2018-10-10 / Voice at the Shore

Stockton donates railroad tracks to Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial


One segment of the tracks obtained is part of the powerful design of the entrance to Stockton’s Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center. One segment of the tracks obtained is part of the powerful design of the entrance to Stockton’s Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center. Last month, Stockton University donated three railroad track segments from Bialystok, Poland, used by trains that transported Jews to death camps, to the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. The Foundation plans to use them as part of Philadelphia’s new Holocaust Memorial Plaza that is currently under construction and scheduled to open later this month.

Bialystok was a central point in the network of rail lines that moved Holocaust victims to the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Theresienstadt and Majdanek concentration camps. The Bialystok railroad track segments were obtained by Stockton in 2008. Notably, one segment of the tracks obtained is part of the powerful design of the entrance to Stockton’s Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center.

A ceremony attended by area Holocaust survivors was held at the time that the railroad tracks were loaded for delivery to the Philadelphia memorial site. Gail Rosenthal, executive director of the Holocaust Center at Stockton, said the tracks remind today’s generation of the horrors of the Holocaust.

“Railroads were crucial to the Holocaust,” she said. “That was how six million Jews and four million other victims were transported to the death and work camps.”

She said that as fewer survivors of the Holocaust remain to tell their story, the railroad segments could inspire questions that keep the history alive. She added that The Holocaust Resource Center was happy to share the segments with the Philadelphia memorial to promote its educational mission of teaching about the Holocaust and genocide.

“People see them and ask ‘what are they and why are they here?’ ” Rosenthal said. “From generation to generation, we can use lessons from the past to make a better future.”

“We are grateful for Stockton University’s Holocaust Center for its generous contribution to the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza. The train tracks will be embedded in the paving of the Plaza to remind all visitors of the systematic persecution and mass deportation orchestrated by the Nazi regime,” said Eszter Kutas, director of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. s

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