Slovakia commemorates first transports to Auschwitz

Thousands of young women and girls left the train station in Poprad. They never returned home.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, illustrative stock photo Auschwitz-Birkenau, illustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

The town of Poprad (Prešov Region) will commemorate the first transport of Jews from Slovakia to the Auschwitz death camp.

Thousands of young Jewish women and girls boarded the train heading to the camp in Poprad on March 25, 1942. Many of them never returned home. The town commemorates this time in history every year with a series of events, the SITA newswire reported.

Photo exhibition, concert and more

Read also:We were joking before the trip, women from the first transport to Auschwitz recall Read more 

The series of commemorative events started on March 24, when a photo exhibition with pictures from the Jewish museums in Berlin, Warsaw and Sereď was opened in the Tatra Gallery in Poprad.

A concert was subsequently held in the local house of culture.

On March 25, a documentary titled Sobibor was screened at the gallery, while the wreaths were laid by the memorial plaque at the Grammar School Kukučínova, where Jewish girls and women were gathered.

The main commemoration ceremony takes place at 15:00 by the memorial plaque at the train station, SITA wrote.

The transport that started it all

The first train departed the Poprad station at 20:20. There were 3,670 women in the first four transports. The other transports carried young boys aged 16 years and older. In July 1942, the transports of entire families, including young children and the elderly, started.

Read also:N. Fürst: The man who survived three concentration camps and a death march Read more 

“We’ll do everything to commemorate the first transport in a decent way this year,” said Pavol Mešťan, head of the Museum of Jewish Culture, as quoted by SITA. “The train station, from where thousands of women started their death path 77 years ago, is now a place where we find people with big hearts.”

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