From this railway station in the years 1941-1944, the German Nazi regime deported over 7,000 Jews from Wrocław and other Silesian towns to concentration camps and places of extermination: Kowno, Izbica, Majdanek, Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Sobibor, Belzec, Riga, Minsk and others. The vast majority of deportees were murdered.
These words stand on the wall once we enter in Nadodrze railway station. Its a black plaque with gold letters hanging on a wall containing these words that pretend to point out the horror of a situation not so far away on time, in other words, it commemorates the deportation of Jews from Wroclaw and other Silesian towns to extermination camps.
Thanks to an initiative of Mrs. Rita Kratzenberg, one of the deported people on that station, and the City Museum of Wrocław, the Silesian Museum in Görlitz, the Jewish Religious Community in Wroclaw and the Bente Hahan Foundation, it could be unveiled this plaque on April 2018. The unveiling of the board was made by granddaughters deported: Dr. Tamar Cohn Gazit and Rita Kratzenberg as it was reported by the site Wratislaviaw Amici.
It is four o’clock in the afternoon and the silence has a leading role in the hall. Once we step inside we see an old clock in between rusty panels which show the train schedules. We are in a building that covers a vast area north from Wroclaw. It seems abandoned, but suddenly some people approach with suitcases and bags. In front of park Staszica, quietness is at the core of the atmosphere. It is as if time would have been frozen. A pavement with cobblestones half preserved and the red brick colour of the building makes us think how magnificent this place should have been in the past.
Formerly known as Odertor Breslau Bahnhof – translated in German as the Wroclaw’s entrance of the river Odra – it was opened in 1868 and built according to the designer Hermann Grapow. Erected in non-plastered brick, a characteristic of many buildings of the Berlin School, the station manifested the evocation of medieval architectural traditions. As it is widely known, due to it was built in the 60s in the 19th Century, it cannot be understood without its German history, as the city belonged to German Empire and Third Reich (1871-1945).
We are on ‘Peron 1’ and one noisy train is coming to us from the east side. Few people who were sat down outside stand up and take their belongings in order to jump up on that coach. Looking at old pictures and documents remembering this place make me think about how many people have done the same action, how many have stood up and take a train on exactly this platform and how many have experienced that forced by somebody else, how many have been here waiting for hope, afraid of their own lives, their immediate future. On these platforms, passages, halls and spaces there have been many personal stories; some of them will remain forever unknown; others are currently displayed thanks to this gold words on the wall.