HAMBURG/FRANKFURT AM MAIN/DRESDEN (Own report) Last Thursday demonstrators succeeded in holding commemorations in the train stations of several German cities, in spite of the ban by the Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG: German Railroad Corp.) DB AG representatives provoked incidents during some of the commemorations of, among others, 11.000 children, who had been arrested in France during World War II and deported by trains of the ,,German Reichsbahn"to Auschwitz. In Dresden- Neustadt the mourners were obliged to leave the premises of the train station. In Leipzig the station's operator, an enterprise located in Hamburg, declared the premises off limits to the Auschwitz commemorators. In Hamburg demonstrators temporarily occupied a railway building. In Frankfort 80 demonstrators had called for defiance, under all circumstances, of the ban on the peaceful commemoration and carried through their demonstration for several hours in the main public area of the central station, informing the public with large sized photos.
Participants in this demonstration at the Frankfort central train station included Bernd Ruebsamen and Katinka Poensgen, the local representatives of the IG Metall (metal workers union), printers of the daily ,,Frankfurter Rundschau", Jutta Ditfurth, member of the Frankfort city council and several initiators of the ,,open letter", that had provoked nation wide activities at train stations two weeks ago. In preparing for yesterdays events the DB AG was advised in writing to avoid interference and to tolerate the commemorations. Consequently the DB AG withdrew its security personnel and left the station's central public and travel area to the demonstrators between 4 and 6 pm. The photos showed Georges Secher (13 years), Ginette Gladkovetzer (8 years), Suzanne Spodek, (16 years), Joseph Schumann (4 years), Georgette Zuckermann (16 years), Gabriel Benichon (16 years), Monique Frankfurt (3 years), Manfred Ullmann (13 years and 15 other deportees who never returned from Auschwitz.
,,We had prepared 2000 leaflets, but we could have distributed five times more", Heinz Klee, one of the Frankfort demonstrators told german-foreign-policy.com. In the leaflet, which was also read over the loudspeaker, the demonstrators demanded, among other things, that the DB AG lift the ban on the exhibition, concerning the fate of the 11.000 deported children, and allow it to be displayed within its stations. The exhibition is standing ready in France. ,,It is inexcusable to prohibit the commemoration of these victims of Nazi-barbarism in DB train stations."
In contrast to Frankfort, where many journalists accompanied the commemoration, in Dresden and Leipzig there were incidents. In Dresden demonstrators were ordered to leave the Neustaedter station minutes before the commemoration was to start, even though they had applied for and had been granted permission to use the premises, the Dresden PDS declared in a press release. Obviously embarrassed and pleading for comprehension, the security personnel of the Leipzig station informed the demonstrators of instructions by the enterprise operating the station, not to allow a stand on the premises, that would hand out information about the last journey of 11.000 children traveling also over the tracks in Leipzig. According to this enterprise (ECE Projektmanagement G.m.B.H. & Co KG, Hamburg), the train station's shopping area - comprising tens of thousand square meters and counting among the largest in Germany - ,,unfortunately"doesn't have enough space. While part of the Leipzig demonstrators went into the public area, others assembled inside the prohibited strain station and stayed for more than 30 minutes. The demonstrators explained in a press release: ?Freight trains with people squeezed into them stood in the cold in the Leipzig train station on its way to the German extermination machinery for just more than half an hour (between 18:21 and 19:05). The commemoration was to last ,,those 44 minutes". 1)
In Hamburg demonstrators temporarily occupied a DB administration building in the Altona district and demanded in leaflets, that exhibitions of photos and documents be allowed in German train stations, informing of the final voyage over the tracks of the ,,Reichsbahn"of 11.000 children. ,,The fact that the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp and the French initiative have to fall together in order to get public attention (...) for this normal request, sheds a characteristic light on German conditions", the Hamburg initiators write. 2)
The protests against the direction of the DB AG continue. Demonstrators are planning to call attention to the fate of the 11.000 deported children, on this coming Sunday, was announced in Weimar. The death trains were also led via Burghaun, Fassdorf and Erfurt to Auschwitz. From Gummersbach (Rheinland) a request was made to receive photos and documents for an exposition in the city. german-foreign-policy.com will continue to inform of further activities and signatures under the ,,open letter"to the direction of the DB AG.
1) Holocaust-Gedenken und Protest: Deutsche Bahn will keine Kritik an Verhinderung von Deportationsausstellung; Pressemitteilung Buendnis Leipziger AntifaschistInnen ,,Gegen das Vergessen"27.01.2005
2) Kurzfristige Besetzung eines Gebaeudes der Deutschen Bahn AG in Hamburg-Altona; Presseerklaerung bad-weather [antifaschistische gruppe hamburg] 27.01.2005
see also Eleven thousand Children