Remembering The Six Million
Today is Yom Hashoah, a day to honor the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, including 1.5 million children. Among the many searing images of the Holocaust are those of cattle cars sadistically used to transport millions of Jews for days-long journeys from across German-occupied Europe to the Nazi concentration camps. Deprived of food, water and sanitary conditions, and suffering from intense heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter, many of the men, women and children crowded into a given boxcar would perish before the trains reached their horrifying destinations.
Of the thousands of cattle cars used in executing “The Final Solution,” only a handful remain in existence. One of those few remaining cars was salvaged and brought to the United States through the efforts of philanthropist Mr. Stanley Black and the black family. Though many museums and organizations vied to have it housed on their premises, Mr. Black insisted that it be permanently displayed on the grounds of JETS, where Jewish youth are being prepared for bright and promising futures.
The 30-foot, five-ton Warsaw-Auschwitz transport car on the JETS campus is a reminder that, time and again, our people have risen out of the ashes of history with hope, resilience and faith.
Back in February, in collaboration with the Board of Jewish Education, JETS invited a dozen local Jewish schools to a Yom Hashoah memorial ceremony that was scheduled to take place today. The event was to include a candle-lighting ceremony, the recitation of Kaddish within the cattle car, and presentations from the various schools. Mr. David Wiener, a Holocaust survivor and a dear friend of JETS, was slated to be the guest speaker at the event.
Due to the current pandemic, this Yom Hashoah event unfortunately had to be cancelled, but our sentiment remains the same. We are committed to honoring the legacy of those whose light was snuffed out in the cattle cars, by inspiring today’s youth to carry the torch of Judaism and proclaim, “We remember!”
To learn more about the JETS Holocaust Cattle Car donated by Stanley Black and the Black family, click here.
Rabbi Mayer Schmukler
Founder & Director, JETS