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Holocaust Memorial Center Acquires Historic World War II Railway Boxcar
Holocaust Memorial Center acquires an authentic World War II-era railway boxcar from Germany that was used to transport Jews and other prisoners from camp to camp, often 100 or more at a time, during the Holocaust.
With the cooperation of the German National Railroad and the Technical [Railroad] Museum in Berlin, the 10-ton boxcar is expected to arrive on either Friday, Sept. 23 or Mon., Sept. 26, at the Holocaust Memorial Center, where it will undergo careful conservation. Believed to be one of the last in existence and the only one exported to the United States from Germany, this boxcar will be shown to school children and other visitors and will stand in mute testimony of the horrors of the Holocaust.
“To be able to display an object of such great significance at our center helps us fulfill our mission of not only remembering those who perished and survived the Holocaust, but also using this tragic period as a model for teaching righteous behavior and responsible decision-making,”
Once completed, this permanent exhibit will be comprised of the boxcar placed on rails in a bed of wood and concrete, reminiscent of the station platforms where Jews and other victims of the Holocaust were gathered, often 100 or more at a time, and then pushed and shoved into a car such as this. The boxcar will be approachable from all sides and close enough to touch or allow the Jewish custom of placing stones. This silent sentinel, itself a killing place, will be a memorial, or a matzevah, for all to see.
An entrance gathering place, a stone plaza, will provide an area for docents to explain what the visitor is about to see. From this plaza, the car will be visible through a gate in a wire fence, replicating the theme of the Holocaust Memorial Center building. The educational material will be etched on a triangular monument, where visitors can learn about the boxcar’s historical significance. The backdrop of this unique exhibit will be a mural on a translucent curtain showing ghostly figures of men, women and children awaiting their unknown and unimaginable fate.
It is the mission of the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus to remember those who perished and those who survived the Holocaust and, in a world increasingly faced with sectarian strife and intolerance, to set forth the lessons of Holocaust as a model for teaching ethical conduct and responsible decision-making. By highlighting those individuals who, in the midst of evil, stood for the best, rather than the worst of human nature, the Holocaust Memorial Center seeks to contribute to maintaining an open and free society.
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.