from Westerbork to Auschwitz death camp. A long freight train leaves on September 3, 1944. There are about 70 people crammed into each wagon. The eight people who hid in the Secret Annex are on the train. A total of 1,019 Jewish prisoners are being deported: 498 men, 442 women and 79 children.

The train journey lasts for three long days. The prisoners are hardly given any food or water. There are no toilets. Instead, there is a bucket in a corner. There is not enough room for everyone to sit down. Soon the prisoners are exhausted. Some become ill and die during the journey.

Barking dogs

On the third night the train suddenly stops. They have arrived at Auschwitz: blinding lights, barking dogs, screaming soldiers. The prisoners are beaten out of the train. On the platform the prisoners are separated: men to one side, women and children to the other.

Gas chamber

Nazi doctors examine the prisoners to see which of them can be put to work. The old and the sick are sent straight to the gas chambers, along with all children under 15. More than half of the people from the train are killed immediately upon arrival.

A number...

The remaining men and women have to march into the camp. Margot, Anne and Edith manage to stay together, as do Otto, Hermann and Peter van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer. Auguste van Pels is sent to another part of the camp. There is a men’s section and a women’s section. Their heads are shaved in the camp and a number is tattooed on their arms.

Hard labor

Guards put the prisoners in barracks. These are long wooden sheds with bunk beds. During the day, the prisoners must do back-breaking work, or stand outside for hours in all kinds of weather while they are counted and checked. Prisoners who are too ill or too weak to work are killed in the gas chambers.
Anne Frank Guide
This day in history
Today: 11 December 2017
Then: 11 December 1941

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; the U.S. respond in kind.

View the timeline