(April 1, 2019 / JNS) A crane lowered a train car onto tracks on Sunday outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York—a boxcar that carried Jews and others to their deaths at Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
It will be featured alongside several hundred Holocaust artifacts for one of the largest exhibits on Auschwitz, opening on May 8, some 74 years after liberation.
The memorabilia in the exhibit, titled “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” includes a gas mask used by the SS; a helmet and a dagger belonging to Heinrich Himmler, who oversaw the concentration and death camps; and a desk belonging to Auschwitz commander Rudolf Höss, among other items.
“There were 80 people squeezed into one wooden car, with no facilities, just a pail to urinate,” Ray Kaner, a 92-year-old woman who works as a Manhattan dental-office manager, told the Associated Press. “You couldn’t lie down, so you had to sleep sitting, and it smelled.”
“The freight car is symbolic of the murder of millions people. Auschwitz is not ancient history but living memory, warning us to be vigilant, haunting us with the admonition ‘Never Again.’ It compels us to look around the world and mark the ongoing atrocities against vulnerable people, and to take a firm stand against hate, bigotry, ethnic violence, religious intolerance, and nationalist brutality of all kinds,” said Bruce C. Ratner, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.
The exhibit will run through Jan. 3, 2020.