'These children are mine'. The fate of the children transport of 5th October 1943 from Bialystok in the eyes of witnesses
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Before the outbreak of WWII there lived 50 000 Jews in Bialystok, which accounted for 50% of the inhabitants of the town. In 1939 Bialystok was occupied by the Soviet Union and in June 1941 the German invasion began. It was only in August 1941 that Jewish citizens were concentrated in the ghetto. Next year the Germans began mass deportations of Jewish inhabitants to the death camp of Treblinka. Death was awaiting there all Jews from Bialystok. In August 1943, after the Bialystok ghetto uprising was suppressed, Nazis decided to gather a group of around 1200 Jewish children planning to exchange them for Germans imprisoned by western allies. Because of that the children were not sent straight to Treblinka but went to Theresienstadt ghetto, where they spent about 6 weeks in relatively good conditions. Meanwhile, Germany started negotiations with the allies about the possible exchange which ended up in failure. That is why, on 5th October 1943 the Bialystok Jewish children were transported to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and murdered there in a gas chamber.
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