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First transport of Jews to Auschwitz was 997 young Slovak women and teens

On March 25, 1942, Erna and Dina were among the nearly 1,000 teenage girls and unmarried young women deported on the first official transport of Jews to Auschwitz.

Linda Reich (prisoner #1173 from first transport) shown at center of photo from The Auschwitz Album. Female prisoners in the Aufräumungskommando (order commandos) sort the confiscated property of a transport of Jews from Subcarpathian Rus at a warehouse in Auschwitz-Birkenau, May 1944. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yad Vashem/ Public Domain)

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.

The women of the first transport had an advantage over the Jews who arrived later, many of whom were immediately sent to the gas chambers — including many of the girls’ own family members.

Those of the women who managed to survive the initial shock of adjusting to the nightmarish conditions learned how to keep themselves and their friends and relatives alive.

Read the full story on The Times of Israel