Boxcar horrors

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by teachmsa
Last updated 8 years ago

Social Studies
World War II

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Boxcar horrors

Boxcar Horrors

Sam Mucha

The Jews, along with other people, were loaded into boxcars. The cars were only supposed to hold around 4O people. The Nazi's crammed anywhere from 85 to 14O Jews into one car.


“The doors were shut, leaving us almost in darkness. The grills, too, were closed to prevent escape. Air entered only through the cracks. So we travelled for 24 hours, without food or water. We were hungry and thirsty. But the desire and hope to see our families made us forget everything else.”- Moshe, 17 years old From Hungary


“It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.”- Elie Wiesel

click for biography

Everyone has heard of the Holocaust and the nasty ways the Nazi’s treated the Jews at concentration camps. However, the torture started way before the Jews arrived at the camps. They had to endure long, harsh trips in boxcars to the camps. These trips are now known as “Boxcar Horrors.” The trips were long and harsh, the conditions of the cars were horrid, and the Nazi’s were cruel.To start, the Jews were rounded up and put in these boxcars for a long journey. An average journey took about four days. The longest trip lasted 18 days, and when the train arrived most people were already dead. During a normal four day trip, most people died. Floors in the car were covered in quick lime, so it would burn the people’s feet during the trip. The trips to and from the camps were excruciating and would cost many people their lives.Concurrently, the cars were not in the best condition. Most boxcars were meant to hold 40 people, but 85 to 140 people were shoved into them. An average car was 10 feet by 30 feet in length. Most of the cars had closed tops, but some were open on top. Depending on how crowded the car was, people would have to stand with their hands over their heads to make more room. “There is no room to sit. In order to make room we are forced to stand with our hands above our heads…suddenly, the door is slammed shut and sealed. A water bucket is tossed into the car for use as a disposal container for human waste” (“The Holocaust Explained”). As the child said in this quote, the people had one water bucket for human waste. They had to beg for food and water through the cracks of the boxcar walls. The only light they had in the car came from a small window on the roof of the car. Jews stayed in the car for the whole trip, dead or alive. The conditions in which the Jews had to travel were unsanitary and cruel.Finally, the Nazi’s responsible for getting the Jews to the camps were tyrannical and bitter towards them. Nazi’s were instructed to shoot anyone who begged for food or water or tried to escape. Sometimes the officers in charge of the train made unnecessary stops just to lengthen the trip and torture the people on the train. Nazi soldiers also gave the Jews false hope. They told them they were being taken to a camp with better working conditions. If the Jews were still reluctant to get into the boxcars, then the guards would shoot them. Nazi soldiers treated the Jew’s in inhumane ways.Trips in the boxcars were torturous and harsh. “People of all ages were crowded into train carriages and cattle wagons. They had to endure long, cramped journeys with no sanitation, food, or water” (“Background: Ghettos and Deportation”). The torture of the Holocaust started way before the Jews even arrived at the camp. Riding to and from the camps was a harsh and agonizing experience for many people. The trips are known today as “Boxcar Horrors.” Jews had to ride for a long period of time, in unsanitary conditions, while the Nazi’s treated them with cruelty. On one hand, the torture the Jews underwent started when they arrived at the concentration camps. On the other hand, the Jews were suffering the moment they stepped foot into one of the many boxcars. The Jews had to suffer through many harsh conditions, and it all started on the boxcars

The trips in the cars lasted about three days and four nights. The longest trip lasted 18 days and most of the people were dead upon arrival.

Most of the boxcars were closed in on the top. However, there were few that were open on top. If you were in an open boxcar and it rained you would have to sit in the rain.

The only light in the car came from a small window somewhere in the car. If someone begged for food or water out of those windows they would be shot immediately.

click for a boxcar survivors story

click the star for the link




  • teachmsa 8 years ago

    teachmsa's avatar

    Sam -- I love your glog. I think the paper background works; I like the arrows, and the music is super! This song is one of my faves. You have a true eye for design. I hope you know it is a gift. Not everyone sees it like you do! The paper you wrote is interesting and well written. Good note cards. With your permission, I will keep your glog as an example for next year. Thank you!