January 21, 1945, more than a hundred Jews from the slave work labor camp
Golleschau, a subcamp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, were loaded into sealed cattle cars
labeled Property of the SS and transported westward without food or water.
author Thomas Keneally tells in his milestone of Holocaust literature Schindler's
Ark how the starving and freezing prisoners were travelling without food
for many days and with the doors frozen shut. They were abandoned on sidings,
reattached to locomotives, dragged for 50 miles, uncoupled again.
But several more days passed before a railway worker heard human scratching and cries from inside the cattle cars. He informed Oscar Schindler's brother-in-law, who worked for the German Railway, and Schindler was immediately notified that cattle cars with Jewish prisoners had arrived at the station.
Martin Gilbert tells in his great books Atlas of the Holocaust and The
Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy how Schindler desperately tried to get permission from the
SS to shunt the cattle cars to his armament factory nearby at Brunnlitz. He was
unsuccessful, but then decided to go personally to the railway station.