A generous gift from local philanthropists Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg funded construction of this new gallery, which was built in memory of Henrietta’s family murdered in the Holocaust, her parents, Sara and Israel Gastfrajnd, and brothers, Rubin and Hershel Gastfrajnd. This gift also is being used toward an education endowment.
The Weisbergs, who will be honored at the Holocaust Memorial Center’s Anniversary Dinner on Sunday, November 11 at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, are longtime benefactors to the Holocaust Memorial Center, as well as to Congregation Shaarey Zedek, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and Beaumont Hospital, among others. The Weisbergs’ daughter-in-
“We are very grateful to the Weisbergs for this generous donation,” said Holocaust Memorial Center Executive Director Stephen M. Goldman. “This gallery allows us to display an object of great significance that will not only educate our visitors, but stand as a reminder of one of the darkest periods in human history.”
The Holocaust Memorial Center acquired the boxcar in September 2011 with the cooperation of the German National Railroad and the Technical (Railroad) Museum in Berlin. Believed to be one of the last in existence and the only one exported to the United States from Germany, boxcars such as this transported Jews and other victims of the Holocaust to concentration camps. Forced to endure crowded, deplorable conditions, many perished in the boxcars before they reached their destinations.
“Nothing could have been worse,” said Henrietta Weisberg regarding her memories of being in a similar boxcar. “While they have done movies and written books, you cannot truly understand unless you were there. I want the world to know what happened during the Holocaust so that such inhumanity will never happen again.”
The exhibit serves as a silent sentinel and stands in mute testimony to the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus opened in 1984. Local Holocaust survivors, with community support, founded the museum to teach about the senseless murder of millions, and why everyone must respect and stand up for the rights of others if the world is to prevent future discrimination, hate crime and genocide. As Michigan’s only Holocaust museum, the Holocaust Memorial Center annually touches the lives of more than 85,000 individuals, who leave the museum profoundly affected with a newly acquired sense of history, social responsibility and morality. The Holocaust Memorial Center’s exhibits create a call to action, teaching visitors through the examples of those who risked their lives to save others, and asking its guests to react to contemporary challenges such as racism, intolerance, bullying and prejudice.
The facility is wheelchair accessible and free parking is available at both the North and South entrances.
For more information on the Holocaust Memorial Center, visit www.holocaustcenter.org, or call 248-553-2400.