Poland; trains and camps - questions

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Natascha, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Natascha

    Natascha New Member

    Question: I need help to find out which (possible) extermination camp my father ended up in (1943).
    This is a question that has haunted him for all these years, and I am trying to help him find the answer.

    Subquestions: Specific knowledge about
    - train transportations Krakow, Lodz, Warsaw fall 1943
    - a specific partisan attack on a train from Krakow to Lodz fall 1943
    - the evacuation trains from Krakow to Pommern and Soldau (dates, routes and more)
    - Was it necessary to travel to Lodz to get an "aryan approval"? What were the procedures?

    My father was born in Ukraine, and in 1943 they fled from Kiev (Ukraine) to Soldau (Poland). He was 8 at the time, the escape long, dramatic and traumatic, and he only remembers bits and pieces. We have some writings from his (late) mother and husband, but they specifically avoided talking about certain incidences, so we do not have enough details to piece things together with accuracy.
    Unless somebody are able to fill in the blancs.

    The situation:
    My grandmother worked as a secretary for an Obersturmbannf├╝hrer (Aksel Knudsen) in Kiev. When the Germans were told to evacuate (precise date exists?), he offered to bring her family in safety (my grandmother, her son (my father), and her mother (babuschka).

    Aksel Knudsens memories: They came to Krakow to put the family on an evacuationtrain (freighttrains). It was chaotic. Two trains were going out; to Pommern and to Soldau. They were going to Soldau. He went ahead to Lodz in order to prepare.

    My grandmothers memories: They went on the train to Lodz, but the train was attacked by partisans. There were shootings and fire (recorded?). They ended up in Warsaw (why? And could it really be?). Lots of people in an empty apartment. They slept on the floor on newspapers.
    Then they came to Lodz, where they - after much hazzle - became "Aryan approved", my grandmother 1/2, my father 1/4, babuschka 0.
    From Lodz my grandmother and Aksel drove to Soldau by car, and my father and babuschka took the train.

    My father's memory: Being in a cattle freight waggon. Many people but enough room to sit. A nice nurse was present.
    Being in a large building/hall (possibly concrete) with babuschka. They were naked, waiting to take a bath. Their clothes behind them. A lot of people present, but not overcrowded.
    Suddenly my grandmother and Aksel came hurrying down the hall, searching, and found babuschka and my father. My grandmother grapped my father and got them both out of there.

    These two memories are all my father has from the escape, but they are burned in his memory, and I do not have any reason to think he remembers wrong. Although he does not know the contexts.

    Can somebody find heads and tails? Find a reasonable explanations of events? What is most likely?
    Know about dates? The evacuation trains? Warsaw?
    If my father ended in an extermination camp, it seems it had to be when taking the train from Lodz. Where did it go? What could explain him ending in the wrong train?

    Or is it any way possible to find another explanation for the bath-situation than it being in an extermination camp?

    I hope somebody will be able to help
  2. foodietr

    foodietr New Member

    I am sorry but it is very hard to find such details. Maybe you should retort to some government facility in Poland who probably deals with the old records of the World War 2. Most of these records are not kept well and hence a few could have been destroyed.

    Moving story though.

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