Recently, the Holocaust & Tolerance Museum project received a World War II era rail car. It's arrival is a large step toward making the museum a reality. The car traveled 11,000 miles from Macedonia to be a cornerstone piece of the project. Rail cars of this type and era were critical tools used by Nazi Germany to carry out its ‘Final Solution’.
In 1941, some 78,000 Jews lived in Yugoslavia, what is now Macedonia. On October 4, 1941, the Bulgarians enforced an extraordinary measure that prohibited the Jews of Macedonia from engaging in any type of industry or commerce.
They deported the Macedonian Jews in simultaneous actions beginning on March 11, 1943. At around 7 a.m., the Jews were forced to walk to the railroad station, where a train was waiting to take them away to neighboring Skopje; a temporary detention center had been established at the state tobacco monopoly warehouse known as Monopol.
For the next 11 days Jews lived in crowded, filthy conditions in four warehouses at Monopol. The weather was cold, there was little food and few blankets, and the Jews were continually searched, beaten and humiliated.
Three railroad transports took the Macedonian Jews from Monopol to Treblinka. The journey typically took six days, and during this time the Jews were locked in cattle or freight cars. The departure of the last train for the killing center at Treblinka signaled the final destruction of the Macedonian Jewish community.
Excerpt from: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.“The Holocaust in Macedonia: Deportation of Monastir Jewry.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006804. Accessed on April 13, 2012.
In November 2009, the East Valley Jewish Community Center announced plans to build a museum dedicated to educating the public about the Holocaust in order for them to take action on issues facing the world today.
The museum will address Holocaust history and education, other genocides, and current diversity and tolerance issues. A strong foundation for the museum is already established: award-winning RSP Architects, and renowned Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum serve as consultants, an education and outreach plan is nearly complete and community support for the project continues to grow. While it has been referred to as a Holocaust/Tolerance museum, the next steps include working with stakeholders to develop a name that accurately reflects the vision and mission of the project.
The JCC’s museum will be part of its current campus next to its existing building at 908 N. Alma School Road, Chandler, AZ 85224. The museum is being built with support from the City of Chandler, including a development agreement of up to $2 million for infrastructure improvements.
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