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

Exploring Transgenerational Trauma and Healing Through Artwork

In 2013, The Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center in Queens, New York, exhibited my art installation. The exhibit focused on the primary journey of my life, making peace and finding healing to the pain and shame of being the son of two Holocaust survivors. Making art provided a platform to explore the tragedy and take steps toward awareness and healing. Through my artwork, I could give voice to the silenced stories and memories that have resided in my consciousness since I was born. The goal of this installation was to provide an engaging experience for visitors and to create an immersive environment that would be memorable

Have you ever wanted to take a journey through time?

As part of the installation, I created a 4-hour-long video montage to coincide with the art panels and accompanying signage text. The video was integrated into the exhibition, playing continuously throughout the show.

You are invited to follow a winter train ride from Bergen to Oslo, Norway, showcasing a picturesque snowy, vast hillside landscape. But, contrasting the beauty of the terrain, whenever the train goes into tunnels through the hills, I edited the darkness with different kinds of dark images, footage of cattle trains, and rail stations that partook in the transportation of Jews to the concentration camps.

The audio track includes a meditative soundscape composed by my friend Mac Quayle during the serene parts of the train ride. And deep agonizing cries during the tunnels portion of the ride, taken from a tune by the Israeli singer-songwriter Yehuda Poliker. The audio track juxtaposes and emphasizes the contrast between the dark memories and life’s brightness and beauty.

The video portrays a metaphoric reverse-directional journey from a Nazi concentration camp. My father’s journey aboard a cattle train took him to Auschwitz, where my train journey came out from that camp. His journey was into horror and shame; my journey is towards freedom, strength, and hope. His journey was into agony and death; on the other hand, my journey is toward redemption, self-realization, and beauty. I named it “The Train from Auschwitz – A Journey from Shame to Self-Realization.”

This is a 6-min long excerpt from the movie.