Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Ha-Shoah the term generally used to describe the killing of approximately six million European-Jews during World War II, as part of a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist regime in Germany led by Adolf Hitler know is in Exhibition regarding the deportation of Jews opens in Berlin station.
An exhibition on the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps by train during World War II opened yesterday in a Berlin station after the national rail operator bowed to pressure and dropped its initial refusal to host it.
The exhibition traces the plight of, among others, 11,400 Jewish children who were deported from France to the Auschwitz death camp, often crammed together in cattle trucks, between 1942 and 1944.
It opened in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz station, four years after photographs and letters detailing the fate of the deported children were displayed in 18 railway stations in France.
State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn said the exhibition was meant to honour the memory of Holocaust victims and to reflect honestly on its own role in the abuses of the Third Reich.
The Nazi state paid Deutsche Bahn’s predecessor, the Reichsbahn, 25 Reichsmarks, the equivalent of 25 euros ($36), for each child it transported to the camp.
“No company should whitewash its past,” Deutsche Bahn chief Hartmut Mehdorn was quoted as saying recently. He did not attend the opening.
Susanne Kill, a historian employed by the company to research its history, said: “Without the Reichsbahn the systematic murder of millions of people would not have been possible.”
But the rail operator initially refused to give the go-ahead for the exhibition, saying its stations were not an appropriate venue.
“The subject is too serious. It deserves more than commuters’ divided attention as they run to catch their trains while gulping down a sandwich,” Mehdorn said in October 2006.
French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, whose foundation Sons and Daughters of Jews Deported from France has contributed to the exhibition, accused Deutsche Bahn of trying to disown a part of its past.
“We have noted with regret that the man whose predecessors transported millions of Jews to death camps has objected to an exhibition that would have drawn the attention of thousands of Germans to this tragedy,” he said.
German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee put pressure on Deutsche Bahn to relent, saying the exhibition deserved to be seen in the stations through which the deported children had passed more than 60 years ago.
“It was important to me that this exhibition should go ahead and expose the troubled past of the Reichsbahn,” Tiefensee said at the opening of the exhibition.
It will be at Potsdamer Platz until February 11 and will move on to at least eight other stations in Germany