Deutsche Reichsbahn (german state railway) - logistics of the Holocaust
The railway station of Erfurt is situated only a few hundred meters away from the Topf & Soehne grounds. From here the german state railway shipped the furnaces of Topf & Soehne to their destination.
The first deportations of jews from Erfurt started here in May 1942.
The organization of the deportations from the whole area of the 3rd Reich was a challenge for the german state railway, because besides the civil schedule the military transports had to be organized.
The state railway wasn't subordinated to the SS or Gestapo, therefore all mass deportations had to be officially authorized by the state railway.
The official channel for the organization of this transports, went from Reichssicherungshauptamt (a part of the government) through subdepartments 21 (passenger trains) and 211(special trains) of the ministry of traffic to the Reichsbahn. This was subdivided into three general divisions, whose departments "passenger schedule" and "passenger wagons service" directed the trains into the ghettos, transit camps and death camps. The Reichsbahn insisted on arranging all transports in as standardized a manner as possible. To prevent the transports from hindering normal traffic more than 1000 persons were to be transported per train.
Although the deportation trains constisted of goods wagons, the SS booked jews as normal passengers. The price was 4 pennies per kilometer (3rd class), children who were under 10 years old "traveled" free of charge. The deportees had to pay the death-trip themselves.
The Reichsbahn fulfilled their deportation order absolutely reliably without any ethical doubts. There are no administrative dossiers pointing out that employees refused to work due to any ethical scruples about the "special trains to Auschwitz".