First Transport of Jews to Auschwitz Was 997 Young Slovak Women

The Fellowship  |  February 10, 2020

Black and white photo of women gathering vases and pots and piling them together.

A new book explains how young women were deceived during the Holocaust, so that they would show up for the first transport of Jews to Auschwitz, and tells the story of the sisters and their cousin who survived, reports the Times of Israel:

Told by Slovakian authorities that they would be going away to do government work service for just a few months, the Jewish girls and women were actually sold to the Germans by the the Slovaks for 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece as slave labor…

Very few of the 997 girls on that first transport — or any of the other early transports — survived the more than three hellish years until the end of the war. Erna, Fela and Dina Dranger beat the odds, with the sisters going on to raise families in Israel and their cousin Dina settling in France.

The story of what happened to these and the other women on the first transports to Auschwitz is told in “999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz,” a compelling new book by Heather Dune Macadam. (The Nazis had planned to deport 999 Jewish women on the initial transport, but Macadam discovered typos on the list — now held in the Yad Vashem archives — making the actual tally 997.)

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