The Train from Auschwitz – A Journey from
Shame to Self-Realization

Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma

In 2013, The Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center in Queens, New York, exhibited my work.  The exhibit focus on a  personal story, the primary journey of my life – to make peace and find healing with the pain and shame I witnessed from close-up as a Second-Generation Holocaust Survivor.  For the installation, I created a 4-hour long video.  The video screen was integrated with the art panels and accompanying text; it ran continuously throughout the exhibition. 

The video portrays a metaphoric reverse-directional journey from a Nazi concentration camp. However, where my father’s cattle train took him into Auschwitz, my train journey comes out from that camp.  My father’s journey was into horror, shame, agony, and death.  My journey, on the other hand, is towards freedom, self-realization, and beauty.

The basis for the video montage is a winter train ride from Bergen to Oslo, Norway, traversing through a vast, clean, snowy hillside.  At the points where the train goes into tunnels through the hills, I inserted footage of German cattle trains and rail stations carrying Jews to concentration camps.  Although there are no humans depicted in the imagery, the heavyweight is present from these clips.  The audio track, which includes meditative soundscape and agonizing cries, accentuates the contrast between the tunnel of dark memories and life’s brightness.

I created the video using Adobe Premiere.  The YouTube trailer is 6-min long.