On December 16th, 1942, Heinrich Muller, chief of the Gestapo, had circulated an order requiring the delivery in Auschwitz by January 31st of 45,000 Jews, 2,000 of them from Holland, 3,000 from Berlin, 30,000 from the Bialystok Ghetto and 10,000 from Theresienstadt. Only a quarter were expected to be fit for labour in Auschwitz, and of the Theresienstadt contingent a still lower proportion, for the order specified that 'half should be light workers and half incapacitated people.'
The action was timed to begin on January 11th, 1943, after the railways were free of Christmas-leave traffic. In fact the first three trains left Bauschowitz, the station for Theresienstadt, on January 20th, 23rd, and 26th. On February 17th Gerhardt Maurer of Department DII asked Hoess for a report, adding, as was his custom, that by now Jews should be at work at the Bunawerk factory or in the construction department of Auschwitz camp.
We possess the reply, sent on behalf of Hoess by the labour commitment officer, Lieutenant Schwarz - the most complete record of death that has survived from the archives of the crematorium. Out of the first transport 420 had been chosen for work from 2,000 people, out of the second 228 from 2,029, out of the third 284 from 993. The remainder were 'separated and disposed of' and the dates and numbers carefully entered. Schwarz was rather apologetic that 1,442 males had been 'specially handled,' but there had been more feebleness among the males than among the females, since most of them were children.
(Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution)
Compare with the actual message itself:
Amt D II
Re: Transfer of 5,022 Jews from Theresienstadt
Total size of arrivals on January 21, 1943
2,000 Jews; of that, selected for work detail
418 = 254 men and 164 women = 20.9%
on January 24, 1943, 2,029 Jews, of that, for work detail,
228 = 148 men and 80 women = 11.2%
On January 27, 1943, 993 Jews, of that, for work detail,
284 = 212 men and 72 women = 22.5%
On January 21, 1943, accommodated separately:
1582 = 602 men and 980 women and children
on January 24, 1943, 1801 = 623 men and
1178 women and children, on January 27, 1943, 709 = 197 men and
512 women and children. Special accommodation of the men occurs
due to too-great frailty, and of the women because the majority were
Mr. Reitlinger's translation of 'Gesondert untergebracht' as 'separated and disposed of' appears rather inexact.
Now all we have to work out is where the 4,000 or so men, women and children deemed unfit for work could have been accommodated.