Holocaust train rolls into Berlin engulfed by row

( Reuters ) - A vintage engine steamed into Berlin on Sunday, hauling carriages filled with photos of smiling children and poignant last letters to loved ones - the images and words of the youngest victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

About 160,000 have visited the train, a memorial to the millions of Jews and others carried off to their deaths by Adolf Hitler's railways in World War Two.

The train set off across Germany in November on an often tearful journey due to end, like so many of the Nazis' victims, at the notorious Auschwitz death camp in Poland

With just days to go before the "train of commemoration" terminates its journey on May 8 -- the day the war ended in Europe -- it has become embroiled in a major row.

Germany's current rail operator, state-owned Deutsche Bahn, refused to allow the train to halt in the capital's central station, offering instead the eastern Ostbahnhof.

Some critics have compared the heads of Deutsche Bahn with those of the Nazi-era Reichsbahn, which deported many of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

Left Party parliamentarian Petra Pau said the "blockade" by the firm, and the travel charges it had imposed on the train were a reminder of the difficulties still faced when trying to shed light on Germany's past crimes.

"The horror of the Nazi regime cannot be forgotten. It would be a betrayal of the victims and the future," said Pau, a deputy speaker of the Bundestag lower house.

Demonstrations, protests by Holocaust survivors and pressure from politicians including Berlin's mayor have not swayed Deutsche Bahn. The company said a stop in the Hauptbahnhof would have caused traffic chaos during the train's 10-day Berlin stay.

But it has not prevented the train making its point.

"I'm just happy...these children could be brought back from the quagmire of the past into the public eye, and their dignity restored, at least to some degree," said 84-year-old Herbert Shenkman, who survived deportation.

Defenders of the rail operator point out that Deutsche Bahn has already organized exhibits documenting the Reichsbahn's role in the genocide, and that the Hauptbahnhof -- newly built on the site of an old station -- is not integral to the history.

"The train of commemoration should continue its journey," wrote daily Die Welt. "But without all the rumblings that only serve the posturing of those who organized it."

Rose Braun, a 63-year-old Berliner, said the project, staged by a citizens' initiative, was "very late, but very important."

"Very few firms have admitted to their past -- let alone actually made an effort to come to terms with it," she said. "I hope the turn-out here today gives the Bahn pause for thought."

Organizer Hans-Ruediger Minow said the idea came about after Deutsche Bahn blocked an earlier effort to mark deportations.

"Time and again there are very painful moments on the train," he said. "In particular, Germans born at the end of the war often start to cry, especially the men. That's when they see their parents hid the truth and covered up these crimes."

Macron to hold phone talk with Iranian counterpart over JCPOA
Macron to hold phone talk with Iranian counterpart over JCPOA
Statement in support of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity adopted at conference in Iran (PHOTO)
Statement in support of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity adopted at conference in Iran (PHOTO)
Iran's Qom Seminary stands behind Azerbaijan regarding Karabakh
Iran's Qom Seminary stands behind Azerbaijan regarding Karabakh
Loading Bars
Iran records 0.8% economic growth under sanctions, pandemic
2021 Index of Economic Freedom: Georgia 12th in world and 7th in Europe
Electricity consumption in February amounted to 1.6 bln kWh in Kyrgyzstan
Chinese investors have major potential for attracting cargoes to Georgian Anaklia seaport
Belgium announces phased plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions
More than 20,000 U.S. organizations compromised through Microsoft flaw
U.S. detained nearly 100,000 migrants at Mexico border in February
Number of German enterprises in Uzbekistan increases in last four years
Spike in Canada exports to U.S. leads to surprise January trade surplus
Brazil working with Biden on climate, Amazon deforestation - foreign minister
Luxembourg ratifies protocol on tax agreement with Russia
U.S., Britain announce 4-month tariff suspension in aircraft subsidy dispute
Aeroflot to make flights to Seychelles from April 2
Kazakh MFA talks great importance of developing relations with Turkic-speaking countries
Georgia expands list of countries from which tourists can travel to country
Iran to hold talks with EAEU soon
Pfizer vaccine to arrive in Georgia in the week of March 22 - seputy health minister
Turkey registers more than 11 302 new coronavirus cases
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan ink agreement to step up cooperation in healthcare
Wind energy replaces coal as Germany's biggest energy source in 2020
National Bank of Kazakhstan adopts several anti-crisis measures during COVID-19 pandemic
Azerbaijani FM, head of Baku office of CE exchange views on development of new action plan for cooperation (PHOTO)
Norwegian company discloses amount of investments made in Azerbaijan
BSEC countries discuss impact of pandemic on tourism sector
Azerbaijan’s AzerGold, Chem Trade company sign contract
Georgia-Ireland Council to be important chain for strengthening bilateral economic relations
Uzbekneftegaz, Uzbek-Chinese JV talk prospects for co-op in oil, gas industry
Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor discloses volumes of agricultural products supplied to Georgia
World Bank may support Azerbaijan in fight against COVID-19
Azerbaijan names volume of compulsory non-life insurance market in Jan.2021
Swiss plan free coronavirus tests for population
Liberated Azerbaijani lands have great potential in winemaking
Azerbaijan may apply quarantine measures if COVID-19 infections continue to increase
UK watchdog looks to 'open banking' apps to help boost competition
Georgian mobile operators see decrease in total revenues for 2020
Georgia plans to build hanger in Telavi airport for private jets
Chevron to buy out Noble Midstream in all-stock $1.32 billion deal
Azerbaijani State Security Service shares grief of death of Turkish servicemen
Azerbaijan eyes to start employment promotion activities in liberated areas
Armenia once again demonstrates that it is far from sound thinking - Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry
Initiated by Mehriban Aliyeva, Heydar Aliyev Foundation makes new contribution to protection of world and religious heritage in Vatican (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's MoD shares footage from Aghdam's Taghybayli village (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan offers Uzbekistan to consider launching production of Kazakh COVID-19 vaccine
Mehriban Aliyeva appointed as first deputy chairperson of New Azerbaijan Party
First website of sign language dictionary to be developed in Azerbaijan
Trans-Caspian Fiber Optic Cable Project discussed at “Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan: New Opportunities for Cooperation” event (PHOTO)
Turkey’s activity on Turkmenistan’s state commodity exchange in Feb. 2021
Iranian parliament approves increase of salaries
Baku International Sea Trade Port expanding co-op with in Netherlands
Azerbaijan's internet provider eyes to expand coverage of communication services
Trade takes up largest share in total turnover of Georgia's business sector
Volume of Azerbaijani Depository Center's Feb. 2021 bond payments revealed
Volume of business sector turnover up in Georgia
Italian companies eye returning to Iranian energy market
Azercell reveals the “Victory Year”s results
Main share of industrial production volume in Baku accounts for extractive sector
Azerbaijan records decrease in Jan. 2021 population's bank deposits
Five impressive facts about OPEC+ meeting
Total amount of transactions on Turkmen state commodity exchange for Feb. 2021
Kazakhstan to hold auctions for selection of flexible generation projects
Azerbaijan's police officers find munitions in liberated Shusha (PHOTO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 5
Reliability of Azerbaijani data center confirmed by int’l certification institute
Iran receives third batch of Sputnik V vaccine
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 6
Azerbaijan confirms 175 more COVID-19 recoveries
Kazakh Kazatomprom to hold additional auction on its solar energy assets
Turkmenistan considers promoting expansion of partnership opportunities within ECO
Hungary eyes increasing medicines supply to Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani PM expresses condolences to Turkish VP over helicopter crash
Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy highlights country's progress in terms of economic freedom
Australia resumes postal communication with Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan holds auction for public property facilities
Volkswagen core brand to accelerate electric vehicle shift
Kazakh airlines launch new flight to Uzbekistan
Uzbekneftegaz, Gazprombank co-op to increase hydrocarbon production
Investment in development of Chabahar Port continues
Britain starts formal countdown in 'final chapter' of Libor
Volume of food products sold in trade network of Azerbaijan’s Baku city increases
Maritime India Summit-2021 celebrates ‘Chabahar Day’
Egyptair to replace Sinai Air on Tel Aviv - Cairo route
US experts visit war-torn areas of Azerbaijan's Tartar (PHOTOS)
Three possible scenarios on economic dev't regarding COVID-19 crisis in Georgia
Kazakhstan reports increase in overall 2020 trade with Greece
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan down
Small solar photovoltaic station launched in Uzbekistan’s Tashkent region
Kazakh National Bank shares data on money transfers via payment systems for 2020
Azerbaijan's Internet provider increases contribution to country's educational sphere
PASHA Bank talks possible development of 'neo-banks', information security in Azerbaijan
SOCAR becomes main supplier of Lithuanian gasoline to Ukraine
Azerbaijan to study underground water resources through satellite images
Kazakhstan discloses target volume of electricity generation for 2021
Fidelity Investments Inc acquires shares of Bank of Georgia
Deposits dev’t of Turkmenistan’s Uzynada field to increase oil, gas condensate production
Kazakhstan's only lowcoster launching direct flights to Turkey
Azerbaijan names amount of compensations paid to closed banks' depositors
Georgia reports 390 new COVID-19 cases for March 5
Russia documents 11,024 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours
Turkmenistan plans to drill new wells at North Goturdepe field
Public catering turnover for January 2021 in Baku drops
All news