Ver.di Stuttgart has been circulating flyers in high quantities since the beginning of the year, which resemble the printed schedules of the DB-AG and are directly addressed to the railway passengers. They report about the fate of four Jewish children from Baden and Wuerttemberg, who succeeded to escape from the "German Reich". However, they had been traced in France and were deported to the NS-death camp - by the "Reichsbahn". Below the photos it is written in allusion to the reaction of the current railway board: "We ask you to look at the faces of these children and to object against coldness and indifference. Please write to the German Railway Company (DB-AG)!"
The billion-dollar enterprise, that is factually controlled by the Berlin government, rejected within one year all pleas, that action groups as well as Christian and Jewish organizations had addressed towards Mehdorn to facilitate an exhibition about the fate of the deported Children at German railway stations. A similar exhibition was passed from June 2000 to December 2004 through 18 French railway stations and was generously supported by the French governmental enterprise SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer). The main event of the memorial was the presentation of photos and last letters of the children at the Paris Gare du Nord, where also an English version was presented to passengers of the "Eurostar" (Paris-London). When Beate Klarsfeld, the Paris representative of the initiative, however, requested the Berlin board to take the exhibition over, she was referred to Nuernberg and the DB museum there; an illustration of the fate of the children at German stations, however, had to remain undone, was the statement of the chairman of the board, Mr. Mehdorn.
The verdict was assisted by various self-serving declarations. Partly financial resources were missing, then security concerns were asserted, and finally the DB-AG - adopting all of sudden a lawyer’s pose for the murdered Jews - claimed that they found the profane atmosphere at the German railways inappropriate to commemorate their destinies. The management of the DB-AG stated, that this view was also shared by the Central Council of the Jews in Germany, which the Central Council, however, disclaimed immediately and joined the postulations of the initiative Eleven Thousand Children. After all PR-tricks of the Berlin DB management had failed, the board came out with the real reasons for the refusal: The postulations were adverse for the company, since they were constructing harmful connections between the German Reichsbahn and their successor, the German Bahn-AG. These connections exist nevertheless without any doubt. The volume in which criminal NS-cadres of the Reichsbahn determined the reconstruction of the German railway company, was proved by historians and courts already in the 1960es. Among the responsible persons of the railway of the post-war times are persons, who are directly responsible for the fate of the murdered children, however have never been made accountable. The management team, however, seems to prefer to better keep secret about these facts, in order not to stress the planned international expansion by further inquiries.
Attempts of Repressions
With the refusal of the exhibition the board of the corporation, however, achieved the contrary. After a non-party alliance reminded on January 27th at the Frankfurt main station with photos of the murdered ones of their final transition through the German railway net, the pressure on the railway board increases. Also organizations and personalities from abroad postulate from the DB management in an "Open Letter", to change their attitude. Initiatives in Freiburg, Weimar, Hamburg, Köln and Mannheim joined the demonstrations in Frankfurt. In Berlin the participants of a demonstration, who showed the photos of the children, were prevented by a number of policemen, who obstructed them access to the station "Zoological Garden". The open memorials faced similar restrictions in Dresden and Leipzig. These attempts of repression, however, could not prevent an expansion of the protests against the railway board in the previous year.
With the coming events on January 27th ver.di Stuttgart intensifies the country-wide activities and shows parts of the postulated exhibition for the first time in the atrium of the DGB-House, among them 150 photos of children as well as last documents of the murdered ones. Another department is devoted to Jewish children from Baden and Wuerttemberg. The majority of the exhibits stems from collections of Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, whose organization in Paris "Fils et Filles des Déportés Juifs de France" (sons and daughters of the deported Jews in France) documents the fate of the deported ones over decades. The Klarsfelds continue to reserve the main part of the exhibition for the travelling public on German stations - currently in vain. In the flyer that is now distributed, ver.di writes that the presentation of the documents in the DBG-House in Stuttgart can not replace the "reflection of the history of the German Railway Company". The board of the company is requested to uncover at German stations the remembrance of the 11.000 children, who were persecuted 70 years ago, deported and murdered".
Despite the exhibition ban at DB-facilities the "Initiative Eleven Thousand Children" calls for a demonstration and a commemorate event in the main station of Stuttgart - also on January 27th and with the support of ver.di Stuttgart. Like during the previous demonstrations in the main station of Frankfurt the initiative warns the Berlin top of the DB of interferences of the memorial, which was asserted peacefully, but "decisively" against any kind of repression. The organizers expect Beate Klarsfeld and other participants from Europe to be part of the demonstration.
As investigations of this editorial office revealed, the continuous resistance against the memorial springs from a closer group of the board around chairman Hartmut Mehdorn. Mehdorn, who latterly is characterized as the "Rambo" of the political Berlin , is seen in his own department as a merciless office-holder of global expansion interests. Despite the targeted internationalisation, the Mehdorn-group is dominated by "Germanassing" reminescences, as it is stated by the group around railway speaker and Mehdorn confidant Klingenberg. Mehdorn is boosted now by the CSU-politician Otto Wiesheu, who among has been the Minister for Economics in Munich before. After an alcoholised trip by car, during which somebody was killed, the recently designated board member of the DB was promoted to be the general manager of the internationally active Seidel-Foundation. Here Wiesheu successfully cooperates with his social democratic foundation friends (Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation), to continue now the non-party coalition side by side with Mehdorn.
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Please read the Open Letter to the railway board; there you also can find a contact address to sign the letter.