Some readers may find this question futile. The Terezín historiographic sources assert that a commando of 342 men fit for work did arrive in the Sudeten Barracks (E I) on November 24, 1941, that the Ghetto´s gate closed behind them and at that moment their labor deployment turned into permanent jail. This initial figure appears not only in the entire literature on the Terezín Ghetto published so far but is also presented to visitors to the Terezín Ghetto´s permanent exhibition in the Ghetto Museum as well as to visiting schoolchildren or Czech and foreign groups on their tours in Terezín.
Mentioning this particular figures would be nothing incorrect since the very documents written during the existence of the Ghetto and coming from the Central Register (Zentralevidenz) on the first anniversary of the existence of the Sudeten Barracks (E I) say the following: ”Hier trafen am Montag, den 24. November 1941 um 11 Uhr vormittag die ersten 342 Mann aus Prag ein. Es war der Transport Ak.“ [The first 342 men from Prague arrived here (in Terezín, note TF) on Monday, November 24, 1941, at around 11 o´clock in the morning. It was transport Ak.]
What, then, is the controversial nature of the question appearing in the title of the article? Proceeding from other documents, I would like to perform a critical assessment of this traditionally given figure and state that already the E I register at the given period of time provided documents that put the figure in its correct context.
The archive in the Memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, its collection assembled by Dr. Hermann Weisz (b. 1907), deputy and later head of the Central Register of the Terezín Ghetto, contains a report on the camp status (Lagerbestand) of the Sudeten Barracks E I at 12 o´clock, i.e. shortly after the inmates´ arrival in the barracks. In addition to the fact that the registration of prisoners had been introduced immediately with the arrival of the first Terezín inmates, this particular report of the number of new arrivals (Zugang) does not give the figure 342, but only 340 people [sic!].
While this report gives only 340 people, the question is where are the two “missing” persons? What was the cause of this, and is it possible to identify the two “lost inmates“ by checking other documents?
According to a report of the Jewish religious community in Prague from November 25, 1941, Dr. Seidl, commander of the Jewish camp in Terezín, was informed that ”ein Aufbaukommando, bestehend aus 340 Personen“ had been duly dispatched. Only two days later (i.e. on November 27, 1941) two appointed persons were reportedly ordered by SS Obersturmführer Dr. Siegfried Seidl, commander of the Terezín Ghetto, to go to Terezín as soon as possible as the so-called single passenger (Einzelreisender).
”Ing. Fischer und Ing. Neumann haben als Einzelreisende schnellstens nach Theresienstadt zu fahren.“
On November 28, 1941, the said Karel Fischer (b. 1889) received a summons from the Prague Jewish religious community to report at 8 o´clock in the morning to the office of Dr. Neumann to collect his travel permit. ”Sie haben dann im Laufe des morgigen nachmittags Prag mit der Bestimmung Aufbaukommando Theresienstadt zu verlassen.“ [During tomorrow afternoon you are obliged to leave Prague, your destination being the Construction Commando Terezín]. Karel Fischer had been selected because of his profession; as a university-educated civil engineer he was commissioned to lead the preparations for and the building of the planned railway siding between Bohušovice nad Ohří and Terezín. After his arrival in Terezín Fischer was appointed head of the division Railway Construction (Bahnbau) falling under the Technical Department. Accommodated in the premises of the personnel section of the Magdeburg Barracks (B V), he and his family lived in the Ghetto to see the liberation of Terezín since the Center for Jewish Immigration in Prague, eventually the Central Bureau for the Settlement of the Jewish Question in Bohemia and Moravia had promised that he would not be further deported from the Ghetto.
In all probability, it was Leo Hess (b. 1884), former technical councilor of the Czechoslovak State Railways, who left for Terezín as the other individual passenger instead of the above mentioned Dr. Neumann. This claim is supported by the usual style of sequencing transport numbers in the transport list Ak, in which Karel Fischer was given No. 381 and Leo Hess the following No. 382 in the particular sequence of transport numbers.
On his arrival Leo Hess, employed in 1938 as deputy head of the Department for Kladno Railway Maintenance, was a member of the Council of Elders (Ältestenrat), an advisory body of the Jewish Elder in Terezín. According to the Order of the Day (Tagesbefehl) No. 215 from September 18, 1942, Hess was stripped of his important office due to food smuggling into the Ghetto and illicit contact with the outside world, and four days later he was punished by inclusion into transport Bn heading to the Maly Trostinets extermination camp near Minsk where he was murdered.
I assume that primarily because of the practical needs of registration of inmates and because of their participation in the ”construction“ of Terezín Karel Fischer and Leo Hess had been added to the original transport of 340 men and registered together with them, which accounts for the hitherto used total of 342 persons from the first Terezín transport in later documents.
 ”Aufbaukommando of 342 men really arrived at the Bohušovice train station around noon on November 24 and marched from there to Terezín where the gates of the Sudeten Barracks closed behind them. That was when the Terezín concentration camp came into being…“ Miroslav KÁRNÝ, „Konečné řešení“. Genocida českých židů v německé protektorátní politice (The Final Solution. Genocide of the Czech Jews in the German Protectorate Policy). Prague 1991, p. 87 (in Czech).
 Yad Vashem Archive (YVA), O.64.2/409, f. 85, Jahres-Tätigkeitsbericht. Gebäudeevidenz des E I Gebäudes, 24. 11. 1942.
 Ibid, f. 2, Lagebestand 24. 11. 1942.
 YVA, O.7 (Czechoslovakia Coll.), O.7/85, f. 8, Aktenvermerk über die Vorsprache bei Herrn SS Obersturmführer Seidl am 25. November 1941. 25. 11. 1941.
 The Jewish Museum in Prague (hereafter ŽMP), f. Terezín, inv. no. 34, Minutes from the negotiations in SS Seidl´s office on the establishment of Ghetto Terezín and on the composition and material equipment of transport AK 1, 27. 11. 1941.
 ŽMP, f. Terezín, inv. no. 51, Fischer, Karel: summoned to transport Ak to Terezín, 28. 11. 1941. However, according to his own report for the Distribution Center (Verteilungsstelle) he arrived in the Ghetto Terezín as late as November 30, 1941. It is not known whether he travelled in the transport H from Prague that arrived on the same day. Yet, it is certain that he was summoned to travel in transport Ak. On the pertinent document he is also mentioned under the transport number Ak 9a. ŽMP, f. Terezín, inv. no. 51, Fischer, Karel: various personal documents from Terezín, 11. 4. 1943.
 Ibid, Vermerk: Einreihung des Ing. Karl Fischer mit Familie in den Transport, 27. 10. 1944.
 Transport list Ak contained a total of 382 transport numbers, of which 38 numbers remained empty and three numbers (43, 206, 361) were missing. Number 293 was given twice (293 and 293A). Terezín Memorial Archive (APT), A 7341, Transport Ak (Prague-Terezín), 24. 11. 1941.
 APT, A 3293, Order of the day no. 215, 18. 9. 1942.