The freight train rumbled to an agonizing stop on the rails inside of the Auschwitz compound. The human cargo that was packed tightly into its bevy of cattle cars continued to groan and clamor, suffering as they were from a four-day journey without food, water, bathroom facilities, or even fresh air. The Jewish prisoners were the latest victims of the Nazi campaign to liquidate the Jewish population of Hungary, the last Jewish community to remain intact during the war. Their final destination was the violent, Dantesque nightmare of Auschwitz, the premier Nazi death factory in southwestern Poland, the most efficient cog in the wheel of the Nazi's Endlosung, Final Solution, to the so-called Jewish question.
The doors of each cattle car were violently thrown open by Nazi SS soldiers carrying machine guns. "Raus, raus!" ("Out, out!") they screamed at the frightened and bewildered Jews, who hurried out the doors under a rain of cudgel blows and past the snapping, barking jaws of the camp's German Shepherds. The air was thick with the deafening and confusing sound of orders being screamed, dogs barking, and the stench of burning flesh and hair that spewed from the smokestacks of the camp's 5 crematoria 24 hours a day. Families were separated immediately, with the males forming one line and the females forming another. Most victims were unaware that this was the last time that they would see their loved ones alive, unaware of their lost opportunity to say last good-byes.