The role that the railways played in Europe with the mass deportations is controversial. For the Dutch Railways, these transports also constitute a dark chapter in its history. In total, 93 trains departed via Camp Westerbork and Camp Vught, which carried more than 100,000 people. Approximately 1,200 Jews were transported from Maliebaan station, where the Railway Museum is currently located. The material, the timetable and the transport to the border were arranged by Dutch personnel. The crucial position of the Dutch Railways in this system remained undiscussed for a long time.
We wanted to ‘tarnish’ the freight wagon as little as possible, both inside and outside, with exhibition-like elements like photos, panels and texts. We consciously chose not to restore the wagon to the original ‘polished’ condition, opting instead for a condition that reflected how the wagon might have looked after 60 years of use. We had a simple exhibition concept: the story of the victims inside the wagon. Outside, an insight into the organisation of the transport system and the voices of perpetrators, bystanders and witnesses