Scrapbookpages Blog

November 16, 2013

Death trains and death marches, the last ditch effort by the Nazis to complete the genocide of the Jews

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:03 pm

In 1945, during the last days of World War II, the Nazis made one last attempt to exterminate all the Jews in Europe, by marching them to death, or putting them on “death trains” to drive them to death.

This morning, I read a news story about an American veteran of World War II, who gave a lecture to some American students about the “death train” that his outfit liberated on April 13, 1945 near Magdeburg, Germany.

This quote is from the story, which you can read in full here:

Some 450 students at Wilmington Christian Academy listened with rapt attention Wednesday morning as Frank Towers described his service during World War II. […]

Towers was 23 when he entered the Army in late 1940. In 1944, he crossed the English Channel and landed on Omaha Beach with the 30th Infantry Division a few days after D-Day.

He told how his unit fought in the Battle of the Bulge, crossed the Rhine River and on April 13, approached the small town of Farsleben, on the way to Magdeburg, Germany.

There they found a train stopped on the tracks. It was filled with Holocaust victims.

The train was one of three that left the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, carrying prisoners to a death camp before they would be discovered by Allied liberators.

Yes, dear students, that’s exactly what happened. The train that Frank Towers liberated was headed to the “death camp” at Thersienstadt, so that the prisoners could be gassed.  Don’t let anyone tell you that the train was going to Theresienstadt so that the passengers could be handed over to the Red Cross.

Don’t let anyone tell you that Heinrich Himmler had been negotiating with the British for two weeks to turn the Bergen-Belsen camp over to them because there was a typhus epidemic at the camp.

What really happened was that the Nazis wanted to complete the genocide of the Jews by putting the Jews on trains and moving them around the war zone so that they would be killed by Allied bombs, or they would starve to death on the trains.

You can read the entire account, as told by Frank Towers,  at

This quote is from the document cited above:

Why those people had not been exterminated earlier, we never did learn.

However, the Nazis were attempting to move them out of Bergen-Belsen so that the advancing Allied Army would not see the conditions of this mass of frail humanity, if it could be called that. […]

…. the train halted at Farsleben and was awaiting further orders as to where to go next. The engineers had then received their orders, to drive the train to, and onto the bridge over the Elbe River, and either blow it up, or just drive it off the end of the damaged bridge, with all of the cars of the train crashing into the river, and killing or drowning all of the occupants.

To think that the Nazis had had 12 years (1933 to 1945) to genocide the Jews, but they fooled around, and didn’t get the job done, so they were forced to put 2,500 Jews on a train and drive the train into a river to kill them.  Fortunately, the train engineer realized, at the last minute, that if he followed orders and drove the train into the river, he would drown himself.

I previously blogged about the three trains, bound for Theresienstadt  at

What was the name of the train engineer?  His name was Casey Jones.  Like in the song:  “Casey Jones…mounted to the cabin…orders in his hand.”