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, showcased my art installation, which delved into the profound journey of my life. At its core, the exhibit aimed to navigate the path toward peace and healing from the deep-seated pain and shame inherent in being the son of two Holocaust survivors. Through the medium of art, I found a powerful platform to confront this tragedy and embark on a journey of awareness and healing. Each artwork served as a conduit, allowing me to give voice to the silenced stories and memories that have haunted my consciousness since birth. The installation was designed to engage visitors and create an immersive environment that would leave a lasting impression, fostering empathy and understanding.

Have you ever imagined embarking on a journey through time?

As a pivotal aspect of the installation, I meticulously crafted a 4-hour-long video montage that seamlessly intertwined with the art panels and accompanying signage text. This immersive video experience was seamlessly integrated into the exhibition, playing continuously throughout its duration.

Join me on a captivating winter train ride from Bergen to Oslo, Norway, as showcased in the video. Marvel at the breathtaking snowy landscapes and vast hillside vistas. However, amid the beauty of the terrain, prepare to delve into contrasting moments of darkness as the train ventures into tunnels through the hills. Here, I skillfully juxtaposed serene imagery with haunting footage of cattle trains and rail stations involved in the transportation of Jews to concentration camps.

The audio track complements this visual journey with a meditative soundscape composed by my friend Mac Quayle during the tranquil segments of the train ride. Yet, as the journey takes a somber turn through the tunnels, deep agonizing cries, extracted from a composition by the Israeli singer-songwriter Yehuda Poliker, pierce through the darkness. This audio-visual juxtaposition underscores the stark contrast between the dark shadows of memory and the brightness and beauty of life.

Metaphorically speaking, the video depicts a reverse-directional journey originating from a Nazi concentration camp. While my father’s harrowing journey aboard a cattle train led him to Auschwitz, my symbolic journey emerged from the depths of that very camp. His path was of horror and shame, whereas mine is characterized by freedom, strength, and hope. His journey was fraught with agony and death, whereas mine unfolds toward redemption, self-realization, and beauty. Thus, I have aptly titled this transformative work “The Train from Auschwitz – A Journey from Shame to Self-Realization.”

This is a condensed 6-minute excerpt from this reflective cinematic odyssey.