May 11, 2009

The "Train of Remembrance" at Regensburg

It wasn't clear right away which platform we needed when we changed trains at Regensburg on our way to Fumonji at Eisenbuch.  We crossed over to platform one and saw that there was a full locomotive with an unusual train name, "The Train of Remembrance."  The locomotive seemed to need some kind of repair, but the smoke was coming out of the chimney and after awhile it seemed to be ready to travel.  This train is moved from place to place to recall the plight of the Jewish children who were removed from their families and sent into work camps. 

 As I may have mentioned earlier, the people of Nuerenburg continue to feel the remains of the Reich and there is a dark weight in the air if you mention WWII.  Almost any family can tell a tale of loss, encampment, fear, starvation.  Pictures of the bombings are found in local bookstores.  The cathedrals are very open about the destruction and show pictures of the remains of cathedral walls on the newly rebuilt ones.  At St Lawrence Cathedral in Nuerenburg, there is a photo of what remained after the bombing and I'm told every German knows this photo well.  It's a picture of the body of Jesus still on the cross as the only remaining thing standing after the bombing.  

The "Train of Remembrance" was a sober reminder of what we did as a human race, and as the Jews well know, these are things we should never forget.  I'm glad of the timing to see this train as this trip did not weave us toward the sacred burial and suffering grounds of the Jews.  Yet, almost everywhere you go you can find reminders of the difficult history of the 20th Century.  Sitting in a cafe, strolling down streets and window shopping, it's hard to truly realize how devastating it was and how much blood was shed beneath our feet.