Deportation and its Consequences
Despite arrests being regularly photographed, no images of individuals boarding the trains are known to have survived. Survivors refer to “old French carriages.”
It is highly probable that seven trains from Baden were joined together in Freiburg. From here they travelled over the Rhine bridge near Breisach to Mulhouse, and from there passed through Belfourt and Dijon. Here, they met the two trains from the Saar-Palatinate district which had come through the border town of Forbach. In Forbach, the deportees from Saarland, who had previously been rounded up close to the border in Saarbrucken, also boarded the train and joined the others. As a consequence, nine trains passed the border by Chalon-sur-Saône into unoccupied France and were directed, through Toulouse, to Oloron-Sainte-Marie. The journey was more than 1,500 kilometres. After three to four days, the exhausted deportees arrived at their destination and were brought to the Gurs camp.
It was also in order to repair a crumbling national budget that the Nazi regime attempted to seize Jewish property after the November Pogrom in 1938 – although these assets were, of course, not larger than those owned by the non-Jewish German population. After the deportations, many places held “bargain-hunts for national comrades”. The photograph is part of a larger series from Lörrach and shows the great crowds of people that were drawn by the public auctions.
Walter Wassermann was defined as a “half-Jew” after the implementation of the Nurnberg Laws. At the age of 14 he was made to work as a forced labourer. Unlike his Jewish grandparents, he was not deported in October 1940. On the 13th of February 1945, three months before the end of the war, he was deported to Theresienstadt. After the liberation he returned to Mannheim. 60 years later he began to give testimony on his family’s history. He died in 2014.