Nazi cattle car comes to Netanya

The Netanya Municipality has purchased and restored a Nazi cattle car, which has been installed at Netanya's central memorial site, in order to commemorate the memories of the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Nazi cattle car (photo credit: JACK COHEN)
Nazi cattle car
(photo credit: JACK COHEN)
 An authentic German railway boxcar that transported frightened Jews to concentration camps in terrible conditions was installed at the Netanya Memorial site at Beit Yad Lebanim on January 27 to serve as a “living monument” and educational center in memory of victims of the Holocaust.
“The memorial sites established in Netanya are a moral dictate, and they pay homage to the millions who lost their lives in the Holocaust,” said Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar.
The Nazis used the train cars to transport millions of Jews around Europe to their deaths at the camps. The conditions were generally cramped with over 100 people in each car without ventilation, food, water or toilets. The journey usually lasted between 24 and 48 hours, and many passengers went straight from the cars to the ovens. Approximately 1.5 million of them died en route on the diabolical journey.
This particular car, known as “Munchen12-246” was discovered in 2013 by site preservation expert Roni Dotan, Tatiana Rosa – who specializes in Holocaust commemoration – and Rachel Fridman of Netanya. They had it transported to Israel convinced that displaying the car will strengthen knowledge of this terrible period as well as become an aid in commemorating those who perished.
Upon hearing that Dotan had found this freight wagon in Germany, Feirberg-Ikar became involved in the process of bringing it to Netanya.
The Netanya Municipality took on the project and invested the necessary resources to complete the purchase of the car as well as to have it restored and brought to the country. The Netanya Foundation also solicited donations for the project. The agreement with the sellers in Germany was signed some six months ago.
“Netanya Municipality believes it is of the utmost importance to lead projects that document and commemorate the memories of the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” said Feirberg-Ikar. “We will never forget the millions of pure souls who through no fault of their own were brutally murdered at the hands of the Nazis. The memorial sites established in Netanya are a moral dictate, and they pay homage to the millions who lost their lives in the Holocaust. I would like to thank all of our partners in this unique project, which is an eternal memorial to those who lost their lives and serves as an important educational tool.”
The cattle car arrived from Ashdod Port accompanied by a delegation from the Israeli Motorcycles Club, as well as by representatives of the Israel Police and the Netanya Municipality. The car has been installed at Netanya’s central memorial site, next to Beit Yad Lebanim, home to the National Memorial for Fallen Ordnance Corps Soldiers (the military corps adopted by Netanya), the Alexandroni Brigade Memorial that was erected at the site of the division’s high command during the War of Independence, the memorial marking the victory of the Red Army over Nazi Germany (inaugurated by Russian President Vladimir Putin) and the memorial to terror victims. In this manner, the location of the car underscores the “commemoration path” and commemoration stations between Holocaust and rebirth.
The inauguration of the cattle car as an educational center is planned for March with a full-day workshop by the PISGAH Center. Documentation on Netanya residents who survived the Holocaust will be kept in the car. Schoolchildren will visit the site, workshops for teachers and pupils will be held there, permanent and temporary exhibitions will be displayed, and all delegations of students making the trip to Poland will visit the site. Detailed information related to the car; the processes of transporting the “Jewish shipments” to the crematoria; the modern technologies used by the Germans to implement their “final solution” and statements made by survivors will also be on display.