Wagon Exhibition

The invitation card of the Holocaust Wagon Exhibition in  30th March 2009. (Balassagyarmat, Railway Station)


Stock car - the gate to hell

The March of Living Foundation presented its travelling exhibition at the Railway Station of  Balassagyarmat, during the last days of March and the first days of April.  The leadership of the town, delegates of the churches and the students of the local elementary and high schools were all represented on this event. They gathered at the same spot, from where roughly 2000 jewish citizens of Balassagyarmat and its area were deported in mid June of 1944. Most of them never returned to their homeland, they died in deathcamps such as Auschwitz.

The railway carriage was filled with shocking images, documents, all of them served the goal to make the tragedy of the Holocaust understand, mostly for the younger audience. Gábor Gordon, President of the Hungarian March of the Living Foundation told us, that they started to travel around the country in 1st March 2007.  Every week they stop in a different city , and try to show the terrible memento of the events that happened six decades ago.  –  They had 72000 visitors so far, and Balassagyarmat is the 33. city, which they stopped in. Their main goal is to help our youth's education, because they believe it will help the fight against racism and anti-semitism, which are currently spreading again. They try to prevent the wrong-doing of the different "Guard Movements" and organisations, and try to correct the lies and false statements, which they are advertising.

Mr. Gábor Csach, deputy mayor of Balassagyarmat pointed out that our city will always stand by such causes, because of two reasons. First, because we are commited to emphasize, that nobody should be discriminated because of the colour of his skin, religion or nationality. The second reason is, that we know, that Balassagyarmat had a very prosperous jewish past, which is one of our most treasured cultural heritage, 150 years ago every 3rd child in our city was jewish, and our diaspora was one of the oldest in the whole country.

"This railway carriage is the gateway of hell, where the absurdity of our history manifested in the most cruel way. Spreading hatred and searching for scapegoats is never an answer to any problem, never was, it has no point. Everybody should live his life with open heart, mind and eyes."- the deputy major said.

After his speech, Rabbi Tamás Verő spoke to the audience.

"We should try to commiserate the suffering of those, who were crammed into this railway carriage, all their distress and fear, when they hopelessly waited for something to happen with them." - the Rabbi said, then he told an ancient praise in hebrew for the victims.

Dr. Leontin Stella roman catholic prebend remembered to the jewish brothers and sisters of the Roman Catholic Church, who had the same God, same Holy Land, past, prophets, same Ten Commandments, as the Roman Catholics. A whole life isn't enough to apologize. We should pray together and hope that a horror like this, will not happen again. - the prebend said.

Zsigmond Molnár Calvinist Minister quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah, then he said fairwell with the words of Jesus, which he told to Lazarus, about the strength of faith.

István Bartha Lutheran Pastor read three psalms, which suited the event the best, then János Forgács, a Holocaust survivor  told his story of  the events of 1944-45 to the commemorators.

"In Gödöllő there were 25 jewish families, roughly 120 person. They forced us all to the courtyard of the nearby sugar factory in 1944, then they transported us to Birkenau in cattle wagons. My father, mother and younger brother died in Auschwitz, and when I was liberated in May 1st of 1945, I was 16 years old, and I was left alone in this world." - the old electrical engineer said, and he closed his speech with an order, "Never again!"

Béla Majdán town historian spoke about the nearly 2000 jewish citizens of Balassagyarmat, who were deported in June, 1944. He distributed old pictures among the students, every picture showed a memory of a long dead and burried jewish family. One of the showed the former leader of the community, Mihály Lázár , who was playing with his granddaughter, Julika. The photograph from this peaceful family idyll was taken just a few months before they were entrained and taken away. The grandfather, and well respected leader of his community, was 58 years old, his granddaughter only 3. They never played together again...

Ilona Novák, organizer of this unique exhibition served as the guide for the visitors, and for the students of the elementary and high schools.
Mrs. József Bauer (current secretary of the Jewish Community of Balassagyarmat), also participated on this event, and she told that the sister of his father, Valéria  Róth was beated to a frazzle by the authorities, who were demanding gold from her, in her own house at Kossuth street, then she was taken her and her whole family to Auschwitz, where they destroyed all of them. It seems that these wounds can't heal, not even after decades...

Published by Andrea Szabó
(In the county newspaper, Nógrád megyei Hírlap on April 3rd.)

Translated by Béla Majdán Jr. (lectored by the ed.)

The original version is available on the link below:

Marhavagon a pokol kapuja - írta: Szabó Andrea (Új Élet, 2009. május 15., 5. oldal)











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