Holocaust memorial group slams German railway company

April 13th, 2008 - 8:06 am ICT by admin  

Berlin, April 13 (DPA) Supporters of a steam-drawn Holocaust memorial train demonstrated Saturday in Berlin against what they alleged was hostility from Germany’s principal railway company, Deutsche Bahn. The evening rally by 600 people was attended by leaders of Germany’s Left Party and figures from the Jewish and gypsy communities who have supported the scheme to tour Germany with the train, ending May 8 at the site of the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp.

The society that devised the project aims to highlight the role of the German railways system in the Holocaust, touring Germany with the locomotive and two carriages containing photographs to represent thousands of child victims of the genocide.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has refused to reduce tolls on its tracks or let the train park at its gleaming new main Berlin station, saying it needs all 12 platforms and the locomotive’s smoke would set off smoke detectors.

A DB spokesman said the train would instead park at another junction, the East Station, from Sunday and receive visitors on subsequent days at four other stations around the city.

The demonstrators accused the railways system of refusing to own up to its evil past and lit 4,646 tiny candles outside DB’s city-centre office to represent children and teenagers sent by the Nazis to concentration camps from Berlin.

DB has organized a separate Berlin photographic exhibition of its own depicting the role of trains in the Holocaust.

Among the stops for the steam train will be Grunewald Station in the west, where a Holocaust memorial marks the siding where many of the city’s Jews were forced onto trains to concentration camps by the Nazis.

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