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13 November 2014

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You are in: Manchester > People > Your stories > Journeys from the Holocaust

Journeys from the Holocaust

Poems by Holocaust survivors in Manchester are being displayed at Piccadilly Station to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January 2009).

Then put you in a cattle truck

Artist Lois Blackburn and poet Philip Davenport from the arthur+martha arts organisation have been working with older Jewish people at The Morris Feinmann Home in Didsbury, many of whom are survivors of the Holocaust.

Louis, one of the authors

Louis wrote about his memories

What they've produced are a number of poetic fragments from accounts of their journeys that will be shown on the giant electronic display board at Piccadilly Station. 

The Holocaust has often been linked to trains: millions of people, particularly Jews, were taken to concentration camps by train before being killed in the notorious Nazi Final Solution during the Second World War.

The poems will be shown as a series of short animations with 4 or 5 frames, each with poignant reflections on one of the darkest chapters in the history of mankind eg.

First they throw you out of your job
Take away all your savings
Then put you in a cattle truck
Sent you somewhere
Either Auschwitz or?

- Czechoslovakia, 1942, a train journey

I was pulled off the train
because I had a big J on my passport: Jewish.
At the border I was stripped and I thought:
England or a concentration camp?

- Germany, 1939/ A train journey


"We were just very aware that these people and their memories are disappearing fast," said Philip Davenport. “So we wanted to do a project with these people to help them leave a legacy."

Railway tracks leading to Auschwitz

Auschwitz [photo by Yakir Zur]

The poems draw from family histories, refugee backgrounds and direct holocaust memories and will be shown ‘in a subtle way so people are almost unaware until they have read them.’

“We are interested in the bric-a-brac of people’s lives, the tiny moments, rather than grand history,” he said. “Sometimes these little things can illuminate a far bigger picture.”

Maria Turner, Activities Co-ordinator at the Morris Feinmann Home said:  "The project has enabled our residents to talk about their experiences and express their feelings."

last updated: 26/01/2009 at 18:53
created: 26/01/2009

You are in: Manchester > People > Your stories > Journeys from the Holocaust

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