Holocaust Memorial Center breaks ground on gallery for historic World War II railway boxcar

The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus today broke ground on the Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg Gallery, a permanent structure that will house an authentic World War II-era boxcar.  The Nazis used boxcars to transport millions of European Jews to concentration camps and their deaths during the Holocaust.
 
A generous gift from local philanthropists Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg will fund construction of the permanent gallery within the Holocaust Memorial Center.  This gift also will be used toward a permanent education endowment.  The Weisbergs will be honored at the Holocaust Memorial Center’s Anniversary Dinner on Sunday, November 11 at Congregation Shaarey Zedek. 
 
The Weisbergs are longtime benefactors to the Holocaust Memorial Center, as well as Congregation Shaarey Zedek, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and Beaumont Hospital, among others. 
 
“All of us at the Holocaust Memorial Center are very grateful to the Weisbergs,” said Holocaust Memorial Center Executive Director Stephen M. Goldman.  “This gallery will allow us to display an object of great significance and will help fulfill our primary mission to remember those who perished and survived the Holocaust.  The boxcar is a reminder that the Holocaust was genocide organized as an industrial enterprise.”
 
The Holocaust Memorial Center acquired the boxcar last September 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.
 
“Every survivor who sees the boxcar will be reminded of the fear and atrocities they lived through,” said Henrietta Weisberg.  “I want the world to know what happened during the Holocaust so that such inhumanity will never happen again.”
 
The exhibit, which is scheduled for completion in late fall 2012, will serve as a silent sentinel, and stand in mute testimony of the horrors of the Holocaust. 
 
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 tomaintaining 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.